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Washington rejoices at the prospeot of retiring.....Writes to the Secre.
tary of State, denying the authenticity of letters said to be from him to J. P. Cystis and Lund Washington, in 1776..... Pays respect to his successor, Mr.John Adams..... Review of Washington's administration. He retires to Mount Vernon..... Resumes agricultural pursuits... .Hears with regret the aggression of the French republio..... Corresponds on the suhject of his taking the command of an army to oppose the Frenoh.....Is appointed Lieutenant General..... His commission is sent to him by the Secretary of War....His letter to President Adams on the receipt thereof..... Directs the organization of the proposed army. Three Envoys Extraordinary sent to France, who adjust all disputes with Bonaparte, after the soverthrow of the Directory.....Gen. Washingtoa dies.....Is honoured by Congress, and by the citizens..... His character.
The pleasing emotions which are excited in ordina. ry men on their acquisition of power, were inferior to those which Washington felt on the resignation of it. To his tried friend, Gen. Knox, on the day preceding the termination of his office, he observed in a letter ; “ To the weary traveller who sees a resting place, and is bendig his body there. on, I now compare myself. Although the pros.
pect of retirement is most grateful to my soul, and Í have not a wish to mix again in the great world, or to partake in its politics, yet I am not without regret at parting with, perhaps never more to meet, the few intimates whom I love. Among these be assured you are one."
The numerous calumnies of which Washington was the subject, drew from him no public animadversions, except in one case. A volume of let. ters, said to be from Gen. Washington to John Parke Custis and Lund Washington, were pub. lished by the British, in the year 1776, and were given to the public as being found in a small portmanteau, left in the care of his servant, who it was said by the editors, had been taken prisoner in Fort Lee. These letters were intended to produce in the public mind, impressions unfavourable to the integrity of Washington's motives, and to represent his inclinations as at variance with his
profession and duty. When the first edition of these spurious letters was forgotten, they were republished during Wishington's civil administration, by some of his fellowcitizens who differed from him in politics. On the morning of the last day of his presidency, he addressed a letter to the Sec. retary of State, in which, after enumerating all the facts and dates connected with the forgery, and declaring that he had bitherto deemed it unneces. sary to take any formal notice of the imposition, he concluded as follows ; " But as I cannot know how soon a more serious event niay succeed to that which will this day take place, I have thought it a duty that I owed to myself, to my country,
and to truth, now to detail the circumstances above recited, and to add my solemn declaration, that the letters herein described, are a base forgery ; and that I never saw or heard of them until they appeared in print. The present letter I commit to your care, and desire it may be deposited in the office of the department of state, as a testimony of the truth to the present generation and to posterity."
The moment now approached which was to terminate the official character of Washington, and in which that of his successor, John Adams, was to commence. The old and new president walked in together to the House of Representatives, where the oath of office was administered to the latter On this occasion Mr. Adams concluded an impressive speech with a handsome compli. ment to his predecessor, by observing, that though he was about to retire, “ his name may still be a rampart, and the knowledge that he lives a bul. wark against all open or secret enemies of his country.”
The immense concourse of citizens who were present, gazed with love and affection on the retiring Washington, while cheerfulness overspread his countenance and joy filled his heurt, on seeing another invested with the high authorities be so long exercised, and the way opened for his retuming to the long wished for happiness of domestic
After paying his most respectful compliments to the new president, he set out for Mount Vernon, the scene of enjoyinent which he preferred to all others. His wishes to travel pri
vately were in vain ; for wherever he passed, the gentieren of the country took every occasion of testifyng their respect for him. in his retire. ment he continued to receive the most flattering acidresses from orislative bodies, and various classes of his fellowcitizens.
During the cight years administration of Wash. ington, the United States enjoyed prosperity and happiness at home; and, by the energy of the government, regained among foreigners that importance and reputation, which, by its weakness, they had lost. The dobis contracted in the revolutionary war, which, from the imbecility of the old government, had depreciated to an insignificant sum, were funded; and such ample revenues provided for the payment of the interest and the grada ual extinction of the principal, that their real and nom nal value were in a little time nearly the sime, The government was so firmly established as to be cheerfully and universally obeyed. The only exception was an insurrection in the western coun. ties of Pennsylvania, which was queiled without bloodshed. Agriculture and commerce were extended far beyond what had ever before taken place. The Indiaas on the frontiers had been first compelled by force to respect the United States, and to continue in peace; and afterward a humane system was commenced for teaching thein to exchange the tomahawk and hitchet for the plough, the hoe, the shuttle, and the spinningu heel. The free navigation of the Missisippi bad b. ca acquired with the consent of Spain, and ill vision. ces compromised with that
The military posts which had been long held by Britain within the United States, were peaceably given up. The Mediterranean was opened to American vessels in consequence of treaties made with the Barbary powers. Indeed, differences with all powers, either contiguous to or connected with the United States, had been amicably adjusted, with the exception of France. To accomplish this very desirable object, Washington made repeated advan. ces; but it could not be obtained without surrendering the independence of the nation, and its right of self government.
Washington, on returning to Mount Vernon, resumed agricultural pursuits. These, with the society of men and books, gave to every hour innocent and interesting employment, and promised a serene evening of his life. Though he wished to withdraw not only from public office, but from all anxiety respecting public affairs, yet he felt too much for his country to be indifferent to its inter
He heard with regret the repeated insults offered by the. French Directory to the United States, in the person of their ministers, and the injury done to their commerce by illegal captures of their vessels. These indignities and injuries, after a long endurance and a rejection of all advances for an accommodation, at length roused the government, in the hands of Mr. Adams, toad.pt vigorous dicasures. To be in readiness to repel a Uncatened mvasion, Congress authorized the for. mation of a regulor army. As soon as the adoption of this measure was probable, the eyes of all were once more turned on Washington as the