網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

it, and it alone, to his brother, Charles Washington; the spy-glaffes, left, with the modest parenthefis," because they will be useful to them where they live ;" yet not without ftamping the value on thofe precious relicts, as having been useful to himself in the deliverance of his country; the wisdom of remitting the box to Lord Buchan, with the gentle implication of the impracticability and impropriety of performing the conditions, with which the box had been originally accompanied; that reverence for the primary defignation of a gift, implied in the words "agreeably to the original defign of the Goldsmiths' Company of Edinburgh," " and which words were befides neceffary, in order to prevent the interpretation, that he had remitted it from inability to find any man in his own country equally deferving of it with the Earl: the bequeft of the bible, and of the fwords, the firft without annotation, the laft with the folemnity of a Chriftian hero; all and each of these we have dwelt upon, as evidences of a mind ftrong and healthful, yet with a fineness and rapidity of the affociating power, feldom found even in thofe who derive

fenfibility from nervous disease. The gratitude, the deep and immortal gratitude, displayed in the declaration of the motives of his bequest to his nephew Bushrod Washington, is of a ftill higher clafs of excellence; and the virtue is individualised, and has a new intereft given it, by his attention to the very letter of an old promise, no longer in force. The accuracy with which the eftates are marked out, will aid the diftant pofterity of the prefent Americans, in their reverential pilgrimages to the feat of their great Pater Patria. The attachment which he has fhewn to all his relations, the provifions which he has made for them all, and the attention to honourable caufes of local preferment in these provisions, are circumstances highly noticeable. Highly noticeable too in the disjunction of this family attachment from that defire of the aggrandizement of fome one branch of the family, fo commonly adherent to it. He has weakened by evidence, the best and almost the only argument for primogeniture, in new countries. One fact ftrikes us particularly in the perufal of this will. Of all Washington's numerous

relations, not one appears as a placeman or beneficiary of the government, not one ap pears to have received any thing from their kinfman as Prefident and influencer of the United States, yet all have evidences of the zeal and affection of the Prefident, as their kinfman. It is not so every where. There is fomething in the arrangement of the will, beyond any example, which we recollect, inftructive and judicious. He commences with a pofitive or perfect duty, the payment of debts; then goes immediately to the most respectful and affectionate attention to his wife, which becomes more intellectual, more moral, from the circumftances, which he after notices, of his having remained without iffue; he proceeds to his concerns as mafter of his family, and provides for the emancipation of his flaves; and having finished his most immediate and most facred offices, viz. the domeftic duties, he rifes, then, and not till then, into the patriot, and founds a central university! After his own family comes his country, and then his relations by confanguinity not of his own family-after these his friends, and all those

whom fellowship in arms, or old acquaintance, had endeared to him; and laft of all, he proceeds to the circumftantial difpofal of his eftate. Throughout the whole, there reigns a bumaneness of feeling, a complete union of himself with the mafs of his fellow-citizens, fo as to avoid references to any public characters in that country; and above all, an ardent wish for improvement, combined with reverential obfervance, and affectionate awe for prefent and existing customs and feelings. But Washington was too great a man to court fingularity. The dwarf, that steps afide from the crowd, and walks by himfelf, may gain the whole crowd to turn and ftare at him-Washington could attract their admiration while he moved on with them, and in the midst of them!

THE IMPORTANCE OF TIME.

"Time wafted is exiftence, us'd is life."

YOUNG.

I frequently have taken the liberty to make enquiry of many young men with whom I am

acquainted, why, after the hours of bufinefs, and the labour of the day, they did not devote their time to fome literary purfuit? The enquiry with fome has been treated with contumacious filence, by others with fupercilious contempt: thofe who had manners enough to favour me with an answer, generally had the prudence to impute the neglect to fome caufe very diftant from themselves: from fome, as a palliation, I was told, that they had not a fufficiency of time for any fuch employment, much as they might wish to engage in it; others, with more modesty than prudence, have informed me, that, while at school, they were found to be of fuch a fluggish and untractable difpofition, and fhewed fuch averfion to books or learning of any defcription, that they were pronounced by their tutors incapable of any improvement. It is not to be wondered at, that fuch anfwers as thefe fhould have led me into an error: often have I retired deploring the lot of injured humanity, of men who, by the cruelty of their deftinies, were precluded for ever from a participation of those enjoyments which ought to be acceffible to every

« 上一頁繼續 »