Images de page

the advice of a council, he engaged in the battle of Monmouth, on the 28th, the result of which made an impression favourable to the cause of America. He slept in his cloak on the field of battle, intending to renew the attack the next morning, but at midnight the British marched off in such silence, as not to be discovered. Their loss in killed was about three hundred, and that of the Americans sixty nine.


As the campaign now closed in the middle states, the American army went into winter quarters in the neighborhood of the highlands upon the HudThus after the vicissitudes of two years both armies were brought back to the point, from which they set out. During the year 1779, general Washington remained in the neighborhood of New York. In January, 1780, in a winter memorable for its severity, his utmost exertions were necessary to save the army from dissolution. The soldiers in general submitted with heroic patience to the want of provisions and clothes. At one time they eat every kind of horse food but hay. Their sufferings at length were so great, that in March two of the Connecticut regiments mutinied, but the mutiny was suppressed and the ringleaders secured. In September the treachery of Arnold was detected.

In the winter of 1781, such were again the privations of the army, that a part of the Pennsylvania line revolted, and marched home. Such however was still their patriotism, that they delivered some British emissaries to general Wayne, who hanged them as spies. Committing the defence of the posts on the Hudson to general Heath, general Washington in August marched with count Rochambeau for the Chesapeake, to co-operate with the French fleet there. The siege of Yorktown 'commenced on the 28th of September, and on the 19th of October he reduced Cornwallis to the necessity of surrendering with upwards of seven thousand men, to the

combined armies of America and France. The day after the capitulation he ordered, that those, who were under arrest, should-be pardoned, and that divine service in acknowledgment of the interposition of Providence should be performed in all the brigades and divisions. This event filled America with joy and was the means of terminating the war.

Few events of importance took place in 1782. On the 25th November, 1783, New York was evacuated by the British, and he entered it accompanied by governor Clinton and many respectable citi



On the 19th of April a cessation of hostilities was proclaimed. On the 4th of December, he took his farewell of his brave comrades in arms. noon the principal officers of the army assembled at Frances' tavern, and their beloved commander soon entered the room. His emotions were too

strong to be concealed. Filling a glass with wine, he turned to them and said "with a heart full of love and gratitude, I now take leave of you; I most devoutly wish that your latter days may be as prosperous and happy us your former ones have been glorious and honourable." Having drank, he added, "I cannot come to each of you to take my leave, but shall be obliged to you if each of you will come and take me by the hand." General Knox, being nearest, turned to him. Incapable of utterance, general Washington grasped his hand, and embraced him. In the most affectionate manner he took his leave of each succeeding officer. In every eye was the tear of dignified sensibility, and not a word was articulated to interrupt the silence and tenderness of the scene. Ye men, who delight in blood, slaves of ambition! When your work of carnage was finished, could you thus part with your companions in crime? Leaving the room, general Washington passed through the corps of light infantry and walked to Whitehall, where a barge


[ocr errors]


waited to carry him to Powles' Hook. The whole company followed in mute procession with dejected When he entered the barge he turned to them, and waving his hat bade them a silent adieu, receiving from them the same last affectionate compliment. On the 23d of December he resigned his commission to congress, then assembled at Annapolis. Here the expressions of the gratitude of his countrymen in affectionate addresses poured in upon him, and he received every testimony of respect and veneration.

In 1787, he was persuaded to take a seat in the convention which formed the present constitution of the United States. In 1789, he was unanimously elected president of the United States. In April he left Mount Vernon to proceed to New York, and to enter on the duties of his office. He every where received testimonies of respect and love. On the 13th of April he arrived at New York, and he was inaugurated first president of the United States. At the close of his first term of four years, he prepared a valedictory address to the American people, anxious to return again to the scenes of domestic life; but the earnest entreaties of his friends, and the peculiar situation of his country, induced him to be a candidate for a sesond election. At the expiration of his second term, he determined irrevocably to withdraw to the shades of private life. He published in September, 1796, his farewell address to the people of the United States, which ought to be engraven upon the hearts of his countrymen.

He then retired to Mount Vernon, giving to the world an example, most humiliating to its emperors and kings; the example of a man, voluntarily disrobing himself of the highest authority, and returning to private life, with a character, having upon it no stain of ambition, of covetousness, of profusion, of luxury, of oppression, or of injustice.

In 1798, an army was raised, and he was ap pointed commander in chief.

In December 13, 1799, while attending to some improvements upon his estate, he was exposed to a light rain, which wetted his neck and hair. Unapprehensive of danger, he passed the afternoon in his usual manner, but at night he was seized with an inflammatory affection of the windpipe. The disease commenced with a violent ague, accompanied with some pain and a sense of stricture in the throat, a cough, and a difficult deglutition, which soon succeeded by fever and a quick and laborious respiration. About twelve or fourteen ounces of blood were taken from him. In the morning his family physician, doctor Craik, was sent for but the utmost exertions of medical skill were applied in vain. To his friend and physician who sat on his bed, and took his head in his lap, he said, with difficulty, "Doctor I am dying, and have been dying for a long time; but I am not afraid to die." Respiration became more and more protracted and imperfect, until half past eleven on Saturday night, when, retaining the full possession of his intellect, he expired without a struggle. Thus, on the 14th of December, 1799, in the sixty-eighth year of his age,. died the father of his country, the man first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his fellow-citizens." This event spread a gloom over the country, and the tears of America proclaimed the services and virtues of the hero and sage, and exhibited a people not insensible to his worth.

General Washington was rather above the common stature; his frame was robust, and his constistution vigorous. His exterior created in the beholder the idea of strength united with manly gracefulness. His eyes were of a grey colour, and his complexion light. His manners were rather reserved than free. His person and whole

deportment exhibited an unaffected and indescribable dignity, unmingled with haughtiness, of which all who approached him were sensible. The attachment of those who possessed his friendship was ardent, but always respectful. His temper was humane, benevolent, and conciliatory; but there was a quickness in his sensibility to any thing apparently offensive, which experience had taught him to watch and correct.

He conducted the war with that consummate prudence and wisdom, which the situation of his country and the state of his army demanded. He also possessed a firmness of resolution, which nei-· ther dangers nor difficulties could shake.

WAYNE, ANTHONY, a major-general in the American army, occupies a conspicuous station among the heroes and patriots of the American revolution. He was born in the year 1745, in Chester county, in the state, then colony of Pennsylvania. His father, who was a respectable farmer, was many years a representative for the county of Chester, in the general assembly, before the revolution. His grandfather, who was distinguished for his attachment to the principles of liberty, bore a captain's commission under king William, at the battle of the Boyne. Anthony Wa

Wayne succeeded his father as a representative for the county of Chester, in the year 1773; and from his first appearance in public life, distinguished himself as a firm and decided patriot. He opposed, with much ability, the unjust demands of the mother country, and in connexion with some gentlemen of distinguished talents, was of material service in preparing the way for the firm and decisive part which Pennsylvania took in the general contest.

In 1775, he was appointed to the command of a regiment, which his character enabled him to raise in a few weeks, in his native county. In the same year, he was detached under general Thompson

« PrécédentContinuer »