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until the army is in a situation to require my presence, or it becomes indispensable by the urgency of circumstances.
“In making this reservation, I beg it to be understood, that I do not mean to withhold any assistance to arrange and organize the army, which you may think I can afford. I take the liberty also to mention, that I must decline having my acceptance considered as drawing after it any immediate charge upon the public; or that I can receive any emoluments annexed to the appointment, before entering into a situation to incur experse."
The time of Washington after the receipt of this appointment, was divided between agricultural pursuits, and the cares and attentions which were imposed by his new office. The organization of the army was, in a great measure, left to him. Much of his time was employed in making a proper selection of officers, and arranging the whole army in the best possible manner to meet the invaders at the water's edge ; for he contemplated a systear of continued attack, and frequently observ
“ that the enemy must never be permitted to gain foothold on the shores of the United States.” Yet he always thought that an actual invasion of the country was very improbable. He believed that the hostile measures of France took their rise from an expectation that these measures would produce a revolution of power in the United States, favourable to the views of the French republic; and that when the spirit of the Americans was roused, the French would give up the contest, Events soon proved that these opinions were well
founded; for no sooner had the United States armed, than they were treated with respect, and an indirect communication was made that France would acommodate all matters in dispute on reas. onable terms. Mr. Adams embraced these over. tures, and made a second appointment of three en. voys extraordinary to the French republic. These, on repairing to France, found the Directory overthrown, and the government in the hands of Bonaparte, who had taken no part in the disputes which had brought the two countries to the verge of war.
With him negotiations were commenced, and soon terminated in a pacific settlement of all differences. The joy to which this event gave birth was great ; but in it General Washington did not partake, for before accounts arrived of this amicable adjustment, he ceased to be numbered with the living
On the 13ih. of December, 1799, his neck and hair were sprinkkd with a light rain, while he was out of doors attending to some improvements on his estate. In the following night he was seized with an inflammatory affection of the windpipe, attended with pain and a difficult deglutition, which was soon succeeded by fever, and a laborious respiration. He was bled in the night, but would not permit his family physician to be sent for before day. About 11 o'clock, A. M. Dr. Craik arrived, and rightly judging that the case was serious, recommended that two consulting physicians should be sent for. The united powers of all three were in vain; in about twenty four hours from the time he was in liis usual health, he expired without a struggle, and in the perfect use of his reason.
In every stage of his disorder he believed that he should die, and he was so much under this im. pression, that he submitted to the prescriptions of his physicians inore from a sense of duty than expectation of relief. After he had given them a trial, he expressed a wish that he might be permitted to die without further interruption. Toward the close of his illness, be undressed himself and went to bed, to die there. To his friend and physician, Dr. Craik, he said, “ I am dying, and have been dying for a long time, but I am not afraid to die.” The equanimity which attended him through life, did not forsake him in death. He was the same in that moment as in all the past, magnanimous and firm ; confiding in the mercy and resigned to the will of Heaven. He submitted to the inev table stroke with the dignity of a man, the calmness of a philosopher, the resignation and confidence of a christian.
On the 18th. his body, attended by military honours and the offices of religion, was deposited in the family vault on his estate.
When intelligence reached Congress of the death of Washington, they instantly adjourned until the next day, when John Marshall, then a member of the House of Representatives, and since Chi-i jus. tice of the Uuited States, and biographer of Wash. ington, addressed the speakerin ilıc iollowing words;
“ The melancholy event which was yesterday announced with soubt, his been rendered but (00 certain. Our Wash ng'on is no more. The hero, the patriot, and the sage of Amer.ca; the man on whom in times of danger every eye was turned,
most suitable person to be at its head. Letters froin his friends poured in upon him, urging that he should accept the command. To one from president Adams, in which it was observed; “ We must have your name if you will in any case permit us to use it ; there will be more efficacy in it, than in many an army.” Washington replied as follows; “ At the epoch of my retirement, an invasion of these states by any European power, or even the probability of such an event in my days, was so far from being contemplated by me, that I had no conception either that, or any other occur. rence, would arrive in so short a period, which could turn my eyes from the shades of Mount Vernon. But this seems to be the
age ders; and it is reserved for intoxicated and lawless France, for purposes far beyond the reach of human ken, to slaughter her own citizens, and to disturb the repose of all the world beside. From a view of the past; from the prospect of the present; and of that which set ms to be expected, it is not easy for me to decide satisfactorily on the part it might best become me to act. In case of actual invasion by a formidable force, I certainly should not intrench mysell under the cover of age and retirement, if my services should be required by my country to assist in repelling it. And if there be good cause to expect such an event, which certainly must be better known to the government than to private citizens, delay in preparing for it may be dangerous, improper, and not to bejn ifid by prudence. The uncertainty, how. ever, of the latter, in my mind, creates my em
barrassment; for I cannot bring it to believe, re. gardless as the French are of treaties and of the laws of nations, and capable as I conceive them to be of any species of despotism and injustice, that they will attempt to invade this country, after such a uniform and unequivocal expression of the determination of the people in all parts to oppose them with their lives and fortunes. That they have been led to believe by their agents and partisans among us, that we are a divided people; that the latter are opposed to their own government; and that the show of a small force would occasion a revolt, I have no doubt; and how far these men, grown desperate, will further attempt to deceive, and may succeed in keeping up the deception, is problematical. Without that, the folly of the Directory in such an attempt would, I conceive, be more conspicuous, if possible, than their wickedness.
Having with candour made this disclosure of the state of my mind, it remains only for me to add, that to those who know me best it is best known, that should imperious circumstances induce me to exchange once more the smooth paths of retirement for the thorny ways of public life, at a period too when repose is more congenial to nature, that it would be productive of sensations which can be more easily. conceived than expressed.”
To the Secretary of War, writing on the same subject, Washington replied ; “ It cannot be necessary for me to premise to you, or to others who know my sentinents, that to quit the tranquillity of retirement, and enter the boundless field of re