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“ In the multitude of my thoughts and recollections on this melancholy event, you will permit me to say that I have seen him in the days of adversity, in some of the scenes of his deepest distress, and most trying perplexities. I have also attended him in his highest elevation, and most prosperous felicity, with uniform admiration of his wisdom, moderation, and constancy.
Ainong all our original associates in that memora ble league of this Continent in 1774, which first ex: pressed 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.
6. The life of our Washington cannot suffer by a comparison with those of other countries, who have been most celebrated and exalted by fame. The attributes and decorations of royalty could only have served to eclipse the majesty of those virtues which made him from being a modest citizen, a more resplendent lumi. nary. Misfortune, had he lived, could hereafter have sullied his glory only with those superficial minds, who, believing that characters and actions are markea by success alone, rarely deserve to enjoy it. Malice could never blast his honour, and enoy made him a singular exception to her universal rule. For himself, he had lived long enough to life and to glory. For his fellow citizens, if their prayers could have been an s-vered, 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 of men, and the results
of their councils and actions, as well as over their lives 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 biogra phers, eulogists, or historians.”
A joint committee of the two Houses reported the following resolutions.
“ That a marble monument be erected by the United States at 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.
“ That there be a funeral procession from Congress Hall to the German Lutheran Church, in memory of General WASHINGTON, on Thursday the 26th instant, and that an oration be prepared at the request of Con. gress, to be delivered before both Houses on that day; and that the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives, be desired to request one of the members of Congress to prepare and deliver the same.
“ Thai it be recommended to the people' of the United States to wear crape on the left arm as mourn ing for thirty days
“ That the President of the United States be re quested to direct a copy of these resolutions to be transmitted to Mrs. Washington, assuring her of the profound respect Congress will ever bear to her person and character, of their condolence on the late af‘ecting dispensation of Providence, and entreating her assent to the interment of the remains of Genera? WASHINGTON in the manner expressed in the first reso lution.
" That the President be requested to issue his Proclamation, notifying to the people throughout the United States the recommendation contained in the third resolution.”
The President transmitted the resolutions of Congress to Mrs. Washington, to which she thus replied.
Taught by the great example which I have so long had before me, never to oppose my private wishes to the publick will, I must consent to the request made by Congress, which you have had the goodness to transmit to me; and in doing this, I need not, I cannot say, what a sacrifice of individual feeling I make to a sense of duty.”
Information of the death of General WASHINGTON was, throughout the United States, accompanied by spontaneous and universal expressions of deep grief for his loss, and of the highest veneration for his memory. The citizens without exception complied with the recommendations of Congress. Civil Incorporations and Legislative Bodies, Colleges and all other respectable Societies, formed funeral processions, and attended upon prayers, eulogies, and orations.
The resolution of Congress respecting the monument has not been carried irto execution. When a motion for the necessary appropriation was made in the House of Representatives, many members manifosted a preference for an Equestrian Statue, voted by Congress at the close of the war, and in the disputo between a monument and a statue, the session of the Legislature passed away, and no appropriation was made.
They, who had opposed every part of his administration, probably could not in sincerity favour a National Monument to his memory; and when the subject was revived in Congress, the publick feelings, having in some measure subsided, they opposed any appropriation for this purpose, as an improper use of publick money. The reason assigned for objecting to
the measure was, that the gratitude and veneration of the people were the appropriate monument of the pub. lick services of the American Patriot.
General Washington never had any children. By his will he left Mrs. Washington the use of all his property during her life. At her decease he liberated his slaves, and disposed of property among his and her relations, amounting by his own estimate, to five hundred and thirty thousand dollars. This anount of property does not include the Mansion House on Mount Vernon, nor the domain connected with it, which was under the personal management of General WASHINGTON.
GENERAL WASHINGTON was exactly six feet in height, he appeared taller, as his shoulders rose a little higher than the true proportion. His eyes were of a gray, and his hair of a brown colour. His limbs were well formed, and indicated strength. His complexion was light, and his countenance serene and thoughiful.
His manners were graceful, manly, and dignitied. His general appearance never failed to engage the respect and esteem of all who approached him.
Possessing strong natural passions, and having the nicest feelings of honour, he was in early life prone keenly to resent practices which carried the intention of abuse or insult; but the reflections of maturer age gave him the most perfect government of himself. He possessed a faculty above all other men to hide the weaknesses inseparable from human nature ; and he bore with meekness and equanimity his distinguished honours.
Reserved, but not haughty, in his disposition, he was accessible to all in concerns of business, but he
opened himself only to his confidential friends; and no art or address could draw from him an opinion, which he thought prudent to conceal.
He was not so much distinguished for brilliancy of genius as for solidity of judgment, and consummate prudence of conduct. He was not so eminent for any one quality of greatness and worth, as for the union of those great, amiable, and good qualities, which are very rarely combined in the same character.
His maxims were formed upon the result of mature reflection, or extensive experience; they were the invariable rules of his practice; and on all important instances, he seemed to have an intuitive view of what the occasion rendered fit and proper. He pursued his purposes with a resolution, wh one solitary mo ment excepted, never failed him.*
Alive to social pleasures, he delighted to enter into familiar conversation with his acquaintance, and was sometimes sportive in his letters to his friends ; but he never lost sight of the dignity of his character, nor deviated from the decorous and appropriate behaviour becoming his station in society.
He commanded from all the most respectful attention, and no man in his company ever fell into light or lewd conversation. His style of living corresponded with his wealth ; but his extensive establishment was managed with the strictest economy, and he ever reserved ample funds liberally to promote schemes of private benevolence, and works of publick utility. Punctual himself to every engagement, he exacted from others a strict fulfilment of contracts, but to the necessitous he vias diffusive in his charities, and he greatly assisted the poorer classes of people in his vicinity, by furnishing them with means successfully to prosecute plans of industry. In domestick and private life, he blended the autho.
* On York Island, in 1776.–See Vol. I. page 87