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in his way, and into which none but the ail-powerful Guide and Dispenser of human events could have prevented his falling.”
Soon after the proclamation of peace, Congress unanimously resolved to erect at the place which should be established as the permanent seat of government, an equestrian statue of General WASHINGTON This resolution, however, has not yet been carried in:o effect.
Virginia also bore an honourable testimony of the sense entertained of the services of her distinguished citizen. In a spacious area in the centre of the capital of that state, she erected a marble statue of him, with the following inscription on its pedestal.
“ The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia have caused this statue to be ere ed as a monument of affection and gratitude to GEORGE WASHINGTON, who, uniting in the endowments of the HERO the virtues of the PATRINT, and exerting both in the establishment of the liberties of his country, has rendered his name dear to his fellow citizens, and given the world an immortal example of trus glory.”
In addition to these expressions of publick veneration, innumerable addresses from literary and other incorporations were presented to him, which, in ar. dent language, expressed the veneration universally felt for his character, and the admiration entertained for his services. His well-balanced mind bore these publick and private honours without a symptom of vanity or pride.
The pursuits of General WASHING ron at this period were a renewal of habits, formed at an earlier part of life, and a recurrence to employments in which he ever took delight; and he experienced nothing of that dissatisfaction and listlessness of which gentlemen often complain, who leave the cares of a publick sta tion for the tranquil scenes of retirement. The improvement of American husbandry engaged his closo
attention, and in the prosecution of plans adapted to this purpuse, he entered into a correspondence with Mr. Arthur Young, and other distinguished European agriculturists. The result of their information, and of his own experience, he applied, to amend his farming implements, to improve his breed of cattle, and in various experiments, suited to the soil be cultivated. The plans which succeeded with him, he recommended to the farmers around him.
But even in the shade of Mount Vernon, the time of General WASHINGTON was not wholly at his own disposal. Every foreigner of distinction who visited the United States was urgent for an introduction to the late Commander in Chief; and every American of any consequence, who was about to cross the Atlartick, was ambitious to obtain letters from him to celebrated characters in Europe. With numbers of the officers of the late
army, with many of the politi. cal characters of his own country, and with several emi. nent individuals of Europe, he held a correspondence. Ceremonious visitors and officious correspondents became oppressive to him, and in a letter to a friend, he thus complained of the burden of them. “It is not, my dear Sir, the letters of my friends which give me trou ble, or add ought to my perplexity. I receive them with pleasure, and pay as much attention to them as my avocations will permit. It is references to old matters with which I have nothing to do; applications which often times cannot be complied with ; inquiries to satisfy which would employ the pen of an historian ; letters of compliment, as unmeaning, perhaps, as they are trou blesome, but which must be attended to; and the common place business, which employ my pen and iny time, often disagreeably. Indeed these, with compa ny, deprive me of exercise ; and uniess I can obtain relief, must be productive of disagreeable consequen. ces. Already, I begin to feel their effects. Heavy and painful oppressions of the head, and other disa
greeable sensations often trouble me. I am therefore determinod to employ some persun who shall ease me of th: drudgery of this business.—To correspond with those I love is among my highest gratifications. Lets ters of friendship require no study; the communications they contain flow with ease; and allowances are expected and are made. But this is not the case with those which require research, consideration, and recollection.” At length he engaged a young gentleman of talents and education, w':o relieved him from a great part of these irksome attentions.
The patriotick mind of General WASHINGTON could not however be engrossed by his own concerns. In his retirement, he with solicitude watched over the interests of his country. The iniprovement of its inland navigation early engaged his reflections. Plans which the war had interrupted, were now resumed upon an enlarged scale. This year he visited the western country as far as Pittsburg, and having collected the necessary information, he opened his scheme to Mr. Harrison, then Governour of Virginia. This was to render the rivers Potomack and James navigab!: as high as practicable ; to take accurate surveys of the country between these rivers and the streams which empty into the Ohio, and find the most advantageous portages between them ; to survey the waters wesi of the Ohio, which einpty into the lakes; and to open such inland navigation between these waters, as would secure the trade of the western country to Virginia and Maryland. “ Nature,” he observed,“ had made such an ainple display of her bounties in those regions, that the more the country was explored the nore it would rise in estimation.” He was persuaded that Pennsylvania and New-York would adopt measures, to direct the trade of that country to their seaports, and he was anxious that liis native state should seasonably avail herself of the advantages she possessed to secure her share in it I am not,” he declarodo
“ for discouraging the exertions of any state to draw the commerce of the western country to its see ports. The more communications we open to it, the closer we bind that rising world, (for it indeed may be so called) to our interests, and the greater strength shall we acquire by it. Those to whom nature affords the best communication, will, if they are wise, enjoy the greatest share of the trade. All I would be understood to mean therefore, is, that the gifts of Provi. dence may not be neglected.” But political mocives had higher influence in this transaction than commercial. I need not remark to you, Sir,” said he in his communication to the Governour of Virginia, “ that the flanks and rear of the United States are possesse | by other powers, and formidable ones too ; nor need I press the necessity of applying the cement of interest to bind all parts of the union together by indissoluble bonds ; especially of binding that part of it which lies immediately west of us, to the middle states. For what ties, let me ask, should we have ipon those people, how entirely unconnected with them shall we be, and what troubles may we not apprehend, if the Spaniards on their right, and Great Britain on their left, instead of throwing impediments in their way as they now do, should hold ou, lures for their trade and alliance : When they get strength, which will be sooner than most people conceive, what will be the consequence of their having formed close commercial connexions with both, or either of those powers, it needs not, in my opinion, the gift of prophecy to foretell.
" The western settlers (I speak now from my own observations) stand as it were upon a pivot. The touch of a feather would turn them any way. Until the Spaniards (very unwisely as I think) threw difficulties in their way, they looked down the Mississippi; and they looked that way for no other reason than because they could gently glide down the stream ; without considering perhaps the fatigues of the voyage back Vol. II.
again, and the time necessary for its performance and because they have no other means of coming to us. but by a long land transportation through unim. proved roads."
These recommendations were not lost. Under the patronage of the governments of Virginia and Mary. land, two companies were formed for opening the navi. gation of the Potomack and the James. Of both which General Washington consented to be the president. The Legislature of Virginia by a resolution which passed unanimously, directed the treasurer of the state to subscribe for one hundred and fifty shares in each company for the benefit of General WASHINGTON. The appropriation was made in a manner the most affecting to a noble mind. The assembly expressed a wish, that while the improvements of their inland navigation were monuments of his glory, they might also be monuments of his country's gratitude. The donation placed him in a very delicate and embarrassed situation. The feelings excited by this generous and honourable act of his state, he fully expressed to the friend, who informed him of the passage of the bill. “ It is not easy for me to decide by which my mind was most affected upon the receipt of your letter of the sixth instant-surprise or grati' .de. Both were greater than 1 had words to express. The attention and good wishes which the assembly has evidenced by their act for vesting in me one hundred and fifty shares in the navigation of the rivers Potomack and James, is more than inere compliment—there is an unequivocal and substantial meaning annexed. But, believe me, Sir, no circumstance has happened since I left the walks of publick life wiich has so much embarrass
On the one hand, I consider this act, as I have already observed, as a noble and unequivocal proof of the good opinion, the affection, and disposition of nay country to serve me ; and I should be hurt, if by declining the acceptance of it, my refusal should be