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February, after a council of war had expressed an opinion, chiefly on account of the want of ammunition for the artillery, against the execution of a bold plan which he had formed of crossing the ice, and attacking general Howe, in Boston. He then took possession of the heights of Dorchester, in the persuasion that a general action would ensue, as the position enabled him to annoy the ships in the harbor and the soldiers in the town. The British general, in consequence, was reduced to the alternative of either dis lodging the Americans or evacuating the place, and endeavored to accomplish the former; but the troops which were embarked for the purpose, were scattered by a furious storm, and disabled from immediately prosecuting the enterprise. Before they could be again in readiness for the attack, the American works were made so strong, that an attempt upon them was thought unadvisable; and the evacuation could no longer be delayed. It took place on the seventeenth of March, and gave great joy to the United Colonies. Congress passed a vote of thanks to the general and his army, "for their wise and spirited conduct in the siege and acquisition of Boston," and directed a medal of gold to be struck in commemoration of the event. As soon as the British fleet had put to sea, the American army proceeded, by divisions, to New York, where it arrived on the fourteenth of April. Every effort was made by Washington to fortify the city, before the appearance of the enemy. In the beginning of July, the British troops were landed on Staten island, and some efforts were made by lord Howe, who commanded the fleet, to open negotiations for the restoration of peace; but they failed, in consequence of the refusal of the American commander to receive any communication not addressed to him in such a way as to acknowledge his public character. The English commander had directed his letters to "George Washington, esquire," and then to "George Washington, &c., &c., &c.," but declining an unequivocal recognition of his station. The disastrous affair of Long island soon afterwards occurred, on the twenty-seventh of August, in which Washington was obliged to behold the carnage of his troops without being able to assist them. It constrained him to withdraw his forces entirely from the island, which he accomplished on the night of the twentyeighth, with such secrecy, that all the troops and military stores, with the greater part of the provisions, and all the artillery,

except such heavy pieces as could not be drawn through the roads, rendered almost impassable by rains, were carried over in safety. From the commencement of the action, on the morning of the twentyseventh, until the American forces had passed the East river, on the morning of the twenty-ninth, his exertions and fatigues were unremitted. Throughout that time, he was almost constantly on horseback, and never closed his eyes. The manner in which this operation was performed, greatly enhanced his military reputation; and it may justly be ranked among those skilful manoeuvres which distinguish a master in the art of war. No ordinary talents, certainly, are requisite to withdraw, without loss, a defeated, dispirited and undisciplined army from the view of an experienced and able enemy, and to transport them in safety across a large river, while watched by a numerous and vigilant fleet. In consequence of the operations of the British general, it soon became indispensable to evacuate New York. This was done on the fifteenth of September, with an inconsiderable loss of men. The strongest point of the position which Washington then took, was at Kingsbridge; but it was soon afterwards deemed necessary to withdraw altogether from York island, and the army moved towards the White Plains. General Howe followed, and the battle of the White Plains ensued, in which a portion of the American forces, occupying a hill on the right of the army, under the command of general Mac Dougal, were driven from their station after an animated engagement. Washington then changed his position for another, and Howe, considering this too strong to be attempted with prudence, retired down the North river, for the purpose of investing fort Washington, on York island. It was taken, and its garrison made prisoners of war; on which the American general retreated into New Jersey. His situation. now was gloomy in the extreme. All his efforts to raise the militia had been ineffectual; and no confidence could be entertained of receiving reinforcements from any quarter. But that unyielding firmness, which constituted one of the most valuable and prominent traits of his character, enabled him to bear up against every difficulty. Undismayed," says Marshall, "by the dangers which surrounded him, he did not, for an instant, relax his exertions, nor omit any thing which could obstruct the progress of the enemy, or improve his own condition. He did not appear to despair of the pub


lic safety, but struggled against adverse fortune, with the hope of yet vanquishing the difficulties which surrounded him, and constantly showed himself to his harassed and enfeebled army, with a serene, unembarrassed countenance, betraying no fears in himself, and invigorating and inspiring with confidence the bosoms of others. To this unconquerable firmness, to this perfect self-possession, under the most desperate circumstances, is America, in a great degree, indebted for her independence." In his retreat through New Jersey, Washington was followed by the British army, flushed with victory, highly disciplined, and perfectly equipped, whilst his own troops were dispirited, destitute, and daily decreasing by the expiration of their terms of service. In December, the British general made an attempt to get possession of a number of boats for the transportation of his forces over the Delaware; but, having failed, he went into quarters. Washington, having, about the same time, been joined by some effective reinforcements, meditated a blow on the enemy while distributed in their cantonments, which might retrieve, in a measure, the disastrous posture of American affairs, relieve Philadelphia from immediate danger, and rouse the drooping spirits of his countrymen. He accordingly formed the plan of attacking all the British posts on the Delaware at the same instant; but only that part of it succeeded which was conducted by him in person. It is unnecessary to give the particulars of the successes at Trenton and Princeton. Besides the immediate advantages accruing from them in saving Philadelphia, and recovering New Jersey, the moral effects which they produced in reanimating the spirit of the people, were incalculable. Confidence in the commander-in-chief became universal. Immediately afterwards, congress declared, that, in the then state of things, the very existence of civil liberty depended on the right execution of military powers, to a vigorous direction of which, distant, numerous and deliberative bodies were unequal, and authorized general Washington to raise sixteen additional regiments, conferring upon him, at the same time, for six months, dictatorial power, for the conduct of the war. In the beginning of 1777, Washington caused all his soldiers to be inoculated, as the small-pox had proved more fatal in his camp than the sword of the enemy. During this winter, while the two armies were in their respective quarters, he used every exertion to

raise a powerful force for the ensuing campaign; but his efforts were not attended with corresponding success. Not allowing himself to be dispirited, he endeavored to make the most of the means in his hands, which, however, so far from enabling him to carry into effect the offensive operations he had meditated, were unequal even to defensive war. In July, general Howe embarked his forces; and, it having been ascertained that the des tination of the fleet was against Philadelphia, Washington moved southward to the Delaware. On the twenty-fifth of August, the British disembarked at the ferry of Elk river, and, on the tenth of September, the battle of Brandywine was fought, in which the Americans were defeated. It opened the way to Philadelphia for the enemy; and, on the twenty-sixth, they entered the city, though not before Washington had made an effort to engage them again on the sixteenth, which was frustrated by a violent rain, that rendered the fire-arms of the Americans unfit for use, and obliged them to retreat, without any thing more than a skirmish between the advanced parties. "From the twenty-fifth of August," says Marshall, "when the British army landed at the head of Elks until the twenty-sixth of September, when it entered Philadelphia, the campaign had been active, and the duties of the American general uncommonly arduous. The best English writers bestow high encomiums on sir William Howe for his military skill and masterly movements during this period. At Brandywine, especially, Washington is supposed to have been outgeneralled, more outgeneralled than in any action of the war.' If all the operations of this trying period be examined, and the means in possession of both be considered, the American chief will appear in no respect inferior to his adversary. With an army decidedly inferior, not only in numbers, but in every military requisite, except courage, in an open country, he employed his enemy near thirty days in advancing about sixty miles. In this time, he fought one general action, and, though defeated, was able to reassemble the same undisciplined, unclothed, and almost unfed, army, and, the fifth day afterwards, again to offer battle. When the armies were separated by a storm, which involved him in the most distressing circumstances, he extricated himself from them, and still maintained a respectable and imposing countenance. The only advantage which he is supposed to have given was at the

battle of Brandywine; and that was produced by the contrariety and uncertainty of the intelligence received. In a new army, where military talent has not been well tried, the general is peculiarly exposed to the chance of employing not the best instruments. In a country, too, which is covered with wood, precise in formation of the numbers composing different columns is to be gained with difficulty." After the occupation of Philadelphia, the British general having divided his force, so as to give Washington a fair opportunity to engage him with advantage, he determined to avail himself of it by surprising the camp which had been formed at Germantown, and attacking both wings, in front and rear, at the same time. He made all his arrangements with his wonted caution and address; and, on the 4th of October, the enterprise was carried into effect, and, for a time, seemed certain of a successful issue; but the darkness of the morning, produced by a fog of uncommon density, introducing confusion into the American troops, Washington was compelled to relinquish his hopes, and to direct his attention to secure the retreat of his men. This he did without loss. Decided approbation was expressed by congress, both of the plan of this enterprise, and of the courage with which it was executed; and their thanks were voted to the general and the army. Having taken all possible measures to cut off the enemy from supplies, Washington took post at White Marsh, where an attempt to surprise him was made by general Howe; but it was disconcerted, intelligence having reached him of the intended stroke. He then distributed his soldiers in winter-quarters at Valley Forge, where their sufferings were excessive in consequence of the intense severity of the season, and their want of most of the necessaries for comfort, and even for existence. Every effort was made by him to improve their condition, and augment their numbers; and, for these ends, he exercised, though with caution, the dictatorial powers intrusted to him by congress. His incessant labors and unyielding patriotism could not, however, save him from the imputations which want of success, even though occasioned by insuperable obstacles, always engenders; and -a combination was formed to deprive him of his command, and substitute in his place the victor of Saratoga, general Gates. But to weaken his hold upon the confidence and affection of the great body of the people and the army, was found

impossible; and even the troops who had conquered under Gates received the idea of the change with indignation. The machinations of his enemies were frustrated without any efforts on his part, and only did injury to themselves. They made no undue impression on his steady mind, nor did they change one of his measures. His sensibilities were for his country, and not for himself. In June, 1778, the British evacuated Philadelphia, which was rendered a dangerous position for them by the part it was now evident that France was about to take in the war, and the naval force which had been prepared by that power before she declared herself. They retreated upon New York, through Jersey, followed by Washington, who, in opposition to the opinion of a council of general officers, and taking his measures on his own responsibility, brought them to an action on the 24th of the month, at Monmouth, which, though not a decided victory, was yet favorable to the American arms, and productive of great satisfaction to congress and the country. He passed the night in his cloak, in the midst of his soldiers, intending to renew the engagement on the following morning; but, before the return of day, the enemy had marched off in silence, and effected their retreat to New York. Marshall has given an extract from a letter of Lafayette to him respecting this battle, in which he says, "Never was general Washington greater in war than in this action: his presence stopped the retreat, his dispositions fixed the victory. fine appearance on horseback, his calm courage, roused by the animation produced by the vexation of the morning (le dépit de la matinée), gave him the air best calculated to excite enthusiasm." In the year 1779, congress had formed the plan of an invasion of Canada, which was deemed altogether inexpedient by Washington; and, in consequence, he requested a personal interview. This was acceded to; and, on his arrival in Philadelphia, a committee was appointed to confer with him on that particular subject, and on the general state of the army and the country. The result of their conferences was, that the expedition against Canada was abandoned; and every arrangement recommended by the commanderin-chief received the attention to which all his opinions were entitled. From this period to the siege of Yorktown, no incident calling for particular mention occurred in Washington's career. He remained in the neighborhood of New York,


with congress respecting the military establishment of the succeeding year. He addressed a circular to all the state sovereignties, pressing the importance of supplies. He promised and made all possible exertions towards expelling the Britsh from New York and Charleston. He felt alarm, and proclaimed increased danger, lest the debates in the British parliament concerning peace should beget supineness in America. During the winter-quarters, when the military situation of affairs in general would have allowed of his absence from camp, he remained there, in order to watch and allay the discontents of the American troops, who supposed themselves ill-treated by congress and the states. After the treaty of peace was signed, those discontents, which he knew at least to be plausible, gave him much trouble and disquietude. He added to his reputation by the manner in which he noticed and counteracted the famous Newburgh letters, and suppressed the mutiny of the Philadelphia line. While, however, he vindicated discipline, and enforced subordination to the civil authorities, he deeply sympathized with the suffering troops, and used every lawful means of procuring redress for their grievances. On the 25th of November, 1783, peace and independence being achieved, the British forces evacuated New York, and Washington made his public entry into that city, attended by a splendid volunteer retinue. On the 4th of December, he took his solemn farewell of the principal officers of the American army, assembled in a hotel at New York. On the 19th of that month, at Annapolis, where congress was then in session, he resigned, in form, to that body the commission which he had so long and gloriously borne, and returned to private life, which he so much loved. After peace was proclaimed, congress unanimously passed a resolution for the erection of an equestrian statue of their general, at the place which should be established for the seat of government. The legislature of Virginia also decreed to him "a statue of the finest marble and best workmanship," with an appropriate inscription. It was placed in the capitol of Virginia. Washington took great interest in the navigation of the Virginia rivers: he exerted himself to procure joint legislative acts of Virginia and Maryland for the improvement of the Potomac. He negotiated with the latter on the part of the former state; and the legislature of Maryland, anxious to bear some testimony to his worth, unanimously passed

watching the enemy, and taking every measure for the welfare of the country, without being able to perform any striking exploit. He had to contend with difficulties the mastering of which required higher qualities than are necessary to gain a brilliant victory. His soldiers could scarcely be kept from perishing with cold and hunger, or from dispersing and living on plunder. They were daily leaving the service: some regiments mutinied; others revolted and marched home; and he could obtain no compliance with his urgent requisitions for recruits. Nothing could be looser and more precarious than the thread by which the army was kept together; and, in any other hands than his, it must inevitably have been broken. But, in spite of every obstacle and disaster, he prevented the enemy from accomplishing any thing material, and adopted such preparatory steps as might enable him to turn to advantage any fortunate incident which might occur. In 1781, he planned, in conjunction with count de Rochambeau, a grand enterprise against New York; but circumstances concurred to induce an alteration in his views, and to direct them to operations in the south. He continued, however, arrangements for the attempt on the city, in order to deceive sir Henry Clinton as to his real intentions, which he did with considerable address. In August, he commenced his movement; and, having taken measures for the transportation of his army down the Chesapeake, he proceeded to Virginia with De Rochambeau and the chevalier de Chatelleux. On the 14th of September, he reached Williamsburg, and had an immediate interview with count de Grasse, the admiral of the French fleet, which was lying in the bay at the time, for the purpose of adjusting a plan of coöperation with regard to the investment of the British in Yorktown, to which they had retired. The siege commenced on the 28th of September; and, on the 19th of October, after severe fighting, lord Cornwallis was reduced to the necessity of surrendering the posts of Yorktown and Gloucester Point, with their garrisons, and the ships in the harbor, with their seamen, to the land and naval forces of America and France. The capture of Cornwallis was generally considered as the finishing stroke of the war; but it produced no disposition in the American commander-in-chief to relax in those exertions which might yet be necessary to secure the great object of the contest. He hastened to Philadelphia to confer

a bill authorizing the treasurer to subscribe, "for the benefit of general Washington," the same number of shares in each of the navigation companies to be formed, as were to be taken for the state. Washington was embarrassed by this generous and honorable proceeding. In a fine letter of acknowledgment, he declined the large donation for himself, but asked it for some objects of a public nature. The shares were then reserved for the use of a seminary of learning established in the vicinity of James and Potomac rivers. In 1787, the legislature of Virginia unanimously elected him one of their delegates to the convention to be held at Philadelphia for the revisal of the federal system. He finally consented to serve, making a painful sacrifice of his plans and expectations of uninterrupted retirement, in order to assist in "averting the contemptible figure which the American communities were about to make in the annals of mankind, with their separate, independent, jealous state sovereignties." The convention, when assembled at Philadelphia, unanimously chose him for their president; and no member of that august body more decidedly approved the constitution which they gave to the country. All America, as soon as it was adopted, looked to him as the first president under it, with an eye of affectionate confidence and desire which could not be resisted. His reluctance to quit his retreat was extreme. The expression of his feelings on this head, in his private letters, is a striking mixture of genuine diffidence, personal disappointment and elevated patriotism. Neither the animosity of parties, nor the preponderance of the enemies of the new system in some of the states, could deprive him of a single vote for the station of president. From mount Vernon to New York, when congress was in session, the journey of Washington had the character of a triumph. He delivered his inaugural address on the 30th April, 1789, and, throughout his administration, acted up to the principles and promises therein contained. As before in his military capacity, so now in his civil, he declined receiving any thing beyond his actual expenditures, in his official character. We need not repeat the names of the eminent men whom he associated with him, in the arduous business of putting the government into successful operation. The machinery of the system was to be contrived, adapted, set in motion, and gave rise continually to the most important questions to be de

cided, and a conflict of strong prejudices, keen jealousies, partial interests, and untried theories. Washington was chosen as the man of the nation, the guardian of the universal weal: in no instance did he act or appear otherwise. His incessant application to business impaired his robust constitution. Successive attacks of a severe disease compelled him, in 1790, to retire, for a short time, to mount Vernon. On all points of consequence connected with domestic or foreign affairs, he consulted his able cabinet with much deference, collected their opinions anxiously, and decided only after mature deliberation. The occurrence and progress of the French revolution occasioned that complete division of parties, and those bitter animosities, which engendered the most perplexity and chagrin for Washington, and emboldened or exasperated men to impeach, in the end, even his spirit of impartiality and love of freedom. In the outset, he felt a lively interest in the success of that revolution: he did not hesitate to avow his sympathies and wishes; but when the reign of terror and the order of Jacobins were established, he experienced repugnance and horror, in common with so many other true friends of liberty and humanity throughout the civilized world. In his circular of 1783, he had said, "There is a natural and necessary progression from the extreme of anarchy to the extreme of tyranny; and arbitrary power is most easily established on the ruins of liberty abused to licentiousness;" and, in 1793, he perceived that this maxim was to be verified in the case of France, The result justified the caution with which he avoided an alliance with that power; but, independent of the fatal character of French affairs, he knew that peace was indispensable for the U. States, in the infancy of their national existence and union. The proclamation of neutrality, and his resolute enforcement of it; Jay's treaty with Great Britain; and the general firmness of Washington's opinions and proceedings, sustained by the unequalled favor and authority of his name with the people, saved our young republic from being hurried into a dreadful vortex. The vigor and lenity of Washington's government were exemplified in the manner in which the insurrection in the western parts of Pennsylvania, in 1794, was suppressed: not a drop of blood was shed. At the expiration of eight years, having served two terms, Washington retired from the presidency, though, had he consented to retain the

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