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political advantages, point to it; whilst a combination of circumstances render the present time more favourable than any other to accomplish it. Extend the inland navigation of the eastern waters; communicate them as near as possible with those which run westward; open these to the Ohio; open also such as extend from the Ohio toward lake Erie; and we shall not only draw the produce of the western settlers, but the peltry and fur trade of the lakes also, to our ports; thus adding an immense increase to our exports, and binding those people to us by a chain which never can be broken."

The Virginia legislature acted on the recommendation of Gen. Washington, to the extent of his wishes; and in consequence thereof, works of the greatest utility have been nearly accomplished. They went one step farther, and by a legislative act vested in him, at the expense of the state, one hundred and fifty shares in the navigation of the rivers Potowmac and James. The act for this purpose was introduced with the following preamble; "Whereas it is the desire of the representatives of this commonwealth, to embrace every suitable occasion of testifying their sense of the unexampled merits of George Washington, Esq. toward his country; and it is their wish in particular that those great works for its improvement, which, both as springing from the liberty which he has been so instrumental in establishing, and as encouraged by his patronage, will be durable monuments of his glory, may be made monuments also of the gratitude of his country. Be it enacted," &e.

To the friend who conveyed to Washington the first intelligence of this bill, he replied, "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 gratitude. Both were greater than I had words to express. The attention and good wishes which the assembly have evidenced by their act for vesting in me one hundred and fifty shares in the navigation of the rivers Potowmac and James, is more than mere compli

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There is an unequivocal and substantial meaning annexed. But believe me, sir, no circumstance has happened since I left the walks of public life, which has so much embarrassed me. On the one hand, I consider this act as a noble and unequivocal proof of the good opinion, the affection, and disposition of my country to serve me; and I should be hurt, if by declining the acceptance of it, my refusal should be construed into disrespect or the smallest slight upon the generous intention of the legislature, or that an ostentatious display of disinterestedness or public virtue was the source of refusal.

"On the other hand, it is really my wish to have my mind and my actions, which are the result of reflection, as free and independent as the air, that I may be more at liberty to express my sentiments, and if necessary to suggest what may occur to me under the fullest conviction, that although my judgment may be arraigned, there will be no suspicion that sinister motives had the smallest influence in the suggestion. Not content then with the bare consciousness of my having, in all this navigation business, acted upon the clearest con

viction of the political importance of the measure, I would wish that every individual who may hear that it was a favourite plan of mine, may know also that I had no other motive for promoting it than the advantage of which I conceived it would be productive to the union at large, and to this state in particular, by cementing the eastern and western territory together; at the same time, that it will give vigour to and increase our commerce, and be a convenience to our citizens.

"How would this matter be viewed then by the eye of the world, and what opinion would be formed, when it comes to be related that G.......... W...........n exerted himself to effect this work, and that ........ W...........n has received twenty thousand dollars, and five thousand pounds sterling of the public money as an interest therein ? Would not this, if I am entitled to any merit for the part I have performed, and without it there is no foundation for the act, deprive me of the principal thing which is laudable in my conduct? Would it not in some respects be considered in the same light as a pension? And would not the apprehensions of this induce me to offer my sentiments in future with the more reluctance? In a word, under whatever pretence, and however customary these gratuities may be in other countries, should I not thenceforward be considered as a dependent? One moment's thought of which would give me more pain, than I should receive pleasure from the product of all the tolls, was every farthing of them vested in me."

To the Governor of the state, on receiving from him an official copy of the aforesaid act, Washington replied as follows;


"Your excellency having been pleased to transmit me a copy of the act appropriating to my benefit certain shares in the companies for opening the navigation of James and Potowmac rivers; I take the liberty of returning to the general assembly, through your hands, the profound and grateful acknowledgments inspired by so signal a mark of their beneficent intentions toward me. I beg you, sir, to assure them that I am filled on this occasion with every sentiment which can flow from a heart warm with love to my country, sensible to every token of its approbation and affection, and solicitous to testify in every instance a respectful submission to its wishes.

"With these sentiments in my bosom, I need not dwell on the anxiety I feel, in being obliged, in this instance, to decline a favour which is rendered no less flattering by the manner in which it is conveyed, than it is affectionate in itself. In explaining this, I pass over a comparison of my endeavours in the public service, with the many honourable testimonies of approbation which have already so far over rated and overpaid them; reciting one consideration only, which supersedes the necessity of recurring to every other.

"When I was first called to the station with which I was honoured during the late conflict for our liberties, to the diffidence which I had so many reasons to feel in accepting it, I thought it my duty to join a firm resolution to shut my hand against every pecuniary recompense. To this resolution I have invariably adhered, and from it, if I had the inclination, I do not consider myself at liberty now to depart.

"Whilst I repeat, therefore, my fervent acknowledgments to the legislature for their very kind sentiments and intentions in my favour, and at the same time beg them to be persuaded, that a remembrance of this singular proof of their goodness toward me will never cease to cherish returns of the warmest affection and gratitude; I must pray that their act, so far as it has for its object my personal emolument, may not have its effect; but if it should please the general assembly to permit me to turn the destination of the fund vested in me, from my private emolument to objects of a public nature, it will be my study in selecting these, to prove the sincerity of my gratitude for the honour conferred upon me, by preferring such as may appear most subservient to the enlightened and patriotic views of the legislature."

The wishes suggested in this letter were sanctioned by the legislature; and, at a subsequent time, the trust was executed by conveying the shares to the use of a seminary of learning in the vicinity of each river.

Near the close of the revolutionary war, the officers of the American army, with a view of perpetuating their friendships, formed themselves into a society, to be named after the famous Roman patriot, Cincinnatus. At the head of their society, Gen. Washington was placed. By the rules of their institution, the honours of the society were to be hereditary in their respective families, and distinguished individuals might be admitted as honorary members for life. These circumstances, together with the union of the officers of the army, gave an alarm to the community; several individ

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