« AnteriorContinuar »
the troops themselves, and to the Commander, who trained them to the service. General Forbes complimented Colonel WASHINGTON on the occasion.
Colonel WASHINGTON was at this time employed on the new road, in the neighbourhood of Raystown.
General Forbes resolved that the main Oct. 8, 1758.
army should move from this place; and he
called upon the commanding officers of regi. ments to lay before him a plan for its march. Colonel WASHINGTON presented his; it has been preserved, and is said to display the soundness of his judgment
Through a road almost impassable, the army at length reached Loya! Hanna, about ten miles from the foot of Laurel Hill, and forty-five from Fort Cumberland. At this place Colonel Washington had predicted the expedition would terminate. In a Council of War it was actually resolved to be unadviseable to proceed further this Autumn. To have wintered in this inhospitable wilderness would, perhaps, have been impossible ; but before any disposition of the army was made, intelligence was brought by some prisoners, that the garrison of Fort du Quesne had not been supported from Canada ; that the Indians had deserted it ; and, that it was not in a siłuation to make resistance. This intelligence induced General Forbes to change his resolution, and to push on to the Ohio. Colonel WASHINGTON was ordered to the front to superintend opening the road for the army; which duty he, with extreme fatigue, executed. In slow and laborious
marches, General Forbes reached du Quesno, Nov. 25, and found that the French, on the evening 1758.
preceding his arrival, had set fire to this fort, and had passed in their boats down the river.
The success of the campaign was wholly to be attributed to the pressure of the English on Canada, which constrained the French Cornmander in chief to call in, or weaken his outposts ; but for this circumstance, the gloomy predictions of rolonel WASHINGTON
would have been verified, in the failure of the expedi. tion.
The Fort being repaired, was called Fort Pitt, in compliment to the preeminent British Minister, under whose auspices the war was now conducted.
Colonel Washington furnished two hundred men of his regiment to the garrison, and soon after return ed to Williamsburg to take his seat in the House of Burgesses, of which, in his absence he had been chosen a member.
His services, while commander of the Virginia forces, were appreciated by his countrymen; and the British officers with whom he served, bore honourable testimony to his military talerts. The soldierly and gallant behaviour of his regiment in the field, exhibited the best evidence of the address of their commander, in training them to exact discipline, and exciting in them a martial spirit. His officers expressed the great affection and respect, which they entertained for his character, by an unanimous address, presented to him at the close of this campaign; and the inhabitants of the frontiers placed full confidence in him, even at a time when he was unable to defend them from the slaughter and devastation of the enemy.
Colonel WASHINGTON now saw the great-object at tained, to which for years he had directed his whole mind. The enemy was driven from the Ohio, and his country, in a great measure, relieved from the carnage and distress of an Indian war. His health was impaired by the arduous services of the campaign; and his private concerns demanded his attention. He therefore resigned his military commission, and retired to the tranquil scenes of domestick life
Colonel Washington's Marriage_His management of the Estate of
Mount Vernon-Appointed a Judge of the County Court, and a Member of the Virginia Legislature-Chosen a Member of the first Congress-Appointed Commander in Chief of the American Forces-Arrives at Camp-Arranges the Army-Deficiei cy of Arms and Ammunition-Colonel Arrold detached to QueveikSuccess of American Cruisers—Evils of temporary enlistmentsAn attack on the Enemy's Posts meditated-Possessiou taken of the Heights of Dorchester-Boston evacuated.
1759. Soon after the resignation of his military commizsion, Colonel WASHINGTON married Mrs. Martha Custis, a young and beautiful widow, who possessed an ample fortune, and who was endowed with those amiable and pleasing accomplishments of mind and manners, which give the best security for happiness in the married state. With her he lived in all the confidence, endearment, and felicity which this relation can produce.
On his estate of Mount Vernon, he extensively engaged in tho business of agriculture, and was greatly distinguished for the judgment he displayed in the im, nrovement of his lands. Every branch of business was conducted upo: system, exact method and economy were observed throughout every department of his household, the accounts of his overseers he weekly inspected, the divisions of his farm were numbered, the expense of cultivation, and the produce of each lot were regularly registered ; and, at one view he could determine the profit or loss of any crop, and ascertain the respective advantages of particular modes of husbandry. He became one of the greatest landholders in North America. Besides other great and valuable tracts, his Mount Vernon estate consisted of nine thousand acres, all under his own management. On which, in one year, he raised seven thousand bushels of wheat,
and ten thousand of Indian corn. His domestick and farming establishments were composed of nearly a thousand persons; and the woollen and linen cloth necessary for their use, was chiefly manufactured on the estate.* Order and industry were carried into all his con
The authority he exercised over his slaves was blended with great tenderness and humanity, and their affection and gratitude ensured a prompt and cheerful obedience to his commands. Mount Vernon was ever the seat of hospitality, and here its rights were liberal ly exercised. Colonel Washington, although exact in requiring the punctual fulfilment of contracts and engagements, yet was diffusive in offices of humanity, and deeds of charity to those of his vicinity who needed his assistance.
From the close of the war on the frontiers of Virginia, to the commencement of the revolutionary contest, Colonel Washington acted as a Judge of a County Court, and represented his district in the House of Burgesses of his Province. Although never distinguished as a popular speaker, yet the soundness of his judgment, the wisdom of his counsels, and the uniform propriety of his behaviour, secured him the confidence and esteem of all who were acquainted with his character.
While a Legislator of Virginia, he took an active part in opposition to the principle assumed by the British Parliament, to tax the American colonies. When it became expedient to train the militia for the defence of those rights, which the country determined never to sacrifice, the independent companies in the Northern part of Virginia chose him their Commander.
He was elected a member of the first Congress, which met in Philadelphia in 1774 ; in which bouy he had a distinguished agency in the arrangement of the
* See“ Legacies of Washina ON” prin:ed at Trenton in 1800.
military resources of the United Provinces. He was the active member of all Committees, to which business of this nature was entrusted.
At the commencement of hostilities, Con. JUNE 15, 1775. gress deemed it necessary to appoint a Com.
mander in Chief of the American forces. The eminent character of Colonel Washington point. ad him out as the best qualified to unite the confidence of the publick, and successfully to conduct the arduous conflicts of the war. Congress unanimously elected him “ General and Cominander in Chief of the United Colonies, and of all the forces now raised, and to be raised by them." When the President of Congress communicated his election, he thus addressed him.
“ Mr. President, although I am truly sensible of the high honour 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 trust. However, as the Congress desire it, I will enter upon the momentous duty, and exert every power I possess in their service, and for the support of the glorious cause. I beg they will accept my most cordial thanks for this distinguished testimony of their approbation.
“ But lest some unlucky event should happen, unfavourable 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 my. self equal to the command I am honoured with. I beg leave, Sir, to assure the Congress, that, as no pecuniary consideration could have tempted me to accept this arduous employment, at the expense
domestick ease and happiness, I do not wish to make any profit from it. I will keep an exact account of my expenses. These, I doubt not, they will discharge, and that is all I desire."
Congress, when his commission was executed, unanimously and solemnly resolved, to support him