WASHINGTON'S Political Legacies.


NEW-YORK: Printed by GEORGE FORMAN, no. 64, for C. DA [...]S, no. 167, water-street.


OH WASHINGTON! thou hero, patriot, sage!
Friend of all climes, and pride of every age!
Were thine the laurels, every soil could raise,
The mighty harvest were penurious praise.
Well may our realms, thy Fabian wisdom boast;
Thy prudence sav'd, what bravery had lost.
Yet e'er hadst thou, by Heaven's severer sates,
Like Sparta's hero at the Grecian straits,
Been doom'd to meet, in arms, a world of foes.
Whom skill could not defeat, nor walls oppose,
Then had thy breast, by danger ne'er subdued,
The mighty Buckler of thy country stood;
Proud of its wounds, each piercing spear would bless,
Which left Columbia's foes one javelin less;
Nor felt one pang—but, in the glorious deed,
Thy little band of heroes too, must bleed;
Nor throbb'd one fear—but, that some poison'd dart
Thy breast might pass, and reach thy country's heart!
  • GENERAL WASHINGTON'S ap­pointment to the command of the American army, 9
  • His orders on the cessation of hos­tilities, 12
  • His circular letter to the Governors of the several states at the close of the revolutionary war, 19
  • The address of Congress to him acknowledging his eminent ser­vices, 50
  • His farewell orders to the army. 54
  • The answer, 66
  • His address to Congress on resign­ing his military commission, 72
  • Their answer, 75
  • His inaugural speech to Congress in 1789, 78
  • His valedictory address to his fel­low-citizens, 89
  • [Page vi] His letter to President Adams on accepting the command of the American army, in 1798, 136
  • Death of Washington, 142
  • General Marshall's address to the Speaker of the House of Repre­sentatives on the report of the death of Washington, 145
  • The President's message to Con­gress inclosing Col. Lear's letter announcing the death of Gen. Washington, 146
  • General Marshall's second address to Congress, 148
  • Resolutions of Congress respecting the manner of paying suitable honors to the memory of Gen. Washington, 152
  • Address of condolence from the House of Representatives to the President, 154
  • The President's answer, 155
  • [Page vii] Address of condolence from the Se­nate to the President, 156
  • His answer, 159
  • Resolutions of Congress for perpe­tuating the memory of General Washington, 162
  • President's proclamation, 165
  • General Hamilton's introduction to his orders respecting the funeral solemnities to be paid by the army, 167
  • Resolves of Congress respecting the observation of Feb. 22, 1800, 175
  • Particular account of the last ill­ness and death of General Wash­ington, 178
  • His funeral, 182
  • The President's message to Congress communicating Mrs. Washing­ton's letter, 188
  • Biographical sketch of General Washington, 192
  • His Will, 241
  • Rev. Doct. Tappan's discourse, 267


RESOLVED, That a GENE­RAL be appointed to command all the continental forces, raised, or to be rai­sed, for the defence of American li­berty.

THAT five hundred dollars per month be allowed for the pay and ex­pences of the General.

[Page 10] THE Congress then proceeded to the choice of a General, by ballot, and GEORGE WASHINGTON, ESQ. was unanimously elected.

THE President informed Col. WASH­INGTON, that the Congress had, yes­terday, unanimously made choice of him to be General and commander in chief of the American forces, and re­quested he would accept of that em­ployment; to which Col. WASHING­ton, standing in his place, as a mem­ber of the house, answered:

Mr. President, THOUGH I am truly sensible of the high honor done me in this ap­pointment, yet I feel great distress, from a consciousness that my abilities and military experience may not be equal to the extensive and important [Page 11] trust: however, as the Congress de­sire it, I will enter upon the moment­ous duty, and exert every power I pos­sess, in their service, for support of the glorious cause. I beg they will ac­cept my most cordial thanks for this distinguished testimony of their appro­bation.

BUT, lest some event should hap­pen unfavorable to my reputation, I beg it may be remembered by every gentleman in the room, that I, this day, declare with the utmost sinceri­ty, I do not think myself equal to the command I am honored with.

WITH respect to pay, sir, I must beg leave to assure Congress, that as no pecuniary consideration could have tempted me to accept this arduous em­ployment, at the expence of my do­mestic ease and happiness, I do not [Page 12] wish to make any profit from it. I will keep an exact account of my ex­pences. Those I doubt not they will discharge, and that is all I desire.


THE commander in chief or­ders the cessation of hostilities between the United States of America and the king of Great-Britain, to be publicly proclaimed to-morrow at 12 o'clock, at the new building; and that the proclamation which will be commu­nicated herewith, be read to-morrow evening, at the head of every regiment and corps of the army; after which, the chaplains, with the several bri­gades, will render thanks to Almigh­ty God for all his mercies, particu­larly [Page 13] for his over-ruling the wrath of man to his own glory, and causing the rage of war to cease amongst the nations.

ALTHOUGH the proclamation be­fore alluded to, extends only to the prohibition of hostilities, and not to the annunciation of a general peace, yet it must afford the most rational and sincere satisfaction to every benevolent mind, as it puts a period to a long and doubtful contest—stops the effu­sion of human blood—opens the pros­pect to a more splendid scene—and, like another morning star, promises the approach of a brighter day than has hitherto illuminated this western hemisphere! On such a happy day—a day which is the harbinger of peace—a day which completes the eighth year of the war, it would be ingrati­tude [Page 14] not to rejoice: it would be insen­sibility not to participate in the gene­ral felicity.

THE commander in chief, far from endeavoring to stifle the feelings of joy in his own bosom, offers his most cor­dial congratulations on the occasion, to all the officers of every denomina­tion—to all the troops of the United States in general, and in particular to those gallant and persevering men, who had resolved to defend the rights of their invaded country so long as the war should continue; for these are the men who ought to be considered as the pride and boast of the American army, and who, crowned with well­earned laurels, may soon withdraw from the field of glory to the more tranquil walks of civil life.

[Page 15] WHILE the General recollects the al­most infinite variety of scenes through which we have passed with a mixture of pleasure, astonishment and grati­tude—while he contemplates the pros­pects before us with rapture—he can­not help wishing that all the brave men, of whatever condition they may be, who have shared in the toils and dangers of effecting this glorious revo­lution, of rescuing millions from the hand of oppression, and of laying the foundation of a great empire, might be impressed with a proper idea of the dignified part they have been called to act (under the smiles of providence) on the stage of human affairs; for hap­py, thrice happy, shall they be pro­nounced hereafter, who have contri­buted any thing, who have performed the meanest office in erecting this stu­pendous fabric of Freedom and Em­pire, on the broad basis of indepen­dency; [Page 16] who have assisted in protect­ing the rights of human nature, and establishing an assylum for the poor and oppressed of all nations and reli­gions.

THE glorious task for which we first flew, to arms, being thus accom­plished—the liberties of our country being fully acknowledged and firmly secured, by the smiles of Heaven, on the purity of our cause, and the ho­nest exertions of a feeble people, de­termined to be free, against a power­ful nation disposed to oppress them; and the character of those who have persevered through every extremity of hardship, suffering, and danger, be­ing immortalized by the illustrious ap­pellation of the Patriot Army, nothing now remains but for the actors of this mighty scene to preserve a perfect, unvarying consistency of character [Page 17] through the very last act; to close the drama with applause; and to retire from the military theatre with the same approbation of angels and men, which have crowned all their former virtuous actions.

FOR this purpose, no disorder or li­centiousness must be tolerated, every considerate and well-disposed soldier must remember, it will be absolutely necessary to wait with patience, until peace shall be declared, or Congress shall be enabled to take proper mea­sures for the security of the public stores, &c. As soon as these arrange­ments shall be made, the General is confident there will be no delay in discharging, with every mark of dis­tinction and honor, all the men enlist­ed for the war, who will then have faithfully performed their engage­ments with the public. The General [Page 18] has already interested himself in their behalf; and he thinks he need not re­peat the assurances of his disposition to be useful to them on the present, and every other proper occasion. In the mean time he is determined that no military neglects or excesses shall go unpunished, while he retains the com­mand of the army.

THE Adjutant-General will have such working-parties detached to assist in making the preparation for a gene­ral rejoicing, as the chief engineer, with the army, shall call for; and the quarter-master-general will also furnish such materials as he may want. The quarter-master-general will, without delay, procure such a number of dis­charges to be printed as will be suffi­cient for all the men enlisted for the war; he will please to apply to head­quarters for the form.

[Page 19] AN extra ration of liquor to be issu­ed to every man to-morrow, to drink PERPETUAL PEACE, INDEPEN­DENCE, AND HAPPINESS, TO THE UNITED STATES OF AME­RICA.



THE great object for which I had the honor to hold an appoint­ment in the service of my country, being accomplished, I am now pre­paring to resign it into the hands of Congress, and return to that domestic retirement, which, it is well known, I left with the greatest reluctance: a [Page 20] retirement for which I have never ceased to sigh through a long and painful absence, in which (remote from the noise and trouble of the world) I meditate to pass the remain­der of life in a state of undisturbed re­pose; but, before I carry this resolu­tion into effect, I think it a duty in­incumbent on me to make this my last official communication, to congratu­late you on the glorious events which Heaven has been pleased to produce in our favor, to offer my sentiments respecting some important subjects, which appear to me to be intimately connected with the tranquillity of the United States, to take my leave of your Excellency as a public charac­ter, and to give my final blessing to that country in whose service I have sp [...]nt the prime of my life; for whose sake I have consumed so many anx­ious days and watchful nights; and [Page 21] whose happiness being extremely dear to me, will always constitute no incon­siderable part of my own.

IMPRESSED with the liveliest sensi­bility on this pleasing occasion, I will claim the indulgence of dilating the more copiously on the subject of our mutual felicitation. When we consi­der the magnitude of the prize we con­tended for, the doubtful nature of the contest, and the favorable manner in which it has terminated; we shall find the greatest possible reason for grati­tude and rejoicing: this is a theme that will afford infinite delight to every benevolent and liberal mind, whether the event in contemplation be consi­dered as a source of present enjoy­ment, or the parent of future happi­ness; and we shall have equal occa­sion to felicitate ourselves on the lot [Page 22] which providence has assigned us, whether we view it in a natural, a po­litical, or moral point of view.

THE citizens of America, placed in the most enviable condition, as the sole lords and proprietors of a vast tract of continent, comprehending all the various soils and climates of the world, and abounding with all the necessaries and conveniences of life, are now, by the late satisfactory pacification, ac­knowledged to be possessed of absolute freedom and independency; they are, from this period to be considered as the actors on a most conspicuous thea­tre, which seems to be peculiarly de­signed by providence for the display of human greatness and felicity: here they are not only surrounded with every thing that can contribute to the completion of private and domestic enjoyment, but heaven has crowned [Page 23] all its other blessings, by giving a surer opportunity for political happiness than any other nation has ever been favor­ed with. Nothing can illustrate these observations more forcibly than the re­collection of the happy conjuncture of times and circumstances, under which our republic assumed its rank among the nations. The foundation of our empire was not laid in a gloomy age of ignorance and superstition, but at [...]n epoch when the rights of man­kind were better understood, and more clearly defined than at any former pe­riod: researches of the human mind after social happiness have been carri­ed to a great extent: the treasures of knowledge acquired by the labours of philosophers, sages, and legislators, through a long succession of years, are laid open for us, and their collected wisdom may be happily applied in the establishment of our forms of govern­ment: [Page 24] the free cultivation of letters, the unbounded extension of com­merce, the progressive refinement of manners, the growing liberality of sen­timent, and, above all, the pure and benign light of revelation, have had a meliorating influence on mankind, and increased the blessings of society. At this auspicious period the United States came into existence as a nation, and if their citizens should not be com­pletely free and happy, the fault will be entirely their own.

SUCH is our situation, and such are our prospects; but notwithstanding the cup of blessing is thus reached out to us—notwithstanding happiness is ours, if we have a disposition to seize the oc­casion, and make it our own; yet it appears to me, there is an option still left to the United States of America, whether they will be respectable and [Page 25] prosperous, or contemptible and mise­rable as a nation. This is the time of their political probation; this is the moment, when the eyes of the whole world are turned upon them; this is the time to establish or ruin their na­tional character forever; this is the fa­vorable moment to give such a tone to the federal government, as will enable it to answer the ends of its institution; or this may be the ill-fated moment for relaxing the powers of the union, annihilating the cement of the confe­deration, and exposing us to become the sport of European politics, which may play one state against another, to prevent their growing importance, and to serve their own interested purposes. For, according to the system of policy the states shall adopt at this moment, they will stand or fall; and, by their confirmation or lapse, it is yet to be [Page 26] decided, whether the revolution must ultimately be considered as a blessing or a curse; a blessing or a curse, not to the present age alone, for with our fate will the destiny of unborn millions be involved.

WITH this conviction of the impor­tance of the present crisis, silence in me would be a crime. I will there­fore speak to your Excellency the language of freedom and sincerity, without disguise. I am aware, how­ever, those who differ from me in po­litical sentiments may perhaps remark, I am stepping out of the proper line of my duty; and they may possibly as­cribe to arrogance or ostentation, what I know is alone the result of the pu­rest intention; but the rectitude of my own heart, which disdains such unworthy motives—the part I have hi­therto acted in life—the determina­tion [Page 27] I have formed of not taking any share in public business hereafter—the ardent desire I feel and shall con­tinue to manifest, of quietly enjoying in private life, after all the toils of war, the benefits of a wise and liberal go­vernment—will, I flatter myself, soon­er or later, convince my countrymen, that I could have no sinister views in delivering, with so little reserve, the opinions contained in this address.

THERE are four things which I humbly conceive are essential to the well-being, I may even venture to say, to the existence of the United States, as an independent power.

1st. AN indissoluble union of the states under one federal head.

2dly. A sacred regard to public jus­tice.

[Page 28] 3dly. THE adoption of a proper peace establishment. And,

4thly. THE prevalence of that pa­cific and friendly disposition among the people of the United States, which will induce them to forget their local prejudices and policies, to make those mutual concessions which are requi­site to the general prosperity, and, in some instances, to sacrifice their indi­vidual advantages to the interest of the community.

THESE are the pillars on which the glorious fabric of our independency and national character must be sup­ported. Liberty is the basis, and who­ever would dare to sap the foundation, or overturn the structure, under what­ever specious pretext he may attempt it, will merit the bitterest execration [Page 29] and the severest punishment which can be inflicted by his injured country.

ON the three first articles I will make a few observations, leaving the last to the good sense and serious considera­tion of those immediately concerned.

UNDER the first head, although it may not be necessary or proper for me in this place to enter into a particular disquisition of the principles of the union, and to take up the great ques­tion which has been frequently agitat­ed, whether it be expedient and requi­site for the states to delegate a large pro­portion of power to Congress, or not: yet it will be a part of my duty, and that of every true patriot, to assert, without reserve, and to insist upon the following positions. That unless the states will suffer Congress to exercise those prerogatives they are undoubted­ly [Page 30] invested with by the constitution, every thing must very rapidly tend to anarchy and confusion.—That it is in­dispensible to the happiness of the in­dividual states, that there should be lodged, somewhere, a supreme pow­er, to regulate and govern the gene­ral concerns of the confederated re­public, without which the union can­not be of long duration.—That there must be a faithful and pointed com­pliance on the part of every state with the late proposals and demands of Con­gress, or the most fatal consequences will ensue.—That whatever measures have a tendency to dissolve the union, or contribute to violate or lessen the so­vereign authority, ought to be consi­dered as hostile to the liberty and in­dependency of America, and the au­thors of them treated accordingly.—And lastly, that unless we can be en­abled by the concurrence of the states, [Page 31] to participate of the fruits of the revo­lution, and enjoy the essential benefits of civil society, under a form of govern­ment so free and uncorrupted, so hap­pily guarded against the danger of op­pression, as has been devised and adopted by the articles of confedera­tion, it will be a subject of regret, that so much blood and treasure have been lavished for no purpose; that so many sufferings have been encountered with­out a compensation, and that so many sacrifices have been made in vain. Many other considerations might here be adduced to prove, that without an entire conformity to the spirit of the union, we cannot exist as an indepen­dent power. It will be sufficient for my purpose to mention but one or two, which seem to me of the greatest im­portance. It is only in our united character, as an empire, that our in­dependence is acknowledged, that our [Page 32] power can be regarded, or our credit supported among foreign nations. The treaties of the European powers with the United States of America, will have no validity on the dissolution of the union. We shall be left nearly in a state of nature; or we may find, by our own unhappy experience, that there is a natural and necessary pro­gression from the extreme of anarchy to the extreme of tyranny; and that arbitrary power is most easily establish­ed on the ruins of liberty abused to li­centiousness.

As to the second article, which re­spects the performance of public jus­tice, Congress have, in their late Ad­dress to the United States, almost ex­hausted the subject; they have ex­plained their ideas so fully, and have enforced the obligations the states are under to render complete justice to all [Page 33] the public creditors, with so much dignity and energy, that in my opi­nion, no real friend to the honor and independency of America can hesitate a single moment respecting the pro­priety of complying with the just and honorable measures proposed. If their arguments do not produce conviction, I know of nothing that will have great­er influence, especially when we re­flect that the system referred to, being the result of the collected wisdom of the continent, must be esteemed, if not perfect, certainly the least objec­tionable of any that could be devised; and that, if it should not be carried in­to immediate execution, a national bankruptcy, with all its deplorable consequences, will take place, before any different plan can possibly be pro­posed or adopted; so pressing are the [Page 34] present circumstances, and such is the alternative now offered to the states.

THE ability of the country to dis­charge the debts which have been in­curred in its defence, is not to be doubted. An inclination, I flatter myself, will not be wanting; the path of our duty is plain before us; honesty will be found, on every experiment, to be the best and only true policy. Let us then, as a nation, be just; let us fulfil the public contracts which Congress had undoubtedly a right to make for the purpose of carrying on the war, with the same good faith we suppose ourselves bound to perform our private engagements. In the mean time let an attention to the cheerful performance of their proper business, as individuals, and as members of so­ciety, be earnestly inculcated on the citizens of America; then will they [Page 35] strengthen the bands of government, and be happy under its protection. Every one will reap the fruit of his la­bours; every one will enjoy his own acquisitions, without molestation and without danger.

IN this state of absolute freedom and perfect security, who will grudge to yield a very little of his property to support the common interests of soci­ety, and ensure the protection of go­vernment? Who does not remember the frequent declarations at the com­mencement of the war, that we should be completely satisfied, if at the ex­pense of one half, [...] [...]ould defend the remainder of our possessions? Where is the man to be found, who wishes to remain indebted for the defence of his own person and property to the ex­ertions, the bravery, and the blood of others, without making one generous [Page 36] effort to pay the debt of honor and of gratitude? In what part of the conti­nent shall we find any man, or body of men, who would not blush to stand up, and propose measures purposely calculated to rob the soldier of his sti­pend, and the public creditor of his due? And were it possible that such a flagrant instance of injustice could ever happen, would it not excite the gene­ral indignation, and tend to bring down upon the authors of such mea­sures, the aggravated vengeance of hea­ven? If, after all, a spirit of disunion, or a temper of obstinacy and perverse­ness should manifest itself in any of the states; if such an ungracious dis­position should attempt to frustrate all the happy effects that might be expect­ed to flow from the union; if there should be a refusal to comply with the requisitions for funds to discharge the annual interest of the public debts, and [Page 37] if that refusal should revive all those jealousies, and produce all those evils which are now happily removed—Congress, who have in all their trans­actions shewn a great degree of mag­nanimity and justice, will stand justi­fied in the sight of God and man! And that state alone, which puts itself in opposition to the aggregate wisdom of the continent, and follows such mistaken and pernicious councils, will be responsible for all the consequences.

FOR my own part, conscious of having acted, while a servant of the public, in the manner I conceived best suited to promote the real interests of my country; having, in consequence of my fixed belief, in some measure, pledged myself to the army, that their country would finally do them com­plete and ample justice, and not wil­ling [Page 38] to conceal any instance of my of­ficial conduct from the eyes of the world, I have thought proper to trans­mit to your Excellency the inclosed collection of papers, relative to the half-pay and commutation granted by Congress to the officers of the army: from these communications, my de­cided sentiment will be clearly com­prehended, together with the conclu­sive reasons, which induced me at an early period, to recommend the adop­tion of this measure in the most ear­nest and serious manner. As the pro­ceedings of Congress, the army, and myself, are open to all, and contain, in my opinion, sufficient information to remove the prejudice and errors which may have been entertained by any, I think it unnecessary to say any thing more, than just to observe, that the resolutions of Congress, now allud­ed to, are as undoubtedly and abso­lutely [Page 39] binding upon the United States as the most solemn acts of confedera­tion or legislation.

As to the idea, which I am inform­ed, has in some instances prevailed, that the half-pay and commutation are to be regarded merely in the odious light of a pension, it ought to be ex­ploded forever: that provision should be viewed, as it really was, a reason­able compensation offered by Con­gress, at a time when they had nothing else to give to officers of the army, for services then to be performed: it was the only means to prevent a total de­riliction of the service; it was a part of their hire. I may be allowed to say, it was the price of their blood, and of your independency; it is there­fore more than a common debt, it is a debt of honor; it can never be consi­dered [Page 40] as a pension or gratuity, nor cancelled until it is fairly discharged.

WITH regard to the distinction be­tween officers and soldiers, it is suffi­cient that the uniform experience of every nation of the world, combined with our own, proves the utility and propriety of the discrimination. Re­wards, in proportion to the aid the public draws from them, are unques­tionably due to all its servants. In some lines, the soldiers have perhaps generally had as ample compensation for their services, by the large boun­ties which have been paid them, as their officers will receive in the pro­posed commutation; in others, if be­sides the donation of land, the pay­ment of arrearages of clothing and wa­ges (in which articles all the compo­nent parts of the army must be put upon the same footing) we take into [Page 41] the estimate, the bounties many of the soldiers have received, and the gratui­ty of one year's full pay, which is pro­mised to all, possibly their situation (every circumstance being duly con­sidered) will not be deemed less eligi­ble than that of the officers. Should a farther reward, however, be judged equitable, I will venture to assert, no man will enjoy greater satisfaction than myself, in an exemption from taxes for a limited time (which has been petitioned for in some instances) on any other adequate immunity of compensation granted to the brave de­fenders of their country's cause: but neither the adoption or rejection of this proposition will, in any manner affect, much less militate against the act of Congress, by which they have offered five years full pay, in lieu of the half-pay for life, which had been before promised to the officers of the army.

[Page 42] BEFORE I conclude the subject on public justice, I cannot omit to men­tion the obligations this country is un­ber to that meritorious class of vete­rans, the non-commissioned officers and privates, who have been discharg­ed for inability, in consequence of the resolution of Congress, of the 23d of April, 1782, on an annual pension for life. Their peculiar sufferings, their singular merits and claims to that provision, need only to be known, to interest the feelings of humanity in their behalf. Nothing but a punctual payment of their annual allowance can rescue them from the most com­plicated misery: and nothing could be a more melancholy and distressing sight, than to behold those who have shed their blood, or lost their limbs in the service of their country, without a shelter, without a friend, and without the means of obtaining any of the [Page 43] comforts or necessaries of life, compel­led to beg their daily bread from door to door. Suffer me to recommend those of this description, belonging to your state, to the warmest patronage of your Excellency and your legisla­ture.

IT is necessary to say but a few words on the third topic which was proposed, and which regards particu­larly the defence of the republic. As there can be little doubt but Congress will recommend a proper peace esta­blishment for the United States, in which a due attention will be paid to the importance of placing the militia of the union upon a regular and re­spectable footing; if this should be the case, I should beg leave to urge the great advantage of it in the strongest terms.

[Page 44] THE militia of this country must be considered as the palladium of our se­curity, and the first effectual resort in case of hostility: it is essential, there­fore, that the same system should per­vade the whole; that the formation and discipline of the militia of the con­tinent should be absolutely uniform; and that the same species of arms, ac­coutrements, and military apparatus, should be introduced in every part of the United States. No one, who has not learned it from experience, can conceive the difficulty, expense, and confusion which result from a contra­ry system, or the vague arrangements which have hitherto prevailed.

IF, in treating of political points, a greater latitude than usual has been taken in the course of the Address, the importance of the crisis, and the magnitude of the objects in discussion, [Page 45] must be my apology; it is, however, neither my wish nor expectation, that the preceding observations should claim any regard, except so far as they shall appear to be dictated by a good inten­tion; consonant to the immutable rules of justice: calculated to produce a li­beral system of policy, and founded on whatever experience may have been acquired by a long and close at­tention to public business. Here I might speak with more confidence, from my actual observations; and if it would not swell this letter (already too prolix) beyond the bounds I had prescribed myself, I could demon­strate to every mind, open to convic­tion, that in less time, and with much less expense than has been incurred, the war might have been brought to the same happy conclusion, if the re­sources of the continent could have [Page 46] been properly called forth; that the distresses and disappointments which have very often occurred, have, in too many instances, resulted more from a want of energy in the continental go­vernment, than a deficiency of means in the particular states: that the inef­ficacy of the measures, arising from the want of an adequate authority in the supreme power, from a partial compliance with the requisitions of Congress in some of the states, and from a failure of punctuality in others, while they tended to damp the zeal of those who were more willing to exert themselves, served also to accumulate the expenses of the war, and to frus­trate the best concerted plans; and that the discouragement occasioned by the complicated difficulties and embar­rassments, in which our affairs were by this means involved, would have long ago produced the dissolution of [Page 47] any army, less patient, less virtuous, and less persevering than that which I have had the honor to command. But while I mention those things, which are notorious facts, as the de­fects of our federal constitution, par­ticularly in the prosecution of a war, I beg it may be understood, that as I have ever taken a pleasure in grate­fully acknowledging the assistance and support I have derived from every class of citizens; so shall I always be happy to do justice to the unparallel­ed exertions of the individual states, on many interesting occasions.

I HAVE thus freely disclosed what I wished to make known before I sur­rendered up my public trust to those who committed it to me: the task is now accomplished. I now bid adieu to your Excellency, as the chief ma­gistrate of your state: at the same time [Page 48] I bid a last farewell to the cares of of­fice, and all the employments of pub­lic life.

IT remains, then, to be my final and only request, that your Excellen­cy will communicate these sentiments to your legislature at their next meet­ing; and that they may be consider­ed as the legacy of one who has ar­dently wished, on all occasions, to be useful to his country, and who, even in the shade of retirement, will not fail to implore the divine benediction upon it.

I NOW make it my earnest prayer, that God would have you, and the state over which you preside, in his holy protection; that he would in­cline the hearts of the citizens to culti­vate a spirit of subordination and obe­dience to government; to entertain a [Page 49] brotherly affection and love for one another, for their fellow-citizens of the United States at large; and parti­cularly for their brethren who have served in the field; and finally, that he would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of the mind, which were the characteristics of the divine Author of our blessed religion; without an hum­ble imitation of whose example, in these things, we can never hope to be a happy nation.

I HAVE the honor to be, with much esteem and respect, sir, your Excel­lency's most obedient, and most hum­ble servant,

[Page 50]

According to order, Gen. WASHING­TON attended, and being introduced by two Members, the President ad­dressed him as follows:


CONGRESS feel particular pleasure in seeing your Excellency, and in congratulating you on the suc­cess of a war, in which you have act­ed so conspicuous a part.

IT has been the singular happiness of the United States, that during a war so long, so dangerous, and so impor­tant, Providence has been graciously pleased to preserve the life of a Gene­ral, who has merited and possessed the uninterrupted confidence and affection [Page 51] of his fellow-citizens. In other na­tions many have performed services, for which they have deserved and re­ceived the thanks of the public; but to you, sir, peculiar praise is due. Your services have been essential in acquiring and establishing the freedom and independence of your country. They deserve the grateful acknowledg­ments of a free and independent na­tion. Those acknowledgments, Con­gress have the satisfaction of expressing to your Excellency.

HOSTILITIES have now ceased, but your country still needs your services. She wishes to avail herself of your talents in forming the arrangements which will be necessary for her in the time of peace. For this reason your attendance at Congress has been re­quested. A committee is appointed to confer with your Excellency, and [Page 52] to receive your assistance in preparing and digesting plans relative to those important objects.

The Answer.


I AM too sensible of the ho­norable reception I have now experi­enced, not to be penetrated with the deepest feelings of gratitude.

Notwithstanding Congress appear to estimate the value of my life beyond any services I have been able to ren­der the United States, yet I must be permitted to consider the wisdom and unanimity of our national councils, the firmness of our citizens and the pa­tience and bravery of our troops, which have produced so happy a ter­mination of the war, as the most con­spicuous [Page 53] effect of the divine interposi­tion, and the surest presage of our fu­ture happiness.

HIGHLY gratified by the favorable sentiments which Congress are pleased to express of my past conduct, and amply rewarded by the confidence and affection of my fellow-citizens; I cannot hesitate to contribute my best endeavors towards the establishment of the national security in whatever manner the sovereign power may think proper to direct, until the ratifi­cation of the definitive treaty of peace, or the final evacuation of our country by the British forces; after either of which events, I shall ask permission to retire to the peaceful shade of pri­vate life.

PERHAPS, sir, no occasion may of­fer more suitable than the present, to [Page 54] express my humble thanks to God and my grateful acknowledgments to my country, for the great and uniform support I have received in every vicis­situde of fortune, and for the many distinguished honors which Congress have been pleased to confer upon me in the course of the war.


THE United States in Con­gress assembled, after giving the most honorable testimony to the merits of the federal armies, and presenting them with the thanks of their coun­try, for their long, eminent and faith­ful service, having thought proper, by their proclamation bearing date the [Page 55] 18th of October last, to discharge such part of the troops as were engaged for the war, and to permit the officers on furlough to retire from service, from and after to-morrow, which proclama­tion having been communicated in the public papers, for the information and government of all concerned, it only remains for the Commander in Chief to address himself once more, and that for the last time, to the ar­mies of the United States (however widely dispersed individuals who com­pose them may be) and to bid them an affectionate—a long farewell.

BUT before the Commander in Chief takes his final leave of those he holds most dear, he wishes to indulge himself a few moments in calling to mind a slight view of the past:—he will then take the liberty of exploring, with his military friends, their future [Page 56] prospects; of advising the general line of conduct which in his opinion ought to be pursued; and he will conclude the Address, by expressing the obliga­tions he feels himself under for the spirited and able assistance he has ex­perienced from them, in the perfor­mance of an arduous office.

A CONTEMPLATION of the com­plete attainment (at a period earlier than could have been expected) of the object for which we contended, against so formidable a power, cannot but inspire us with astonishment and gratitude. The disadvantageous cir­cumstances on our part, under which the war was undertaken, can never be forgotten. The signal interpositions of Providence, in our feeble condition, were such as could scarcely escape the attention of the most unobserving; while the unparallelled perseverance [Page 57] of the armies of the United States, through almost every possible suffer­ing and discouragement, for the space of eight long years, was little short of a standing miracle.

IT is not the meaning, nor within the compass of this Address, to detail the hardships peculiarly incident to our service, or to describe the distres­ses which in several instances have re­sulted from the extremes of hunger and nakedness, combined with the rigours of an inclement season: nor is it necessary to dwell on the dark side of our past affairs.

EVERY American officer and soldier must now console himself for any un­pleasant circumstance which may have occurred, by a recollection of the un­common scenes in which he has been [Page 58] called to act no inglorious part, and the astonishing events of which he has been a witness; events which have seldom if ever before, taken place on the stage of human action, nor can they probably ever happen again. For who has before seen a disciplined army formed at once from such raw materi­als? Who that was not a witness could imagine that the most violent local prejudices would cease so soon, and that men who came from the different parts of the continent, strongly dispo­sed by the habits of education to de­spise and quarrel with each other, would instantly become but one patri­otic band of brothers? Or who that was not on the spot, can trace the steps by which such a wonderful revolution has been effected, and such a glorious period put to all our warlike toils?

[Page 59] IT is universally acknowledged, that the enlarged prospects of happi­ness, opened by the confirmation of our independence and sovereignty, al­most exceed the power of description: and shall not the brave men who have contributed so essentially to these in­estimable acquisitions, retiring victori­ous from the field of war to the field of agriculture, participate in all the blessings which have been obtained? In such a republic, who will exclude them from the rights of citizens, and the fruits of their labours? In such a country, so happily circumstanced, the pursuits of commerce, and the cultivation of the soil, will unfold to industry the certain road to compe­tence. To those hardy soldiers who are actuated by the spirit of adventure, the fisheries will afford ample and pro­fitable employment: and the exten­sive and fertile regions of the West, [Page 60] will yield a most happy asylum to those who, fond of domestic enjoy­ment, are seeking personal indepen­dence. Nor is it possible to conceive that any one of the United States will prefer a national bankruptcy, and the dissolution of the union, to a compli­ance with the requisitions of Congress, and the payment of its just debts; so that the officers and soldiers may ex­pect considerable assistance, in re­commencing their civil occupations, from the sums due to them from the public, which must and will most in­evitably be paid.

IN order to effect this desirable pur­pose, and remove the prejudices which may have taken possession of the minds of any of the good people of the states, it is earnestly recommended to all the troops, that with strong attachment to the union, they should carry with [Page 61] them into civil society, the most con­ciliating dispositions, and that they should prove themselves not less virtu­ous and useful as citizens, than they have been victorious as soldiers. What though there should be some envious individuals, who are unwilling to pay the debt the public has contracted, or to yield the tribute due to merit, yet, let such unworthy treatment produce no invective, or any instance of intem­perate conduct. Let it be remember­ed, that the unbiassed voice [...] the free citizens of the United States, has pro­mised the just reward, and given the merited applause. Let it be known and remembered, that the reputation of the federal armies is established be­yond the reach of malevolence; and let a consciousness of their atchiev­ments and fame, still excite the men who composed them to honorable ac­tions, [Page 62] under the persuasion that the private virtues of economy, prudence and industry, will not be less amiable in civil life, than the more splendid qualities of valour, perseverance, and enterprize were in the field. Every one may rest assured that much, very much of the future happiness of the officers and men, will depend upon the wise and manly conduct which shall be adopted by them, when they are mingled with the great body of the community. And although the Ge­neral has so frequently given it as his opinion, in the most public and ex­plicit manner, that unless the principles of the federal government were properly supported, and the powers of the union encreased, the honor, dig­nity, and justice of the nation would be lost forever: yet he cannot help repeating on this occasion so interest­ing a sentiment, and leaving it as his [Page 63] last injunction to every officer and eve­ry soldier who may view the subject in the same serious point of light, to add his best endeavors to those of his worthy fellow-citizens, towards effect­ing these great and valuable purposes, on which our very existence as a na­tion so materially depends.

THE Commander in Chief conceives little is now wanting to enable the sol­dier to change the military character into that of the citizen; but that stea­dy, decent tenor of behaviour, which has generally distinguished not only the army under his immediate com­mand, but the different detachments and armies through the course of the war. From their good sense and pru­dence he anticipates the happiest con­sequences; and while he congratu­lates them on the glorious occasion which renders their services in the field [Page 64] no longer necessary, he wishes to ex­press the strong obligations he feels himself under for the assistance he has received from every class, and in eve­ry instance. He presents his thanks in the most serious and affectionate manner, to the general officers, as well for their councils on many interesting occasions, as for their ardor in promot­ing the success of the plans he had adopted. To the commandants of re­giments and corps, and to the other officers for their zeal and attention in carrying his orders promptly into exe­cution—to the staff for their alacrity and exactness in performing the duties of their several departments; and to the non-commissioned officers and pri­vate soldiers, for their extraordinary patience and suffering, as well as their invincible fortitude in action. To the various branches of the army, the Ge­neral takes this last and solemn oppor­tunity [Page 65] of professing his inviolable at­tachment and friendship. He wishes more than bare professions were in his power, that he was really able to be useful to them all in future life. He flatters himself, however, they will do him the justice to believe that what­ever could with propriety be attempt­ed by him, has been done.

AND being now to conclude these his last public orders, to take his ulti­mate leave in a short time of the mili­tary character, and to bid a final adieu to the armies he has so long had the honor to command, he can only again offer in their behalf, his recommenda­tions to their grateful country, and his prayers to the God of armies. May ample justice be done them here, and may the choicest of Heaven's favors, both here and hereafter attend those, who under the divine auspices, have se­cured [Page 66] innumerable blessings for others. With these wishes, and this benedic­tion, the Commander in Chief is about to retire from service. The curtain of separation will soon be drawn, and the military scene to him will be closed forever.

The Answer.

WE the officers of the part of the army remaining on the banks of the Hudson, have received your Excellency's serious and farewell Ad­dress to the armies of the United States. We beg you to accept our unfeigned thanks for the communication, and your affectionate assurances of inviola­ble attachment and friendship. If your attempts to ensure to the armies the just, the promised rewards, of [Page 67] their long, severe, and dangerous ser­vices, have failed of success, we be­lieve it has arisen from causes not in your Excellency's power to controul. With extreme regret do we reflect on the occasion which called for such endeavors. But while we thank your Excellency for these exertions in favor of the troops you have so successfully commanded, we pray it may be be­lieved, that in this sentiment our own particular interests have but a secon­dary place; and that even the ulti­mate ingratitude of the people (were that possible) could not shake the pa­triotism of those who suffer by it. Still with pleasing wonder and with grate­ful joy shall we contemplate the glo­rious conclusion of our labours. To that merit in the revolution which, under the auspices of Heaven, the ar­mies have displayed, posterity will do [Page 68] justice; and the sons will blush whose fathers were their foes.

MOST gladly would we cast a veil on every act which sullies the reputa­tion of our country—never should the page of history be stained with its dishonor—even from our memories should the idea be erased. We la­ment the opposition to those salutary measures which the wisdom of the union has planned; measures which alone can recover and fix on a perma­nent basis the credit of the states; measures which are essential to the justice, the honor, and interest of the nation. While she was giving the no­blest proofs of magnanimity, with con­scious pride we saw her growing fame; and, regardless of present sufferings, we looked forward to the end of our toils and dangers, to brighter scenes in prospect. There we beheld the ge­nius [Page 69] of our country dignified by sove­reignty and independence, supported by justice, and adorned with every li­beral virtue. There we saw patient husbandry fearless extend her cultured fields, and animated commerce spread her sails to every wind. There we beheld fair science lift her head, with all the arts attending in her train. There, blest with freedom, we saw the human mind expand; and, throw­ing aside the restraints which confined it to the narrow bounds of country, it embraced the world. Such were our fond hopes, and with such delightful prospects did they present us. Nor are we disappointed. Those anima­ting prospects are now changed and changing to realities; and actively to have contributed to their produc­tion is our pride, our glory. But jus­tice alone can give them stability. In that justice we still believe. Still we [Page 70] hope that the prejudices of the misin­formed will be removed, and the arts of false and selfish popularity, addres­sed to the feelings of avarice, defeat­ed: or, in the worst event, the world, we hope, will make the just distinc­tion: we trust the disingenuousness of a few will not sully the reputation, the honor, and dignity, of the great and respectable majority of the states.

WE are happy in the opportunity just presented of congratulating your Excellency on the certain conclusion of the definitive treaty of peace. Re­lieved at length from long suspense, our warmest wish is to return to the bosom of our country, to resume the character of citizens; and it will be our highest ambition to become useful ones. To your Excellency this great event must be peculiarly pleasing: for while at the head of her armies, urg­ed [Page 71] by patriot virtues and magnanimi­ty, you persevered, under the pres­sure of every possible difficulty and discouragement, in the pursuit of the great objects of the war—the freedom and safety of your country;—your heart panted for the tranquil enjoy­ments of peace. We cordially rejoice with you that the period of indulging them has arrived so soon. In con­templating the blessings of liberty and independence, the rich prize of eight years hardy adventure, past sufferings will be forgotten; or if remembered, the recollection will serve to heighten the relish of present happiness. We sincerely pray God this happiness may long be your's; and that whon you quit the stage of human life, you may receive from the unerring Judge, the rewards of valor exerted to save the oppressed, of patriotism, and disinte­rested virtue.

[Page 72]



THE great events on which my resignation depended having at length taken place, I have now the honor of offering my sincere congra­tulations to Congress, and of presenting myself before them, to surrender into their hands the trust committed to me, and to claim the indulgence of retiring from the service of my country.

HAPPY in the confirmation of our independence and sovereignty, and pleased with the opportunity afforded the United States, of becoming a re­spectable nation, I resign with satis­faction the appointment I accepted with diffidence—a diffidence in my abilities to accomplish so arduous a [Page 73] task; which however was superceded by a confidence in the rectitude of our cause, the support of the supreme power of the union, and the patronage of Heaven.

THE successful termination of the war has verified the most sanguine ex­pectations; and my gratitude for the interposition of Providence, and the assistance I have received from my countrymen, increases with every re­view of the momentous contest.

WHILE I repeat my obligations to the army in general, I should do in­justice to my own feelings not to ac­knowledge, in this place, the pecu­liar services and distinguished merits of the gentlemen who have been at­tached to my person during the war. It was impossible the choice of confi­dential officers to compose my family [Page 74] should have been more fortunate. Per­mit me, sir, to recommend in parti­cular, those who have continued in the service to the present moment, as worthy of the favorable notice and pa­tronage of Congress.

I CONSIDER it an indispensible duty to close this last act of my official life by commending the interests of our dearest country to the protection of Al­mighty God, and those who have the superintendance of them to his holy keeping.

HAVING now finished the work as­signed me, I retire from the great the­atre of action, and bidding an affec­tionate farewell to this august body, under whose orders I have so long acted, I here offer my commission, and take my leave of all the employ­ments of public life.

[Page 75]

The Answer.


THE United States in Con­gress assembled receive, with emo­tions too affecting for utterance, the solemn resignation of the authorities under which you have led their troops with success through a perilous and a doubtful war. Called upon by your country to defend its invaded rights, you accepted the sacred charge, be­fore it had formed alliances, and whilst it was without funds or a government to support you. You have conduct­ed the great military contest with wis­dom and fortitude, invariably regard­ing the rights of the civil power through all disasters and changes. You have, by the love and confidence of your fellow-citizens, enabled them to display their martial genius, and trans­mit [Page 76] their fame to posterity. You have persevered, till these United States, aided by a magnanimous king and na­tion, have been enabled, under a just Providence, to close the war in free­dom, safety and independence; on which happy event we sincerely join you in congratulations.

HAVING defended the standard of liberty in this new world: having taught a lesson useful to those who in­flict and to those who feel oppression, you retire from the great theatre of ac­tion, with the blessings of your fel­low-citizens—but the glory of your virtues will not terminate with your military command; it will continue to animate remotest ages.

WE feel with you our obligations to the army in general, and will particu­larly charge ourselves with the inte­rests [Page 77] of those confidential officers, who have attended your person to this af­fecting moment.

WE join you in commending the in­terests of our dearest country to the protection of Almighty God, beseech­ing him to dispose the hearts and minds of its citizens, to improve the oppor­tunity afforded them, of becoming a happy and respectable nation. And for you we address to him our earnest prayers, that a life so beloved, may be fostered with all his care: that your days may be happy as they have been illustrious; and that he will finally give you that reward which this world cannot give.

[Page 78]


Fellow-citizens of the Senate, and of the House of Representatives,

AMONG the vicissitudes in­cident to life, no event could have fil­led me with greater anxieties, than that of which the notification was transmitted by your order, and receiv­ed on the 14th day of the present month.—On the one hand I was sum­moned by my country, whose voice I can never hear but with veneration and love, from a retreat which I had chosen with the fondest predilection, and in my flattering hopes, with an immutable decision, as the asylum of my declining years; a retreat which was rendered every day more necessa­ry as well as more dear to me, by the addition of habit to inclination, and of [Page 79] frequent interruptions in my health to the gradual waste committed on it by time. On the other hand, the mag­nitude and difficulty of the trust to which the voice of my country called me, being sufficient to awaken in the wisest and most experienced of her citizens, a distrustful scrutiny into his qualifications, could not but over­whelm with despondence, one, who, inheriting inferior endowments from nature, and unpractised in the duties of civil administration, ought to be peculiarly conscious of his own defi­ciencies. In this conflict of emotions, all I dare aver, is, that it has been my faithful study to collect my duty from a just appreciation of every circum­stance, by which it might be affected. All I dare hope, is, that if in execut­ing this task, I have been too much swayed by a grateful remembrance of former instances, or by an affectionate [Page 80] sensibility to this transcendant proof of the confidence of my fellow-citizens; and have thence too little consulted my incapacity as well as disinclina­tion, for the weighty and untried cares before me; my error will be palliated by the motives which misled me, and its consequences be judged by my country, with some share of the par­tiality in which they originated.

SUCH being the impressions under which I have, in obedience to the public summons, repaired to the pre­sent station; it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe: who presides in the coun­cils of nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that his benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the peo­ple [Page 81] of the United States, a government instituted by themselves [...]r these essen­tial purposes; and may enable every instrument employed in its administra­tion, to execute with success, the functions allotted to his charge. In tendering this homage to the great au­thor of every public and private good, I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own; nor those of my fellow-citizens at large, less than either. No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the af­fairs of men, more than the people of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the cha­racter of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency. And in the important revolution just ac­complished in the system of their uni­ted [Page 82] government, the tranquil delibe­ration, and voluntary consent of so ma­ny distinct communities, from which the event has resulted, cannot be com­pared with the means by which most governments have been established, without some return of pious gratitude along with an humble anticipation of the future blessings which the past seem to presage. These reflections arising out of the present crisis, have forced themselves too strongly on my mind to be suppressed. You will join with me, I trust, in thinking that there are none under the influence of which, the proceedings of a new and free go­vernment can more auspiciously com­mence.

BY the article establishing the exe­cutive department, it is made the duty of the President to "recommend to your consideration, such measures as [Page 83] he shall judge necessary and expedi­ent." The circumstances under which I now meet you, will acquit me from entering into that subject, farther than to refer to the great constitutional charter under which you are assem­bled, and which, in defining your powers, designates the objects to which your attention is to be given. It will be more consistent with those circum­stances, and far more congenial with the feelings which actuate me, to sub­stitute, in place of a recommendation of particular measures, the tribute that is due to the talents, the rectitude, and the patriotism which adorn the charac­ters selected to devise and adopt them. In those honorable qualifications, I behold the surest pledges, that as on one side on local prejudices, or attach­ments—no separate views, no party animosities, will misdirect the com­prehensive and equal eye which ought [Page 84] to watch over this great assemblage of communities and interests; so, on the other, that the foundations of our na­tional policy will be laid in the pure and immutable principles of private morality; and the pre-eminence of free government, be exemplified by all the attributes which can win the affections of its citizens, and command the respect of the world—I dwell on this prospect with every satisfaction which an ardent love of my country can inspire. Since there is no truth more thoroughly established, than that there exists in the economy and course of nature, an indissoluble union be­tween virtue and happiness; between duty and advantage, between genuine maxims of an honest and magnani­mous policy, and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity. Since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven, can [Page 85] never be expected on a nation that dis­regards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordain­ed. And since the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of govern­ment, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally staked on the expe­riment entrusted to the hands of the American people.

BESIDES the ordinary objects sub­mitted to your care, it will remain with your judgment to decide, how far an exercise of the occasional power delegated by the fifth article of the constitution is rendered expedient at the present juncture by the nature of objections which have been urged against the system, or by the degree of inquietude which has given birth to them.

[Page 86] INSTEAD of undertaking particular recommendations on this subject, in which I could be guided by no lights derived from official opportunities, I shall again give way to my entire con­fidence in your discernment and pur­suit of the public good.

FOR I assure myself that whilst you carefully avoid every alteration which might endanger the benefits of an uni­ted and effective government, or which ought to await the future lesson of ex­perience; a reverence for the charac­teristic rights of free men, and a re­gard for the public harmony, will suf­ficiently influence your deliberations on the question how far the former can be more impregnably fortified, or the latter be safely and advantageously promoted.

[Page 87] To the preceding observations I have one to add, which will be most properly addressed to the House of Re­presentatives, it concerns myself, and will therefore be as brief as possible.

WHEN I was first honored with a call into the service of my country, then on the eve of an arduous struggle for its liberties, the light in which I contemplated my duty required that I should renounce every pecuniary compensation. From this resolution I have in no instance departed. And being still under the impressions which produced it, I must decline as inap­plicable to myself, any share in the personal emoluments, which may be indispensibly concluded in a perma­nent provision for the executive de­partment; and must accordingly pray, that the pecuniary estimates for the sta­tion in which I am placed, may, during [Page 88] my continuance in it, be limited to such actual expenditures as the public good may be thought to require.

HAVING thus imparted to you my sentiments, as they have been awaken­ed by the occasion which brings us together—I shall take my present leave; but not without resorting once more to the benign parent of the hu­man race, in humble supplication, that since he has been pleased to favor the American people with oportuni­ties for deliberating in perfect tranqui­lity, and dispositions for deciding with unparalleled unanimity on a form of government, for the security of their union, and the advancement of their happiness; so his blessing may be equally conspicuous in the enlarged views, the temperate consultations, and the wise measures on which the suc­cess of this government must depend.

[Page 89]


Friends and Fellow-Citizens,

THE period for a new elec­tion of a citizen, to administer the ex­ecutive government of the United States being not far distant, and the time ac­tually arrived when your thoughts must be employed in designating the person, who is to be cloathed with that important trust, it appears to me pro­pe [...], especially as it may conduce to a more distinct expression of the public voice, that I should now apprise you of the resolution I have formed, to decline being considered among the number of those out of whom a choice is to be made.

I BEG you at the same time to do me the justice to be assured, that this [Page 90] resolution has not been taken, with­out a strict regard to all the considera­tions appertaining to the relation which binds a dutiful citizen to his country; and that in withdrawing the tender of service which silence in my situation will imply, I am influenced by no di­minution of zeal for your future inte­rest; no deficiency of grateful respect for your past kindness; but am sup­ported by a full conviction, that the step is compatible with both.

THE acceptance of, and continu­ance hitherto, in the office to which your suffrages has twice called me, have been an uniform sacrifice of in­clination to the opinion of duty, and to a deference for what appeared to be your desire. I constantly hoped that it would have been much earlier in my power, consistently with motives, which I was not at liberty to disre­gard, [Page 91] to return to that retirement from which I had been reluctantly drawn. The strength of my inclination to do this, previous to the last election, had even led to the preparation of an Ad­dress to declare it to you; but mature reflexion on the then perplexed and critical posture of our affairs with fo­reign nations, and the unanimous ad­vice of persons entitled to my confi­dence, impelled me to abandon the idea.

I REJOICE that the state of your concerns, external as well as internal, no longer renders the pursuit of incli­nation incompatible with the senti­ment of duty or propriety: and am persuaded whatever partiality may be retained for my services, that in the present circumstances of our country, you will not disapprove of my deter­mination to retire.

[Page 92] THE impressions with which I first undertook the arduous trust, were ex­plained on the proper occasion. In the discharge of this trust I will only say, that I have with good intentions contributed towards the organization and administration of the government, the best exertions of which a very fal­lible judgment was capable. Not unconscious, in the out-set, of the in­feriority of any qualifications, experi­ence in my own eyes, perhaps still more in the eyes of others, has strength­ened the motives to diffidence of my­self; and every day the encreasing weight of years admonishes me more and more, that the shade of retirement is as necessary to me as it will be wel­come. Satisfied that if any circum­stances have given peculiar value to my services, they were temporary, I have the consolation to believe, that while choice and prudence invite me [Page 93] to quit the political scene, patriotism does not forbid it.

IN looking forward to the moment which is intended to terminate the ca­reer of my public life, my feelings do not permit me to suspend the deep acknowledgment of that debt of grati­tude which I owe to my beloved coun­try, for the many honors it has con­ferred upon me; still more for the steadfast confidence with which it has supported me; and for the opportuni­ties I have thence enjoyed of ma­nifesting my inviolable attachment, by services faithful and persevering, though in usefulness unequal to my zeal. If benefits have resulted to our country from these services, let it al­ways be remembered to your praise, and as an instructive example in our annals, that under circumstances in [Page 94] which the passions, agitated in every direction, were liable to mislead amidst appearances sometimes dubious—vi­cissitudes of fortune often discouraging—in situations in which not unfre­quently want of success has counte­nanced the spirit of criticism—the constancy of your support was the es­sential prop of the efforts, and a gua­rantee of the plans by which they were effected. Profoundly penetrated with this idea, I shall carry it with me to my grave, as a strong incitement to unceasing wishes, that Heaven may continue to you the choicest tokens of its beneficence—that your union and brotherly affection may be perpetual—that the free constitution, which is the work of your hands, may be sa­credly maintained—that its adminis­tration in every department may be stamped with wisdom and virtue—that in fine, the happiness of the people of [Page 95] these states, under the auspices of li­berty, may be made complete, by so careful a preservation and so prudent a use of this blessing, as will acquire to them the glory of recommending it to the applause, the affection, and the adoption of every nation which is yet a stranger to it.

HERE, perhaps, I ought to stop. But a solicitude for your welfare, which cannot end but with my life, and the apprehension of danger, natural to that solicitude, urge me, on an occa­sion like the present, to offer to your solemn contemplation, and to recom­mend to your frequent review, some sentiments, which are the result of much reflexion, of no inconsiderable observation, and which appear to me all important to the permanency of your felicity as a people. These will be offered to you with the more free­dom, [Page 96] as you can only see in them the disinterested warnings of a parting friend, who can possibly have no per­sonal motive to bias his counsel. Nor can I forget, as an encouragement to it, your indulgent reception of my sen­timents on a former and not dissimilar occasion.

INTERWOVEN as is the love of li­berty with every ligament of your hearts, no recommendation of mine is necessary to fortify or confirm the at­tachment.

THE unity of government, which constitutes you one people, is also now dear to you. It is justly so; for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence; the support of your tranquility at home; your peace abroad; of your safety, of your pros­perity; of that very liberty which you [Page 97] so highly prize. But as it is easy to foresee, that from different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employ­ed to weaken in your minds the con­viction of this truth. As this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and ex­ternal enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of infi­nite moment, that you should proper­ly estimate the immense value of your national union, to your collective and individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and im­movable attachment to it; accustom­ing yourselves to think and speak of it as of the palladium of your political safety and prosperity, watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety; dis­countenancing whatever may suggest [Page 98] even a suspicion that it can in any event be abandoned; and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to en­feeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.

FOR this you have every induce­ment of sympathy and interest. Citi­zens by birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of AMERICAN, which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriot­ism, more than any appellation de­rived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles. You have in a common cause fought and tri­umphed together; the independence [Page 99] and liberty you possess, are the work of joint councils, and joint efforts of common dangers, sufferings and suc­cesses.

BUT these considerations, however powerfully they address themselves to your sensibility, are greatly outweigh­ed by those which apply more imme­diately to your interest. Here every portion of our country finds the most commanding motives for carefully guarding and preserving the union of the whole.

THE north, in an unrestrained in­tercourse with the south, protected by the equal laws of a common govern­ment, finds in the productions of the latter, great additional resources of maritime and commercial enterprize and precious materials of manufactu­ring industry. The south in the same [Page 100] intercourse, benefiting by the agency of the north, sees its agriculture grow and its commerce expand. Turning partly into its own channels the sea­men of the north, it finds its particular navigation invigorated—and while it contributes, in different ways, to nou­rish and increase the general mass of the national navigation, it looks for­ward to the protection of a maritime strength, to which itself is unequally adapted. The east, in like intercourse with the west, already finds, and in the progressive improvement of inte­rior communications, by land and wa­ter, will more and more find a valua­ble vent for the commodities which it brings from abroad, or manufactures at home. The west derives from the east supplies requisite to its growth and comfort—and what is perhaps of still greater consequence, it must of neces­sity owe the secure enjoyment of indis­pensible [Page 101] outlets for its own productions to the weight, influence, and the fu­ture maritime strength of the Atlantic side of the union, directed by an in­dissoluble community of interest as one nation. Any other tenure by which the west can hold this essential advantage, whether derived from its own separate strength, or from an apostate and unnatural connection with any foreign power must be intrin­sically precarious.

WHILE then every part of our country thus feels an immediate and particular interest in union, all the parties combined cannot fail to [...] in the united mass of means and efforts, greater strength, greater resource, pro­portionably greater security from ex­ternal danger, a less frequent interrup­tion of their peace by foreign nations; and what is of inestimable value they [Page 102] must derive from union an exemption from those broils and wars between themselves which so frequently afflict neighboring countries, not tied toge­ther by the same government; which their own rivalships alone would be sufficient to produce, but which oppo­site foreign alliances, attachments and intrigues, would stimulate and em­bitter. Hence likewise they will avoid the necessity of those overgrown military establishments, which under any form of government are inauspi­cious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to re­publican liberty: In this sense it is, that your union ought to be consider­ed as a main prop of your liberty, and that the love of the one ought to en­dear to you the preservation of the other.

[Page 103] THESE considerations speak a per­suasive language to every reflecting and virtuous mind, and exhibit the continuance of the union as a primary object of patriotic desire. Is there a doubt whether a common government can embrace so large a sphere? Let experience solve it. To listen to mere speculation in such a case were crimi­nal. We are authorised to hope that a proper organization of the whole, with the auxiliary agency of govern­ments for the respective subdivisions, will afford a happy issue to the expe­riment. 'Tis well worth a fair and full experiment.—With such power­ful and obvious motives to union, af­fecting all parts of our country, while experience shall not have demonstra­ted its impracticability, there will al­ways be reason to distrust the patriotism of those, who in any quarter may en­deavor to weaken its bands.

[Page 104] IN contemplating the causes which may disturb our union, it occurs as a matter of serious concern, that any ground should have been furnished for characterising parties by geographi­cal discriminations—northern and sou­thern—atlantic and western: whence designing men may endeavor to excite a belief that there is a real difference of local interests and views. One of the expedients of party to acquire in­fluence, within particular districts, is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts. You cannot shield yourselves too much against the jea­lousies and heart burnings which spring from these misrepresentations: they tend to render alien to each other, those who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection. The inhabit­ants of our western country have lately had a useful lesson on this head: they have seen, in the negociation by the [Page 105] Executive, and in the unanimous ra­tification by the Senate, of the treaty with Spain, and in the universal satis­faction at that event, throughout the United States, a decisive proof how unfounded were the suspicions propa­gated among them of a policy in the general government, and in the At­lantic states, unfriendly to their inter­ests in regard to the Missisippi: they have been witnesses to the formation of two treaties, that with Great-Britain and that with Spain, which secure to them every thing they could desire, in respect to our foreign relations, to­wards confirming their prosperity. Will it not be their wisdom to rely for the preservation of these advantages on the union by which they were procur­ed? Will they not henceforth be deaf to those advisers, if such there are, who would sever them from their [Page 106] brethren, and connect them with aliens?

To the efficacy and permanency of your union, a government for the whole is indispensable.—No alliances, however strict, between the parts can be an adequate substitute; they must inevitably experience the infractions and interruptions which all alliances in all times have experienced. Sensible of this momentous truth, you have improved upon your first essay, by the adoption of a constitution of govern­ment, better calculated than your for­mer, for an intimate union, and for the efficacious management of your common concerns. This government, the offspring of our own choice, un­influenced and unawed, adopted up­on full investigation and mature deli­beration, completely free in its princi­ples, in the distribution of its powers, [Page 107] uniting security with energy, and con­taining within itself a provision for its own amendments, has a just claim to your confidence and your support. Respect for its authority, compliance with its laws, acquiescence in its mea­sures, are duties enjoined by the fun­damental maxims of true liberty. The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to al­ter their constitutions of government—But the constitution which at any time exists, until changed by an ex­plicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish a go­vernment, presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the establish­ed government.

ALL obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and as­sociations, [Page 108] under whatever plausible character, with the real design to di­rect, controul, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to orga­nize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force, to put in the place of the delegated will of the nation, the will of a party, often a small, but art­ful and enterprizing minority of the community; and according to the al­ternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incon­gruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans, digested by common councils, and modified by mutual interests.

HOWEVER combinations or associa­tions of the above description may now [Page 109] and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and un­principled men, will be enabled to subvert the power of the people, and to usurp for themselves the reins of government; destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.

TOWARDS the preservation of your government, and the permanency of your present happy state, it is requi­site not only that you speedily dis­countenance irregular oppositions to its acknowledged authority, but also that you resist with care the spirit of innovation upon its principles however specious the pretexts.—One method of assault may be to effect in the forms of the constitution alterations which [Page 110] will impair the energy of the system, and thus to undermine what cannot be directly overthrown. In all the changes to which you may be invited, remember that time and habit are at least as necessary to fix the true cha­racter of governments, as of other hu­man institutions—that experience is the surest standard, by which to test the real tendency of the existing con­stitution of a country—that facility in changes upon the credit of mere hy­pothesis and opinion, exposes to per­petual change, from the endless va­riety of hypothesis and opinion; and remember, especially that for the effi­cient management of your common interests, in a country so extensive as ours, a government of as much vigor as is consistent with the perfect secu­rity of liberty, is indispensible. Li­berty itself will find in such a govern­ment, with powers properly distribu­ted [Page 111] and adjusted, its surest guardian. It is indeed, little else than a name, where the government is too feeble to withstand the enterprises of faction, to confine each member of the society within the limits prescribed by the laws, and to maintain all in the secure and tranquil enjoyment of the rights of person and property.

I HAVE already intimated to you, the danger of parties in the state, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehen­sive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful ef­fects of the spirit of party, generally.

THIS spirit, unfortunately, is inse­parable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the hu­man mind. It exists under different [Page 112] shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controuled, or repressed; but in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.

THE alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dis­sension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most hor­rid enormities, is itself a frightful des­potism.—But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism.—The disorders and miseries which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual: and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his [Page 113] own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.

WITHOUT looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which never­theless ought not to be out of sight) the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

IT serves always to distract the pub­lic councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the com­munity with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms: kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments oc­casionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country [Page 114] are subjected to the policy and will of another.

THERE is an opinion that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the government, and serve to keep alive the spirit of li­berty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in governments of a monarchial cast, patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor up­on the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in govern­ments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will al­ways be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be, by force of public opi­nion to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched; it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its burst­ing [Page 115] into a flame, lest instead of warm­ing it should consume.

IT is important likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country, should inspire caution, in those intrust­ed with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective con­stitutional spheres, avoiding in the ex­ercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spi­rit of encroachment tends to consoli­date the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despo­tism. A just estimate of that love of power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human heart, is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position. The necessity of reciprocal checks in the exercise of political power; by dividing and dis­tributing it into different depositaries, [Page 116] and constituting each the guardian of the public weal against invasions by the others, has been evinced by expe­riments ancient and modern; some of them in our country and under our own eyes. To preserve them must be as necessary as to institute them. If in the opinion of the people, the dis­tribution or modification of the con­stitutional powers, be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amend­ment in the way which the constitu­tion designates.—But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are de­stroyed.—The precedent must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil, any partial or transient benefit which the use can at any time yield.

[Page 117] OF all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, reli­gion and morality are indispensible supports.—In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pil­lars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citi­zens.—The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them.—A volume could not trace all their connections with pri­vate and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, where is the security for pro­perty, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the suppo­sition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined [Page 118] education on minds of peculiar struc­ture; reason and experience both for­bid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principles.

It IS substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of po­pular government. The rule indeed extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?

PROMOTE then, as an object of pri­mary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge.—In proportion as the structure of a govern­ment gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.

[Page 119] AS a very important source of strength and security, cherish public credit. One method of preserving it is to use it as sparingly as possible; avoiding occasions of expence by cul­tivating peace, but remembering also that timely disbursements to prepare for danger, frequently prevent much greater disbursements to repel it; avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt, not only by shunning occasions of expence, but by vigorous exertions in time of peace to discharge the debts which unavoidable wars may have oc­casioned, not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burthen which we ourselves ought to bear.—The execu­tion of these maxims belongs to your representatives, but it is necessary that public opinion should co-operate.—To facilitate to them the performance of their duty, it is essential that you should practically bear in mind, that [Page 120] towards the payment of debts there must be revenue; that to have revenue there must be taxes; that no taxes can be devised which are not more or less inconvenient and unpleasant; that the intrinsic embarrassment inseparable from the selection of the proper ob­jects (which is always a choice of diffi­culties) ought to be a decisive motive for a candid construction of the con­duct of the government in making it, and for a spirit of acquiescence in the measures for obtaining revenue which the public exigencies may at any time dictate.

OBSERVE good faith and justice to­wards all nations, cultivate peace and harmony with all; religion and mo­rality enjoin this conduct; and can it be that good policy does not equally enjoin it? It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and at no distant period [Page 121] a great nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an ex­alted justice and benevolence. Who can doubt that in the course of time and things the fruits of such a plan would richly repay any temporary ad­vantages which might be lost by a steady adherence to it? Can it be, that Providence has not connected the per­manent felicity of a nation with its virtue? The experiment, at least, is re­commended by every sentiment which ennobles human nature. Alas! is it rendered impossible by its vices?

IN the execution of such a plan, nothing is more essential than that per­manent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate at­tachments for others should be exclud­ed; and that in place of them just and [Page 122] amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The nation, which in­dulges towards another an habitual ha­tred, or an habitual fondness, is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. Anti­pathy in one nation against another, disposes each more readily to offer in­sult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable, when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur.

HENCE frequent collisions, obsti­nate, envenomed, and bloody con­tests. The nation, prompted by ill will and resentment, sometimes im­pels to war the government, contrary to the best calculations of policy. The government sometimes participates in the national propensity, and adopts [Page 123] through passion what reason would re­ject; at other times, it makes the ani­mosity of the nation subservient to pro­jects of hostility instigated by pride, ambition, and other sinister and per­nicious motives. The peace often, and sometimes, perhaps, the liberty of nations has been the victim.

So likewise, a passionate attach­ment of one nation for another, pro­duces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common in­terest in cases where no real common interests exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quar­rels and wars of the latter, without ade­quate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favo­rite nation of privileges denied to others, which is apt doubly to injure [Page 124] the nation making the concessions: by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained; and by exciting jealousy, ill will, and a dis­position to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are with­held: and it gives to ambitious, cor­rupted, or deluded citizens (who de­vote themselves to the favorite nation) facility to betray, or sacrifice the in­terests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popula­rity; gilding with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a com­mendable deference for public opi­nion, or laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of am­bition, corruption, or infatuation.

AS avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent patriot. [Page 125] How many opportunities do they af­ford to tamper with domestic factions, to practice the arts of seduction, to mis­lead public opinion, to influence or awe the public councils? Such an at­tachment of a small or weak, towards a great and powerful nation, dooms the former to be the satellite of the lat­ter.—Against the insidious wiles of fo­reign influence (I conjure you to be­lieve me, fellow-citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake; since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. But that jealousy to be useful must be impartial; else it be­comes the instrument of the very in­fluence to be avoided, instead of a de­fence against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation, and excessive dislike of another, cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one [Page 126] side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots, who may resist the in­trigues of the favorite, are liable to be­come suspected and odious; while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.

THE great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is in extend­ing our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be ful­filled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop.

EUROPE has a set of primary inter­ests, which to us have none, or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign [Page 127] to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate our­selves by artificial ties, in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the or­dinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.

OUR detached and distant situation, invites and enables us to pursue a dif­ferent course. If we remain one peo­ple, under an efficient government, the period is not far off, when we may defy material injury from external an­noyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality we may at any time resolve upon, to be scrupulously respected; when bel­ligerent nations, under the impossibi­lity of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.

[Page 128] WHY forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, en­tangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor or caprice?

'TIS our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any por­tion of the foreign world; so far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it; for let me not be understood as ca­pable of patronising infidelity to ex­isting engagements. I hold the max­im no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy. I repeat it, there­fore, let those engagements be observ­ed in their genuine sense. But in my opinion, it is unnecessary, and would be unwise to extend them.

[Page 129] TAKING care always to keep our­selves, by suitable establishments, on a respectable defensive posture, we may safely trust to temporary allian­ces for extraordinary emergencies.

HARMONY, liberal intercourse with all nations, are recommended by po­licy, humanity, and interest. But even our commercial policy should hold an equal and impartial hand; neither seeking nor granting exclu­sive favors or preferences; consulting the natural course of things; diffusing and diversifying by gentle means the streams of commerce, but forcing no­thing; establishing, with powers so disposed, in order to give trade a stable course, to define the rights of our mer­chants, and to enable the government to support them; conventional rules of intercourse, the best that present [Page 130] circumstances and mutual opinion will permit, but temporary, and liable to be from time to time abandoned or va­ried, as experience and circumstances shall dictate; constantly keeping in view, that it is folly in one nation to look for disinterested favors from ano­ther; that it must pay with a portion of its independence for whatever it may accept under that character; that by such acceptance, it may place it­self in the condition of having given equivalents for nominal favors, and yet of being reproached with ingrati­tude for not giving more. There can be no greater error than to expect, or calculate upon real favors from nation to nation. 'Tis an illusion which ex­perience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard.

IN offering to you, my country­men, these counsels of an old and af­fectionate [Page 131] friend, I dare not hope they will make the strong and lasting im­pression I could wish—that they will controul the usual current of the pas­sions, or prevent our nation from run­ning the course which has hitherto marked the destiny of nations. But if I may even flatter myself, that they may be productive of some partial be­nefit, some occasional good; that they may now and then recur to moderate the fury of party spirit, to warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigues, to guard against the impostures of pre­tended patriotism; this hope will be a full recompence for the solicitude for your welfare, by which they have been dictated.

HOW far in the discharge of my of­ficial duties, I have been guided by the principles which have been deli­neated, the public records and other [Page 132] evidences of my conduct must witness to you and to the world. To myself, the assurance of my own conscience is, that I have at least believed myself to be guided by them.

IN relation to the still subsisting war in Europe, my proclamation of the 22d of April, 1793, is the index to my plan.—Sanctioned by your ap­proving voice, and by that of your Representatives in both Houses of Con­gress, the spirit of that measure has continually governed me; uninfluen­ced by any attempts to deter or divert me from it.

AFTER deliberate examination with the aid of the best lights I could ob­tain, I was well satisfied that our coun­try, under all the circumstances of the case, had a right to take, and was bound in duty and interest, to take a [Page 133] neutral position. Having taken it, I determined, as far as should depend upon me, to maintain it, with mode­ration, perseverance and firmness.

THE considerations which respect the right to hold this conduct, it is not necessary on this occasion to detail. I will only observe, that according to my understanding of the matter, that right, so far from being denied by any of the belligerent powers, has been virtually admitted by all.

THE duty of holding a neutral con­duct may be inferred, without any thing more, from the obligation which justice and humanity impose on every nation, in cases in which it is free to act, to maintain inviolate the relations of peace and amity towards other na­tions.

[Page 134] THE inducements of interest for ob­serving that conduct will be best refer­red to your own reflections and experi­ence. With me, a predominant mo­tive has been to endeavor to gain time to our country to settle and mature its yet recent institutions, and to progress without interruption, to that degree of strength and consistency, which is ne­cessary to give it, humanly speaking, the command of its own fortunes.

THOUGH in reviewing the incidents of my administration, I am uncon­scious of intentional error: I am ne­vertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors. What­ever they may be, I fervently beseech the Almighty to avert or mitigate the evils to which they may tend. I shall also carry with me the hope that my country will never cease to view them [Page 135] with indulgence; and that after forty­five years of my life dedicated to its service, with an upright zeal, the faults of incompetent abilities will be con­signed to oblivion, as myself must soon be to the mansions of rest.

RELYING on its kindness in this as in other things, and actuated by that fervent love towards it, which is so na­tural to a man who views in it the na­tive soil of himself and his progenitors for several generations; I anticipate with pleasing expectation that retreat, in which I promise myself to realize, without alloy, the sweet enjoyment of partaking, in the midst of my fellow-citizens, the benign influence of good laws under a free government—the ever favorite object of my heart, and the happy reward and trust, of our mu­tual cares, labors and dangers.

[Page 136]



I HAD the honor on the even­ing of the 11th instant, to receive from the hand of the secretary of war, your favor of the 7th, announcing that you had, with the advice and consent of the Senate, appointed me "Lieute­nant-General and Commander in Chief of all the armies raised or to be raised for the service of the United States."

I CANNOT express how greatly af­fected I am at this new proof of public confidence, and the highly flattering manner in which you have been pleas­ed to make the communication; at [Page 137] the same time I must not conceal from you my earnest wish, that the choice had fallen upon a man less declined in years, and better qualified to en­counter the usual vicissitudes of war.

YOU know, sir, what calculation I had made relative to the probable course of events, on my retiring from office, and the determination I had consoled myself with, of closing the remnant of my days in my present peaceful abode: you will therefore be at no loss to conceive and appreciate the sensations I must have experienc­ed, to bring my mind to any conclu­sion that would pledge me, at so late a period of life, to leave scenes I sin­cerely love, to enter upon the bound­less field of public action, incessant trouble, and high responsibility.

[Page 138] IT was not possible for me to remain ignorant of, or indifferent to, recent transactions. The conduct of the Di­rectory of France towards our coun­try; their insidious hostility to its go­vernment; their various practices to withdraw the affections of the people from it; the evident tendency of their acts and those of their agents to coun­tenance and invigorate opposition; their disregard of solemn treaties and the laws of nations; their war upon our defenceless commerce; their treatment of our ministers of peace; and their demands amounting to tri­bute, could not fail to excite in me corresponding sentiments with those my countrymen have so generally ex­pressed in their affectionate addresses to you. Believe me, sir, no one can more cordially approve of your admi­nistration. They ought to inspire uni­versal confidence, and will, no doubt [Page 139] combined with the state of things, call from Congress such laws and means as will enable you to meet the full force and extent of the crisis.

SATISFIED, therefore, that you have sincerely wished and endeavored to avert war, and exhausted, to the last drop, the cup of reconciliation, we can with pure hearts appeal to Heaven for the justice of our cause; and may confidently trust the final result to that kind Providence who has heretofore, and so often, signally favored the peo­ple of these United States.

THINKING in this manner, and feeling how incumbent it is upon eve­ry person of every description, to con­tribute at all times to his country's wel­fare, and especially in a moment like the present, when every thing we hold dear and sacred is so seriously threat­ened; [Page 140] I have finally determined to accept the commission of Commander in Chief of the armies of the United States; with the reserve only, that I shall not be called into the field until the army is in a situation to require my presence, or it becomes indispen­sible by the urgency of circumstances.

IN making this reservation, I beg it to be understood, that I do not mean to withhold any assistance to arrange and organize the army, which you may think I can afford. I take the liberty also to mention, that I must de­cline having my acceptance consider­ed as drawing after it any immediate charge upon the public; or that I can receive any emoluments annexed to the appointment, before entering into a situation to incur expence.

[Page 141] THE Secretary of War being anx­ious to return to the seat of govern­ment, I have detained him no longer than was necessary to a full commu­nication upon the several points he had in charge.

WITH very great respect and consideration, I have the honor to be, dear sir, your most obedient humble servant,

Death of Washington.
On the 14th of December, 1799, died suddenly, at his seat in Virginia, Gen. GEORGE WASHINGTON, Commander in Chief of the armies of the United States of America;


WHEN men of common character are swept from the theatre of life, they die without the tribute of public notice or concern, as they had lived without a claim to public esteem. When personages of more exalted worth are summoned from the scenes of sublunary existence, their death calls forth a burst of general regret, and invigorates the flame of public gra­titude. [Page 143] In obedience to the wishes, and to the voice of their country, the orator, the poet, and the historian, combine to do justice to the virtues of their character, while the labors of the painter, the sculptor, and the sta­tuary, in perpetuating their likeness, do homage to their memory.

BUT, when, in compliance with Heaven's high mandate, the HERO OF THE AGE lies numbered with the dead—when the reverend sage, the au­gust statesman, the father of his coun­try, has resigned his breath—when the Idol of an Empire, the envy and ad­miration of distant nations, and the brightest ornament of human nature—when WASHINGTON IS NO MORE! let a sense of the general loss be testified by the badges of a general mourning; but let not the voice of eulogy be heard, least the weakness of talents, [Page 144] and the deficiency of language, do in­justice to the lustre and fame of the deceased!

FROM Vernon's Mount behold the HERO rise!
Resplendent forms attend him thro' the skies!
The shades of war-worn veterans round him throng,
And lead, enwrapt, their honored Chief along!
A laurel wreath th' immortal Warren bears,
An arch triumphal Mercer's hand prepares,
Young Laurence 'erst th' avenging bolt of war,
With port majestic guides the glittering car,
Montgomery's godlike form directs the way,
And Green unfolds the gates of endless day!
While angels, "trumpet-tongued," proclaim thro' air,
" Due honors for the FIRST OF MEN prepare."
[True [...]]
[Page 145]

The first information of the death of Gen. WASHINGTON, was given to Congress on the 18th of December, in the following manner:

MR. MARSHALL, in a voice that bespoke the anguish of his mind, and a countenance expressive of the deepest regret, rose, and delivered him­self as follows:


"INFORMATION has just been re­ceived, that our illustrious fellow-citi­zen, the Commander in Chief of the American Armies and the late Presi­dent of the United States, is no more.

THOUGH this distressing intelligence is not certain, there is too much rea­son to believe its truth. After receiv­ing information of this national cala­mity, [Page 146] so heavy and so afflicting, the House of Representatives can be but ill fitted for public business. I move you, therefore, they adjourn."

THE motion was unanimously agreed to; and the House adjourned till to­morrow morning, 11 o'clock.

THIS event was confirmed official­ly by a message from the President communicating a letter from Tobias Lear, Esq. private secretary to Gen. WASHINGTON.

Gentlemen of the Senate, and of the House of Representatives,

THE letter herewith transmitted will inform you, that it hath pleased Divine Providence to remove from this life, our excellent fellow-citizen GEORGE WASHINGTON, by the puri­ty of his character and a long series of [Page 147] services to his country, rendered illus­trious through the world. It remains for an affectionate and grateful people; in whose hearts he can never die, to pay suitable honor to his memory.


IT is with inexpressible grief, that I have to announce to you the death of the great and good General WASH­INGTON. He died last evening be­tween 10 and 11 o'clock, after a short illness of about twenty-four hours. His disorder was an inflamatory sore throat, which proceeded from a cold, of which he made but little complaint on Friday. On Saturday morning about 3 o'clock he became ill. Doctor Dick attended him in the morning and Dr. Craick, of Alexandria, and Dr. Brown, of Port Tobacco, were soon after called in. Every medical [Page 148] assistance was offered, but without the desired effect. His last scene corres­ponded with the whole tenor of his life. Not a groan nor a complaint es­caped him, in extreme distress. With perfect resignation and a full possession of his reason, he closed his well spent life.

I have the honor to be, &c.

Mr. MARSHALL, with deep sor­row on his countenance, and in a low, pathetic tone of voice, rose and ad­dressed the House as follows:

THE melancholy event which was yesterday announced with doubt, has been rendered but too certain. Our WASHINGTON is no more! The hero, the sage, and the patriot of Ame­rica—the man on whom in times of danger every eye was turned and all [Page 149] hopes were placed, lives now, only in his own great actions, and in the hearts of an affectionate and afflicted people.

IF, sir, it had even not been usu­al openly to testify respect for the memory of those whom Heaven had selected as its instruments for dispen­sing good to men, yet such has been the uncommon worth, and such the extraordinary incidents which have marked the life of him whose loss we all deplore, that the whole American nation, impelled by the same feelings, would call with one voice for a public manifestation of that sorrow which is so deep and so universal.

MORE than any other individual, and as much as to one individual was possible, has he contributed to found this our wide spreading empire, and to [Page 150] give to the western world its indepen­dence and its freedom.

HAVING effected the great object for which he was placed at the head of our armies, we have seen him con­vert the sword into the ploughshare, and voluntarily sink the soldier into the citizen.

WHEN the debility of our federal system had become manifest, and the bonds which connected the parts of this vast continent were dissolving, we have seen him the chief of those pat­riots who formed for us a constitution, which, by preserving the union, will, I trust, substantiate and perpetuate those blessings our revolution had pro­mised to bestow.

IN obedience to the general voice of his country, calling on him to pre­side [Page 151] over a great people, we have seen him once more quit the retirement he loved, and in a season more stormy and tempestuous than war itself, with calm and wise determination, pursue the true interests of the nation, and contribute more than any other could contribute, to the establishment of that system of policy, which will, I trust, yet preserve our peace, our honor and our independence.

HAVING been twice unanimously chosen the chief magistrate of a free people, we see him, at a time when his re-election with the universal suf­frage could not have been doubted, affording to the world a rare instance of moderation, by withdrawing from his high station to the peaceful walks of private life.

[Page 152] HOWEVER the public confidence may change, and the public affections may fluctuate with respect to others, yet with respect to him they have, in war and in peace, in public and in private life, been as steady as his own firm mind, and as constant as his own exalted virtues.

LET us then, Mr. Speaker, pay the last tribute of respect and affection to our departed friend.—Let the grand council of the nation display those sen­timents which the nation feels.

FOR this purpose, I hold in my hand some resolutions which I will take the liberty to offer to the House.

RESOLVED, That this House will wait on the President of the United States, in condolence of this mournful event.

[Page 153] RESOLVED, That the Speaker's chair be shrouded with black, and that the members and officers of the House wear black during the session.

RESOLVED, That a committee in conjunction with one from the Se­nate, be appointed to consider on the most suitable manner of paying ho­nor to the memory of the man, first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his country.

RESOLVED, That this House when it adjourn, do adjourn to Monday.

THESE resolutions were unanimous­ly agreed to. Sixteen members were appointed on the third resolution.

GENERALS Marshall and Smith were appointed to wait on the Presi­dent [Page 154] to know at what time it would be convenient to receive the House.

GENERALS Marshall and Smith having waited on the President with the first resolution, reported, that the President would be ready to receive them at one o'clock this day. The House accordingly waited on him.

THE Speaker addressed the Presi­dent in the following words:

SIR, THE House of Representatives, pe­netrated with a sense of the irreparable loss sustained by the nation, by the death of that great and good man, the illustrious and beloved WASHINGTON, wait on you, sir, to express their con­dolence on this melancholy and dis­tressing event.

[Page 155] To which the President made the following answer:

Gentlemen of the House of Representatives,

I RECEIVE with great respect and affection the condolence of the House of Representatives on the melancholy and afflicting event in the death of the most illustrious and beloved personage which this country ever produced. I sympathize with you, with the nation, and with good men through the world, in this irreparable loss sustained by us all.


A MESSAGE was received from the Senate, informing the House that they had agreed to the appointment of a joint committee, to consider a suitable manner of paying honor to the memo­ry of the man first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his [Page 156] country, and that they had appointed seven members to join a committee of the House for that purpose.

AGREEABLY to the first resolution the House waited on the President, whom they addressed in the following words:

THE Senate of the United States re­spectfully take leave, sir, to express to you their deep regret for the loss their country sustains in the death of General GEORGE WASHINGTON.

THIS event, so distressing to all our fellow-citizens, must be peculiarly heavy to you, who have long been as­sociated with him in deeds of patri­otism. Permit us, sir, to mingle our tears with yours: on this occasion it is manly to weep. To lose such a [Page 157] man at such a crisis is no common ca­lamity to the world: our country mourns her father. The Almighty disposer of human events has taken from us our greatest benefactor and or­nament. It becomes us to submit with reverence to him, who "maketh darkness his pavilion."

WITH patriotic pride we review the life of our WASHINGTON, and com­pare him with those of other countries who have been pre-eminent in fame. Ancient and modern names are di­minished before him. Greatness and guilt have too often been allied; but his fame is whiter than it is brilliant. The destroyers of nations stood abash­ed at the majesty of his virtue. It re­proved the intemperance of their am­bition and darkened the splendor of victory. The scene is closed, and we [Page 158] are no longer anxious lest misfortune should sully his glory; he has travel­led on to the end of his journey and carried with him an encreasing weight of honor; he has deposited it safely, where misfortune cannot tarnish it, where malice cannot blast it. Favor­ed of Heaven, he departed without ex­hibiting the weakness of humanity; magnanimous in death, the darkness of the grave could not obscure his brightness.

SUCH was the man whom we de­plore. Thanks to God, his glory is consummated. WASHINGTON yet lives on earth in his spotless example—his spirit is in Heaven.

LET his countrymen consecrate the memory of the heroic general, the pa­triotic statesman, and the virtuous sage: let them teach their children [Page 159] never to forget that the fruits of his la­bors, and his example are their inhe­ritance.

To which the President returned the following answer:

Gentlemen of the Senate,

I RECEIVE with the most respect­ful and affectionate sentiments, in this impressive address, the obliging ex­pressions of your regret for the loss our country has sustained, in the death of her most esteemed, beloved, and admired citizen.

IN the multitude of my thoughts and recollections, on this melancholy event, you will permit me only to say, that I have seen him in the days of ad­versity, in some of the scenes of his deepest and most trying perplexities; I have also attended him in his high­est [Page 160] elevation and most prosperous feli­city; with uniform admiration of his wisdom, moderation and constancy.

AMONG all our original associates, in that memorable league of the con­tinent in 1774, which first expressed the sovereign will of a free nation in America, he was the only one remain­ing in the general government. Al­though, with a constitution more en­feebled than his, at an age when he thought it necessary to prepare for re­tirement, I feel myself alone, bereav­ed of my last brother; yet I derive a strong consolation from the unanimous disposition, which appears in all ages and classes, to mingle their sorrows with mine, on this common calamity to the world.

THE life of our WASHINGTON can­not suffer by a comparison with those [Page 161] of other countries, who have been most celebrated and exalted by fame. The attributes and decorations of royalty, could have only served to eclipse the majesty of those virtues, which made him, from being a modest citizen, a more resplendent luminary. Misfor­tune, had he lived, could hereafter have sullied his glory only with those superficial minds, who, believing that characters and actions are marked by success alone, rarely deserve to enjoy it. Malice could never blast his ho­nor, and envy made him a singular exception to her universal rule.—For himself he had lived enough, to life and to glory. For his fellow-citizens, if their prayers could have been an­swered, he would have been immor­tal. For me, his departure is at a most unfortunate moment. Trusting, however, in the wise and righteous dominion of Providence over the pas­sions [Page 162] of men, and the results of their councils and actions, as well as over their lives, and nothing remains for me, but humble resignation.

HIS example is now complete, and it will teach wisdom and virtue to ma­gistrates, citizens, and men, not only in the present age, but in future gene­rations, as long as our history shall be read. If a Trajan found a Pliny, a Marcus Aurelius can never want bio­graphers, eulogists or historians.


IN the House of Representatives Gen. Marshall made a report from the joint committee appointed to consider a suitable mode of commemorating the death of General WASHINGTON.

HE reported the following resolu­tions:

[Page 163] RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That a marble monument be erected by the United States at the capitol of the city of Washington, and that the family of General WASHINGTON be requested to permit his body to be deposited un­der it, and that the monument be so designed as to commemorate the great events of his military and political life.

And be it further resolved, That there be a funeral procession from Congress hall to the German Lutheran church, in memory of Gen. GEORGE WASHINGTON, on Thursday the 26th inst, and that an oration be prepared at the request of Congress, to be deli­vered before both Houses that day; and that the President of the Senate, and Speaker of the House of Repre­sentatives, be desired to request one of [Page 164] the members of Congress to prepare and deliver the same.

And be it further resolved, That it be recommended to the people of the United States, to wear crape on their left arm, as mourning, for thirty days.

And be it further resolved, That the President of the United States be re­quested to direct a copy of these reso­lutions to be transmitted to Mrs. Wash­ington, assuring her of the profound respect Congress will ever bear for her person and character, of their condo­lence on the late affecting dispensa­tion of Providence, and entreating her assent to the interment of the remains of General WASHINGTON in the man­ner expressed in the first resolution.

And be it further resolved, That the President of the United States be re­quested [Page 165] to issue his proclamation, no­tifying to the people throughout the United States, the recommendation contained in the third resolution.

THESE resolutions passed both Hou­ses unanimously.


WHEREAS the Congress of the United States "in honor of the me­mory of Gen. GEORGE WASHING­TON," have this day resolved, "That it be recommended to the people of the United States, to wear crape on the left arm as mourning, for thirty days;" and, "That the President of the United States be requested to issue [Page 166] a proclamation, notifying to the peo­ple throughout the United States the said recommendation." Now, there­fore, I, JOHN ADAMS, President of the United States, do hereby proclaim the same accordingly.

GIVEN under my hand and the seal of the United States, at Phi­ladelphia, the twenty-fourth day of December, in the year of our Lord, one thousand se­ven hundred and ninety-nine, and of the independence of the United States the twenty-fourth.

By the President,
Secretary of State.
[Page 167]

MAJOR Gen. Hamilton, has received, through the Secretary of War, the following order from the President of the United States.

THE President, with deep regret, announces to the army, the death of its beloved chief, General GEORGE WASHINGTON. Sharing in the grief which every heart must feel for so heavy and afflicting a public loss, and desirous to express his high sense of the vast debt of gratitude which is due to the virtues, talents and ever memo­rable services of the illustrious deceas­ed, he directs that funeral honors be paid to him at all the military stations, and that the officers of the army and of the several corps of volunteers, wear crape on the left arm, by way of [Page 168] mourning, for six months. Major General Hamilton will give the neces­sary orders for carrying into effect the foregoing directions.

THE impressive terms, in which this great national calamity is announ­ced by the President, could receive no new force from any thing that might be added. The voice of praise would in vain endeavor to exalt a cha­racter, unrivalled on the lists of true glory. Words would in vain attempt to give utterance to that profound and reverential grief, which will penetrate every American bosom, and engage the sympathy of an admiring world. If the sad privilege of pre-eminence in sorrow may justly be claimed by the companions in arms of our lamented chief, their affections will spontane­ously perform the dear, though pain­ful duty. It is only for me to mingle [Page] my tears, with those of my fellow-sol­diers, cherishing with them the pre­cious recollection, that while others are paying a merited tribute to "the man of the age," we in particular, al­lied as we are to him by a close tie, are called to mourn the irreparable loss of a kind and venerable patron and father!

IN obedience to the directions of the President, the following funeral honors will be paid at the several sta­tions of the army.

AT day break sixteen guns will be fired in quick succession, and one gun at the distance of each half hour until sun set.

DURING the procession of the troops to the place representing that of the [Page 170] interment, and until the conclusion of the ceremonial, minute guns will be fired.

THE bier will be received by the troops formed in line, presenting their arms, and the officers, drums and colors saluting; after this the proces­sion will begin; the troops marching by platoons in inverted order, and with arms reversed to the place of interment—the drums muffled, and the music playing a dead march.

THE bier carried by four serjeants, and attended by six pall-bearers, where there is cavalry, will be preceded by the cavalry and will be followed by the troops on foot. Where there is [...]o cavalry, a detachment of infantry will precede the bier, which itself will in every case be preceded by such of the clergy as may be present. The offi­cers [Page 171] of the general staff will immedi­ately succeed the bier.

WHERE a numerous body of citi­zens shall be united with the military in the procession, the whole of the troops will precede the bier, which will then be followed by the citizens.

WHEN arrived near the place of in­terment, the procession will halt. The troops in front of the bier, will form in line, and opening their ranks will face inwards, to admit the passage of the bier, which will then pass through the ranks, the troops leaning on their arms reversed while the bier passes! When the bier shall have passed, the troops will resume their position in line, and reversing their arms, will re­main leaning upon them until the ce­remonial shall be closed.

[Page 172] THE music will now perform a so­lemn air, after which the introductory, part of this order shall be read.

AT the end of this, a detachment of infantry appointed for the purpose, will advance and fire three vollies over the bier. The troops will then re­turn; the music playing the Presi­dent's march, the drums previously unmuffled.

THE uniform companies of militia are invited to join in arms the volun­teer corps.

THE commanders at particular sta­tions, conforming generally to this plan, will make such exceptions as will accommodate it to situation. At places where processions of unarmed citizens shall take place, it is the wish of the Major-General that the military [Page 173] ceremonial should be united. And the particular commanders at those places are authorised to vary the plan, so as to adapt it to the circumstances.

BRIGADIER General Macpherson is charged to superintend the ceremonial in the city of Philadelphia. Major Toussard will attend to Fort Mifflin, and will co-operate with him.

THE day of performing the cere­monial at each station is left to the par­ticular commanders.

MAJOR General Pinckney will make such further arrangements within his district as he shall deem expedient.

W. NORTH, Ad. Gen.
[Page 174]

THE Speaker informed the House, that in conformity to the second re­solution passed on Monday, Major General Lee had been appointed by the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representa­tives, to prepare and deliver the ora­tion in honor of our late illustrious commander in chief, on Thursday next, which appointment he had been pleased to accept.

A MESSAGE was received from the President of the United States, notify­ing the House that he had agreed to the resolutions passed on Monday, in honor of the memory of General WASHINGTON, and deposited them among the rolls and records of the United States.

[Page 175] Mr. MARSHALL, from the joint committee appointed to consider and report what measures ought to be adopted in honor of the memory of Gen. WAHSINGTON, made another report in part, which was unanimously agreed to by the House, in the words following, to wit:

Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States in Congress assembled, That it be re­commended to the people of the Uni­ted States, to assemble on the twenty-second day of February next, in such numbers and manner as may be con­venient, publicly to testify their grief for the death of General GEORGE WASHINGTON, by suitable eulogies, orations, and discourses; or by public prayers.

[Page 176] And be it further resolved, That the President of the United States be re­quested to recommend the same, by a proclamation for that purpose.

A Proclamation.

WHEREAS the Congress of the United States have this day resolv­ed, "That it be recommended to the people of the United States, to assem­ble on the twenty-second day of Fe­bruary next, in such numbers and manner as may be convenient, pub­licly to testify their grief for the death of Gen. GEORGE WASHINGTON, by suitable eulogies, orations and discour­ses, or by public prayers;" and, "That the President be requested to issue a proclamation for the purpose [Page 177] of carrying the foregoing resolution into effect." Now, therefore, I, JOHN ADAMS, President of the United States of America, de hereby proclaim the same accordingly.

GIVEN under my hand and the seal of the United States, at Philadelphia, the sixth day of January, in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hun­dred, and of the independence of the said states the twenty­fourth.

By the President,
Secretary of State.

Washington's Funeral.
Extract of a letter from a correspondent in Alexandria, dated Dec. 19, 1799.

YESTERDAY I attended the funeral of the savior of our country at Mount Vernon; and had the honor of being one who carried his body to the vault. He was borne by military gen­tlemen, and brethren of our lodge, of which he was formerly master. I in­close [Page 183] you a sketch of the procession. To describe the scene is impossible. The coffin bore his sword and apron; and the members of the lodge walked as mourners. His horse was led, pro­perly caprisoned, by two of his ser­vants, in mourning.

"As I helped place his body in the vault, and stood at the door while the funeral service was performing, I had the best opportunity of observing the countenances of all. Every one was affected, but none so much as his do­mestics of all ages."


ON Wednesday last, the mor­tal part of WASHINGTON the great—the father of his country and the friend [Page 184] of man, was consigned to the tomb, with solemn honors and funeral pomp.

A MULTITUDE of persons assem­bled, from many miles around, at Mount Vernon, the choice abode and last residence of the illustrious chief. There were the groves, the spacious avenues, the beautiful and sublime scenes, the noble mansion; but alas! the august inhabitant was now no more. That great soul was gone. His mortal part was there indeed; but ah! how affecting! how awful the spec­tacle of such worth and greatness, thus, to mortal eyes, fallen: yes! fallen! fallen

IN the long and lofty portico, where oft the hero walked in all his glory, now lay the shrouded corpse. The countenance still composed and serene, seemed to express the dignity of the [Page 185] spirit which lately dwelt in that lifeless form. There those who paid the last sad honors to the benefactor of his country, took an impressive, a farewel view.

ON the ornament, at the head of the coffin, was inscribed SURGE AD JUDICIUM; about the middle of the coffin, GLORIA DEO; and on the silver plate,

Gen. George Washington, DEPARTED THIS LIFE, ON THE 14th DEC. 1799, AEt. 68.

BETWEEN three and four o'clock, the sound of artillery from a vessel in the river, firing minute guns, awoke afresh our solemn sorrow; the corpse was moved; a band of music with mournful melody, melted the soul into all the tenderness of woe.

[Page 186] THE procession was formed and moved on in the following order:

Cavalry,with arms reversed.Guard,
The General's horse, with his saddle, holsters, and pistols.
Col. SIMMS,The Corpse.Col. GILPIN,
 Masonic Brethren, 

WHEN the procession had arrived at the bottom of the elevated lawn, on [Page 187] the banks of the Potomac, where the family vault is placed, the cavalry halt­ed, the infantry marched towards the Mount and formed the inlines; the clergy, the masonic brothers, and the citizens descended to the vault, and the funeral service of the church was performed. The firing was repeated from the vessel in the river, and the sounds echoed from the woods and hills around.

THREE general discharges by the infantry, the cavalry, and eleven pie­ces of artillery, which lined the banks of the Potomac back of the vault, paid the last tribute to the entombed com­mander in chief of the armies of the United States, and to the venerable de­parted hero.

THE sun was now sitting. Alas! the sun of glory was set forever. No [Page 188] —the name of WASHINGTON, the American President and General will triumph over death; the unclouded, brightness of his glory will illuminate future ages.

President's Message.

MR. SHAW, secretary to the Presi­dent, communicated the following mes­sage:

Gentlemen of the Senate, and of the House of Representatives,

IN compliance with the re­quest in one of the resolutions of Con­gress of the 21st of December last, I transmitted a copy of those resolutions by my secretary, Mr. Shaw, to Mrs. WASHINGTON, assuring her of the profound respect Congress will ever bear to her person and character; of [Page 189] their condolence in the late afflicting dispensation of Providence, and in-treating her assent to the interment of the remains of General GEORGE WASHINGTON, in the manner expres­sed in the first resolution. As the sen­timents of that virtuous lady, not less beloved by this nation than she is at present afflicted, can never be so well expressed as in her own words; I trans­mit to Congress her original letter.

IT would be an attempt of too much delicacy to make any comments upon it; but there can be no doubt, that the nation at large, as well as all the branches of the government, will be highly gratified by any arrangement which may diminish the sacrifice she makes of her individual feelings.

[Page 190]

Mrs. Washington's Letter.


WHILE I feel with keen­est anguish, the late dispensation of Divine Providence, I cannot be insen­sible to the mournful tributes of respect and veneration, which are paid to the memory of my dear deceased hus­band; and, as his best services and most anxious wishes, were always de­voted to the welfare and happiness of his country, to know that they were truly appreciated, and gratefully re­membered, affords no inconsiderable consolation.

TAUGHT by the great example, which I have so long had before me, never to oppose my private wishes to the public will, I must consent to the [Page 191] request made by Congress, which you have had the goodness to transmit me, and in doing this, I need not, I can­not say, what a sacrifice of individual feeling I make to a sense of public duty.

WITH grateful acknowledgment, and unfeigned thanks for the personal respect, and evidences of condolence, expressed by Congress and yourself.

I remain very respectfully, sir, your most obedient, and humble servant,

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF Gen. George Washington.

THE death of this great man, has rendered an account of his life par­ticularly desirable. To a nation whose feelings seem to be absorbed by this afflicting event, whose attention is chiefly directed to the contemplation of the resplendent virtues of the deceas­ed father of his country, every cir­cumstance of his life has become in­teresting.

I HAVE not the vanity to assume to be the biographer of General WASH­INGTON. This arduous, honorable, [Page 193] and useful task, is probably assigned by proper authority, to a man compe­tent to its execution, and who is al­ready, or will be, in possession of all the requisite documents for so impor­tant a work. But having heretofore given to the public, in a work* de­signed for their use, a brief sketch of his life, I hope they will not consider it as presumption in me, if, with a view to satisfy, in some degree, soli­citous inquiries on the subject, and as a humble tribute to the memory of the first of men, I revise and enlarge this sketch, and in an improved form, at this moment of general feeling, offer it to their perusal.

THE late General WASHINGTON was born in the parish of Washington, Westmoreland county, in Virginia, [Page 194] Feb. 22, 1732. He was the third son of Mr. AUGUSTINE WASHINGTON, a planter or farmer of respectable talents, distinguished reputation and large es­tate in Virginia. The ancestors of this gentleman, about the year 1657, re­moved from Yorkshire in England to Virginia, and settled in King George's county, where, at the commencement of our revolution, the General had three brothers living, viz. Samuel, John and Charles, all gentlemen of considerable landed property, and a sister, the wife of Col. Fielding Lewis.*

THE General was the first fruit of a second marriage. His early educa­tion, conducted by a private tutor, un­der the direction of his father, was [Page 195] such as favored the production of an athletic and vigorous body, and the formation of a correct and solid mind, Inhaling a pure mountain air, accus­tomed to the healthful occupations of rural life, and to the manly toils of the chase, his limbs expanded to an unu­sual, robust, but well proportioned and graceful size, adapted to endure the fatigues of his future life, and to sus­tain the active energies of his noble soul.

BY his tutor he was taught the ru­diments of the Latin language, En­glish grammar, and the elements of the mathematics. At the age of ten years, his father died, and the charge of a numerous family devolved on his eldest brother, Mr. Lawrence Wash­ington. This brother, a young gen­tleman of most promising talents, had a captain's command in the colonial [Page 196] troops, employed against Carthagena▪ under Admiral Vernon. On his re­turn from this expedition, he married the daughter of the Hon. William Fairfax, of Belvoir, and settled on his patrimonial estate, which he called Mount Vernon, in honor of his admi­ral, from whom he had received many civilities. He was afterwards made adjutant-general of the militia of Vir­ginia, but did not long survive his ap­pointment. He left one daughter, who dying young, and his second bro­ther also having deceased without issue, the General succeeded to the family seat, and to a very considerable landed estate.

IT is a circumstance which ought not to be here omitted, that, at the age of fifteen, he was entered a midship­man on board a British ship of war sta­tioned on the coast of Virginia, and [Page 197] his baggage prepared for embarkation; but his mother, then a widow, expres­sing her reluctance at his engaging in that profession, the plan was aban­doned.

THE office of adjutant-general, made vacant by the death of his bro­ther, in consequence of the extensive limits of the province, was now divid­ed into three districts; the future hero of America, before he had completed his twentieth year, began his military service by a principal appointment in that department, with the rank of Major.

WHEN he was little more than twen­ty years of age, an event occurred which called forth his great talents into public notice and exercise. In 1753, the French from Canada, aided by the Indians, whom they engaged for [Page 198] the purpose, made inroads and en­croachments upon the western fron­tiers, along the Allegany and Ohio rivers. Orders were received from En­gland, by the Governor* and Council of Virginia, to repel by force these en­croachments. It was however thought a prudent preliminary step, to make an effort to prevent open hostilities, by friendly and spirited remonstrances to the French, and conciliatory overtures to the Indians. Major WASHINGTON was deputed to undertake this impor­tant and perilous embassy. Accord­ingly he was dispatched by the Gover­nor, with a letter to the Commander in Chief of the French on the Ohio, complaining of the infractions of the treaties subsisting between the two crowns; and with instructions and plenary powers to treat with the Six [Page 199] Nations and other tribes of Western In­dians, and to secure their attachment to England. He commenced his jour­ney late in October, with about fif­teen attendants, and endured the fa­tigues, and performed the duties of his mission, with singular fortitude, indus­try, intelligence and address. When he returned with Monsieur de St. Piere's answer, and gave information of his success in his negociations with the Indians, he received the approba­tion and thanks of his country. His journal* and report to Governor Din­widdie, which were published at the time, early announced to the world, that strength and correctness of mind, case and manliness of style, and that judgment, method, and accuracy in [Page 200] doing business, which have since cha­racterised him in conducting more ar­duous affairs. His journal for many years after, proved of essential service to travellers into that western wilder­ness.

NOTWITHSTANDING the remon­strances made by the government of Virginia to the French commander on the Ohio, through Major WASHING­TON, hostile operations in that quar­ter were still continued, as part of a meditated plan of general attack upon the then British colonies. In this state of things, orders were received from the mother country, for the colo­nies to unite, and prepare to defend themselves. The assembly of Virgi­nia took the lead; and early in the year 1754, voted a sum of money for the public service, and agreed to raise a regiment of 400 men for the defence [Page 201] of the frontiers of that colony. Mr. Fry, one of the professors of the col­lege of William and Mary, was ap­pointed Colonel of this regiment, and Major WASHINGTON, then about twen­ty-three years of age, received the commission of Lieut. Colonel. Col. Fry died shortly after his appointment, and left his regiment and rank to the second in command.

COL. WASHINGTON now was inde­fatigable in his efforts to form his re­giment, to establish magazines, and open roads so as to pre-occupy the ad­vantageous post at the confluence of the Allegany and Monongahela rivers (now Pittsburgh) which he had recom­mended for that purpose, in his report the preceding year. Impressed with the necessity of expedition in accom­plishing this important object, with­out [Page 202] waiting for a detachment of inde­pendent regulars, and some compa­nies of provincials from the neigh­boring colonies, who were expected to join him, he commenced his march in the month of May.

ON his way, at a place called Red Stone, he met a strong party of the French and Indians, which he en­gaged and routed, after killing and capturing fifty of the enemy. Among the prisoners was the celebrated Mons­de la Force, and two other officers, from whom Col. WASHINGTON re­ceived intelligence, that the French forces on the Ohio consisted of up­wards of 1000 regulars, and several hundred Indians, and that they had already erected a fort at the post he had intended to occupy, which they called Fort du Quesne. Upon this in­telligence, he took his station at a [Page 203] place called Great Meadows, for the convenience of forage and supplies, where he built a temporary stockade, to cover his stores, and named it Fort Necessity. Here he waited the arrival of expected succours from New-York and Ponnsylvania, but was joined by Capt. M'Kay's regulars. only, which increased his force to about 400 effec­tive men. He remained unmolested till July, when he received informa­tion from his scouts, that a considera­ble party of the enemy was approach­ing to reconnoitre his post; he sallied and defeated them; but in return was attacked by an army of French and Indians, computed to have been 1500 strong, under the command of the Sieur de Villiers. The little garrison made a gallant defence, of several hours, during which they killed near­ly 200 of the enemy, and more than one third of their own number were [Page 204] either killed or wounded. The French commander, discouraged by such bold opposition, proposed a parley, which terminated in an honorable capitula­tion. Col. WASHINGTON, at the head of his troops, quitted the Fort with the honors of war, agreeable to the articles of capitulation, and carried with him his military stores, and bag­gage: but the French commander either unable or unwilling, did not re­strain his Indian auxiliaries from plun­dering the provincials, and making a considerable slaughter of men, cattle, and horses. After this disaster, the re­mains of the Virginia regiment return­ed to Alexandria to recruit.

THE British ambassador at the court of Versailles was directed to remon­strate to the French government against the breach of the articles of capitula­tion above mentioned: and this may [Page 205] be considered as the period when the French court began to unmask, and to discover that the conduct of its go­vernors and officers in America, was in conformity to their orders. After this, warlike preparations on the fron­tiers were made by the French with redoubled activity, and were continu­ed through the winter of 1754, and the spring of 1755.

DURING this period the government of Virginia raised an additional num­ber of troops, who built Fort Cumber­land, and Fort Loudon, and formed a camp at Wills Creek, a situation con­venient for the annoyance of the ene­my on the Ohio. In all these servi­ces, and particularly in the erection of the forts, Col. WASHINGTON was actively and principally employed.

[Page 206] AT this time, May 1755, Gen▪ Braddock arrived at Alexandria, from England, with two veteran regiments from Ireland, to which were to be joi [...]ed the independent and provincial corps in America, and at the head of this army he was to repel the invaders of the colonial frontiers. Upon a royal arrangement of rank, by which "no officer who did not immediately derive his commission from the king, could command one who did," Col. WASHINGTON resigned his commis­sion, and as a volunteer and extra Aid-de-Camp, joined Gen. Braddock. The army marched directly for Fort du Quesne, by the route of Wills Creek. No person was so well ac­quainted with this route as Col. WASH­INGTON, and no other officer in the colony, at this time, sustained so high and well established a military repu­tation; and had his counsel been suf­ficiently [Page 207] regarded, there is reason to believe the misfortunes which follow­ed would have been prevented. In his route, Gen. Braddock unexpect­edly, and of consequence, unprepa­redly, met a large body of the enemy. Without detailing minutely the parti­culars of the hard fought and bloody battle which ensued, and which ter­minated in the total defeat of Brad­dock's army, which consisted of 2000 regular British forces, and nearly 800 provincials, I shall only say, in the words of the respectable and correct writer,* to whom I am indebted for many of the facts contained in this sketch, that "it is allowed on all sides, that the haughty behavior of Gen. Braddock, his high contempt of the provincial officers and soldiers, and his disdainful obstinacy in rejecting [Page 208] their advice, were the causes of this fatal disaster. With what resolution and steadiness the provincials, and their gallant commander (Col. WASH­INGTON) behaved on this trying occa­sion, and in covering the confused re­treat of the army,* let every British officer and soldier confess, who were rescued from slaughter on that calami­tous day by their valor and conduct."

TO this information it is proper to add, that Col. WASHINGTON was the only officer whose duty obliged him to be on horseback during the battle, who was not either killed or wound­ed. Providence seemed to reserve him to save from utter destruction the wreck of a defeated army. Having secured their passage over the ford of the Monongahela, and finding the [Page 209] enemy did not pursue their victory, Col. WASHINGTON hastened to con­cert measures for their further securi­ty, with Col. Dunbar, who had re­mained some distance in the rear, with the second division of the army and the heavy baggage. To effect this, he travelled, with two guides all night, through a dreary wilderness, notwith­standing the fatigues of the preceding day, and the enfeebled state of his health, having but imperfectly reco­vered from sickness. So exhausted was he in the morning, that he was obliged to be supported with cushions on his horse. The public accounts of this affair, both in England and America, were not parsimonious of applause for the essential service he rendered his country on so trying an occasion.

[Page 210] NOT long after this time, the regu­lation of rank, which had been so in­jurious to the colonial officers, was changed to their satisfaction, in conse­quence of the discontent of the officers and the remonstrance of Col. WASH­INGTON; and the government of Vir­ginia, impressed with a due sense of his merits, gave him, in a new and extensive commission, the command of all the troops raised and to be raised in that colony. This commission he held with signal credit to himself, and advantage to his country, till 1759; when tranquillity being restored on the frontiers of the middle colonies, and his constitution having become extremely enfeebled and endangered by an inveterate pulmonary complaint, he resigned his military appointment. Impartial historians will do justice to his character, in detailing the judi­cious plans he suggested, and the sys­tem [Page 211] he pursued for defending the fron­tiers, and his personal hazards, bravery and atchievments, previously to the period of his resignation. Nor are au­thentic documents wanting to shew the tender regret which the Virginia line expressed at parting with their Commander, and the affectionate re­gard which He entertained for them.

FROM this period till the year 1775, he cultivated the arts of peace. Soon after he resigned his commission in 1759, his health having been gradual­ly re-established, he married the pre­sent Mrs. WASHINGTON, then Mrs. MARTHA CUSTIS,* an amiable and beautiful young widow, "with whom he had a fortune of twenty thousand pounds sterling in her own right, be­sides her dower in one of the princi­pal [Page 212] estates in Virginia,"* and settled as a Planter and Farmer at his favorite, delightful seat, the far-famed Mount Vernon.

GENERAL WASHINGTON was the largest landholder, probably, in the United States. Besides the large es­tates which came into his possession by his marriage, and by the death of Mrs. WASHINGTON'S only daughter (amounting in the whole to thirty thousand pounds sterling) he owned large tracts of excellent land in differ­ent parts of the state, which, in early life, while he was Surveyor, he had taken up for himself, or purchased of officers who had lands allotted them for their services. He also made large additions to his estate at Mount Ver­non; which, in 1787, consisted of about nine thousand acres, under his [Page 213] own cultivation. His income from his estates was reckoned, in 1776, to amount at least to four thousand pounds sterling a year; and it was then sup­posed they would have sold for more than one hundred and sixty thousand pounds * of the same money, equal to upwards of 666,000 dollars. There can be no doubt, that under his super­intendance and admirable manage­ment, his property has since much in­creased.

GENERAL WASHINGTON was not less distinguished as a Farmer, than as a Warrior and a Statesman. He un­dertook every thing on a great scale, proportioned to his great and compre­hensive mind; and his exact and ex­emplary method in transacting all his business, enabled him to accomplish [Page 214] more, and in a more perfect and ad­vantageous manner, than perhaps any other man of the age. He has raised seven thousand bushels of wheat, and ten thousand of Indian corn in one year, on his estate at Mount Vernon. In a succeeding year he raised two hundred lambs, sowed twenty-seven bushels of flax-seed, and planted more than seven hundred bushels of pota­toes. At the same time he had ma­nufactured under his eye, by his do­mestics, linen and woollen cloth suf­ficient for his household, which con­sisted of nearly a thousand souls. His land, designed for cultivation, he had enclosed in lots of equal dimensions, and crops assigned to each for many years. On Saturday in the afternoon, every week, he was accustomed to re­ceive reports from all his overseers (and these reports, I have been informed, were received and attended to, con­stantly [Page 215] during the periods of his com­mand of our armies, and his presidency of the United States) which reports were correctly registered in books kept for the purpose; so that, at the end of the year, he was able accurately to ascertain the quantity of labor bestow­ed on each of the several lots, and the amount of the produce. Order and economy were established in all the departments within and without doors.

AGRICULTURE was his favorite em­ployment, and he pursued it in a man­ner worthy of himself. One great object which he ever kept in view, was to introduce or augment the cul­ture of those articles which he con­ceived would be the most beneficial in their consequences to his country. Upon this principle, he early gave up planting tobacco, and went altogether into the farming business. To acquire [Page 216] and communicate practical know­ledge, he corresponded with the cele­brated Mr. Arthur Young, of Eng­land, and with many agricultural gen­tlemen in this country. As improve­ment was known to be his object, he was in the habit of receiving rare seeds, and results of new projects from every quarter. He likewise made copious notes, relative to his own experiments, the state of the seasons, the nature of soils, of which he was an excellent judge, and the effects of different kinds of manure, and such other to­pics, as tended to the improvement of agriculture.

WHILE he was thus usefully occu­pied as a Farmer, and giving to all around him, and to posterity, a noble example of industry, economy, and good management, he was, at the same time, assiduous in serving the [Page 217] state. From the time he left the ar­my, in 1759, until the year 1774, he was constantly a member of assembly; he was also a magistrate of the county in which he lived, and a judge of the court. He was elected a delegate to the first Congress in 1774, and to that which assembled in the year following.

IT was while he was a member of this assembly of the wisest men in America, that he was, on the 15th of June, 1775, by their unanimous vote, appointed Commander in Chief of all the forces raised, or to be raised for the defence of the then colonies. He ac­cepted his appointment; with what diffidence and disinterestedness, his re­ply to the President of Congress, when his appointment was announced to him, witnesses. "It was a fortunate circumstance, attending his election, [Page 218] that it was accompanied with no com­petition, and followed by no envy. That same general impulse on the public mind, which led the colonists to agree in many other particulars pointed to him as the most proper per­son for presiding over the military ar­rangements of America. Not only Congress, but the inhabitants in the east and west, in the north and the south, as well before as at the time of embodying a continental army, were in a great degree unanimous in his fa­vor."* "The very high estimation he stood in for integrity and honor, his engaging in the cause of his coun­try from sentiment and a conviction of her wrongs; his moderation in po­litics, his extensive property, and his approved abilities as a military com­mander, were motives which obliged [Page 219] the choice of America to fall upon him."*

WE have now arrived at a period in the life of this great man, since which, the events of it have been more con­spicuous and more generally interest­ing; and it is the less necessary to par­ticularize them in this place, because they have been often detailed, and are familiar to almost every person. I will only observe, that General WASH­INGTON arrived at the camp in Cam­bridge, and took the supreme com­mand of the American army, July 2, 1776. "He was received with that heart-felt exultation, which superior merit alone can inspire, after having, in his progress through the states, been honored with every mark of affection and esteem which they conceived were due to the man, whom the whole con­tinent [Page 220] looked up to for safety and freedom."*

IT is hoped posterity will be taught, in what manner he transformed an undisciplined body of peasantry into a regular army of soldiers. Commen­taries on his campaigns would un­doubtedly be highly interesting and in­structive to future generations. The conduct of the first campaign, in com­pelling the British troops to abandon Boston by a bloodless victory, will merit a minute narration. But a vo­lume would scarcely contain the mor­tifications he experienced, and the ha­zards to which he was exposed in 1776 and 1777, in contending against the prowess of Britain, with an inadequate force. His good destiny and consum­mate prudence, prevented want of success from producing want of confi­dence [Page 221] on the part of the public; for want of success is apt to lead to the adoption of pernicious counsels through the versatility of the people, or the ambition of demagogues. Shortly af­ter this period, sprang up the only ca­bal that ever existed during his pub­lic life, to rob him of his reputation and command. It proved as impo­tent in effect, as it was audacious in design. In the three succeeding year the germ of discipline unfolded; and the resources of America having been called into co-operation with the land and naval forces of France, produced the glorious conclusion of the cam­paign in 1781. From this time the gloom began to disappear from our po­litical horizon, and the affairs of the union proceeded in a meliorating train, until a peace was most ably negociated by our ambassadors in Europe in 1783.

[Page 222] No person, who had not the advan­tage of being present when General WASHINGTON received the intelli­gence of peace, and who did not ac­company him to his domestic retire­ment, can describe the relief which that joyful event brought to his labor­ing mind, or the supreme satisfaction with which he withdrew to private life. From his triumphal entry into New-York, upon the evacuation of that city by the British army, to his arrival at Mount Vernon, after the re­signation of his commissson to Con­gress, festive crowds impeded his pas­sage through all the populous towns, the devotion of a whole people pur­sued him with prayers to Heaven for blessings on his head, while their gra­titude sought the most expressive lan­guage of manifesting itself to him as their common father and benefactor. When he became a private citizen, he [Page 223] had the unusual felicity to find that his native state was among the most zealous to do justice to his merits; and that stronger demonstrations of affec­tionate esteem (if possible) were given by the citizens of his neighborhood, than by any other description of men on the continent. But he constantly declined accepting any compensation for his services or provision for the aug­mented expenses incurred in conse­quence of his public employment, al­though proposals were made him in the most delicate manner, particularly by the states of Virginia and Pennsyl­vania.

THE virtuous simplicity which dis­tinguished the private life of General WASHINGTON, though less known than the dazzling splendor of his mili­tary achievements, is not less edifying in example, or worthy the attention [Page 224] of his countrymen. The conspicuous character he acted on the theatre of human affairs, the uniform dignity with which he sustained his part amidst difficulties of the most discouraging nature, and the glory of having arriv­ed through them at the hour of tri­umph, made many official and litera­ry persons on both sides of the ocean, ambitious of a correspondence with him. These correspondencies una­voidably engrossed a great portion of his time; and the communications contained in them, combined with the numerous periodical publications and newspapers which he perused, render­ed him, as it were, the focus of poli­tical intelligence for the new world. Nor were his conversations with well­informed men less conducive to bring him acquainted with the various events which happened in different countries of the globe. Every foreigner of dis­tinction, [Page 225] who travelled in America, made it a point to visit him. Mem­bers of Congress and other dignified personages, did not pass his house with­out calling to pay him their respects. As another source of information it may be mentioned, that many literary productions were sent to him annually by their authors in Europe; and that there was scarcely one work written in America on any art, science, or sub­ject, which did not seek his protection, or which was not offered to him as a token of gratitude. Mechanical in­ventions were frequently submitted to him for his approbation, and natural curiosities presented for his investiga­tion. But the multiplicity of episto­lary applications, often on the remains of some business which happened when he was commander in chief; sometimes on subjects foreign to his [Page 226] situation, frivolous in their nature, and intended merely to gratify the vanity of the writers by drawing answers from him, was truly distressing and almost incredible. His benignity in answer­ing, perhaps, increased the number. Had he not husbanded every moment to the best advantage, it would not have been in his power to have notic­ed the vast variety of subjects that claimed his attention.

IN this manner he spent his time, from the peace of 1783, till he was elected a member of the convention who framed, in Philadelphia, in the summer of 1787, the present Consti­tution of the United States. Of this convention of sages, he was chosen President, and with his name he has sanctioned the Constitution of their and his country's choice.

[Page 227] WHEN this Constitution, adopted by the nation, was to be organized and put in operation, by an election of the proper officers, the United States, "stedfast in their preference, with one voice summoned their beloved WASH­INGTON, unpractised as he was, in the duties of civil administration," to the chair of government. He heard their voice "with veneration and love," and with that self diffidence and modesty, which ever accompany pre-eminent merit, he obeyed their summons. On the 30th of April, 1789, he was inaugurated President of the United States, in the city of New-York, amidst the acclamations of thousands of spectators. "It seem­ed, by the number of witnesses," says one, who beheld the interesting scene, "to be a solemn appeal to heaven and earth at once. Upon the subject of this great and good man, I may per­haps [Page 228] be an enthusiast: but I confess, I was under an awful and religious persuasion, that the gracious Ruler of the Universe was looking down at that moment, with peculiar complacency, on an act, which, to a part of his crea­tures, was so very important. Under this impression, when the chancellor pronounced in a very feeling manner, 'Long live GEORGE WASHINGTON,' my sensibility was would up to such a pitch, that I could do no more than wave my hat with the rest, without the power of joining in the repeated acclamations which rent the air."

IN the autumn after his induction into office, he visited the eastern states; with how much delight and advantage to the people, and satisfaction to his own mind, let the volume of their ad­dresses and his answers testify.

[Page 229] WITH what dignity, wisdom, firm­ness, integrity, and high and general approbation, he performed the duties of his most arduous, elevated, and re­sponsible office, during his eight years administration, his eulogists have elo­quently announced, and historians will record with pride and admiration. "Commencing his administration, what heart is not charmed with the recollection of the pure and wise prin­ciples announced by himself, as the basis of his political life. He best un­derstood the indissoluble union be­tween virtue and happiness, between duty and advantage, between the ge­nuine maxims of an honest and mag­nanimous policy, and the solid re­wards of public prosperity and indivi­dual felicity: watching with an equal and comprehensive eye over this great assemblage of communities and inte­rests, [Page 230] he laid the foundation of our na­tional policy, in the unerring and im­mutable principles of morality, based on religion, exemplifying the pre­eminence of free government, by all the attributes which win the affections of its citizens, or command the respect of the world."*

DURING his administration as our supreme executive magistrate, "his talents and his virtues increased with his cares. His soul seemed not to bear the limits of office a moment after the obligations of duty and patriotism with­drew their restraints from his universal love. When the misguided savages of the wilderness, after feeling his chastisement, had sued for peace; he seemed to labor for their happiness as the common representative of man­kind. [Page 231] Insurrection was so struck at his countenance, that it fled from the shock of his arms. Intrigue attempt­ed to entangle him in her poisonous web, but he burst it with gigantic strength, and crushed her labours. Anarchy looked out from her cavern, and was dashed into oblivion, as we trust, forever. The nations of Eu­rope saw the wisdom of our laws, the vigour of our measures, the justice of our policy, the firmness of our govern­ment, and acquiesced in the neutrali­ty of our station."*

TWICE elected by the unanimous voice of his country to the Presidential chair, when the period for a third election arrived, in September 1796, when the state of his country was such that he considered it no longer neces­sary for him to sacrifice his inclination [Page 232] to his duty, he announced to his fel­low-citizens, in an Address which will be immortal as his name, his determi­nation to retire, and requesting them not to consider him as a candidate for their future suffrages; thus prevent­ing "the anxious wishes of an affec­tionate people, from adding a third unanimous testimonial of their una­bated confidence in the man so long enthroned in their hearts." Having spent forty-five years of his life in the service of his country, he consoled himself with the hope that he was now quitting forever "the boundless field of public action, incessant trouble and high responsibility," in which he had so long acted a principal part: but this fond hope was not realized. He had not yet arrived at the pinnacle of human greatness. One ascending step yet remained untaken. From March 1797 to July 1798, he lived in peace [Page 233] at his beloved retreat, discharging the duties of a private citizen with a con­descension and greatness of mind pe­culiar to himself. At the latter pe­riod, "when every thing we hold dear and sacred was seriously threatened,"* the voice of his countrymen was raised to him, as the Instrument, under Pro­vidence, for their protection: he heard it and instantly obeyed; and thus ad­vanced the last ascending step in the career of earthly glory. On this high and commanding ground he stood, ve­nerable in services as in years, the ce­ment and the bulwark of our nation, till the 14th of December 1799, when he was summoned above to join that noble company of the "wise, who shall shine as the brightness of the fir­mament, and as the stars forever and ever."

[Page 234] HIS last sickness was short and pain­ful. On Thursday the 12th, he was abroad on one of his plantations. The day was rainy and he took cold; which, on Friday, produced a vio­lent inflammation in the throat. The following night his disease became ve­ry alarming, and he was urged to send to Alexandria for his physician. His humanity for his servants prevented it till the next morning. At 11 o'clock on Saturday his physician arrived. It was too late. The hand of death was already upon him. Though his dis­tress was extreme, he was calm and resigned. "He informed his attend­ants that his affairs were in good order; that he had made his will, and that his public business was, but two days behind hand." A very short time before he died, he said to his physi­cian, "Doctor, What is the clock? How long am I to remain in this situa­tion?" [Page 235] The Doctor replied, "Not long sir." He then rejoined with the firmest countenance, "I have no fear, Doctor, to die." His breathing soon grew shorter; and presently after he expired without a sigh or a groan.

" WHEN keenest anguish rack'd his mighty mind,
And the fond heart the joys of life resign'd,
No guilt nor terror stretch'd its hard controul,
No doubt obscur'd the sunshine of the soul.
Prepar'd for death, his calm and steady eye,
Look'd fearless upward to a peaceful sky;
While wondering angels point the airy road,
Which leads the Christian to the Throne of God."

GENERAL WASHINGTON in his per­son was tall, upright, and well made; in his manners easy and unaffected. His eyes were of a bluish cast, not prominent, indicative of deep thought­fulness, and when in action, on great occasions, remarkably lively. His features strong, manly, and command­ing; his temper reserved and serious; [Page 236] his countenance grave, composed, and sensible. There was in his whole ap­pearance an unusual dignity and grace­fulness which at once secured for him profound respect, and cordial esteem. He seemed born to command his fel­low men. In his official capacity he received applicants for favors, and an­swered their requests with so much ease, condescension and kindness, as that each retired, believing himself a favorite of his chief. He had an ex­cellent and well cultivated understand­ing; a correct, discerning, and com­prehensive mind; a memory remar­kably retentive: energetic passions under perfect controul; a judgment sober, deliberate, and sound. He was a man of the strictest honor and hones­ty, fair and honorable in his dealings; and punctual to his engagements. His disposition was mild, kind, and generous. Candour, sincerity, mo­deration, [Page 237] and simplicity, were, in com­mon, prominent features in his cha­racter; but when an occasion called, he was capable of displaying the most determined bravery, firmness, and in­dependence. He was an affectionate husband, a faithful friend, a humane master, and a father to the poor. He lived in the unvarying habits of regu­larity, temperance, and industry. He steadily rose at the dawn of day, and retired to rest usually at 9 o'clock in the evening. The intermediate hours all had their proper business assigned them. In his allotments for the re­volving hours, religion was not for­gotten. Feeling, what he so often publicly acknowledged, his entire de­pendence on God, he daily, at stated seasons, retired to his closet, to wor­ship, at his footstool, and to ask his divine blessing. He was remarkable for his strict observation of the sabbath, [Page 238] and exemplary in his attendance on public worship.

OF his faith in the truth and excel­lence of the holy scriptures, he gave evidence, not only by his excellent and most exemplary life, but in his writings; especially when he ascribes the meliorated condition of mankind, and the increased blessings of society, "above all, to the pure and benign light of revelation;" and when he offers to God, his earnest prayer "that he would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind, which were the cha­racteristics of the divine author of our blessed religion; without an humble imitation of whose example, in these things, we can never hope to be a happy nation."* In an address to [Page 249] him, immediately after he commen­ced his Presidency over the United States, from a venerable and respecta­ble body of men, who were in the best situation to know his religious cha­racter, and who, no doubt, expressed what they knew, is the following tes­timony to his faith in christianity. "But we derive a presage," say they, even more flattering, from the piety of your character. Public virtue is the most certain mean of public feli­city; and religion is the surest basis of virtue. We therefore esteem it a peculiar happiness to behold in our chief magistrate, a steady, uniform, avowed friend of the christian religion; who has commenced his administra­tion in rational and exalted sentiments of piety, and who, in his private con­duct, adorns the doctrines of the gos­pel of Christ." Grounded on these pure and excellent doctrines, to which [Page 240] his life was so conformable; copying, as he did, with such exemplary strict­ness and uniformity, the precepts of Christ, we have strong consolation and joy in believing, that ere this, he has heard from his God and Saviour, this enrapturing sentence, Well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord.

WHAT a blessing to the world, what an honor to human nature, is a cha­racter thus "throughout sublime?" What a bright exemplar for kings, for princes, for rulers of every name, for warriors, for farmers, for christians, for mankind? Thanks be to God for so rich a gift; praise to his name for be­stowing it on our nation, and thus dis­tinguishing it above all others on the globe, and let all the people of COLUM­BIA, with one voice, say AMEN.


THE WILL OF Gen. George Washington;


I GEORGE WASHINGTON, of Mount Vernon, a citizen of the United States, and late President of the same, [...]o make, ordain, and de­clare this instrument which is written with my own hand,* and every page thereof subscribed with my name, to be my last WILL and TESTA­MENT, revoking all other Imprimis. All my debts of which there are but few, and none of magni­tude, are to be punctually and speedily paid, and the legacies herein after bequeathed, are to be discharged as soon as circumstances will permit, and in the manner directed.

Item. To my dearly beloved wife Martha Wash­ington, I give and bequeath the use, profit, and benefit, of my whole estate, real and personal, for the term of her natural life, except such parts [Page 242] thereof as are specially disposed of hereafter. My improved lot in the town of Alexandria, situated on Pitt and Cameron streets, I give to her and her heirs forever: as I also do my household and kitchen furniture of every sort and kind, with the liquors and groceries which may be on hand at the time of my decease, to be used and disposed of as she may think proper.

Item. UPON the decease of my wife, it is my will and desire, that all the slaves which I hold in my own right shall receive their freedom. To eman­cipate them during her life, would, though ear­nestly wished by me, be attended with such insu­perable difficulties on account of their intermixture by marriages with the dower negroes, as to excite the most painful sensations, if not disagreeable consequences from the latter, while both descrip­tions are in the occupancy of the same proprietor; it not being in my power, under the tenure by which the dower negroes are held, to manumit them. And whereas, among those who will receive freedom according to this devise, there may be some who from old age or bodily infirmities, and others who, on account of their infancy, that will be unable to support themselves, it is my will and desire that all who come under the first and second description, shall be comfortably clothed and fed by my heirs while they live; and that such of the latter description as have no parents living, or if [...], are unable or unwilling to provide for them, shall be bound by the court until they shall arrive at the age of twenty-five years; and in cases where no record can be produced, whereby their ages can be ascertained, the judgment of the court upon, its own view of the subject, shall be ade­quate and final. The negrous thus bound, are (by their masters or mistresses) to be taught to read and write, and to be brought upon some use­ful occupation, agreeably to the laws of the com­monwealth of Virginia, providing for the support [Page 243] of orphan and other poor children. And I do hereby expressly forbid the sale or transportation out of the said commonwealth of any slave I may die possessed of under any pretence whatever. And I do moreover most pointedly and most so­lemnly enjoin it upon my Executors hereafter nam­ed or the survivors of them, to see that this clause respecting slaves and every part thereof, be reli­giously fulfilled at the epoch at which it is directed to take place, without evasion, neglect, or delay, after the crops which may then be on the ground are harvested, particularly as it respects the aged and infirm; seeing that a regular and permanent fund be established for their support as long as there are subjects requiring it; not trusting to the uncer­tain provision to be made by individuals: And to my mulatto man William (calling himself William Lee) I give immediate freedom, or if he should prefer it (on account of the accidents which have befallen him and which have rendered him incapable of walking or of any active employment) to remain in the situation he now is, it shall be optional in him to do so; in either case however, I allow him an an­nuity of thirty dollars during his natural life, which shall be independent of the victuals and cloaths he has been accustomed to receive, if he chuses the last alternative; but in full with his freedom, if he prefers the first: and this I give him as a testimony of my sense of his attachment to me, and for his faithful services during the revolu­tionary war.

Item. To the trustees, governors, or by whatso­ever other name they may be designated, of the academy in the town of Alexandria, I give and be­queath, in trust, four thousand dollars, or, in other words, twenty of the shares which I hold in the Bank of Alexandria, towards the support of a free school, established at, and annexed to, the said academy, for the purpose of educating such orphan children, or the children of such other poor and in­digent [Page 244] persons as are unable to accomplish it with their own means; and who, in the judgment of the trustees of the said seminary, are best entitled to the benefit of this donation. The aforesaid twenty shares I give and bequeath in perpituity; the di­vidends only of which are to be drawn for, and applied by the said trustees, for the time being, for the uses above mentioned; the stock to remain entire and untouched, unless indications of failure of the said Bank should be so apparent, or a dis­continuance thereof, should render a removal of this fund necessary. In either of these cases, the amount of the stock here devised is to be vested in some other Bank, or public institution, whereby the interest may with regularity and certainty be drawn, and applied as above: And, to prevent misconception, my meaning is, and is hereby de­clared to be, that these twenty shares are in lieu of, and not in addition to, the thousand pounds given by a missive letter some years ago; in con­sequence whereof, an annuity of fifty pounds has since been paid towards the support of this insti­tution.

Item. WHEREAS by a law of the commonwealth of Virginia, enacted in the year 1785, the legisla­ture thereof was pleased (as an evidence of its ap­probation of the services I had rendered the pub­lic during the revolution, and partly I believe in consideration of my having suggested the vast advantages which the community would derive from the extension of its inland navigation under legislative patronage) to present me with one hun­dred shares of one hundred dollars each, in the in­corporated company established for the purpose of extending the navigation of James River from tide water to the mountains; and also with fifty shares of one pound sterling each, in the corporation of another company likewise established for the simi­lar purpose of opening the navigation of the river Potomac, from tide water to Fort Cumberland; [Page 245] the acceptance of which, although the offer was highly honorable and grateful to my feelings, was refused as inconsistent with a principle which I had adopted, and had never departed from; namely, not to receive pecuniary compensation for any ser­vices I could render my country, in its arduous struggle with Great-Britain for its rights; and be­cause I had evaded similar propositions from other states in the Union. Adding to this refusal, how­ever, an intimation that, if it should be the plea­sure of the legislature to permit me to appropriate the said shares to public uses, I would receive them on those terms with due sensibility; and this it having consented to, in flattering terms, as will appear by a subsequent law and sundry resolutions, in the most ample and honorable manner. I pro­ceed after this recital, for the more correct under­standing of the case, to declare—that as it has al­ways been a source of serious regrot with me to see the youth of these United States sent to foreign countries for the purpose of education, often be­fore their minds are formed, or they had imbibed any adequate ideas of the happiness of their own; contracting too frequently, not only habits of dis­sipation and extravagance, but principles unfriend­ly to republican government, and to the true and genuine liberties of mankind; which, thereafter are rarely overcome. For these reasons, it has been my ardent wish to see a plan devised on a li­beral scale which would have a tendency to spread systematic ideas through all parts of this rising em­pire, thereby to do away local attachments and state prejudices, as far as the nature of things would, or indeed ought to admit, from our national councils.—Looking anxiously forward to the ac­complishment of so desirable an object as this is (in my estimation) my mind has not been able to contemplate any plan more likely to effect the mea­ [...]ure than the establishment of a university in a central part of the United States, to which the [Page 246] youths of fortune and talents from all parts thereof might be sent for the completion of their educa­tion in all the branches of polite literature, in arts and sciences, in acquiring knowledge in the prin­ciples of politics and good government, and (as a matter of infinite importance in my judgment) by associating with each other, and forming friend­ships in juvenile years, be enabled to free them­selves in a proper degree from those local prejudi­ces and habitual jealousies which have just been mentioned; and which, when carried to excess, are never-failing sources of disquietude to the pub­lic mind, and pregmant of mischievous consequen­ces to this country. Under these impressions, so fully dilated,

Item. I GIVE and bequeath in perpetuity the fifty shares which I hold in the Patomac Company (under the aforesaid acts of the legislature of Vir­ginia) towards the endowment of a University, to be established within the limits of the district of Columbia, under the auspices of the general go­vernment, if that government should incline to ex­tend a fostering hand towards it; and until such se­minary is established, and the funds arising on these shares shall be required for its support, my further will and desire is, that the profit accruing therefrom shall, whenever the dividends are made, be laid out in purchasing stock in the Bank of Co­lumbia, or some other Bank, at the discretion of my Executors, or by the Treasurer of the United States for the time being, under the direction of Congress; provided that honorable body should patronize the measure, and the dividends proceed­ing from the purchase of such stock is to be vested in more stock, and so on, until a sum adequate to the accomplishment of the object is obtained; of which I have not the smallest doubt, before many years pass away, even if no aid or encouragement is given by legislative authority, or from any other source.

[Page 247] Item. THE hundred shares which I hold in the James River Company, I have given, and now confirm in perpetuity, to and for the use and be­nefit of Liberty Hall Academy, in the county of Rockbridge, in the commonwealth of Virginia.

Item. I RELEASE, exhonerate, and discharge the estate of my deceased brother Samuel Washington, from the payment of the money which is due to me for the land I sold to Philip Pendleton (lying in the county of Berkeley) who assigned the same to him, the said Samuel, who by agreement, was to pay me therefore: And whereas, by some contract (the pur­port of which was never communicated to me) be­tween the said Samuel and his son Thornton Washington, the latter became possessed of the aforesaid land, without any conveyance having passed from me, either to the said Pendleton, the said Samuel, or the said Thornton, and without any consideration having been made, by which neglect neither the legal nor equitable title has been alienated; it rests therefore with me to de­clare my intentions concerning the premises; and these are to give and bequeath the said land to whomsoever the said Thornton Washington (who is also dead) devised the same, or to his heirs for­ever, if he died intestate; exhonerating the estate of the said Thornton, equally with that of the said Samuel, from payment of the purchase money, which, with interest agreeably to the original con­tract with the said Pendleton, would amount to more than a thousand pounds: And whereas two other sons of my said deceased brother Samuel, namely, George Steptoe Washington, and Law­rence Augustine Washington, were by the de­cease of those to whose care they were committed, brought under my protection, and in consequence have occasioned advances on my part for their education at college and other schools, for their Board, cloathing, and other incidental expences, to the amount of near five thousand dollars over [Page 248] and above the sums furnished by their estate, which sum it may be inconvenient for them or their father's estate to refund—I do for these reasons, acquit them and the said estate from the payment thereof—my intention being that all accounts be­tween them and me, and their father's estate and me, shall stand balanced.

Item. THE balance due to me from the estate of Bartholomew Dandridge, deceased (my wife's bro­ther) and which amounted, on the first day of Oc­tober 1795, to four hundred and twenty-five pounds (as will appear by an account rendered by his de­ceased son, John Dandridge, who was the acting executor of his father's will) I release and acquit from the payment thereof; and the negroes (then thirty-three in number) formerly belonging to the said estate, who were taken in execution, sold and purchased in on my account, in the year (blank) and ever since have remained in the possession and to the use of Mary, widow of the said Bartholo­mew Dandridge, with their increase, it is my will and desire shall continue to be in her possession, without paying hire, or making compensation for the same, for the time past or to come, during her natural life. At the expiration of which, I direct that all of them, who are forty years old and up­wards, shall receive their freedom; all under that age and above sixteen, shall serve seven years, and no longer; and all under sixteen years, shall serve until they are twenty-five years of age, and then be free:—And to avoid disputes respecting the ages of any of these negroes, they are to be taken into the court of the county in which they reside, and the judgment thereof, in this relation, shall be final, and record thereof made, which may be adduced as evidence at any time thereafter, if disputes should arise concerning the same—And I further direct, that the heirs of the said Bartholo­mew Dandridge shall equally share the benefits arising from the services of the said negroes, ac­cording [Page 249] to the tenor of this devise, upon the de­cease of their mother.

Item. IF Charles Carter, who intermarried with my niece Betty Lewis, is not sufficiently secured in the title to the lots he had of me, in the town of Fredericksburgh, it is my will and desire that my Executors shall make such conveyances of them as the law requires, to render it perfect.

Item. TO my nephew William Augustine Wash­ington (if he should conceive them to be objects worth prosecuting) and to his heirs, a lot in the town of Manchester (opposite to Richmond) No. 265, drawn on my sole account, and also the tenth of one of two hundred acre lots, and two or three half acre lots, in the city and vicinity of Richmond, drawn in partnership with nine others, all in the lottery of the deceased William Byrd, are given; as is also a lot which I purchased of John Hood, conveyed by William Willie and Samuel Gordon, trustees of the said John Hood, numbered 139, in the town of Edinburgh, in the county of Prince George, state of Virginia.

Item. To my nephew Bushrod Washington, I give and bequeath all the papers in my possession, which relate to my civil and military administra­tion of the affairs of this country: I leave to him also, such of my private papers as are worth pre­serving; and at the decease of my wife, and be­fore, if she is not inclined to retain them, I give and bequeath my library of books and pamphlets of every kind.

Item. HAVING sold lands which I possessed in the state of Pennsylvania, and part of a tract held in equal right with George Clinton, late governor of New-York, in the state of New-York; my share of land and interest in the Great Dismal Swamp, and a tract of land which I owned in the county of Gloucester—withholding the legal titles thereto, until the consideration money should be paid—and [Page 250] having moreover leased, and conditionally sold (as will appear by the tenor of the said leases) all my lands upon the Great Kenhawa, and a tract upon Difficult Run, in the county of Loudon, it is my will and direction, that whensoever the contracts are fully and respectively complied with, according to the spirit, true intent and meaning thereof, on the part of the purchasers, their heirs or assigns, that then, and in that case, conveyances are to be made, agreeable to the terms of the said contracts, and the money arising therefrom, when paid, to be vested in Bank stock; the dividends whereof, as of that also which is already vested therein, is to inure to my said wife during her life, but the stock itself is to remain and be subject to the general distribution hereafter directed.

Item. To the Earl of Buchan I recommit "the box made of the oak that sheltered the great Sir William Wallace after the battle of Falkirk," pre­sented to me by his lordship, in terms too flattering for me to repeat, with a request "to pass it, on the event of my decease, to the man in my country, who should appear to merit it best, upon the same conditions that have induced him to send it to me." Whether easy or not, to select the man who might comport with his lordship's opinion in this respect, is not for me to say; but conceiving that no dispo­sition of this valuable curiosity can be more eligi­ble than the recommitment of it to his own cabinet, agreeably to the original design of the Goldsmith's Company of Edinburgh, who presented it to him, and, at his request, consented that it should be transferred to me: I do give and bequeath the same to his lordship; and in case of his decease, to his heir, with my grateful thanks for the distin­guished honor of presenting it to me, and more es­pecially for the favorable sentiments with which he accompanied it.

Item. To my brother Charles Washington, I give and bequeath the gold headed cane left me [Page 251] by Dr. Franklin, in his will. I add nothing to it, because of the ample provision I have made for his issue. To the acquaintances and friends of my ju­venile years, Lawrence Washington and Robert Washington, of Chotanek, I give my other two gold headed canes, having my arms engraved on them; and to each (as they will be useful where they live) I leave one of the spy-glasses, which con­stituted part of my equipage, during the late war. To my compatriot in arms and old and intimate friend Dr. Craik, I give my bureau (or, as the ca­binet makers call it, tambour secretary) and the circular chair, an appendage of my study. To Dr. David Stuart I give my large shaving and dressing table, and my telescope. To the Reve­rend, now Bryan Lord Fairfax, I give a bible, in three large folio volumes, with notes—presented to me by the Rt. Rev. Thomas Wilson, bishop of Sodor and Man. To General De La Fayette, I give a pair of finely wrought steel pistols, taken from the enemy in the revolutionary war. To my sisters-in-law Hannah Washington and Mildred Washington; to my friends Eleanor Stuart. Han­nah Washington, of Fairfield, and Elizabeth Washington of Hayfield, I give each a mourning ring, of the value of one hundred dollars. These bequests are not made for the intrinsic value of them, but as momentos of my esteem and regard. To Tobias Lear I give the use of the farm which he now holds, in virtue of a lease from me to him and his deceased wife (for and during their natural lives) free from rent during his life; at the expira­tion of which, it is to be disposed of as is herein after directed. To Sally B. Haynie (a distant re­lation of mine) I give and bequeath three hundred dollars. To Sarah Green, daughter of the deceas­ed Thomas Bishop, and to Ann Walker, daughter of John Alton, also deceased, I give each one hun­dred dollars, in consideration of the attachment of their fathers to me; each of whom having lived [Page 252] nearly forty years in my family. To each of my nephews William Augustine Washington, George Lewis, George Steptoe Washington, Bushrod Washington, and Samuel Washington, I give one of the swords or cutteaux, of which I may die pos­sessed: and they are to choose in the order they are named.—These swords are accompanied with an injunction not to unsheath them for the purpose of shedding blood, except it be for self-defence, or in defence of their country and its rights; and in the latter case, to keep them unsheathed, and pre­fer falling with them in their hands to the relin­quishment thereof.

AND HOW, having gone through these specific devises, with explanations for the more correct un­derstanding of the meaning and design of them, I proceed to the distribution of the more important parts of my estate, in manner following:

FIRST. To my nephew Bushrod Washington and his heirs (partly in consideration of an intima­tion to his deceased father, while we were bache­lors, and he had kindly undertaken to superintend my estate during my military services, in the for­mer war between Great Britain and France, that if I should fall therein, Mount Vernon, then less extensive in domain than at present, should be­come his property) I give and bequeath all that part thereof, which is comprehended in the follow­ing limits, viz: Beginning at the ford of Dogue Run, near my mill, and extending along the road, and bounded thereby, as it now goes and ever has gone since my recollection of it, to the ford of Little Hunting Creek, at the Gum Spring, until it comes to a knowl opposite to an old road which formerly passed through the lower field of muddy­hole farm; at which, on the north side of the said road, are three red or Spanish oaks, marked as a corner, and a stone placed; thence by a line of trees to be marked rect-angular to the back line or outer boundary of the tract between Thomson [Page 253] Mason and myself; thence with that line easterly (now double ditching with a post and rail fence thereon) to the run of Little Hunting Creek; thence with that run which is the boundary be­tween the lands of the late Humphrey Peake and me, to the tide water of the said creek; thence by that water to Potomac river; thence with the river to the mouth of Dogue Creek; and thence with the said Dogue Creek to the place of begin­ning at the aforesaid ford, containing upwards of four thousand acres, be the same more or less, to­gether with the mansion house, and all other build­ings and improvements thereon. SECOND—In consideration of the consanguinity between them and my wife, being as nearly related to her as to myself; as on account of the affection I had for, and the obligation I was under to their father when living, who, from his youth had attached himself to my person, and followed my fortunes through the vicissitudes of the late revolution, afterwards de­voting his time to the superintendance of my pri­vate concerns for many years, whilst my public employments rendered it impracticable for me to do it myself, thereby affording me essential ser­vices, and always performing them in a manner the most filial and respectful: for these reasons, I say, I give and bequeath to George Fayette Washington and Lawrence Augustine Washing­ton, and their heirs, my estate east of Little Hunt­ing Creek, lying on the river Potomac, including the farm of three hundred and sixty acres, leased to Tobias Lear, as noticed before, and containing in the whole, by deed, two thousand and twenty-seven acres, be it more or less; which said estate it is my will and desire should be equitably and ad­vantageously divided between them, according to quantity, quality, and other circumstances, when the youngest shall have arrived at the age of twen­ty-one years, by three judicious and disinterested [Page 254] men; one to be chosen by each of the brothers, and the third by these two. In the mean time, if the termination of my wife's interest therein should have ceased, the profits arising therefrom are to be applied for their joint uses and benefit. THIRD—And whereas it has always been my intention, since my expectation of having issue has ceased, to con­sider the grand children of my wife, in the same light as I do my own relations, and to act a friendly part by them, more especially by the two whom we have raised from their earliest infancy, namely, Eleanor Park Custis and George Washington Park Custis: and whereas the former of these hath lately intermarried with Lawrence Lewis, a son of my deceased sister Betty Lewis, by which union the inducement to provide for them both has been increased; wherefore I give and bequeath to the said Lawrence Lewis and Eleanor Park Lewis, his wife, and their heirs, the residue of my Mount Vernon estate, not already devised to my nephew Bushrod Washington, comprehended within the following description, viz. All the land north of the road leading from the ford of Dogue Run to the Gum Spring, as described in the devise of the other part of the tract, to Bushrod Washington, until it comes to the stone and three red or Spa­nish oaks on the knowl; thence with the rect-an­gular line to the back line (between Mr. Mason and me) thence with that line westerly along the new double ditch to Dogue Run by the tumbling dam of my mill; thence with the said run to the ford aforementioned; to which I add all the land I possess west of the said Dogue Run and Dogue Creek, bounded easterly and southerly thereby; together with the mill, distillery, and all other houses and improvements on the premises, making together about two thousand acres, be it more or less. FOURTH—Actuated by the principle already mentioned, I give and bequeath to George Wash­ington Park Custis, the grandson of my wife, and [Page 255] my ward, and to his heirs, the tract I hold on Four Mile Run in the vicinity of Alexandria, containing one thousand two hundred acres, more or less, and my entire square, number twenty-one, in the city of Washington. FIFTH—All the rest and residue of my estate, real and personal, not disposed of in manner aforesaid, in whatsoever consisting, where­soever lying, and whensoever found, a schedule of which as far as is recollected, with a reasonable estimate of its value, is hereunto annexed, I de­sire may be sold by my Executors at such times, in such manner, and on such credits (if an equal, valid, and satisfactory distribution of the specific property cannot be made without) as in their judgment shall be most conducive to the interest of the parties concerned, and the monies arising therefrom to be divided into twenty-three equal parts, and applied as follows: viz. To William Augustine Washington, Elizabeth Spotswood, Jane Thornton, and the heirs of Ann Ashton, son and daughters of my deceased brother Augustine Washington, I give and bequeath four parts, that is, one part to each of them. To Fielding Lewis, George Lewis, Robert Lewis, Howell Lewis, and Betty Carter, sons and daughter of my de­ceased sister Betty Lewis, I give and bequeath five other parts, one to each of them. To George Steptoe Washington, Lawrence Augustine Wash­ington, Harriot Parks, and the heirs of Thornton Washington, sons and daughter of my deceased brother Samuel Washington, I give and bequeath the other four parts, one part to each of them. To Corbin Washington, and the heirs of Jane Wash­ington, son and daughter of my deceased brother John Augustine Washington, I give and bequeath two parts, one to each of them. To Samuel Washington, Frances Ball, and Mildred Hammond, son and daughters of my brother Charles Wash­ington, I give and bequeath three parts, one part to each of them: and to George Fayette Wash­ington [Page 256] Charles Augustine Washington, and Ma­ria Washington, sons and daughter of my deceas­ed nephew George Augustine Washington, I give one other part, that is, to each a third of that part. To Elizabeth Park Law, Martha Park Pe­ter, and Eleanor Park Lewis, I give and bequeath three other parts, that is, a part to each of them: and to my nephew Bushrod Washington and Law­rence Lewis, and to my [...], the grandson of my wife, I give and bequeath one other part, that is, a third thereof to each of them.—And if it should so happen, that any of the persons whose names are here enumerated (unknown to me) should now be dead, or should die before me, that in either of these cases, the heirs of such deceased persons shall, notwithstanding, devise all the benefits of the bequest, in the same manner as if he or she was actually living at the time; and by way of ad­vice, I recommend it to my Executors not to be precipitate in disposing of the landed property (therein directed to be sold) if from temporary causes the sale thereof should be dull; experience having fully evinced that the price of land (espe­cially above the falls of the rivers, and on the wes­tern waters) have been progressively rising, and cannot be long checked in its increasing value. And I particularly recommend it to such of the legatees (under this clause of my WILL) as can make it convenient, to take each a share of my stock in the Potomac Company, in preference to the amount of what it might sell for, being tho­roughly convinced myself, that no uses to which the money can be applied, will be so productive as the tolls arising from this navigation, when in full operation (and this from the nature of things it must be ere long) and more especially if that of the Shenandoah is added thereto.

THE family vault at Mount Vernon requiring repairs, and being improperly situated besides, I desire that a new one, of brick, and upon a larger [Page 257] scale, may be built at the foot of what is common­ly called the Vineyard Inclosure, on the ground which is marked out; in which my remains, with those of my deceased relations (now in the old vault) and such others of my family as may chuse to be en­tombed there, may be deposited. And it is my express desire, that my corpse may be interred in a private manner, without parade or funeral ora­tion.

LASTLY, I constitute and appoint my dearly be­loved wife Martha Washington, my nephews Wil­liam Augustine Washington, Bushrod Washington, George Steptoe Washington, Samuel Washington, and Lawrence Lewis, and my ward George Washington Park Custis (when he shall have arrived at the age of twenty years) Executrix and Executors of this WILL and TESTAMENT; in the construction of which, it will readily be perceived, that no professional charac­ter has been consulted, or has had any agency in the draught; and that although it has occupied ma­ny of my leisure hours to digest, and to throw it into its present form, it may, notwithstanding, ap­pear crude and incorrect; but having endeavored to be plain and explicit in all the devises, even at the expence of prolixity, perhaps of tautology, I hope and trust that no disputes will arise concern­ing them; but if, contrary to expectation, the case should be otherwise, from the want of legal expression, or the usual technical terms, or be­cause too much or too little has been said on any of the devises, to be consonant with law, my will and direction expressly is, that all disputes (if un­happily any should arise) shall be decided by three impartial and intelligent men, known for their pro­bity and good understanding; two to be chosen by the disputants, each having the choice of one, and the third by those two; which three men thus chosen, shall, unfettered by law or legal construc­tions, declare the sense of the testator's intentions: and such decision is, to all intents and purposes, [Page 258] to be as binding on the parties as if it had been gi­ven in the supreme court of the United States.

IN WITNESS of all, and of each of the things herein contained, I have set my hand and seal, this ninth day of July, in the year one thousand seven hundred and ninetyIT appears the testator omitted the word "Nine." and of the independence of the United States the twenty-fourth.

George Washington. (seal.)


Of property comprehended in the foregoing WILL, which is directed to be sold, and some of it conditionally is sold; with descriptive and explanatory notes thereto.

Loudon co. Difficult Run,300 6,666a
Loudon and Fauquier,   
Ashby's Beut,248110d.24,810b.
Chattin's Run,88587,080b.
Berkely, S. [...]o [...]k of Bouliskin,1600  
Head of Evan's m.453  
In Wormley's line,183  
Frederick, bo't from Mercer,5712011,420d
Hampshire, on Potomac ri­ver above B.210153,600e
Gloucester, on North river,400about3,600f
Nansemond, near Suffold, one third of 1,119 acres,37382,984g
Great Dismal Swamp, my di­vidend thereof, about20,000h
Ohio river, Round Bottom, [...]87  
Little Kanhawa,2314  
Sixteen miles lower down,2448  
Opposite Big Bent,4395  
 8700 [...]97,440i

Near the North West, 10,180 
East side above, 7,276 
Mouth of Cole river, 2,000 
Opposite thereto,2,9503,075 
Burning Spring,125 

Charles County,60063,600l
Montgomery County,519126,229m

Great Meadows,23451,404n

Mohawk river,about 100066,000o

On little Miami,339  
On little Miami,977  
On little Miami,1235  
 3251515,25 [...] [...]t

Rough Creek,3000  
Rough Creek, adjoining,2000  

Two near the capitol, square 634, cost 963 dollars, and with buildings,15,000r
Nos. 5, 12, 13, and 14, the three last water lots on the Eastern Branch, in square 667, containing together 34,438 square feet, at 12 cents,4,132s

Corner of Pitt and Prince streets, half an acre laid out into buildings, three or four of which are let on ground rent at three dollars per foot,4,000t

A lot in the town of half an acre, and another in the commons of about six acres supposed,400u

Two well situated, and had buildings to the amount of 150l.800v

Six per cent.3,746
Six per cent. deferred,1,8732,500
Three per cent,2,9462,500

Twenty-four shares, cost each 100l. sterling,10,666x

Five shares, each cost 100 dollars,500y

One hundred and seventy shares, cost 40 dollars each,6,800z

Besides 20 shares to the free school—51,000

One covering horse, five carriage horses, four riding horse, six brood mares, 20 working horses and mares, 2 covering jacks, and 3 young ones, 10 she asses, 42 working mules, 15 younger ones, [...]29 head of horned cattle, 640 head of sheep, and a large stock of hogs, the precise number unknown.☞My manager has estimated this live stock at 7,000l. but I shall set it down in or­der to make a round sum, at15,658
Aggregate amount,530,000


a. THIS tract, for the size of it, is valuable, more for its situation than the quality of its soil, though that is good for farming; with a considerable pro­portion of ground, that might very easily be im­proved into meadow. It lies on the great road from the City of Washington, Alexandria, and George-Town, to Leesburgh and Winchester, at Difficult Bridge, nineteen miles from Alexandria, less from the City and George-Town, and not more than three from Matildaville, at the great falls of Potomac. There is a valuable seat on the premises, and the whole is conditionally sold for the sum annexed in the schédule.

b. WHAT the selling prices of lands in the vici­nity of those two tracts are, I know not; but com­pared with those above the ridge, and others be­low [Page 262] them, the value annexed will appear mode­rate; a less one would not obtain them from me.

c. THE surrounding land not superior in soil, si­tuation, or properties of any sort, sells currently at from twenty to thirty dollars an acre. The lowest price is affixed to these.

d. THE observations made in the last note, ap­ply equally to this tract, being in the vicinity of them, and of similar quality, although it lies in another county.

e. THIS tract, though small, is extremely valu­able It lies on Potomac river, about twelve miles above the town of Bath (or Warm Springs) and is in the shape of a horse-shoe, the river running al­most around it. Two hundred acres of it are rich low grounds, with a great abundance of the larg­est and finest walnut trees, which, with the pro­duce of the soil, might (by means of the improved navigation of the Potomac) be brought to a ship­ping port with more ease, and at a smaller ex­pense, than that which is transported thirty miles only by land.

f. THIS tract is of second rate Gloucester low grounds. It has no improvements thereon, but lies on navigable water, abounding in fish and oys­ters. It was received in payment of a debt (car­rying interest) and valued, in the year 1789, by an impartial gentleman, at 800l.—N. B. It has been sold, and there is due thereon a balance equal to what is annexed in the schedule.

g. THESE 373 acres are the third part of undi­vided purchases made by the deceased Fielding Lewis, Thomas Walker, and myself, on full con­viction that they would become valuable.—The land lies on the road from Suffolk to Norfolk, touches (if I am not mistaken) some part of the na­vigable water of Nansemond river; the rich Dis­mal Swamp is capable of great improvement, and, from its situation, must become extremely valuable.

[Page 263] h. THIS is an undivided interest which I held in the great Dismal Swamp Company, containing about 4,000 acres, with my part of the plantation and stock thereon, belonging to the Company in the said Swamp.

i. THESE several tracts of land are of the first quality on the Ohio river, in the parts where they are situated being almost, if not altogether, river bottoms. The smallest of these tracts is actually sold at ten dollars an acre, but the consideration therefor not received. The rest are equally valua­ble, and will sell as high; especially that which lies just below the Little Kanhawa, and is opposite to a thick settlement on the west side the river. The four tracts have an aggregate breadth upon the ri­ver of sixteen miles, and are bounded thereby that distance.

k. THESE tracts are situated on the Great Kan­hawa river, and the first four are bounded thereby for more than 40 miles. It is acknowledged by all who have seen them (and of the tract contain­ing 10, 990 acres, which I have been on myself, I can assert) that there is no richer or more valuable land in all that region. They are conditionally sold for the sum mentioned in the schedule, that is 200,000 dollars, and if the terms of that sale is not complied with, they will command considerably more.—The tract, of which the 125 acres is a moiety, was taken up by General Andrew Lewis and myself, for and on account of a bitumenous spring which it contains, of so inflamable a nature, as to burn as freely as spirits, and is nearly as diffi­cult to extinguish.

l. I AM but little acquainted with this land, al­though I have once been on it. It was received (many years since) in discharge of a debt due to me from Daniel Jenifer Adams, at the value an­nexed thereto, and must be worth more. It is very level—lies near the river Potomac.

[Page 264] m. THIS tract lies about 30 miles above the city of Washington, not for from Kittoctan. It is good farming land, and, by those who are well acquaint­ed with it, I am informed that it would sell at twelve or fifteen dollars per acre.

n. THIS land is valuable on account of its local situation and other properties. It affords an ex­ceeding good stand on Braddock's road from Fort Cumberland to Pittsburg; and, besides a fertile soil, possesses a large quantity of natural meadow, fit for the scythe. It is distinguished by the appel­lation of the Great Meadows, where the first ac­tion with the French, in the year 1754, was fought.

o. THIS is the moiety of about 2000 acres which remains unsold, of 6071 acres on the Mohawk river (Montgomery county) in a patent granted to Daniel Coxe, in the township of Coxeborough and Carolina, as will appear by deed, from Ma­rinus Willet and wife, to George Clinton (late governor of New-York) and myself. The latter sales have been at six dollars an acre▪ and what re­mains unsold will fetch that or more.

p. THE quality of these lands and their situa­tion, may be known by the surveyor's certificates, which are filed along with the patents. They lie in the vicinity of Cincinnati; one tract near the mouth of the little Miami; another seven, and the third ten miles up the same. I have been inform­ed that they will readily command more than they are estimated at.

q. FOR the description of those tracts in detail, see General Spotswood's letters, filed with the other papers relating to them. Besides the gene­ral good quality of the land, there is a valuable bank of iron ore thereon, which, when the settle­ment becomes more populous (and settlers are moving that way very fast) will be found very va­luable, as the Rough Creek, a branch of Green River, affords ample water for furnaces and forges.

[Page 265]


r. THE two lots near the capitol, in square 634, cost me 963 dollars only; but in this price I was favored, on condition that I should build two brick houses, three story high each: without this reduc­tion the selling prices of these lots would have cost me about 1350 dollars. These lots, with the buildings on them, when completed, will stand me in 15,000 dollars at least.

s. LOTS Nos. 5, 12, 13, and 14, on the eastern branch, are advantageously situated on the water, and although many lots much less convenient have sold a great deal higher, I will rate these at 12 cents the square foot only.


t. FOR this lot, though unimproved, I have re­fused 3500 dollars. It has since been laid off into proper sized lots for building on, three or four of which are let on ground rent for ever, at three dol­lars a foot on the street, and this price is asked for both fronts on Pitt and Prince street.


u. As neither the lot in the town or common have any improvements on them, it is not easy to fix a price; but as both are well situated, it is pre­sumed the price annexed to them in the schedule is a reasonable valuation.


v. THE lots in Bath (two adjoining) cost me to the best of my recollection between 50 and 60 pounds, 20 years ago; and the buildings thereon 150l. more.—Whether property there has increas­ed or decreased in its value, and in what condition the houses are, I am ignorant—but suppose they are not valued too high.

[Page 266]


w. THESE are the sums which are actually fund­ed, and though no more in the aggregate than 7,566 dollars, stand me in at least ten thousand pounds, Virginia money; being the amount of bonded and other debts due to me, and discharged during the war, when money had depreciated in that rate☞and was so settled by public autho­rity.

x. THE value annexed to these shares is what they actually cost me, and is the price affixed by law; and although the present selling price is un­der par, my advice to the Legatees (for whose be­nefit they are intended, especially those who can afford to lie out of the money) is that each should take and hold one—there being a moral certainty of a great and increasing profit arising from them in the course of a few years.

y. IT is supposed that the shares in the James River Company must also be productive: But of this I can give no decided opinion, for want of more accurate information.

z. THESE are the nominal prices of the shares in the Banks of Alexandria and Columbia; the selling prices vary according to circumstances; but as the stock usually divides from eight to ten per cent per annum, they must be worth the for­mer, at least, so long as the Banks are conceived to be secure, although circumstances may some­times make them below it.

THE value of the live stock depends more upon the quality than quantity of the different species of it; and this again upon the demand and judgment, or fancy of purchasers.

George Washington,


WHILE the American family, in one great funeral procession, is mourning its deceased father; while every description of its members is emulous to honor him by a tribute as various and unrivalled as his merits; this antient University, who was an early witness and subject of his pro­tecting virtues, now presents at his tomb her hum­ble, yet fervent oblation. Led on by our respect­ed collegiate head, we have paid to departed worth those academic honors, which elegiac poetry, mu­sic, and eloquence could bestow.* It remains that we hallow and consummate our offering by those moral and religious sentiments, which the word of God and a corresponding act of devotion are fit­ted to inspire. Such sentiments peculiarly become the profession of the speaker, the character of a christian seminary, and the pre-eminent virtue of the man we deplore.

THE records of frail and uninspired mortals have in vain been searched for a complete archetype of our illustrious WASHINGTON. So finished a copy [Page 268] was evidently borrowed from a higher original. It was the image, as well as production of Him, who is the great exemplar and source of perfection. Indeed every degree of excellence in a created mind is at once the offspring and likeness of infi­nite intelligence and goodness. Yet certain personages have occasionally adorned the theatre of our world, who have been extraordinary ministers and repre­sentatives of deity. To such characters divine in­spiration, as well as human sentiment and feeling, applies the glorious epithet of Gods upon earth. While the justness of this application, in the pre­sent instance, is attested by an admiring world; the sudden removal of the object admired qualifies our respect for his greatness by the impression of his frailty, and forbids our deifying the creature at the expense of the Creator.

To add light and force to these sentiments, let me call your attention to that declaration of the Most High respecting his political vicegerents here below;

I have said, ye are Gods; but ye shall die like men.

I HAVE said, ye are Gods. The name God, usually denotes the underived and all perfect Being, pos­sessing unlimited power, understanding, and be­nevolence; whose infinite greatness imparts light, strength, and majesty to his goodness; while his unbounded goodness gives equal beauty and dig­nity to his greatness. The union of both qualifies and engages Him to promote his own glory in con­nection with the highest good of that universe, which the same attributes called into existence. Since the character of the supreme divinity thus com­bines the greatest ability and disposition to com­municate happiness with the regular and constant exertion of both; the title of gods, by a bold and significant figure, is conferred on those subordinate beings, who inherit from Him large portions of these godlike qualities, and employ them for the divine purpose of extensive good. Thus celestial [Page 269] principalities and earthly rulers are styled gods, be­cause their inherent or delegated powers, their al­lotted or actual services, peculiarly represent the majesty and beneficence of the Most High. When this character is given to men in dignified stations, it imports that both their duty and glory consist in co-operating the design, imitating the purity, and reflecting the lustre of the divine administration.*

IN this view, what human being, not assisted by miraculous interposition, ever possessed a higher claim to this distinction, than our departed bene­factor? The union of his intrinsic qualities and destined services fills our imaginations with an idea so august, that a minute detail would but diminish its splendor and force.

YOU will not expect from the speaker, especially at this late hour, the needless and presumptuous effort, to do justice to a character, on which the best resources of American gratitude, genius, and taste, have already been exhausted. Nor will you look for a vain attempt to rouse, in any high degree, those poignant sensibilities, which, after repeated and forcible exercise, have been softened by the kind hand of time into mournful resignation. The subject and occasion however demand a sober and instructive application of our inspired motto to the life and death of our beloved patriot. If, in this application, we sometimes adopt the bold, but war­ranted style of the text; you will consider us not as paying divine honors to WASHINGTON, but as chiefly aiming to glorify the Supreme Ruler through the medium of his favorite minister.

[Page 270] IT was the high destiny of WASHINGTON, to be selected in the counsels of Heaven, as its leading agent in the most glorious and beneficent work, which perhaps was ever accomplished in the politi­cal world. This peculiar allotment gives him a marked pre-eminence in the annals of human greatness. Though existing or future patriots may possibly rival him in other respects; yet to him was eminently consigned the province of severing the new world from the old, and of erecting the former into an independent, stable, and glorious fabric of liberty and happiness.

THE same unerring wisdom, which had appointed him to this work, gradually ripened him for its ex­ecution by a nice adjustment of his birth and educa­tion, of his bodily and mental constitution, of his early fortunes and pursuits. In these previous steps we recognize the same invisible hand, which by similar arrangements prepared the ancient deliverer and lawgiver of Israel for the great scenes of his public life. In the bodily constitution of our hero were united a vigor, firmness, and dignity, which at once represented and supported the energy and greatness of his mind; and which seemed to desig­nate him for high command and arduous enterprise. His intellectual furniture combined a clear and comprehensive understanding, a correct and culti­vated taste, a pro [...]pt and retentive memory, a sound and deliberate judgment. He conceived and expressed his sentiments with justness, preci­sion, and strength. He formed and executed his plans with circumspection, policy, and vigor. The productions of his pen were uniformly excellent. They furnish an eminent model of chaste and per­spicuous, of concise and elegant composition. Their matter and style are ever appropriate to the subject and occasion. They exhibit, in the most unaffected and diversified manner, not only the in­exhausted resources of his genius, but the steady and elevated goodness of his heart.

[Page 271] As the greatness of God, rightly understood, in­volves, and indeed is principally formed by infinite rectitude; so his departed minister was chiefly en­nobled by the majesty of his virtue. His avowed and sublime principles of morality and piety enlarg­ed his understanding, and exalted his affections. They originated some of his great qualities, and imparted direction, vigor, and beauty to all. They supported a constant propriety and dignity both of sentiment and action in his individual, domestic, and public capacities. His unusual command of appetite and passion made the serenity, clearness, and uniformity of his mind resemble those of supe­rior beings. His investigation, discernment, and practical observance of truth, rectitude, and honor were never known to be either obstructed by plea­sure, relaxed by indolence, disturbed by resentment, controuled by fear, intercepted by interest, or borne down by ambition. In short, the splendor of his character arose, not so much from the strik­ing predominance of any one virtue, as from the singular union and culture of all, and the wonder­ful adaptation of his leading moral qualities to his peculiar and arduous situations.

THIS bright assemblage of virtues strikes us with less astonishment, when we add that their possessor was, both in faith and practice, a christian. What­ever inflence we ascribe to the peculiar structure of his mind and his polished education; yet as christian principles were early interwoven with this structure and education, they must, under the divine blessing, have principally contributed to his excellent character. Agreeably, in his circular letter at the close of the revolutionary war, he as­cribes the meliorated condition of mankind "above all other causes, to the pure and benign light of reve­lation;" and earnestly prays that God "would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to de­mean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind, which were the character­istics [Page 272] of the Divine Author of our blessed religion; with out a humble imitation of whose example, we can never hope to be a happy nation." When we compare this solemn testimony in favor of the gos­pel with his exemplary regard to its public institu­tions, and his uncommon display of its excellent spirit; can we avoid the conclusion, that his emi­nent character was chiefly produced by its heaven­ly doctrines; by "a humble imitation of the per­fect example" it proposes; and above all, by the gracious and promised influence of its "divine author?" Well may he be ranked among earthly Gods, who to other great accomplishments united a "humble," yet near resemblance of Him, who is the standard of human perfection, and the express image of divine glory.

THE Author of nature and grace, having thus prepared his chosen servant, by enduing him with a large portion of internal greatness, at length by his providence raised him to a corresponding sphere of external dignity. The voice of God speaking in the unanimous appointment of a great and en­lightened people, created him their military lead­er, and afterward their political head. He accept­ed and fulfilled each of these appointments with a spirit of humility and disinterestedness, of patriot­ism and devotion, which consecrated all his vir­tues and energies to God and his country. To the godlike, but hazardous purpose of saving and blessing his nation, he readily sacrificed his com­fort and interest, and cheerfully offered his reputa­tion and life. His spirit and conduct in pursuing this object, uniformly comported with its excellent nature.

AMID the singular discouragements and vicissi­tudes of a long, fluctuating, and distressing war, his mind, leaning on its own greatness, on the pu­rity of his motives, the rectitude of the cause, and the approbation of his God, seemed to gather strength from surrounding weakness, courage from [Page 273] danger, and hope from despondency. Happy in his conscious integrity, and alive only to his country's interest and honor, he anxiously covered her infir­mities and perils even from her own view; he re­signed personal character and feeling to her credit and welfare; he enlivened her confidence, and repelled her foes, by needful but feigned appear­ances of strength, and prospects of victory. While we trace his military career, we admire that un­common and diversified greatness, which could at once conceal and varnish, endure and surmount, yea finally bend to the public good, so many cir­cumstances of perplexity, alarm, and disgrace. We admire that greatness, which effectually in­fluenced the civil authorities, while it yielded them the most delicate respect and the firmest support; which animated the great mass of the people, and upheld the national Union, without ever stepping over the line of decorum or official propriety. We venerate that controuling genius and virtue, which from raw, shifting, and discordant mate­rials, and amid the most trying and obstinate diffi­culties, could create and harmonize, encourage and protect the armies of our infant nation; and which, under the visible auspices of an almighty leader, conducted them through a great and terri­ble wilderness, to the promised land of triumphant freedom, peace, and independence. We reve­rence that sublime spirit, which, at the close of the war, spurned the allurement of empire, and crush­ed the embryo of rebellion; and which, after giv­ing its excellent parting advice and benediction to the beloved soldiers and citizens of America, ex­emplified to the world the precious maxim, that true ambition and glory are compleated in humble and disinterested virtue.

IN a word, the character of our hero seemed to border as closely on perfection, as human infirmity would permit. Its multifarious and exquisite tex­ture [Page 274] was admirably fitted to his destination. The God of WASHINGTON and of America, appears to have united in him those seemingly incompatible virtues and talents, which had been singly distri­buted among preceding warriors, because their combined efficiency and example were eminently required, to form a lasting center of union for our nation; to support the interests, and retrieve the honor of our degraded nature; and to instruct mankind in that true heroism, which liberty and christianity alone can inspire.*

THE political character of WASHINGTON is too fresh in your minds, to need a particular delinea­tion. You remember, you still feel the universal transport, which hailed him as our first executive magistrate. You recollect with exultation the pure and sublime maxims, on which he founded his auspicious administration, and the steady mag­nanimity, which marked his adherence to them. While such maxims and conduct reflected equal honor on his understanding and heart; while they illustrated the transcendent beauty and dignity of christian policy: they gave, at a critical period, the most salutary direction to our new political ma­chine, and afforded a precious example to all suc­ceeding patriots. Who can fully estimate the mass of public good derived from a magistrate, whose name reconciled the clashing views and feelings of party; whose sanction enforced a system of needful and just, of liberal and vigorous measures; whose comprehensive mind rose superior to the selfish and subtle policy of his native state, and to [Page 275] every local and partial consideration, and equally cherished all the members of our complex repub­lic; whose enlightened and vigilant zeal constant­ly superintended both our internal and external in­terests, and at a very delicate crisis not only pla­ced, but steadily kept us on the high ground of pacific, independent, and prosperous neutrality? How great was that spirit, which, like a majestic rock in the ocean, stood firm and lofty on its own base against the dashing billows of domestic and foreign opposition! How glorious was that cha­racter, which, amid the mutual rage and [...]mina­tion of parties, extorted a universal testimony to its own undeviating integrity! How amiable and dignified was that policy, which, while it courted and attentively weighed every decent expression of public opinion, and gratefully enjoyed every mark of popular favor, could calmly sacrifice both to conscious duty and the national interest!

IN a word, the conduct of our late President, was a humble and visible representation of the di­vine government in the uniform purity of its prin­ciples, measures, and objects. He approved him­self the vicegerent of God by his profound wis­dom, impartial justice, unsuspected uprightness, and steady consistency; by his disinterested and universal love; by his intense, unwearied, and successful exertions for the common good.

IN the course of his public life the supreme divinity delighted to honor him by affording opportunity to exhibit with advantage all his talents and virtues; by leading him to a happy use of such opportunity; and by crowning his energies with signal success. What the Romans called felicitas, and christians style the blessing of Heaven, remarkably attended him, especially in cases of unusual importance, embarrassment, or danger. In these instances, a guardian God appeared to watch, with the most tender solicitude, over his counsels, actions, and fortunes; protecting him from every weakness or [Page 276] contingence, which might either defeat his pro­jects, or tarnish his glory. With respect to him, Providence seemed to say to misfortune and to ma­lice, touch not mine anointed, and do my servant no harm.

CORRESPONDING with this divine patronage were the tokens of human confidence and admira­tion. With respect to these, this favorite of Hea­ven was a matchless, though distant representative of Him, who claims the unbounded confidence and admiration of the universe. To borrow the words of President ADAMS at the commencement of our federal government—"If we look over the cata­logue of the first magistrates of nations, whether they have been denominated presidents or consuls, kings or princes; where shall we find one, who has so completely united all hearts and all voices in his favor; and who enjoyed the esteem and admi­ration of foreign nations and fellow-citizens with equal unanimity?" The same well informed and excellent judge both of men and things, though himself the first in station, and ranking high in the public esteem, yet with equal sincerity and great­ness of mind pronounces his departed brother "the most illustrious, admired, and beloved personage, which the country ever produced."

THIS pre-eminent glory was exceedingly height­ened by the temperate sensibility, with which it was received and supported; by the disinterested and patriotic use, to which it was applied; by that unaffected piety, which constantly transferred to the deity the honor of all our national blessings, and devoutly resorted to Him for their continu­ance; by that oppressed modesty, which a second time eagerly withdrew from the gaze of public ad­miration to the shade of rural retirement; and by that enlightened paternal affection, which, on re­tiring, bequeathed to America and the world an invaluable treasure of political and moral wisdom.

BUT the climax of human greatness was not yet compleated. In the evening of a long, toilsome, [Page 277] and glorious day, he again dutifully resigns his com­fort and fame to the anxieties and contingencies of a military employment. He descends from the honors and habits of our first citizen to a subordi­nate station. He supports and even enjoys the elevation of the man, who had long occupied un­der him a secondary department, and lends to his great measures his own important approbation and efficiency. How magnificent the spectacle! How inestimable the example! How inspiring the event! On this eminence he stood, when like Mo­ses on the top of Pisgah, he was suddenly trans­lated, as we all believe, to celestial and eternal honors.

THIS event, so mournful to our world, realizes to the utmost that dark shade in the portrait of earthly gods—but ye shall die like men. Death shall reduce you to a level with vulgar mortals. Ye shall die, not as the beasts that perish, but, like other men, as accountable and immortal beings, who must inherit the just and everlasting recom­pense of their present conduct.

THY death, O virtuous sage, has indeed linked thy fate to that of mortals. Yet thy dying, as well as living greatness, has raised thee above the ordinary level. It has proclaimed thee a chris­tian conqueror. It has visibly exemplified and sealed thy future glory. It has consecrated thy character, instructed thy fellow-men, and honored thy God.*

[Page 278] Do any ask, why those, whom God himself has thus exalted, are subjected to the same lot with the meanest and even vilest of our race? The an­swer is, the former, as well as the latter, inherit both the moral and physical causes of death. These causes, by a just and necessary influence, terminate in dissolution. This catastrophe cannot be prevented by the greatest combination of cou­rage and policy, of power and fame, of virtue and usefulness. It cannot be averted by the united prayers and tears of a nation or a world. The mo­ral good, which this allotment is fitted to produce, is beyond calculation. A serious prospect of death and its consequences, teaches those who are called gods, a sober estimate, a virtuous and bene­ficent use of their mental and exterior dignity. It instructs them to erect the fabric of their great­ness on the broad and durable base of superior goodness; which alone can give them peace in death, and glory beyond it. It teaches the multi­tude to regard the higher powers with a venera­tion and confidence, tempered by sympathy and candour for their human imperfections and bur­dens, and by a solemn sense of their uncertain con­tinuance and approaching fate. As the expected removal of the great ones of the earth is thus preg­nant with useful instruction, so their actual de­cease fulfils the most extensive purposes of good. It arrests and consigns to merited infamy and pu­nishment, those baleful monsters, who, by abusing great powers, have corrupted, oppressed, or deso­lated the world; and whom the arm of human jus­lice was unable to reach. It transplants to a hap­pier region those eminent ministers of divine good­ness, whose talents, virtues, and services, could not be fully matured and rewarded in this inhospi­table and unthankful world. It advances them to spheres of employment and fruition, equal to their sublime capacities and dispositions, suited to their [Page 279] peculiar geniusses and habits, and forever enlarg­ing with their active and immortal spirits.

WHILE the death of the great and good thus enhances their dignity, happiness, and usefulness in the empire of Jehovah; it impresses many excel­lent lessons on the surviving inhabitants of the earth. Let me briefly apply this remark to the present occasion.

BY suddenly removing from us such a man as WASHINGTON, at a crisis like the present, how forcibly does the Supreme Ruler teach us his own sovereignty and independence, and inculcate the duty of implicit and entire submission to his disposals! How pathetically does he admonish us of the vanity of human glory and dependence! How earnestly does he call us to seek and confide in a friend, who can never forsake us! How solemnly does he ex­hort us to shew both our piety and patriotism by securing to our beloved country and posterity his own almighty and unfailing protection!

WHEN persons uncommonly estimable and greatly beloved, ascend from earth to Heaven, how strongly are our affections carried upward with them! How powerfully are we incited to prepare for a speedy and everlasting junction with such great and virtuous spirits! With what rap­ture do we anticipate the day, which will unite us to their society! What sublime ideas do we form of that world, which is their native element, their eternal home! These impressions are greatly heightened, if such characters rise to that invisible abode in the vigor of their endowments and servi­ces, while their glory is fresh and complete. As their removal amid such circumstances forbids the supposition, that virtue and ability so strong, pro­gressive, and useful are suddenly extinguished: so it impresses a peculiar conviction both of the reality and excellence of their future destination. In this view we perceive a special beauty and uti­lity in the sudden translation of Enoch in the midst [Page 280] of vigorous piety and goodness; in the departure of Moses, while the force and patriotic exertion of his bodily and mental energies were as yet unaba­ted; and in the exit of WASHINGTON in the full splendor of his talents, virtues, and fame.

WHAT then remains, but that we celebrate the illustrious dead with that grief and joy, humility and thanksgiving, emulation and improvement, which such a life and death are fitted to produce?

LET our sorrow and mutual condolence bear some due proportion to the greatness of our loss. Let us mourn the heavy bereavement, which liber­ty and order, science and religion, America and the world, have sustained by the death of their common friend and protector. Let us respectfully sympathize with our President, who has lost his early brother and firmest support; with our fede­ral government, which so greatly owed its exis­tence, preservation, and success, to the name and efficiency of WASHINGTON; with the American union, which, in critical periods, found him its chief and effectual cement; with the military forces of our country, of which he was the directing and animating spirit, while his single presence and re­putation surrounded us with walls and bulwarks.

AMID numberless objects of sympathy we see one, which rivets and almost appropriates our re­spectful, our tenderest grief. The Wife of WASH­INGTON! What a charm does that sound convey! Disconsolate, yet dignified woman! We love and revere thee, both for thy own sake, and for the sake of thy departed husband. His soul, while he lived, was divided between thee and us. He was equally amiable, as thy partner and our benefactor. We thank thee for thy soothing attentions to him, while wearing out his life for us. We thank thee for thy tenderness and greatness at his death. Thou hast indeed profited by his example. In thee America still sees and embraces her WASHING­TON. May the sublime idea of his past virtues and [Page 281] present reward; may the tears and eulogies of grateful millions; may the peculiar presence of his and thy God; may the dear hope of shortly rejoin­ing him in his glorified state, descend into thy af­flicted heart, as the refreshing dew on the moun­tain of Zion!

WHILE we thus lament our deceased patriot; let us notice, with pious humiliation, the rebuke of Providence in suddenly withdrawing so great a blessing; and acknowledge, with penitence, that national ingratitude and guilt, which had forfeited its continuance. Let us view, with awful concern, the gap which this event has opened for the en­trance of public calamities; and the dark presage of impending judgments, which Heaven seems to exhibit by recalling its beloved minister.

AT the same time let our tears be intermixed and ennobled by that sublime spirit of gratitude and joy, which the dignity of the occasion requires. Let us exult in the thought, that our nature and our country, that our government, liberty, and re­ligion have been adorned by so distinguished a sub­ject and patron. Let us draw fresh materials for patriotic triumph and religious thanksgiving from every page in the history of WASHINGTON; and from every benefit, which Heaven has conferred upon us, and bequeathed to our children, through the medium of his services, writings and example. Among the innumerable sources of consolation and praise, presented by his life, let us gratefully adore the divine goodness in protracting it to a vigorous, useful, and honorable old age; in protecting its decline from that abasement and obscurity, in which the sun of human glory so frequently sets. Let us give thanks, that a body and mind so ener­getic and noble were not doomed to long disease and pain, to mortifying inactivity and dotage; that the last stages of so glorious a life were attended with no circumstance, which in the least diminish­ed its splendor; that our beloved patriot did not [Page 282] fall, as many great and good men have done, by the hand either of foreign hostility, or of domestic envy, ingratitude, or treachery; that his death, though kindly sudden, did not deprive him of the honor, nor the world of the example, of a rational and glorious triumph over the king of terrors. Let us devoutly glory in the thought, that our great countryman was lent to mankind, to instruct them both how to live and how to die; that, while his spirit still lives to itself, to the universe, and to God, he also survives on earth in his excellent pat­tern and counsels, in the fruits of his labors, the af­fections of his country, and the records of immortal fame; that this his surviving existence is our pecu­liar and unlading inheritance; that its blessed ef­fects will, we trust in God, be successively pro­pagated from age to age, and thus continually add fresh glory to his memory on earth, and to his spi­rit in heaven.

WHAT matter of thankful joy, that in addition to the other means of education, with which this age abounds, Providence has opened to our chil­dren a volume so pure and instructive, as the life of WASHINGTON! Ye American parents, and teachers of youth! Study this volume; become masters of its important contents; transcribe them into your own hearts and lives; and thus convey them with happiest effect to your children and pupils. Often lead them to the tomb of their venerable father, and say; 'Here lies the man, who loved liberty and his country; who loved us and you far better than his own comfort, reputation, and life. Here sleeps the hero and statesman, whom your God and the God of your fathers raised up and singu­larly qualified to be our successful leader both in war and peace. Here rests the citizen and chris­tian, whose piety and morality solicit universal es­teem and imitation. Read then his history, and learn to believe in Providence; to be thankful for [Page 283] its favors; to admire and emulate its virtuous and illustrious agent!'

ESPECIALLY let the youthful votaries of the li­beral arts honor their deceased patron, not merely by fervent celebrations, but by correspondent prac­tice. The man, whom we commemorate, though formed to be great without the assistance of public education, was yet a liberal possessor and friend of science. He protected this University from British spoilers. He gave it his warm benediction, when, as our common father, he made his visit to the eastern states. He fervently recommended the interests of learning to the national legislature. While living, he cherished literary institutions by his bounty; and at his death appropriated large legacies to the support of several academies, and especially of a central Columbian University. His reasons for this last devise display a mind so cor­rect, patriotic, and noble, as must greatly recom­mend him to the friends of learning and of Ame­rica, even though his favorite plan at present be thought inexpedient. I need not add that his at­tachment to science and her children has been warmly reciprocated. The sons of this our Alma Mater have long dwelt on his name with filial, un­abating rapture. They have loaded his natal day with their united blessings. They have eagerly decorated our exhibitions with his laurels. The muses have never tired in singing his praises. The anniversary of his birth again approaches. "But ah, how changed!" It is shrouded in sackcloth. Its joy-inspiring patron has fled.

YE bereaved members of this University! The death of the man, whom ye once fondly celebrated, has not dissolved but enhanced and sealed your ob­ligations to his memory. While your hearts pant to fulfil these obligations, permit me, as his humble organ, and your friendly monitor, to assist you in the arduous effort. As this seminary was designed to be the nursery of true greatness, your standard [Page 284] of dignity should be early and correctly adjusted. You have often heard and echoed the maxim, that moral grandeur makes the mighty man. Here you be­hold this abstract principle embodied, yea formed into a living soul. The character of our patriot, whether cursorily viewed, or philosophically analy­sed; though we see it covered with intellectual and adventitious glory; yet seizes and almost confines our admiration by its predominant goodness. We ad­mire its other qualities, chiefly because they were the offspring, the handmaids, or exhibiters of his heaven-born virtue. Why are you enraptured with its military splendor? Because it was a sublime display of the policy and enterprise, the courage and triumph of goodness. Why do you extol his political greatness? Because through the correct medium of impartial, just, and extended philanthro­py, he clearly discerned the rights, duties, and interests both of his own and of foreign nations; and because the strength of his virtue made him resolutely follow this moral perception. Why does the whole life of WASHINGTON at once awe and delight you? Because it was uniformly supe­rior to the littleness of vanity and pride, of selfish ambition and avarice, of habitual vice even in its most fashionable and seducing forms; because he ever sought the noblest ends by the purest means; because all his waking hours were methodically and intensely employed in this godlike pursuit. Can you contemplate such a character without trampling under foot that spurious greatness, which the world has annexed to most of its renowned he­roes and sages, and emperors, and gods? Figure to yourselves a man concentrating as far as possi­ble, all the qualities, actions, and fortunes of our patron, excepting his goodness; suppose this splen­did combination to be connected with an unjust cause or unworthy motives, with private immora­lity or public villany; you cannot but spurn its possessor, even though his exploits have providen­tially [Page 285] saved a country or a world. You may indeed be astonished at his energies and atchievments, just as we admire some grand, tremendous, or useful prodigy in nature. But, while the tran­sient sight of so huge and misshapen a monster may delight your curiosity, you cannot but dread and shun his unwieldy greatness, and wish him ei­ther chained or exterminated.*

YOUR historic and classical reading, my young friends, has doubtless anticipated me in deriving fresh laurels for our hero from the contrasted vices or defects of the greatest characters both of an­tient and modern times. I must however observe, that his life presents a model of excellence supe­rior, not only to the real, but even to the fabu­lous heroes of paganism. Survey the fictitious por­traits, drawn by those two great masters, Virgil and Homer. Compare the romantic hero of the Eneid with the real hero of America. How unfeel­ing and spiritless, how inconsistent and unlovely on the whole, does the former appear in the com­parison! Look into the Iliad. Though you justly admire the grandeur of its sentiments and images; yet can you find one spotless or uniformly great character in the whole group of its heroes and de­ities? Does not even mighty Jupiter force your contempt and aversion? Do you not laugh at his [Page 286] foibles, and detest his vices, in spite of his terrible thunder bolts? Yes, the collected dignity of all the heathen gods and goddesses, vanishes before the pure and beneficent lustre of WASHINGTON.

How shall we account for this fact? We can trace it to no adequate source, but that from which he derives the present melioration of mankind, viz. the pure and benign light of revelation. As the coun­tries, which wanted this light, could furnish no re­fined or finished models of virtue, from which to copy; so the moral conceptions of the copyists were too defective and gross, for the exhibition of a perfect ideal character. The christian religion therefore receives new lustre from its transcendent influence upon the character of our virtuous sage, as well as from his avowed belief and earnest re­commendation of its divine principles. You can­not despise this religion, without insulting the ashes of a man, whom you are forever bound to love and revere. You cannot reject it, without renouncing the precious assurance, that the most beloved of human benefactors is now inheriting a reward equal to his matchless services; and that, if you imitate his virtues, you will shortly associate with him, and other kindred spirits, in a world of perfect gratitude, benevolence, and joy. How inestimable is that system, which can exalt frail humanity to such greatness of character, and to such glorious prospects; and yet restrain us from deifying the most excellent creature, by pointing our views to an object infinitely greater! How ought we to love that revelation, which confers such dignity and happiness on the present and fu­ture existence of our admired citizen; which ena­bles us to rank him far above the most adored ob­jects of other religions, and to pay him the highest subordinate honors; while it reserves our supreme affection and sacred worship to his and our Father and Redeemer!

[Page 287] WHILE the life of our illustrious patriot thus sets before you the criterion of dignity, it distinct­ly points out the several ingredients, which com­pose it. It teaches you to unite benevolence with self-love, patriotism with friendship, private inte­grity with public splendor, and devout piety with all. It teaches you the real existence, import, and beauty of disinterested affection; of that princi­ple, which, while it allows a sober pursuit and enjoyment of personal pleasure, advantage, and fame, habitually subjects, and cheerfully sacrifices them to a far greater and dearer object, the gene­ral good. It instructs you in the falsehood and littleness of that philosophy, which derides every appearance of public benevolence or personal self denial, as the mask and engine of an interested or aspiring policy. It calls upon you to render your public education the soil and nutriment of public virtue. It exhorts you to seek eminence in know­ledge, not merely as the instrument of academic distinction, of mental luxury, or of future wealth, applause, or preferment; but as the mean of ex­tensive service to your Creator, and to his ration­al family. It directs you to pursue, to enjoy, and to apply scientific or worldly superiority with that humble, equal, and beneficent mind, which added such lustre to his. Whenever you are tempted to lose the man, the gentleman, or the christian, in the proud intoxication of real of fancied greatness; let the exalted, yet lowly image of WASHINGTON repel the sordid temptation. Behold him display­ing the father and the brother to the meanest sol­dier and citizen of his country; yea to the lowest member of his family. Read his last will; and see his anxious, tender, and effectual provision for the liberation of all his African servants, for the com­fort of such of them, as are either aged and infirm, or united by the sacred ties of marriage, and for the useful education of their infant offspring. This provision, added to his corresponding humanity, [Page 288] while living, and the filial tears shed by his domes­tics on his tomb, erect one of the noblest monu­ments to his fame. These are monuments infi­nitely superior to those loud but hypocritical cla­mors for liberty and equality, which distinguish many nominal patriots and real tyrants of the pre­sent day.

Do you ask, by what steps, by what mysterious charm this eminent personage acquired such great­ness? The answer is short; he began early to live by rule. His wisdom and virtue were not the off­spring, nor the sport of instinctive, capricious, or romantic feeling, like that refined sensibility which is occasionally enraptured with a beautiful, or melt­ed by a tragic fiction, while it displays no steady, active, and useful benevolence. His great at­tainments and actions resulted from certain deli­berate and virtuous principles, which his reason and conscience prescribed, and to which he stea­dily and immovably adhered! The splendor of his character arose, not so much from the superior ab­stract excellence of these principles, as from their commanding and uniform influence upon his con­duct. Be encouraged by this example to propose to yourselves a high pitch of excellence, and to pur­sue similar measures for its attainment. Like him, bring your imaginations, appetites, and feel­ings, however impetuous, under the tranquil em­pire of reason. Like him, cherish a solemn sense of the worth of time; of the importance of method in its distribution, and of diligence in its improvement. Let his example instruct you to assign to every study, to every action, its proper rank and oppor­tunity, and to observe this arrangement with punc­tuality and perseverance. Let it teach us all to make the discharge of our several duties keep pace with the current of our lives; that, if the last mes­senger, as in his case, should suddenly arrive, no unfinished business, temporal or spiritual, may dis­turb our dying pillow, or our future account, [Page 289] What dignity and peace must attend such a plan of life, compleated by such a death! What god­like pleasure, as well as glory, must our late be­nefactor have enjoyed in the conscious exercise of goodness so steady, successful, and applauded! How solacing to his bereaved connexions, and per­haps to his ascended spirit, is the heart-felt tribute of millions, made happy and grateful by his vir­tuous deeds! How powerfully do these reflections urge you, even from motives of pleasure and ho­nor, to go, and do likewise! At the same time, the example of the deceased recommends devout and constant vigilance, as the best support, under God, of an excellent character.*

YOUR patience will indulge me in adding that the extraordinary affection and honor, paid to an eminent man, not only furnish a noble incentive [Page 290] to emulation, but exhibit the strong propensity of mankind to reverence and love superior wisdom and goodness. If a person, possessing these qua­lities, be our benefactor, ruler, or guardian friend; this endearing connection heightens our affection­ate veneration, and awakens our gratitude and joy. Can we, then without violating our nature and reason, as well as religion, withhold our highest reverence and grateful affection from a father and governor infinitely great and good; of whom our earthly benefactor was the imperfect image and offspring, given and long continued to us, as the chosen me­dium of divine benefits, and a pattern of corres­pondent piety? Shall not our fervent celebration of derived excellence and beneficence, enforce a still higher tribute to the all perfect original? Shall those overflowings of heart, those ardent testimo­nies of grateful admiration, which human greatness and goodness command, be ridiculed, as foolish su­perstition or enthusiasm, when paid to the infinite summary and fountain of good? Shall the lovers of WASHINGTON affect to dissolve that connection between morality and religion, which his living example and dying legacy have solemnly confirm­ed? [Page 291] Shall we manifest our respect for him by ho­noring his written counsels, his natal anniversary, and even his name and likeness? And shall we not treat with equal, yea far superior veneration, the inspired code, the consecrated day, and the glori­ous name of the Lord our God? Shall we not piously regard his prime minister, his perfect representative, his best beloved Son? Shall we not honor Him, whom our hero devoutly copied and earnestly recom­mended; and to whom this ancient seminary was expressly devoted?—Blessed be God, though we find no parallel to our deceased patriot in the archives of paganism; yet the doctrines and insti­tutions of christianity announce, Behold a greater than WASHINGTON is here. While therefore we celebrate our political and mortal savior, let us not forget our spiritual and immortal deliverer. If we forget thee, O divine philanthropist, let our right hands for­get their cunning. If we do not remember thee, let our tongues cleave to the roofs of our mouths. In the contem­plation of thy glorious person and example, thy wonderful labors, sufferings, and achievements, we would throw open our hearts to receive and cathrone thee. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors; that the king of glory may come in.

FINALLY the death of a wise and good parent tenderly calls on the mourning children to bury in his grave their little domestic animosities; to unite in observing his parting counsels, and in revering those whom he befriended and honored, or who in­herit his likeness and authority. Let us then de­posit at the tomb of our common father all our po­litical contentions. Let us there leave our solemn vow, that, in conformity to his example and ad­vice, we will be united and independent Ameri­cans; that we will defend and transmit to our chil­dren that glorious inheritance which his toils pur­chased and secured. Let our respect for his me­mory confirm our attachment to his excellent successor: [Page 292] who was not only one with him in the sincerest friendship, but in political principle, in christian piety and virtue, in enlightened, magnanimous, and long tried patriotism, in eminent services and blessings to his country; and who has equally ho­nored himself and his predecessor by exemplary sorrow and admiration at his death. Let not our grief for the dead render us unjust to the living. Let it not beget despondency, nor distrustful anxiety for the public safety. Though the part which was assigned to the deceased, and for which He was peculiarly qualified, was pre-eminently great; yet it would be a reproach both to ourselves and to our God, to say that the constitution and happiness of our country hang on so uncertain a thread, as the life of any individual. Let us rather say that the infinitely wise director of our political drama has recalled its most conspicuous actor, af­ter finishing his part, in order to give other per­formers a better opportunity to honor themselves and their country by similar displays both of talents and virtues. Let us devoutly hope that the guar­dian God of America will not forsake the work, which He has so gloriously begun. In the faithful discharge of our respective duties, let us trust in his all-sufficient Providence and Spirit, in connec­tion with the prolific genius of our country, and the inspiring example of its deceased patron, to bless us with a long succession of emulating wor­thies; who will build on the same noble founda­tion, and under the divine benediction will make our Israel a name and a praise in the earth.



  • A.
  • ARDEN, Richard D.
  • Adams, William
  • Alexander, George
  • Abeel, Gàrrit B.
  • Alley, Seth
  • Arden, Mrs. J.
  • Abbot, Samuel
  • Abeel, Rev. John N.
  • Agnel, Hyacinthe
  • Allen, Henry
  • Anderson, Peter
  • Amorey, James
  • Abbatt, Robert
  • Anderson, Anthony L.
  • Allison, John
  • Astor, Henry
  • Arnold, Moses
  • Amos, Richard
  • Armstrong, Nathaniel
  • Allen, Robert
  • Ackerman, John D.
  • Arents, Stephen
  • Alexander, Andrew
  • Bogert, C. I.
  • Baehr, Christian
  • Baehr, Daniel
  • Bleecker, Anthony
  • Bleecker, Leonard
  • Bayard, William
  • Barnewall, George
  • Beaumont, Arthur
  • B [...]rras, George G.
  • Boyd, Robert
  • Bessonett, John P.
  • Barnes, Undrel
  • Bostwick, Shadrick
  • Benjamin, E.
  • Bowers, John M.
  • Beebee, Samuel
  • Benson, Robert
  • Brown, David
  • Brooks, John B.
  • Boales, John
  • Bolin, Edward
  • Bailey, Benjamin
  • Bedell, Jacob
  • Bement, George
  • Bailie, William
  • Bishop, John
  • Brown, Wheeler
  • Belding, Ann
  • Black, John
  • Barnum, Samuel
  • Buck, Walter
  • Brown, James
  • Baldwin, Aaron
  • Banvard, Daniel
  • Bassford, William
  • Burdges, William
  • Boyce, Abraham
  • Burger, Mary
  • Barney, John P.
  • Bogert, Henry
  • Barker, Joshua
  • Billings, Henry
  • Buys, Peter
  • Bryson, William
  • Bury, Henry
  • Bogert, James
  • Banta, John
  • Byron, William
  • Brenneysen, Charles
  • Blauvelt, John
  • Bogert, Andrew
  • Blackey, Thomas
  • Bogert, Abraham
  • Boyd, Joseph
  • Briggs, Gabriel
  • Buskirk, Lawrence
  • Bird, Mary
  • Braster, John G.
  • Board, James
  • Boston, Jacob
  • Bradford, William L.
  • Burrowe, Samuel
  • Beaty, William
  • Brinckerhoff, Peter
  • Broome, W. Temple
  • Burr, Samuel, jun.
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  • Bartow, Theodusius
  • Bloodgood, Natheniel
  • Brower, Dr. A.
  • Billopp, T.
  • Buckley, Abel
  • Bayard, Nicholas S.
  • Bogert, Rudolphus
  • Bowne, Robert
  • Benson, John
  • Bowne, Samuel
  • Backhouse, Edward
  • Bogardus, Robert
  • Butler, William, and co.
  • Bancker, John K.
  • Bruce, William
  • Barberic, John
  • Betts, John
  • Bartow, Thomas
  • Bliss, Beza Eliot
  • Bunn, John
  • Brett, Robert M.
  • Bailey, James
  • Branatt, James W.
  • Bunn, Reuben
  • Borduzatt, Anthony M.
  • Brower, Nicholas B.
  • Beach, Abraham
  • Burr, Isaac
  • Clarkson, Gen. M.
  • Cox, T. B.
  • Chadwell, Mrs. Hannah
  • Cowley, Wm.
  • Campbell, Duncan
  • Carter, Robert
  • Codwise, George
  • Clark, Ransom
  • Carpenter, Stephen
  • Crygier, Aaron
  • Church, James, M. D.
  • Cutting, Charles
  • Chevalie, John A.
  • Cozine, Oliver I.
  • Colden, Cadwallader D.
  • Conolly, William
  • Clark, T. B.
  • Camson, Mrs.
  • Cellins, Rachel
  • Cowdrey, Samuel
  • Cannon, David
  • Clark, John
  • Constable, James
  • Cromwell, Oliver
  • Crosser, Gasper
  • Cutler, Benjamin
  • Crygier, John C.
  • Carpenter, Assa
  • Campbell, James
  • Carpenter, Thomas
  • Cock, Stephen
  • Coles, James
  • Cock, Joseph
  • Cuningham, Richard
  • Cozine, John R.
  • Crook, Joseph
  • Carpenter, Benjamin
  • Collins, Joshua
  • Cuningham, David
  • Cole, John
  • Coleman, Silas
  • Crumpton, William
  • Crane, Timothy B.
  • Codington, Moses
  • Cromwell, Samuel
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  • Cannor, John
  • Cox, Thomas
  • Chadwich, James D
  • Crane, Isaac B.
  • Campbell, John
  • Childs, Evander
  • Carpenter, Abel
  • Cooper, Stephen
  • Codington,—
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  • Cooper, Cornelius
  • Camp, John D.
  • Dumbolten, Gad
  • Demster, James
  • Dalglith, Benjamin
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  • Denning, Win.
  • Davison, Henry
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  • Davis, William
  • Dorgan, Timothy
  • Doyle, Thomas
  • Dally, Elizabeth
  • Durning, Daniel R.
  • Dando, Stephen
  • De Wint, Christian
  • Duffie, John
  • Daniel, John
  • Duryee, Richard
  • Drummond, Peter
  • Dally, William
  • Drake, Thomas
  • Degray, Michael
  • Darey, P.
  • Darey, John
  • Day, Cornelius
  • Dick, Thomas
  • Davis, David
  • Day, Abraham
  • Dod, Moses
  • Edgar, William
  • Ellison, Thomas
  • Eastmond, John
  • Edwards, Miss M.
  • Evans, Thomas
  • Edwards, James
  • Everson, George
  • Eagles, William
  • Eckert, Frederick
  • Freeman, A [...]ron
  • Fitch, Mrs.
  • Forsyth, Jacob
  • Furman, Gabriel
  • Falkenhan, Samuel
  • Ferrers, John
  • Ferguson, Daniel
  • Ferres, Elijah
  • Ferdun, Thomas
  • Foster, [...] Gir [...]d
  • Fitch, [...] North
  • Frost, Edward
  • Fich, Nicholas
  • Ferguson, De [...]
  • Frost, William
  • Fardon, Thomas
  • Freeland, John
  • Fo [...]er, John
  • Fos [...]ett, William
  • Fre [...], John
  • Fitzpaterick,—
  • Fa [...], George
  • Ferguson, James
  • Fl [...]k, John
  • Ford, Charles
  • Fosser, John
  • Ferdon, John
  • Francisco, John
  • Fox, John
  • Gallarcher, George
  • Griffin, Peter
  • Garoute,—
  • Glover, John I.
  • Grant, Daniel
  • Greene, John
  • Graham, Elijah
  • Giles, Aquila
  • Goodeve, John
  • Grahem, Levi
  • Goodrich, Charles W.
  • Griswold, Jedidiah
  • Gould, John
  • Griffin, Henry
  • Guion, Monmouth H.
  • Grenzebach, John
  • Gibson, David
  • Golden, James
  • Gardner, Tristram
  • Green, James
  • Gilmore, John
  • Guion, Isaac
  • Guernsey, Levi
  • Gunton, Joseph
  • Hamilton, Mrs.
  • Hendricks, Harman
  • Hon [...], John
  • Hudson, John T.
  • Hegeman, Adrian
  • Hoogland, John
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  • Havens, Renssibau
  • Hosford, John
  • Hurtin, John H.
  • Heyer, Isaac
  • Hardenbrook, William, jun.
  • Hopkins, Mrs.
  • Hubbard, David G.
  • Henderson, William
  • Halsted, John T.
  • Hill, William
  • Halsey, John
  • Hopkins, Samuel M.
  • Hartshorne, William, jun.
  • Heyer, Cornelius
  • Harriman, William
  • Hall, Fitch
  • Hitchcock, Daniel M.
  • Hopkins, Edmund
  • Hunt, Haydock
  • Huyler, John
  • Heddin, Zadock
  • Hervey, Cornelius
  • Henry, John S.
  • Holmes, Edward
  • Heath, Collins,
  • Hitchcock, Daniel
  • Hustace, Mrs.
  • Hartman, Lewis
  • Herbert, Samuel
  • Hogan, W.
  • Hawkin, Matthew
  • Hughes, Owen
  • Hawes, Comfort
  • Hamilton, William
  • Hopkins, John
  • Hicks, Eliza
  • Harriot, David
  • Harned, Jasper
  • Horn, Joseph
  • Holden, Asa
  • Herbert, Henry
  • Hammond, Elijah
  • Hatfield, Eli [...]
  • Hopper, Albert
  • Hutton, George
  • Hicfield, John
  • Halsey, Jacob
  • Halsey, Isaac
  • James, George
  • James, Polloeh
  • Jones, I. jun.
  • Johnson, Patten
  • Jones, John S.
  • Johnson, John
  • Jackson, Henry
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  • Johnson, William
  • Johnson, John
  • Kuypers, Geradus
  • Keese, John
  • Kirkpatrick, A.
  • Kirby, William
  • Knox, John
  • Kissam, John B.
  • Kent, William
  • Kirk, John
  • King, Ann
  • King, Cornelius
  • Keyser, Jacob
  • Kirby, Peter
  • Koair, Cornelius
  • King, William
  • Linn, William
  • Little, B.
  • Lawrence, John B.
  • Lawrence, T. jun.
  • Latham, John
  • Lawrence, J. jun.
  • Lorillard, Jacob
  • Lawrence, Thomas
  • Lovett, William
  • Ludiow, J. B.
  • Lord, Daniel, M. D.
  • Linkleter, James
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  • Lockwood, Cary
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  • Lansing, J. J.
  • Lawrence, Jonathan
  • Leonard, John W.
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  • Letts, Caty
  • Lyon, Joseph
  • Launy, David
  • Lott, Andrew
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  • M'Vicker, John
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  • Messerve, William
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  • Smith, Mehitabel
  • Shanawolf, Sarah
  • Smith, Elkanah
  • Smith, Edmund
  • Stewart & Jones
  • Sehunkhu, John
  • Still, James
  • Strong, Benjamin
  • Strou [...], James
  • Saltu [...], Francis
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  • Stuyvesant, Peter Gerard
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  • Vandervoort, Peter L.
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  • [Page] Van Buskirk, Lucas
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  • Walton, Abraham M.
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  • Warner, William
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  • Wheeler, Samuel
  • White, Francis
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  • Waldron, Joseph
  • Wright, James
  • Walt, Gawn
  • Waring, William
  • Wilson, John
  • Winchip, Samuel
  • Woodruff, Elisha
  • Wentworth, Joseph
  • White, John
  • Wy [...]koff, Cornelius P.
  • Young, James.
  • Hicks, Jacob
  • Fish, Daniel
  • Fisher, John
  • Richardson, Gideon
  • Nichols, Isaac
  • Ross, David
  • Lynch, Cornelius
  • Moore, Lambert
  • Bury, Peter
  • Rhodes, Daniel
  • Cromwell, Benjamin
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  • Alling, Isaac
  • Beach, Joseph
  • Lowe, Benjamin
  • Hunt, William
  • Beach, William
  • Beadle, Henry
  • Snedeker, James
  • Riker, Samuel
  • Blackwell, Samuel
  • Hare, Samuel
  • Hare, Amos
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  • Asop, Thomas
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  • Bates, William
  • C [...], Joseph
  • Wallace, John
  • Kip, Cornelius
  • All, John
  • Marsh, Nathaniel.

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