Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

George Washington, Vol. II by Henry Cabot Lodge

Part 5 out of 7

Adobe PDF icon
Download George Washington, Vol. II pdf
File size: 0.8 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

said that Washington was never misled as to men, either as general or
President. His instruments were not invariably the best and sometimes
failed him, but they were always the best he could get, and he knew
their defects and ran the inevitable risks with his eyes open. Such
sure and rapid judgments of men and their capabilities were possible
only to a man of keen perception and accurate observation, neither of
which is characteristic of a slow or common-place mind.

[Footnote 1: _Magazine of American History_, vol. iii., 1879, p. 81.]

[Footnote 2: _Memoir of Rt. Rev. William Meade_, by Philip Slaughter,
D.D., p. 7.]

These qualities were, of course, gifts of nature, improved and
developed by the training of a life of action on a great scale. He had
received, indeed, little teaching except that of experience, and the
world of war and politics had been to him both school and college. His
education had been limited in the extreme, scarcely going beyond the
most rudimentary branches except in mathematics, and this is very
apparent in his early letters. He seems always to have written a
handsome hand and to have been good at figures, but his spelling at
the outset was far from perfect, and his style, although vigorous, was
abrupt and rough. He felt this himself, took great pains to correct
his faults in this respect, and succeeded, as he did in most things.
Mr. Sparks has produced a false impression in this matter by smoothing
and amending in very extensive fashion all the earlier letters, so as
to give an appearance of uniformity throughout the correspondence; a
process which not only destroyed much of the vigor and force of the
early writings, but made them somewhat unnatural. The surveyor and
frontier soldier wrote very differently from the general of the army
and the President of the United States, and the improvements of Mr.
Sparks only served to hide the real man.[1]

[Footnote 1: These facts in regard to Washington's early letters,
and to his correspondence generally, were first brought to public
attention by the Reed letters, and by the controversy between Mr.
Sparks and Lord Mahon. They have, of course, been long familiar to
students of the original manuscripts. The full extent, however, of the
changes made by Mr. Sparks, and of the mischief he wrought, and of the
injustice thus done both to his hero and to posterity, has but lately
been made known generally by the new edition of Washington's papers
which have been published, under the supervision of Mr. W.C. Ford.
Washington himself, when he undertook to arrange his military and
state papers after his retirement from the presidency, began to
correct the style of some of his earlier letters. This was natural
enough, and he had a right to do what he pleased with his own, even
if he thereby injured the material of the future historian and
biographer. But he did not proceed far in his work, and the fact
that he corrected a few of his own letters gave Mr. Sparks no right
whatever to enter upon a wholesale revision.]

If Washington had been of coarse fibre and heavy mind, this lack of
education would have troubled him but little. His great success in
that case would have served only to convince him of the uselessness of
education except for inferior persons, who could not get along in the
world without artificial aids. As it was, he never ceased to regret
his deficiency in this respect, and when Humphreys urged him to
prepare a history or memoirs of the war, he replied: "In a former
letter I informed you, my dear Humphreys, that if I had talent for
it, I have not leisure to turn my thoughts to commentaries. A
consciousness of a defective education and a certainty of a want of
time unfit me for such an undertaking." He was misled by his own
modesty as to his capacity, but his strong feeling as to his lack of
schooling haunted and troubled him always, although it did not make
him either indifferent or bitter. He only admired more that which he
himself had missed. He regarded education, and especially the higher
forms, with an almost pathetic reverence, and its advancement was
never absent from his thoughts. When he was made chancellor of the
college of William and Mary, he was more deeply pleased than by any
honor ever conferred upon him, and he accepted the position with a
diffidence and a seriousness which were touching in such a man. In the
same spirit he gave money to the Alexandria Academy, and every scheme
to promote public education in Virginia had his eager support. His
interest was not confined by state lines, for there was nothing so
near his heart as the foundation of a national university. He urged
its establishment upon Congress over and over again, and, as has been
seen, left money in his will for its endowment.

All his sympathies and tastes were those of a man of refined mind, and
of a lover of scholarship and sound learning. Naturally a very modest
man, and utterly devoid of any pretense, he underrated, as a matter of
fact, his own accomplishments. He distrusted himself so much that he
always turned to Hamilton, both during the Revolution and afterwards,
as well as in the preparation of the farewell address, to aid him in
clothing his thoughts in a proper dress, which he felt himself unable
to give them. His tendency was to be too diffuse and too involved,
but as a rule his style was sufficiently clear, and he could express
himself with nervous force when the occasion demanded, and with a
genuine and stately eloquence when he was deeply moved, as in the
farewell to Congress at the close of the war. It is not a little
remarkable that in his letters after the first years there is nothing
to betray any lack of early training. They are the letters, not of a
scholar or a literary man, but of an educated gentleman; and although
he seldom indulged in similes or allusions, when he did so they were
apt and correct. This was due to his perfect sanity of mind, and to
his aversion to all display or to any attempt to shine in borrowed
plumage. He never undertook to speak or write on any subject, or to
make any reference, which he did not understand. He was a lover of
books, collected a library, and read always as much as his crowded
life would permit. When he was at Newburgh, at the close of the war,
he wrote to Colonel Smith in New York to send him the following

"Charles the XIIth of Sweden.
Lewis the XVth, 2 vols.
History of the Life and Reign of the Czar Peter the Great.
Campaigns of Marshal Turenne.
Locke on the Human Understanding.
Robertson's History of America, 2 vols.
Robertson's History of Charles V.
Voltaire's Letters.
Life of Gustavus Adolphus.
Sully's Memoirs.
Goldsmith's Natural History.
Mildman on Trees.
Vertot's Revolution of Rome, 3 vols.
Vertot's Revolution of Portugal, 3 vols.
{The Vertot's if they are in estimation.}

If there is a good Bookseller's shop in the City, I would thank
you for sending me a catalogue of the Books and their prices that
I may choose such as I want."

His tastes ran to history and to works treating of war or agriculture,
as is indicated both by this list and some earlier ones. It is not
probable that he gave so much attention to lighter literature,
although he wrote verses in his youth, and by an occasional allusion
in his letters he seems to have been familiar with some of the great
works of the imagination, like "Don Quixote."[1]

[Footnote 1: At his death the appraisers of the estate found 863
volumes in his library, besides a great number of pamphlets,
magazines, and maps. This was a large collection of books for those
days, and showed that the possessor, although purely a man of affairs,
loved reading and had literary tastes.]

He never freed himself from the self-distrust caused by his profound
sense of his own deficiencies in education, on the one hand, and
his deep reverence for learning, on the other. He had fought the
Revolution, which opened the way for a new nation, and was at the
height of his fame when he wrote to the French officers, who begged
him to visit France, that he was "too old to learn French or to talk
with ladies;" and it was this feeling in a large measure which kept
him from ever being a maker of phrases or a sayer of brilliant things.
In other words, the fact that he was modest and sensitive has been the
chief cause of his being thought dull and cold. This idea, moreover,
is wholly that of posterity, for there is not the slightest indication
on the part of any contemporary that Washington could not talk well
and did not appear to great advantage in society. It is posterity,
looking with natural weariness at endless volumes of official letters
with all the angles smoothed off by the editorial plane, that has
come to suspect him of being dull in mind and heavy in wit. His
contemporaries knew him to be dignified and often found him stern, but
they never for a moment considered him stupid, or thought him a man at
whom the shafts of wit could be shot with impunity. They were fully
conscious that he was as able to hold his own in conversation as he
was in the cabinet or in the field; and we can easily see the justice
of contemporary opinion if we take the trouble to break through the
official bark and get at the real man who wrote the letters. In many
cases we find that he could employ irony and sarcasm with real force,
and his powers of description, even if stilted at times, were vigorous
and effective. All these qualities come out strongly in his letters,
if carefully read, and his private correspondence in particular shows
a keenness and point which the formalities of public intercourse
veiled generally from view. We are fortunate in having the account of
a disinterested and acute observer of the manner in which Washington
impressed a casual acquaintance in conversation. The actor Bernard,
whom we have already quoted, and whom we left with Washington at the
gates of Mount Vernon, gives us the following vivid picture of what

"In conversation his face had not much variety of expression. A look
of thoughtfulness was given by the compression of the mouth and the
indentations of the brow (suggesting an habitual conflict with, and
mastery over, passion), which did not seem so much to disdain a
sympathy with trivialities as to be incapable of denoting them. Nor
had his voice, so far as I could discover in our quiet talk,
much change or richness of intonation, but he always spoke with
earnestness, and his eyes (glorious conductors of the light within)
burned with a steady fire which no one could mistake for mere
affability; they were one grand expression of the well-known line: 'I
am a man, and interested in all that concerns humanity.' In one hour
and a half's conversation he touched on every topic that I brought
before him with an even current of good sense, if he embellished it
with little wit or verbal elegance. He spoke like a man who had felt
as much as he had reflected, and reflected more than he had spoken;
like one who had looked upon society rather in the mass than in
detail, and who regarded the happiness of America but as the first
link in a series of universal victories; for his full faith in the
power of those results of civil liberty which he saw all around him
led him to foresee that it would, erelong, prevail in other countries,
and that the social millennium of Europe would usher in the political.
When I mentioned to him the difference I perceived between the
inhabitants of New England and of the Southern States, he remarked: 'I
esteem those people greatly; they are the stamina of the Union and its
greatest benefactors. They are continually spreading themselves too,
to settle and enlighten less favored quarters. Dr. Franklin is a New
Englander.' When I remarked that his observations were flattering to
my country, he replied, with great good-humor, 'Yes, yes, Mr. Bernard,
but I consider your country the cradle of free principles, not their
armchair. Liberty in England is a sort of idol; people are bred up in
the belief and love of it, but see little of its doings. They walk
about freely, but then it is between high walls; and the error of its
government was in supposing that after a portion of their subjects had
crossed the sea to live upon a common, they would permit their friends
at home to build up those walls about them.' A black coming in at this
moment with a jug of spring water, I could not repress a smile, which
the general at once interpreted. 'This may seem a contradiction,' he
continued, 'but I think you must perceive that it is neither a crime
nor an absurdity. When we profess, as our fundamental principle, that
liberty is the inalienable right of every man, we do not include
madmen or idiots; liberty in their hands would become a scourge. Till
the mind of the slave has been educated to perceive what are the
obligations of a state of freedom, and not confound a man's with a
brute's, the gift would insure its abuse. We might as well be asked
to pull down our old warehouses before trade has increased to demand
enlarged new ones. Both houses and slaves were bequeathed to us by
Europeans, and time alone can change them; an event, sir, which, you
may believe me, no man desires more heartily than I do. Not only do I
pray for it, on the score of human dignity, but I can already foresee
that nothing but the rooting out of slavery can perpetuate the
existence of our Union, by consolidating it in a common bond of

"I now referred to the pleasant hours I had passed in Philadelphia,
and my agreeable surprise at finding there so many men of talent, at
which his face lit up vividly. 'I am glad to hear you, sir, who are an
Englishman, say so, because you must now perceive how ungenerous are
the assertions people are always making on your side of the water.
One gentleman, of high literary standing,--I allude to the Abbe
Raynal,--has demanded whether America has yet produced one great
poet, statesman, or philosopher. The question shows anything but
observation, because it is easy to perceive the causes which have
combined to render the genius of this country scientific rather than
imaginative. And, in this respect, America has surely furnished her
quota. Franklin, Rittenhouse, and Rush are no mean names, to which,
without shame, I may append those of Jefferson and Adams, as
politicians; while I am told that the works of President Edwards of
Rhode Island are a text-book in polemics in many European colleges.'

"Of the replies which I made to his inquiries respecting England, he
listened to none with so much interest as to those which described the
character of my royal patron, the Prince of Wales. 'He holds out every
promise,' remarked the general, 'of a brilliant career. He has been
well educated by _events_, and I doubt not that, in his time, England
will receive the benefit of her child's emancipation. She is at
present bent double, and has to walk with crutches; but her offspring
may teach her the secret of regaining strength, erectness, and
independence.' In reference to my own pursuits he repeated the
sentiments of Franklin. He feared the country was too poor to be a
patron of the drama, and that only arts of a practical nature
would for some time be esteemed. The stage he considered to be an
indispensable resource for settled society, and a chief refiner; not
merely interesting as a comment on the history of social happiness
by its exhibition of manners, but an agent of good as a school for
poetry, in holding up to honor the noblest principles. 'I am too old
and too far removed,' he added, 'to seek for or require this pleasure
myself, but the cause is not to droop on my account. There's my friend
Mr. Jefferson has time and taste; he goes always to the play, and I'll
introduce you to him,' a promise which he kept, and which proved to me
the source of the greatest benefit and pleasure."

This is by far the best account of Washington in the ordinary converse
of daily life that has come down to us. The narrator belonged to the
race who live by amusing their fellow-beings, and are in consequence
quick to notice peculiarities and highly susceptible to being bored.
Bernard, after the first interest of seeing a very eminent man had
worn off, would never have lingered for an hour and a half of chat and
then gone away reluctantly if his host had been either dull of speech
or cold and forbidding of manner. It is evident that Washington talked
well, easily, and simply, ranging widely over varied topics with a
sure touch, and that he drew from the ample resources of a well-stored
and reflective mind. The scraps of conversation which Bernard
preserves are interesting and above the average of ordinary talk,
without manifesting any attempt to be either brilliant or striking,
and it is also apparent that Washington had the art of putting his
guest entirely at his ease by his own pleasant and friendly manner. He
had picked up the English actor on the road, liked his readiness to
be helpful (always an attraction to him in any one), found him
well-mannered and intelligent, and brought him home to rest and chat
in the pleasant summer afternoon. To Bernard he was simply the plain
Virginia gentleman, with a liberal and cultivated interest in men and
things, and not a trace of oppressive and conscious greatness about
him. It is to be suspected that he was by no means equally genial to
the herd of sight-seers who pursued him in his retirement, but in this
meeting he appeared as he must always have appeared to his family and

We get the same idea from the scattered allusions that we have to
Washington in private life. Although silent and reserved as to
himself, he was by no means averse to society, and in his own house
all his guests, both great and small, felt at their ease with him,
although with no temptation to be familiar. We know from more than
one account that the dinners at the presidential house, as well as at
Mount Vernon, were always agreeable. It was his wont to sit at table
after the cloth was removed sipping a glass of wine and eating nuts,
of which he was very fond, while he listened to the conversation and
caused it to flow easily, not so much by what he said as by the kindly
smile and ready sympathy which made all feel at home. We can gather
an idea also of the charm which he had in the informal intercourse of
daily life from some of his letters on trifling matters. Here is a
little note written to Mrs. Stockton in acknowledgment of a pastoral
poem which she had sent him:--

"MOUNT VERNON, February 18, 1784.

"Dear Madam: The intemperate weather and very great care which the
post riders take of themselves prevented your letter of the 4th of
last month from reaching my hands till the 10th of this. I was then in
the very act of setting off on a visit to my aged mother, from whence
I am just returned. These reasons I beg leave to offer as an apology
for my silence until now.

"It would be a pity indeed, my dear madam, if the muses should be
restrained in you; it is only to be regretted that the hero of your
poetical talents is not more deserving their lays. I cannot, however,
from motives of pure delicacy (because I happen to be the principal
character in your Pastoral) withhold my encomiums on the performance;
for I think the easy, simple, and beautiful strain with which the
dialogue is supported does great justice to your genius; and will not
only secure Lucinda and Amista from wits and critics, but draw from
them, however unwillingly, their highest plaudits; if they can
relish the praises that are given, as they must admire the manner of
bestowing them.

"Mrs. Washington, equally sensible with myself of the honor you have
done her, joins me in most affectionate compliments to yourself, and
the young ladies and gentlemen of your family.

"With sentiments of esteem, regard and respect,
I have the honor to be
---- ----"

This is not a matter of "great pith or moment," but it shows how
pleasantly he could acknowledge a civility. The turn of the sentences
smacks of the formality of the time. They sound a little labored,
perhaps, to modern ears, but they were graceful according to the
standard of his day, and they have a gentle courtesy which can never
be out of fashion.

He had the power also of paying a compliment in an impressive and
really splendid manner whenever he felt it to be deserved. When
Charles Thomson, who for fifteen years had been the honored secretary
of the Continental Congress, wrote to announce his retirement,
Washington replied: "The present age does so much justice to the
unsullied reputation with which you have always conducted yourself in
the execution of the duties of your office, and posterity will find
your name so honorably connected with the verification of such a
multitude of astonishing facts, that my single suffrage would add
little to the illustration of your merits. Yet I cannot withhold any
just testimonial in favor of so old, so faithful, and so able a
public officer, which might tend to soothe his mind in the shades of
retirement. Accept, then, this serious declaration, that your services
have been important, as your patriotism was distinguished; and enjoy
that best of all rewards, the consciousness of having done your duty

Dull men do not write in this fashion. It is one thing to pay a
handsome compliment, although even that is not by itself easy, but to
give it in addition the note of sincerity which alone makes it of real
value demands both art and good feeling. Let us take one more example
of this sort before we drop the subject. When the French officers were
leaving America Washington wrote to De Chastellux to bid him farewell.
"Our good friend, the Marquis of Lafayette," he said, "prepared me,
long before I had the honor to see you, for those impressions of
esteem which opportunities and your own benevolent mind have since
improved into a deep and lasting friendship; a friendship which
neither time nor distance can eradicate. I can truly say that never in
my life have I parted with a man to whom my soul clave more sincerely
than it did to you. My warmest wishes will attend you in your voyage
across the Atlantic to the rewards of a generous prince, the arms of
affectionate friends; and be assured that it will be one of my highest
gratifications to keep up a regular intercourse with you by letter."

These letters exhibit not only the grace and point born of
intelligence, but also the best of manners; by which I mean private
manners, not those of the public man, of which there will be something
to say hereafter. The attraction of Washington's society as a private
gentleman lay in his good sense, breadth of knowledge, and good
manners. Now the essence of good manners of the highest and most
genuine kind is good feeling, which is thoughtful of others, and which
is impossible to a cold, hard, or insensible nature. Such manners as
we see in Washington's private letters and private life would have
been strange offspring from the cold heart attributed to him by Mr.
McMaster. In justice to Mr. McMaster, however, be it said, the charge
is not a new one. It has been hinted at and spoken of elsewhere, and
many persons have suspected that such was the case from the well-meant
efforts of what may be called the cherry-tree school to elevate
Washington's character by depicting him as a soulless, bloodless prig.
The blundering efforts of the latter need not be noticed, but the
reflections of serious critics cannot be passed by. The theory of the
cold heart and the unfeeling nature seems to proceed in this wise.
Washington was silent and reserved, he did not wear his heart upon his
sleeve for daws to peck at, therefore he was cold; just as if mere
noise and chatter had any relation to warm affections. He would take
no salary from Congress, says Mr. McMaster, in fine antithesis, but
he exacted his due from the family of the poor mason. This has an
unpleasant sound, and suggests the man who is generous in public, and
hard and grasping in private. Mr. McMaster in this sentence, however,
whether intentionally or not, is not quite accurate in his facts, and
conveys by his mode of statement an entirely false impression. The
story to which he refers is given by Parkinson, who wrote a book about
his experiences in America in 1798-1800. Parkinson had the story from
one General Stone, and it was to this effect:[1] A room was plastered
at Mount Vernon on one occasion, and was paid for during the owner's
absence. When Washington returned he examined the work and had it
measured, as was his habit. It then appeared that an error had been
made, and that fifteen shillings too much had been paid. Meantime the
plasterer had died. His widow married again, and her second husband
advertised in the newspapers that he was prepared to pay the debts of
his predecessor and collect all moneys due him. Thereupon Washington
put in his claim, which was paid as a matter of course. He did not
extort the debt from the family of the poor mason, but collected it
from the second husband of the widow, in response to a voluntary
advertisement. It was very careful and even close dealing, but it was
neither harsh nor unjust, and the writer who has preserved the story
would be not a little surprised at the interpretation that has
been put upon it, for he cited it, as he expressly says, merely
to illustrate the extraordinary regularity and method to which he
attributed much of Washington's success.

[Footnote 1: Parkinson's _Tour in America_, 1798-1800, 437 and ff.]

Parkinson, in this same connection, tells several other stories,
vague in origin, and sounding like mere gossip, but still worthy of
consideration. According to one of them, Washington maintained a
public ferry, which was customary among the planters, and the public
paid regular tolls for its use. On one occasion General Stone, the
authority for the previous anecdote, crossed the ferry and offered
a moidore in payment. The ferryman objected to receiving it, on the
ground that it was short weight, but Stone insisted, and it was
finally accepted. On being given to Washington it was weighed, and
being found three half-pence short, the ferryman was ordered to
collect the balance due. On another occasion a tenant could not make
the exact change in paying his rent, and Washington would not accept
the money until the tenant went to Alexandria and brought back
the precise sum. There is, however, still another anecdote, which
completes this series, and which shows a different application of the
same rule. Washington, in traveling, was in the habit of paying at
inns the same for his servants as for himself. An innkeeper once
charged him three shillings and ninepence for himself, and three
shillings for his servant. Thereupon Washington sent for his host,
said that his servant ate as much as he, and insisted on paying the
additional ninepence.

This extreme exactness in money matters, down even to the most
trifling sums, was no doubt a foible, but it is well to observe that
it was not a foible which sought only a selfish advantage, for the
rule which he applied to others he applied also to himself. He meant
to have his due, no matter how trivial, and he meant also that
others should have theirs. In trifles, as in greater things, he was
scrupulously just, and although he was always generous and ready to
give, he insisted rigidly on what was justly his. A gift was one
thing, a business transaction was another. The man himself who told
these very stories was a good example of the kindliness which went
hand in hand with this exactness in business affairs. Parkinson was
an Englishman, of great narrowness of mind, who came out here to be a
farmer, failed, and went home to write a book in denunciation of the
country. America never had a more hostile critic. According to
this profound observer, there was no good land in America, and no
possibility of successful agriculture. The horses were bad, the cattle
were bad, and sheep-raising was impossible. There was no game, the
fish and oysters were poor and watery, and no one could ever hope in
this wretchedly barren land for either wealth or comfort. It was a
country fit only for the reception of convicts, and the cast-off
mistress of an Englishman made a good wife for an American. A person
who held such views as these was not likely to be biased in favor of
anything American, and his evidence as to Washington may be safely
trusted as not likely to be unduly favorable. He tells us that on his
arrival at Mount Vernon, with letters of introduction, he was kindly
received; that this hospitality was never relaxed; and that the
general lent him money. He was at least grateful, and these are his
last words as to Washington:--

"To me he appeared a mild, friendly man, in company rather reserved,
in private speaking with candor. His behavior to me was such that I
shall ever revere his name.

"General Washington lived a great man, and died the same.

"I am of opinion that the general never knowingly did anything wrong,
but did to all men as he would they should do to him."

Evidently he appeared to Mr. Parkinson kindly and generous, as well
as exactly just. It is well to have the truth about Washington, and
nothing but the truth. Yet in escaping from the falsehoods of the
eulogist and the myth-maker, let us beware of those which spring from
the reaction against the current and accepted views. I have quoted
the Parkinson stories at length, because they enforce this point
admirably. No _a priori_ theory is safe, and to assume that Washington
must have committed grave errors and been guilty of mean actions
because they are common to humanity, and have not been admitted in his
case, is just as misleading as to assume, as is usually done, that he
was absolutely perfect and without fault.

Let it be admitted that Washington, ever ready to pay his own dues,
was strict, and sometimes severe, in demanding them of others; but
let it be also remembered, this is the worst that can be said. He was
always ready to overlook faults of omission or commission; he would
pardon easily mismanagement or extravagance on his estate or in
his household; but he had no mercy for anything that savored of
ingratitude, treachery, or dishonesty, and he carried this same
feeling into public as well as private affairs. No officer who had
bravely done his best had anything to fear in defeat from Washington's
anger. He was never unjust, and he was always kind to misfortune or
mistake, but to the coward or the traitor he was entirely unforgiving.
This it was which made Arnold's treason so bitter to him. Not only had
he been deceived, but the country as well as himself had been most
basely betrayed; and for this reason he was relentless to Andre, whom
it is said he never saw, living or dead. The young Englishman had
taken part in a wretched piece of treachery, and for the sake of the
country, and as a warning to traitors, Washington would not spare him.
He would never have ordered a political prisoner to be taken out and
shot in a ditch, after the fashion of Napoleon; nor would he have
dealt with any people as the Duke of Cumberland dealt with the
clansmen after Culloden. Such performances would have seemed to him
wanton as well as cruel, and he was too wise and too humane a man
to be either. Indian atrocities, for instance, with which he was
familiar, never led him to retaliate in kind. But he was perfectly
prepared to exact the extremest penalty by just and recognized
methods; and had it not been for the urgent entreaties of his friends,
he would have sent Asgill to the scaffold, repugnant as it was to his
feelings, because he felt that the murder of Huddy was a crime for
which the English army was responsible, and which demanded a just and
striking vengeance. He was, it may be freely confessed, of anything
but a tame nature. There was a good deal of Berserker in his make-up,
and he was fierce in his anger when he believed that a great wrong had
been done. But because he was stern and unrelenting when he felt that
justice and his duty required him to be so, no more proves that he had
a cold heart than does the fact that he was silent, dignified, and
reserved. Cold-blooded men are not fierce in seeking to redress the
wrongs of others, nor are the fluent of speech the only kind and
generous members of the human family.

Washington's whole life, indeed, contradicts the charge that he was
cold of heart and sluggish of feeling. The man who wrote as he did in
his extreme youth, when Indians were harrying the frontier where he
commanded, was not lacking in humanity or sympathy; and such as he
then was he remained to the end of his life. A soldier by instinct and
experience, he never grew indifferent to the miseries of war. Human
suffering always appealed to him and moved him deeply, and when it was
wantonly inflicted stirred him to anger and to the desire for the wild
justice of revenge.

The goodness and kindness of man's heart, however, are much more truly
shown in the little details of life than in the great matters which
affect classes or communities. Washington was considerate and helpful
to all men, and if he was ever cold and distant in his manner, it was
to the great, and not to the poor or humble. As has been indicated by
his recognition of the actor Bernard, he had in high degree the royal
gift of remembering names and faces. When he was at Senator Dalton's
house in Newburyport, on his New England tour of 1789, he met an
old servant whom he had not seen since the French war, thirty years
before. He knew the man at once, spoke to him, and welcomed him. So it
was with the old soldiers of the Revolution, who were always sure of a
welcome, and, if he had ever seen them, of a recognition. No man ever
turned from his presence wounded by a cold forgetfulness. When he was
at Ipswich, on this same journey, Mr. Cleaveland, the minister of the
town, was presented to him. As he approached, hat in hand, Washington
said, "Put on your hat, parson, and I will shake hands with you." "I
cannot wear my hat in your presence, general," was the reply, "when I
think of what you have done for this country." "You did as much as I."
"No, no," protested the parson. "Yes," said Washington, "you did what
you could, and I've done no more." What a gracious, kindly courtesy is
this, and not without the salt of wit! Does it not show the perfection
of good manners which deals with all men for what they are, and is
full of a warm sympathy born of a good heart? He was criticised
for coldness and accused of monarchical leanings, because, at Mrs.
Washington's receptions and his own public levees, he stood, dressed
in black velvet, with one hand on the hilt of his sword and the other
behind his back, and shook hands with no one, although he talked with
all. He did this because he thought it became the President of the
United States upon state occasions, and his sense of the dignity of
his office was always paramount. But away from forms and ceremonies,
with the old servant or the old soldier, or the country parson, his
hand was never behind his back, and his manners were those of a great
but simple gentleman, and came straight from a kind heart, full of
sympathy and good feeling.

He was, too, the most hospitable of men in the best sense, and his
house was always open to all who came. When he was away during the war
or the presidency, his instructions to his agents were to keep up the
hospitality of Mount Vernon, just as if he had been there himself; and
he was especially careful in directing that, if there were general
distress, poor persons of the neighborhood should have help from his
kitchen or his granaries.

His own more immediate hospitality was of the same kind. He always
entertained in the most liberal manner, both as general and President,
and in a style which he thought befitted the station he occupied. But
apart from all this, his table, whether at home or abroad, was never
without its guest. "Dine with us," he wrote to Lear on July 31, 1797,
"or we shall do what we have not done for twenty years, dine alone."
The real hospitality which opens the door and spreads the board for
the friend or stranger, admitting them to the family without form or
ceremony, was his also. "My manner of living is plain," he wrote to
a friend after the Revolution; "I do not mean to be put out of it. A
glass of wine and a bit of mutton are always ready; and such as will
be content to partake of them are always welcome. Those who expect
more will be disappointed, but no change will be effected by
it." Genuine hospitality as unstinted as it was sincere was not
characteristic of a cold man, or of one who sought to avoid his
fellows. It is one of the lighter graces of life, perhaps, but when it
comes freely and simply, and not as a vehicle for the display or the
aggrandizement of its dispenser, it is not without a meaning to the
student of character.

Washington was not much given to professions of friendship, nor was he
one of the great men who keep a circle of intimates and sometimes of
flatterers about them. He was extremely independent of the world and
perfectly self-sufficing, but it is a mistake to suppose that because
he unbosomed himself to scarcely any one, and had the loneliness of
greatness and of high responsibilities, he was therefore without
friends. He had as many friends as usually fall to the lot of any man;
and although he laid bare his inmost heart to none, some were very
close and all were very dear to him. In war and politics, as has
already been said, the two men who came nearest to him were Hamilton
and Knox, and his diary shows that when he was President he consulted
with them nearly every day wholly apart from the regular cabinet
meetings. They were the two advisers who were friends as well as
secretaries, and who followed and sustained him as a matter of
affection as much as politics. At home his neighbor, George Mason,
although they came to differ, was a strong friend whom he liked and
respected, and whose opinion, whether favorable or adverse, he always
sought. His feeling to Patrick Henry was much deeper than mere
political or official acquaintance, and the lovable qualities of the
brilliant orator, clear even now across the gulf of a century, were
evidently strongly felt by Washington. They differed about the
Constitution, but Washington was eager at a later day to have Henry by
his side in the cabinet, and in the last years they stood shoulder to
shoulder in defense of the Union with a personal sympathy deeper than
any born of a mere similarity of opinion. Henry Lee, the son of his
old sweetheart, he loved with a tender and peculiar affection. He
watched over him and helped him, rejoiced in the dashing gallantry
which made him famous as Light-horse Harry, and, when he had won civil
as well as military distinction, trusted him and counseled with him.
Dr. Craik, the companion of his youth and his life-long physician, was
always a dear and close friend, and the regard between the two is very
pleasant to look at, as we see it glancing out here and there in the
midst of state papers and official cases. For the officers of the army
he had a peculiarly warm feeling, and he had among them many close
friends, like Carrington of Virginia, and Charles Cotesworth Pinckney
of South Carolina. His immediate staff he regarded with especial
affection, and it is worthy of notice that they all not only admired
their great chief, but followed him with a personal devotion which is
not a little curious if Washington was cold of heart and distant of
manner in the intimate association of a military family.

This feeling for his soldiers and his officers extended also to those
civilians who had stood by him and the army, and who had labored
for victory in all those trying years. Such a one was old Governor
Trumbull, "Brother Jonathan," who never failed to respond when a call
was made for men and money, and upon whose friendship and advice
Washington always leaned. Such, too, were Robert and Gouverneur
Morris. The sacrifices and energy of the one and the zeal and
brilliant abilities of the other endeared both to him, and his
friendship for them never wavered when misfortune overtook the elder,
and when the younger was driven by malice, both foreign and domestic,
from the place he had filled so well. Another, again, of this kind was
Franklin. In the dark days of the old French war, Washington had seen
displayed for the first time the force and tact of Franklin, which
alone obtained the necessary wagons and enabled Braddock's army
to move. The early impression thus obtained was never lost, and
Franklin's patriotism, his sympathy for the general and the army in
the Revolution, as well as the stanch support he gave them, aroused in
Washington a sense of obligation and friendship of the sincerest kind.
In proportion as he loathed ingratitude was he grateful himself. He
loved Franklin for his friendship and support, he admired him for
his successful diplomacy, and he reverenced him for his scientific
attainments. The only American whose fame could for a moment come
in competition with his own, he regarded the old philosopher with
affectionate veneration, and when, after his own fashion, and not at
all after the fashion of the time, he arrived in Philadelphia on the
exact day set for the Constitutional Convention, his first act was to
call upon Dr. Franklin and pay his respects to him. The courtesy and
kindliness of this little act on the part of a man who had come to the
town in the midst of shouting crowds, with joy bells ringing above his
head, speak well for the simple, honest heart that dictated it.

After all, it may be said that a passing civility of this sort
involved but little trouble, and was more a matter of good-breeding
than anything else. Let us look, then, at another and widely different
case. Of all the men whom the fortunes of war brought across
Washington's path there was none who became dearer to him than
Lafayette, for the generous, high-spirited young Frenchman, full of
fresh enthusiasm and brave as a lion, appealed at once to Washington's
heart. He quickly admitted him to his confidence, and the excellent
service of Lafayette in the field, together with his invaluable
help in securing the French alliance, deepened and strengthened the
sympathy and affection which were entirely reciprocal. After Lafayette
departed, a constant correspondence was maintained; and when the
Bastille fell, it was to Washington that Lafayette sent its key, which
still hangs on the wall of Mt. Vernon. As Lafayette rose rapidly to
the dangerous heights of revolutionary leadership, he had at every
step Washington's advice and sympathy. Then the tide turned; he fell
headlong from power, and brought up in an Austrian prison. From that
moment Washington spared no pains to help his unhappy friend, although
his own position was one of extreme difficulty. Lafayette was not only
the proscribed exile of one country, but also the political prisoner
of another, and the President could not compromise the United States
at that critical moment by showing too much interest in the fate of
his unhappy friend. He nevertheless went to the very edge of prudence
in trying to save him, and the ministers of the United States were
instructed to use every private effort to secure Lafayette's release,
or at least the mitigation of his confinement. All these attempts
failed, but Washington was more successful in other directions. He
sent money to Madame de Lafayette, who was absolutely beggared at the
moment, and represented to her that it was in settlement of an account
which he owed the marquis. When Lafayette's son and his own namesake
came to this country for an asylum, he had him cared for in Boston and
New York by his personal friends; George Cabot in the one case, and
Hamilton in the other. As soon as public affairs made it proper for
him to do it, he took the lad into his own household, treated him like
a son, and kept him near him until events permitted the boy to return
to Europe and rejoin his father. The sufferings and dangers of
Lafayette and his family were indeed a source of great unhappiness
to Washington, and we have the authority of Bradford, his
attorney-general, that when the President attempted to talk about
Lafayette he was so much affected that he shed tears,--a very rare
exhibition of emotion in a man so intensely reserved.

Absence had as little effect upon his memory of old friends as
misfortune. The latter stimulated recollection, and the former could
not dim it. He found time, in the very heat and fire of war and
revolution, to write to Bryan Fairfax lamenting the death of "the good
old lord" whose house had been open to him, and whose hand had ever
helped him when he was a young and unknown man just beginning his
career. When he returned to Mount Vernon after the presidency, full of
years and honors, one of his first acts was to write to Mrs. Fairfax
in England to assure her of his lasting remembrance, and to breathe
a sigh over the changes time had brought, and over the by-gone years
when they had been young together.

The loyalty of nature which made his remembrance of old friends so
real and lasting found expression also in the thoughtfulness which he
showed toward casual acquaintances, and this was especially the case
when he had received attention or service at any one's hands, or when
he felt that he was able to give pleasure by a slight effort on his
own part. A little incident which occurred during the first year of
his presidency illustrates this trait in his character very well.
Uxbridge was one among the many places where he stopped on his New
England tour, and when he got to Hartford he wrote to Mr. Taft, who
had been his host in the former town, and who evidently cherished for
him a very keen admiration, the following note:--

"November 8, 1789.

"Sir: Being informed that you have given my name to one of your
sons, and called another after Mrs. Washington's family, and being
moreover very much pleased with the modest and innocent looks of
your two daughters, Patty and Polly, I do for these reasons send
each of these girls a piece of chintz; and to Patty, who bears the
name of Mrs. Washington, and who waited more upon us than Polly
did, I send five guineas, with which she may buy herself any
little ornament she may want, or she may dispose of them in any
other manner more agreeable to herself. As I do not give these
things with a view to having it talked of, or even to its being
known, the less there is said about the matter the better you will
please me; but, that I may be sure the chintz and money have got
safe to hand, let Patty, who I dare say is equal to it, write me
a line informing me thereof, directed to 'The President of the
United States at New York.' I wish you and your family well, and
am," etc.

Let us turn now from friendship to nearer and closer relations.
Washington was not only too reserved, but he had too much true
sentiment, to leave his correspondence with Mrs. Washington behind
him; for he knew that his vast collection of papers would become the
material of history, and he had no mind that strangers should look
into the sacred recesses of his private life. Only one letter to
Mrs. Washington apparently has survived. It is simple and full of
affection, as one would expect, and tells, as well as many volumes
could, of the happy relations between husband and wife. Washington had
many love affairs in his youth, but he proved in the end a constant
lover. His wife was a high-bred, intelligent woman, simple and
dignified in her manners, efficient in all ways to be the helpmate of
her husband in the high places to which he was called. No shadow ever
rested on their married life, and when the end came Mrs. Washington
only said, "All is over now. I shall soon follow him." She could not
conceive of life without the presence of the unchanging love and noble
character which had been by her side so long.

Children were denied to Washington, but although this was a
disappointment it did not chill him nor narrow his sympathies, as is
so often the case. He took to his heart his wife's children as if
they were his own. He watched over them and cared for them, and their
deaths caused him the deepest sorrow. He afterwards adopted his wife's
two grandchildren, and watched over them, too, in the same way. In the
midst of all the cares of the presidency, Washington found time always
to write to George Custis, a boy at school or at college; while Nellie
Custis was as dear to him as his own daughter, and her marriage a
source of the most affectionate interest. Indeed, it is evident from
various little anecdotes that he was much less strict with these
children than was Mrs. Washington, and much more disposed to condone
faults. Certain it is that they loved him tenderly, and in a way that
only long years of loving-kindness could have made possible.

He showed the same feeling to all his own kindred. His mother was ever
the object of the most loyal affection, and even at the head of the
armies he would turn aside to visit her with the same respect and
devotion as when he was a mere boy. He was ever mindful of his
brothers and sisters, and their fortunes. None of them were ever
forgotten, and he was especially kind to the children of those who
had been least fortunate and most needed his help. He educated and
counseled his favorite nephew Bushrod, and did the same for the sons
of George Steptoe Washington. Nothing is pleasanter than to read in
the midst of official papers the long letters in which he gave these
boys great store of wise and kindly advice, guided their education,
strove to form their characters, and traced for them the honorable
careers which he wished them to pursue. Very few men who had risen to
the heights reached by Washington would have found time, in the midst
of engrossing cares, to write such letters as he wrote to friends and
kinsmen. A kind heart prompted them, but they were much more than
merely kind, for when Washington undertook to do anything he did it
thoroughly. Whether it was a treaty with England, the education of a
boy, or the service of a friend, he gave it his best thought and his
utmost care. Where those he loved were concerned, he was never too
busy to think of them, and he spared no pains to help them; censuring
faults where they existed, and giving praise in generous manner where
praise was due.

To any one who carefully studies his life, it is evident that
Washington was as warm-hearted and affectionate as he was great in
character and ability, and that he was so without noise or pretense.
This really only amounts to saying that he was a well-balanced man,
and yet even this cannot be said without admitting still another
quality. The sanest of all senses is the sense of humor, and the
nature in which it is wholly lacking cannot be thoroughly rounded and
complete. Humor is not the most lofty of qualities, but it is one of
the most essential, and it is generally assumed that Washington
was very deficient in humor. This idea has arisen from a hasty
consideration of the subject, and from a superficial conception of
humor itself. To utter jests, or to say or write witty, brilliant, or
amusing things, no doubt implies the possession of humor, but they are
not the whole of it, for a man may have a fine sense of humor, and yet
never make a joke nor utter a sarcasm. The distinction between humor
and the want of it lies much deeper than word of mouth. The man
without a sense of humor is sure to make a certain number of solemn
blunders. They may be in matters of importance or in the merest
trifles, but they are blunders none the less, and come from
insensibility to the incongruous, the ludicrous, or the impossible. It
may be said that common sense suffices to avoid these pitfalls, but
this is really begging the question, inasmuch as common sense of a
high order amounting almost to genius cannot exist without humor, for
humor is the root and foundation of common sense. Let us apply this
test to Washington and we shall find that there never was a man who
made fewer mistakes than he, down even to matters of the smallest
detail. Search his career from beginning to end, and there is not a
solemn blunder to be found in it. He was attacked and assailed both as
general and President, but he was never laughed at. In other words,
he had a sense of humor which made it impossible for him to blunder
solemnly, or to do or say anything which ridicule could touch.

It is not, however, necessary to leave his possession of a sense of
humor to inference from his career and his freedom from blunders. That
he had humor strong, sane, and abundant is susceptible of much more
direct proof; and the idea that he was lacking in this respect arose
undoubtedly from the gravity of demeanor which was characteristic of
the man. He had assumed the heavy responsibilities of an important
military command in the French war at an age when most men are just
leaving college and beginning to study a profession. This of itself
sobered him, and added to his natural quiet and reserve, so that in
estimating him in after-life this early and severe discipline at a
most impressionable age ought never to be overlooked, for it had a
very marked effect upon his character.

He was not perhaps exactly joyous or gay of nature, but he had a
contented and happy disposition, and, like all robust, well-balanced
men, he possessed strong animal spirits and a keen sense of enjoyment.
He loved a wild, open-air life, and was devoted to rough out-door
sports. He liked to wrestle and run, to shoot, ride or dance, and
to engage in all trials of skill and strength, for which his great
muscular development suited him admirably. With such tastes, it
followed almost as a matter of course that he loved laughter and fun.
Good, hearty, country fun, a ludicrous mishap, a practical joke, all
merriment of a simple, honest kind, were highly congenial to him,
especially in his youth and early manhood. Here is the way, for
example, in which he described in his diary a ball he attended in
1760: "In a convenient room, detached for the purpose, abounded great
plenty of bread and butter, some biscuits, with tea and coffee which
the drinkers of could not distinguish from hot water sweetened. Be
it remembered that pocket handkerchiefs served the purposes of
tablecloths, and that no apologies were made for them. I shall
therefore distinguish this ball by the style and title of the
bread-and-butter ball." The wit is not brilliant, but there was a good
hearty laugh in the young man who jots down this little memorandum in
his diary.

The years after the French war were happy years, free from care and
full of simple pleasures. Then came the Revolution, bringing with it a
burden such as has seldom been laid upon any man, and the seriousness
bred by earlier experiences, came back with tenfold force. The popular
saying was that Washington never smiled during the war, and, roughly
speaking, this was quite true. In all those years of danger and trial,
inasmuch as he was a man big of heart and brain, he had the gravity
and the sadness born of responsibility, and the suffering sure to come
to an unselfish mind. It was at this time that he began to be most
closely observed of men, and hence came the idea that he never
laughed, and therefore was a being devoid of humor, the most
sympathetic of gifts. But as a matter of fact, the old sense of fun
never left him. It would come to his aid at the most serious moments,
just as an endless flow of stories brought relief to Lincoln and
carried him round many jagged corners. With Washington it was hearty,
laughing mirth at some ludicrous incident. Putnam riding into
Cambridge with an old woman clinging behind him; Greene searching for
his wig while it was on his head; a young braggart flung over the head
of an unbroken colt; or a good, rollicking story from Colonel Seammel
or Major Fairlie,--all these would delight Washington, and send him
off into peals of inextinguishable laughter. It was ever the old,
hearty love of fun born of animal spirits, which never left him, and
which would always break out on sufficient provocation. Mr. Parton
would have us believe that this was all, and that the common-place
hero whom he describes never rose above the level of the humor
conveyed by grinning through a horse-collar. Even admitting the truth
of this, a real love of honest fun and of a hearty laugh is a kindly
quality that all men like.

But was this all? Is it quite true that Washington had only a love of
boisterous fun, and nothing else? It is worth looking a little deeper
than the current stories of the camp to find out, and yet one of these
very camp-stories raises at once a strong suspicion that Mr. Parton's
conclusion in this regard, like so many conclusions about Washington,
is unfounded. When General Lee took the oath of allegiance to the
United States, he remarked, in making abjuration of his former
allegiance, that he was perfectly ready to abjure the king, but could
not bring himself to abjure the Prince of Wales, at which bit of irony
Washington was greatly amused. The wit of the remark is a little cold
to-day, but at the moment, accompanying as it did a solemn act of
abjuration, it was keen enough. Washington himself, moreover, was
perfectly capable of good-natured banter. Colonel Humphreys challenged
him one day to jump over a hedge. Washington, always ready to accept
a challenge where riding was concerned, told the colonel to go on.
Humphreys put his horse at the hedge, cleared it, and landed in
a quagmire on the other side up to his horse's girths; whereupon
Washington rode up, stopped, and looking blandly at his struggling
friend, remarked, "Ah, colonel, you are too deep for me." "Take care,"
he wrote to young Custis, when he sent him money for his college gown,
"not to buy without advice; otherwise you may be more distinguished by
your folly than your dress."

We find in his letters here and there a good-natured raillery, and
jesting, which show a sense of humor that goes beyond the limits of
mere fun and horse-play. Here is a letter he wrote toward the close of
the war, asking some ladies to dine with him in his quarters at West

"WEST POINT, August 16, 1779.

"Dear Doctor: I have asked Mrs. Cochran and Mrs. Livingston to
dine with me to-morrow; but ought I not to apprise you of their
fare? As I hate deception, even where imagination is concerned, I

"It is needless to premise that my table is large enough to hold
the ladies: of this they had ocular demonstration yesterday. To
say how it is usually covered is rather more essential, and this
shall be the purport of my letter.

"Since my arrival at this happy spot, we have had a ham, sometimes
a shoulder of bacon, to grace the head of the table. A piece
of roast beef adorns the foot, and a small dish of green
beans--almost imperceptible--decorates the centre. When the cook
has a mind to cut a figure,--and this I presume he will attempt
to-morrow,--we have two beefsteak pies, or dishes of crabs, in
addition, one on each side of the centre dish, dividing the space,
and reducing the distance between dish and dish to about six feet,
which without them would be nearly twelve feet apart. Of late he
has had the surprising luck to discover that apples will make
pies; and it is a question if, amidst the violence of his efforts,
we do not get one of apples instead of having both of beef.

"If the ladies can put up with such entertainment, and submit to
partake of it on plates once tin, but now iron, not become so by
the labor of hard scouring, I shall be happy to see them."

We may be sure that the ladies found their dinner a pleasant one, and
that the writer of the note was neither a stiff nor unsocial host. A
much more charming letter is one to Nellie Custis, on the occasion of
her first ball. It is too long for quotation, but it is a model of
affectionate wisdom tinged with a gentle humor, and designed to guide
a young girl just beginning the world of society.

Here, however, is another extract from a letter to Madame de
Lafayette, of rather more serious purport, but in the same strain, and
full of a simple and, as we should call it, an old-fashioned grace. He
was replying to an invitation to visit France, which he felt obliged
to decline. After giving his reasons, he said: "This, my dear
Marchioness (indulge the freedom), is not the case with you. You have
youth (and, if you should incline to leave your children, you can
leave them with all the advantages of education), and must have a
curiosity to see the country, young, rude, and uncultivated as it is,
for the liberties of which your husband has fought, bled, and acquired
much glory, where everybody admires, everybody loves him. Come, then,
let me entreat you, and call my cottage your home; for your own doors
do not open to you with more readiness than mine would. You will see
the plain manner in which we live, and meet with rustic civility; and
you shall taste the simplicity of rural life. It will diversify the
scene, and may give you a higher relish for the gayeties of the court
when you return to Versailles."

There is also apparent in many of his letters a vein of worldly
wisdom, shrewd but kindly, too gentle to be called cynical, and yet
touched with the humor which reads and appreciates the foibles of
humanity. Of an officer who grumbled at disappointments during the war
he wrote: "General McIntosh is only experiencing upon a small scale
what I have had an ample share of upon a large one; and must, as I
have been obliged to do in a variety of instances, yield to necessity;
that is, to use a vulgar phrase, 'shape his coat according to his
cloth,' or in other words, if he cannot do as he wishes, he must do
what he can." The philosophy is homely and common enough, but the
manner in which the reproof was administered shows kindly tact, one
of the most difficult of arts. Here is another passage, touching on
something outside the range of war and politics. He was writing to
Lund Washington in regard to Mrs. Washington's daughter-in-law, Mrs.
Custis, who was contemplating a second marriage. "For my own part," he
said, "I never did, nor do I believe I ever shall, give advice to a
woman who is setting out on a matrimonial voyage: first, because I
never could advise one to marry without her own consent; and secondly,
because I know it is to no purpose to advise her to refrain when she
has obtained it. A woman very rarely asks an opinion or requires
advice on such an occasion till her resolution is formed; and then it
is with the hope and expectation of obtaining a sanction, not that she
means to be governed by your disapprobation, that she applies. In a
word, the plain English of the application may be summed up in these
words: 'I wish you to think as I do; but if unhappily you differ from
me in opinion, my heart, I must confess, is fixed, and I have gone too
far _now_ to retract.'"

In the same spirit, but this time with a lurking smile at himself,
did he write to the secretary of Congress for his commission: "If my
commission is not necessary for the files of Congress, I should be
glad to have it deposited among my own papers. It may serve _my
grandchildren_, some fifty or a hundred years hence, for a theme to
ruminate upon, if _they_ should be contemplatively disposed."

He knew human nature well, and had a smile for its little weaknesses
when they came to his mind. It was this same human sympathy which made
him also love amusements of all sorts; but he was as little their
slave as their enemy. No man ever carried great burdens with a higher
or more serious spirit, but his cares never made him forbidding, nor
rendered him impatient of the pleasure of others. He liked to amuse
himself, and knew the value of a change of thought and scene, and he
was always ready, when duty permitted, for a chat. He liked to take a
comfortable seat and have his talk out, and he had the talent so rare
in great men of being a good and appreciative listener. We hear of him
playing cards at Tappan during the war, and he was always fond of a
game in the evening, realizing the force of Talleyrand's remark to the
despiser of cards: "Quelle triste vieillesse vous vous preparez." In
1779 it is recorded that at a party he danced for three hours with
Mrs. Greene without sitting down or resting, which speaks well for
the health and spirits both of the lady and the gentleman. Even after
Yorktown, he was ready to walk a minuet at a ball, and to the end
he liked to see young people dance, as he had danced himself in his
youth. As has been seen from his treatment of Bernard, he liked the
theatre and the actors, and when he was in Philadelphia he was a
constant attendant at the play, as he had been ever since he went to
see "George Barnwell" in the Barbadoes. His love of horses stayed with
him to the last. He not only rode and drove and trained horses,[1] but
he enjoyed the sport of the race-course. He was probably aware, like
the Shah of Persia who declined to go to the Derby, that one horse
could run faster than another, but nevertheless he liked to see them
run, and we hear of him, after he had reached the presidency, acting
as judge at a race, and seeing his own colt Magnolia beaten, which he
no doubt considered the next best thing to winning.

[Footnote 1: The Marquis de Chastelleux speaks of the perfect training
of Washington's saddle horses, and says the general broke them
himself. He adds "He (the general) is an excellent and bold horseman,
leaping the highest fences and going extremely quick, without standing
upon his stirrups, bearing on the bridle or letting his horse run
wild; circumstances which our young men look upon as so essential a part
of English horsemanship, that they would rather break a leg or an arm
than renounce them."]

He had, indeed, in all ways a thoroughly well-balanced mind and
temper. In great affairs he knew how to spare himself the details to
which others could attend as well as he, and yet he was in no wise
a despiser of small things. Before the Revolution, there was a warm
discussion in the Truro parish as to the proper site for the Pohick
Church. Washington and George Mason led respectively the opposing
forces, and each confidently asserted that the site he preferred was
the most convenient for the largest number of parishioners. Finally,
after much debate and no conclusion, Washington appeared at a vestry
meeting with a collection of statistics. He had measured the distance
from each proposed site to the house of each parishioner, and found,
as he declared, that his site was nearer to more people than the
other. It is needless to add that he carried his point, and that the
spot he desired for the church was the one chosen.

The fact was that, if he confided a task of any sort to another, he
let it go on without meddling; but if he undertook anything himself,
he did it with the utmost thoroughness, and there is much success
in this capacity to take pains even in small things. He managed his
plantations entirely himself when he was at home, and did it well. He
knew the qualities of each field, and the rotation of its crops. No
improvement in agriculture and no ingenious invention escaped his
attention, although he was not to be carried away by mere novelty,
which had such a fascination for his ex-secretary at Monticello. Every
resource of his estate was turned to good use, and his flour and
tobacco commanded absolute confidence with his brand upon them. He
followed in the same painstaking way all his business affairs, and his
accounts, all in his own hand, are wonderfully minute and accurate. He
was very exact in all business as well as very shrewd at a bargain,
and the tradition is that his neighbors considered the general a
formidable man in a horse-trade, that most difficult of transactions.
Parkinson mentions that everything purchased or brought to the house
was weighed, measured, or counted, generally in the presence of the
master himself. Some of his letters to Lear, his private secretary,
show that he looked after his china and servants, the packing and
removal of his furniture with great minuteness. To some persons this
appears evidence of a petty mind in a great man, but to those who
reflect a little more deeply it will occur that this accuracy and
care in trifles were the same qualities which kept the American army
together, and enabled their owner to arrive on time and in full
preparation at Yorktown and Trenton. The worst that can be said is
that from his love of perfection and completeness he may in this
respect have wasted time and strength, but his untiring industry and
his capacity for work were so great that he accomplished so far as we
can see all this drudgery without ever neglecting in the least more
important duties. It was a satisfaction to him to do it; for he was
methodical and exact to the last degree, and he was never happy unless
he held everything in which he was concerned easily within his grasp.

He had the same attention to details in external things, and he wished
everything about him to be of the best, if not "express'd in fancy."
He had the handsomest carriages and the finest horses always in his
stables. It was necessary that the furniture of his house should be as
good as could be procured, and he was most particular in regard to it.
When he was preparing as President to move to Philadelphia, he made
the most searching inquiries as to horses, stables, servants, schools
for young Custis, and everything affecting the household. He sent at
the same time most minute directions to his agents as to the furniture
of his house, touching upon everything, down to the color of the
curtains and the form of his wine-coolers. He had a like feeling in
regard to dress. His fancy for handsome and appropriate dress in his
youth has already been alluded to, but he never ceased to take an
interest in it; and in a letter to McHenry, written in the last year
of his life, he discusses with great care the details of the uniform
to be prescribed for himself as commander-in-chief of the new army. It
would be a mistake, of course, to infer that he was a dandy, or that
he gave to dress and furniture the importance set upon them by shallow
minds. He simply valued them rightly, and enjoyed the good things of
this world. He had the best possible taste and the keenest sense of
what was appropriate, and it was this good taste and sense of fitness
which saved him from blundering in trifles, as much as his ability and
his sense of humor preserved him from error in the conduct of great

The value of all this to the country he served cannot be too often
reiterated, for ridicule was a real danger to the Revolutionary cause
when it started. The raw levies, headed by volunteer officers from the
shop, the plough, the work-bench, or the trading vessel, despite their
patriotism and the nobility of their cause, could easily have been
made subjects of derision, a perilous enemy to all new undertakings.
Men prefer to be shot at, if they are taken seriously, rather than to
be laughed at and made objects of contempt. The same principle holds
true of a revolution seeking the sympathy of a hostile world. When
Washington drew his sword beneath the Cambridge elm and put himself at
the head of the American army, effective ridicule became impossible,
for the dignity of the cause was seen in that of its leader. The
British generals soon found that they not only had a dangerous enemy
to encounter, but that they were dealing with a man whose pride in his
country and whose own sense of self-respect reduced any assumption of
personal superiority on their part to speedy contempt. In the same way
he brought dignity to the new government of the Constitution when
he was placed at its head. The confederation had excited the just
contempt of the world, and Washington as President, by the force of
his own character and reputation, gave the United States at once the
respect not only of the American people, but of those of Europe as
well. Men felt instinctively that no government over which he presided
could ever fall into feebleness or disrepute.

In addition to the effect on the popular mind of his character and
services was that of his personal presence. If contemporary testimony
can be believed, few men have ever lived who had the power to impress
those who looked upon them so profoundly as Washington. He was richly
endowed by nature in all physical attributes. Well over six feet
high,[1] large, powerfully built, and of uncommon muscular strength,
he had the force that always comes from great physical power. He had
a fine head, a strong face, with blue eyes set wide apart in deep
orbits, and beneath, a square jaw and firm-set mouth which told of a
relentless will. Houdon the sculptor, no bad judge, said he had no
conception of the majesty and grandeur of Washington's form and
features until he studied him as a subject for a statue. Pages might
be filled with extracts from the descriptions of Washington given by
French officers, by all sorts of strangers, and by his own countrymen,
but they all repeat the same story. Every one who met him told of the
commanding presence, and noble person, the ineffable dignity, and
the calm, simple, and stately manners. No man ever left Washington's
presence without a feeling of reverence and respect amounting almost
to awe.

[Footnote 1: Lear in his memoranda published recently in full in
McClure's Magazine for February, 1898, states that Washington measured
after death six feet three and one half inches in height, a foot
and nine inches across the shoulders, two feet across the elbows;
evidently a spare man with muscular arms, which we know to have been
also of unusual length.]

I will quote only a single one of the numerous descriptions of
Washington, and I select it because, although it is the least
favorable of the many I have seen, and is written in homely phrase, it
displays the most evident and entire sincerity. The extract is from
a letter written by David Ackerson of Alexandria, Va., in 1811, in
answer to an inquiry by his son. Mr. Ackerson commanded a company in
the Revolutionary war.

"Washington was not," he wrote, "what ladies would call a pretty man,
but in military costume a heroic figure, such as would impress the
memory ever afterward."

The writer had a good view of Washington three days before the
crossing of the Delaware.

"Washington," he says, "had a large thick nose, and it was very red
that day, giving me the impression that he was not so moderate in the
use of liquors as he was supposed to be. I found afterward that this
was a peculiarity. His nose was apt to turn scarlet in a cold wind.
He was standing near a small camp-fire, evidently lost in thought
and making no effort to keep warm. He seemed six feet and a half in
height, was as erect as an Indian, and did not for a moment relax from
a military attitude. Washington's exact height was six feet two inches
in his boots. He was then a little lame from striking his knee against
a tree. His eye was so gray that it looked almost white, and he had
a troubled look on his colorless face. He had a piece of woolen tied
around his throat and was quite hoarse. Perhaps the throat trouble
from which he finally died had its origin about then. Washington's
boots were enormous. They were number 13. His ordinary walking-shoes
were number 11. His hands were large in proportion, and he could not
buy a glove to fit him and had to have his gloves made to order.
His mouth was his strong feature, the lips being always tightly
compressed. That day they were compressed so tightly as to be painful
to look at. At that time he weighed two hundred pounds, and there was
no surplus flesh about him. He was tremendously muscled, and the fame
of his great strength was everywhere. His large tent when wrapped up
with the poles was so heavy that it required two men to place it in
the camp-wagon. Washington would lift it with one hand and throw it in
the wagon as easily as if it were a pair of saddle-bags. He could hold
a musket with one hand and shoot with precision as easily as other men
did with a horse-pistol. His lungs were his weak point, and his voice
was never strong. He was at that time in the prime of life. His hair
was a chestnut brown, his cheeks were prominent, and his head was not
large in contrast to every other part of his body, which seemed large
and bony at all points. His finger-joints and wrists were so large as
to be genuine curiosities. As to his habits at that period I found
out much that might be interesting. He was an enormous eater, but was
content with bread and meat, if he had plenty of it. But hunger seemed
to put him in a rage. It was his custom to take a drink of rum or
whiskey on awakening in the morning. Of course all this was changed
when he grew old. I saw him at Alexandria a year before he died. His
hair was very gray, and his form was slightly bent. His chest was very
thin. He had false teeth, which did not fit and pushed his under lip

[Footnote 1: This letter, recently printed, is in the collection of
Dr. Toner, at Washington. It contains some obvious errors, as
in regard to the color of the eyes, but it is nevertheless very
interesting and valuable.]

This description is certainly not a flattering one, and all other
accounts as well as the best portraits prove that Washington was a
much handsomer man than this letter would indicate. Yet the writer,
despite his freedom from all illusions and his readiness to state
frankly all defects, was profoundly impressed by Washington's
appearance as he watched him meditating by the camp-fire at the crisis
of the country's fate, and herein lies the principal interest of his

This personal impressiveness, however, affected every one upon all

Mr. Rush, for instance, saw Washington go on one occasion to open
Congress. He drove to the hall in a handsome carriage of his own,
with his servants dressed in white liveries. When he had alighted
he stopped on the step, and pausing faced round to wait for his
secretary. The vast crowd looked at him in dead silence, and then,
when he turned away, broke into wild cheering. At his second
inauguration he was dressed in deep mourning for the death of his
nephew. He took the oath of office in the Senate Chamber, and Major
Forman, who was present, wrote in his diary: "Every eye was on him.
When he said, 'I, George Washington,' my blood seemed to run cold and
every one seemed to start." At the inauguration of Adams, another
eye-witness wrote that Washington, dressed in black velvet, with a
military hat and black cockade, was the central figure in the scene,
and when he left the chamber the crowds followed him, cheering and
shouting to the door of his own house.

There must have been something very impressive about a man who, with
no pretensions to the art of the orator and with no touch of the
charlatan, could so move and affect vast bodies of men by his presence
alone. But the people, with the keen eye of affection, looked beyond
the mere outward nobility of form. They saw the soldier who had given
them victory, the great statesman who had led them out of confusion
and faction to order and good government. Party newspapers might rave,
but the instinct of the people was never at fault. They loved, trusted
and well-nigh worshiped Washington living, and they have honored and
reverenced him with an unchanging fidelity since his death, nearly a
century ago.

But little more remains to be said. Washington had his faults, for
he was human; but they are not easy to point out, so perfect was his
mastery of himself. He was intensely reserved and very silent, and
these are the qualities which gave him the reputation in history
of being distant and unsympathetic. In truth, he had not only warm
affections and a generous heart, but there was a strong vein of
sentiment in his composition. At the same time he was in no wise
romantic, and the ruling element in his make-up was prose, good solid
prose, and not poetry. He did not have the poetical and imaginative
quality so strongly developed in Lincoln. Yet he was not devoid of
imagination, although it was here that he was lacking, if anywhere. He
saw facts, knew them, mastered and used them, and never gave much play
to fancy; but as his business in life was with men and facts, this
deficiency, if it was one, was of little moment. He was also a man of
the strongest passions in every way, but he dominated them; they never
ruled him. Vigorous animal passions were inevitable, of course, in a
man of such a physical make-up as his. How far he gave way to them in
his youth no one knows, but the scandals which many persons now desire
to have printed, ostensibly for the sake of truth, are, so far as
I have been able to learn, with one or two dubious exceptions, of
entirely modern parentage. I have run many of them to earth; nearly
all are destitute of contemporary authority, and they may be relegated
to the dust-heaps.[1] If he gave way to these propensities in his
youth, the only conclusion that I have been able to come to is that he
mastered them when he reached man's estate.

[Footnote 1: The charge in the pamphlet purporting to give an account
of the trial of the New York conspirators in 1776 is of such doubtful
origin and character that it hardly merits consideration, and the only
other allusion is in the well-known intercepted letter of Harrison,
which is of doubtful authenticity in certain passages, open to
suspicion from having been intercepted and published by the enemy and
quite likely to have been at best merely a coarse jest of a character
very common at that period and entirely in keeping with the notorious
habits of life and speech peculiar to the writer. (See Life of John
Adams, iii. 35.)]

He had, too, a fierce temper, and although he gradually subdued it, he
would sometimes lose control of himself and burst out into a tempest
of rage. When he did so he would use strong and even violent language,
as he did at Kip's Landing and at Monmouth. Well-intentioned persons
in their desire to make him a faultless being have argued at great
length that Washington never swore, and but for their argument the
matter would never have attracted much attention. He was anything but
a profane man, but the evidence is beyond question that if deeply
angered he would use a hearty English oath; and not seldom the action
accompanied the word, as when he rode among the fleeing soldiers at
Kip's Landing, striking them with his sword, and almost beside himself
at their cowardice. Judge Marshall used to tell also of an occasion
when Washington sent out an officer to cross a river and bring back
some information about the enemy, on which the action of the morrow
would depend. The officer was gone some time, came back, and found
the general impatiently pacing his tent. On being asked what he had
learned, he replied that the night was dark and stormy, the river full
of ice, and that he had not been able to cross. Washington glared at
him a moment, seized a large leaden inkstand from the table, hurled it
at the offender's head, and said with a fierce oath, "Be off, and send
me a _man_!" The officer went, crossed the river, and brought back the

But although he would now and then give way to these tremendous bursts
of anger, Washington was never unjust. As he said to one officer, "I
never judge the propriety of actions by after events;" and in that
sound philosophy is found the secret not only of much of his own
success, but of the devotion of his officers and men. He might be
angry with them, but he was never unfair. In truth, he was too
generous to be unjust or even over-severe to any one, and there is not
a line in all his writings which even suggests that he ever envied any
man. So long as the work in hand was done, he cared not who had the
glory, and he was perfectly magnanimous and perfectly at ease about
his own reputation. He never showed the slightest anxiety to write his
own memoirs, and he was not in the least alarmed when it was proposed
to publish the memoirs of other people, like General Charles Lee,
which would probably reflect upon him.

He had the same confidence in the judgment of posterity that he had in
the future beyond the grave. He regarded death with entire calmness
and even indifference not only when it came to him, but when in
previous years it had threatened him. He loved life and tasted of it
deeply, but the courage which never forsook him made him ready to face
the inevitable at any moment with an unruffled spirit. In this he was
helped by his religious faith, which was as simple as it was profound.
He had been brought up in the Protestant Episcopal Church, and to that
church he always adhered; for its splendid liturgy and stately forms
appealed to him and satisfied him. He loved it too as the church of
his home and his childhood. Yet he was as far as possible from being
sectarian, and there is not a word of his which shows anything but
the most entire liberality and toleration. He made no parade of his
religion, for in this as in other things he was perfectly simple and
sincere. He was tortured by no doubts or questionings, but believed
always in an overruling Providence and in a merciful God, to whom he
knelt and prayed in the day of darkness or in the hour of triumph with
a supreme and childlike confidence.

* * * * *

As I bring these volumes to a close I am conscious that they speak, so
far as they speak at all, in a tone of almost unbroken praise of the
great man they attempt to portray. If this be so, it is because I
could come to no other conclusions. For many years I have studied
minutely the career of Washington, and with every step the greatness
of the man has grown upon me, for analysis has failed to discover
the act of his life which, under the conditions of the time, I could
unhesitatingly pronounce to have been an error. Such has been my
experience, and although my deductions may be wrong, they at least
have been carefully and slowly made. I see in Washington a great
soldier who fought a trying war to a successful end impossible without
him; a great statesman who did more than all other men to lay the
foundations of a republic which has endured in prosperity for more
than a century. I find in him a marvelous judgment which was never at
fault, a penetrating vision which beheld the future of America when it
was dim to other eyes, a great intellectual force, a will of iron,
an unyielding grasp of facts, and an unequaled strength of patriotic
purpose. I see in him too a pure and high-minded gentleman of
dauntless courage and stainless honor, simple and stately of manner,
kind and generous of heart. Such he was in truth. The historian and
the biographer may fail to do him justice, but the instinct of mankind
will not fail. The real hero needs not books to give him worshipers.
George Washington will always hold the love and reverence of men
because they see embodied in him the noblest possibilities of

INDEX for Volumes I & II

describes Washington's personal appearance, ii. 386-388.

Adams, Abigail,
on Washington's appearance in 1775, i. 137.

Adams, John,
moves appointment of Washington as commander-in-chief, i. 134;
on political necessity for his appointment, 135;
and objections to it, 135;
statement as to Washington's difficulties, 163;
over-sanguine as to American prospects, 171;
finds fault with Washington, 214, 215;
one of few national statesmen, 252;
on Washington's opinion of titles, ii. 52;
advocates ceremony, 54;
returns to United States, 137;
attacked by Jefferson as a monarchist, 226;
praised by Democrats as superior to Washington, 251;
his administration upheld by Washington, 259;
advised by Washington, 260;
his inauguration, 276;
sends special mission to France, 284;
urges Washington to take command of provisional army, 285;
wishes to make Knox senior to Hamilton, 286;
censured by Washington, gives way, 287;
lack of sympathy with Washington, 287;
his nomination of Murray disapproved by Washington, 292, 293;
letter of Washington to, on immigration, 326.

Adams, J.Q.,
on weights and measures, ii. 81.

Adams, Samuel,
not sympathized with by Washington in working for independence, i. 131;
his inability to sympathize with Washington, 204;
an enemy of Constitution, ii. 71;
a genuine American, 309.

Alcudia, Duke de,
interviews with Pinckney, ii. 166.

Alexander, Philip,
hunts with Washington, i. 115.

Alien and Sedition Laws,
approved by Washington and Federalists, ii. 290, 297.

Ames, Fisher,
speech on behalf of administration in Jay treaty affair, ii. 210.

Andre, Major,
meets Arnold, i. 282;
announces capture to Arnold, 284;
confesses, 284;
condemned and executed, 287;
justice of the sentence, 287, 288;
Washington's opinion of, 288, ii. 357.

Armstrong, John, Major,
writes Newburg address, i. 335.

Army of the Revolution,
at Boston, adopted by Congress, i. 134;
its organization and character, 136-143;
sectional jealousies in, at New York, 162;
goes to pieces after defeat, 167, 175, 176;
condition in winter of 1777, 186;
difficulties between officers, 189;
with foreign officers, 190-192;
improvement as shown by condition after Brandywine and Germantown,
200, 201;
hard winter at Valley Forge, 228;
maintained alive only by Washington, 227, 228, 232;
improved morale at Monmouth, 239;
mutinies for lack of pay, 258;
suffers during 1779, 270;
bad condition in 1780, 279;
again mutinies for pay, 291, 292, 295;
conduct of troops, 292, 293;
jealousy of people towards, 332;
badly treated by States and by Congress, 333;
grows mutinous, 334;
adopts Newburg addresses, 335, 336;
ready for a military dictatorship, 338, 340;
farewell of Washington to, 345.

Arnold, Benedict,
sent by Washington to attack Quebec, i. 144;
sent against Burgoyne, 210;
plans treason, 281;
shows loyalist letter to Washington, 282;
meets Andre, 282;
receives news of Andre's capture, 284;
escapes, 284, 285;
previous benefits from Washington, 286;
Washington's opinion of, 288;
ravages Virginia, 303;
sent back to New York, 303;
one of the few men who deceived Washington, ii. 336.

Arnold, Mrs.,
entertains Washington at time of her husband's treachery, i. 284, 285.

Articles of Confederation,
their inadequacy early seen by Washington, i. 297, 298; ii. 17.

Asgill, Capt.,
selected for retaliation for murder of Huddy, i. 328;
efforts for his release, 329;
release ordered by Congress, 330.

publishes Jay treaty in "Aurora," ii. 185;
joins in attack on Washington, 238, 244;
rejoices over his retirement, 256.

works out a pedigree for Washington, i. 31.

Ball, Joseph,
advises against sending Washington to sea, i. 49, 50.

Washington's description of, i. 64.

Beckley, John,
accuses Washington of embezzling, ii. 245.

Bernard, John,
his conversation with Washington referred to, i. 58, 107;
describes encounter with Washington, ii. 281-283;
his description of Washington's conversation, 343-348.

Blackwell, Rev. Dr.,
calls on Washington with Dr. Logan, ii. 264.

Blair, John,
appointed to Supreme Court, ii. 73.

Bland, Mary,
"Lowland Beauty," admired by Washington, i. 95, 96.

Blount, Governor,
pacifies Cherokees, ii. 94.

visit of Washington to, i. 97, 99;
political troubles in, 120;
British measures against condemned by Virginia, 122, 123;
appeals to colonies, 124;
protests against Jay treaty, ii. 186;
answered by Washington, 190.

Botetourt, Lord, Governor of Virginia,
quarrels with Assembly, i. 121;
manages to calm dissension, 122;
on friendly terms with Washington, 122.

Braddock, General Edward,
arrives in Virginia, i. 82;
invites Washington to serve on his staff, 82;
respects him, 83;
his character and unfitness for his position, 83;
despises provincials, 83;
accepts Washington's advice as to dividing force, 84;
rebukes Washington for warning against ambush, 85;
insists on fighting by rule, 85;
defeated and mortally wounded, 85;
death and burial, 87.

Bradford, William,
succeeds Randolph, ii. 246.

battle of, i. 196-198.

Bunker Hill,
question of Washington regarding battle of, i. 136.

Burgoyne, General John,
junction of Howe with, feared by Washington, i. 194, 195, 205, 206;
significance of his defeat, 202;
danger of his invasion foreseen by Washington, 203-206;
captures Ticonderoga, 207;
outnumbered and defeated, 210;
surrenders, 211.

Burke, Edmund,
understands significance of Washington's leadership, i. 202;
unsettled by French Revolution, ii. 294.

entertains Lafayette's son, ii. 366.

Cadwalader, General,
fails to cross Delaware to help Washington, i. 180;
duel with Conway, 226.

Calvert, Eleanor,
misgivings of Washington over her marriage to John Custis, i. 111.

Camden, battle of, i. 281.

captured by Wolfe, i. 94;
expedition of Montgomery against, 143, 144;
project of Conway cabal against, 222; 253;
project of Lafayette to attack, 254;
plan considered dangerous by Washington, 254, 255;
not undertaken by France, 256.

Carleton, Sir Guy,
informs Washington of address of Commons for peace, i. 324;
suspected by Washington, 325;
remonstrates against retaliation by Washington for murder of
Huddy, 328;
disavows Lippencott, 328;
fears plunder of New York city, 345;
urges Indians to attack the United States, ii. 102, 175.

Carlisle, Earl of,
peace commissioner, i. 233.

Carlyle, Thomas,
sneers at Washington, i. 4, 14;
calls him "a bloodless Cromwell," i. 69, ii. 332;
fails to understand his reticence, i. 70;
despises him for not seizing power, 341.

Carmichael, William,
minister at Madrid, ii. 165;
on commission regarding the Mississippi, 166.

Carrington, Paul,
letter of Washington to, ii. 208;
Washington's friendship for, 363.

Cary, Mary,
early love affair of Washington with, i. 96.

Chamberlayne, Major,
entertains Washington at Williams' Ferry, i. 101.

siege and capture of, i. 273, 274, 276.

Chastellux, Marquis de,
Washington's friendship for and letter to, ii. 351;
on Washington's training of horses, 380.

beaten by Sevier, ii. 89;
pacified by Blount, 94,101.

Chester, Colonel,
researches on Washington pedigree, i. 31.

desert from St. Clair, ii. 96.

honors Washington, i. 6.

peaceable in 1788, ii. 89.

Cincinnati, Society of the,
Washington's connection with, ii. 4.

Clarke, Governor,
thinks Washington is invading popular rights, i. 215.

Cleaveland, Rev.----,
complimented by Washington, ii. 359.

Clinton, George,
appealed to by Washington to attack Burgoyne, i. 210;
journey with Washington to Ticonderoga, 343;
enters New York city, 345;
letter of Washington to, ii. 1;
meets Washington on journey to inauguration, 45;
opponent of the Constitution, 71;
orders seizure of French privateers, 153.

Clinton, Sir Henry,
fails to help Burgoyne, i. 210;
replaces Howe at Philadelphia, his character, 232;
tries to cut off Lafayette, 233;
leaves Philadelphia, 234;
defeats Lee at Monmouth, 236;
retreats to New York, 238;
withdraws from Newport, 248;
makes a raid, 265;
fortifies Stony Point, 268;
his aimless warfare, 269, 270;
after capturing Charleston returns to New York, 276;
tries to save Andre, 287;
alarmed at attacks on New York, 306;
jealous of Cornwallis, refuses to send reinforcements, 308;
deceived by Washington, 311;
sends Graves to relieve Cornwallis, 312.

Congress, Continental,
Washington's journey to, i. 128;
its character and ability, 129;
its state papers, 129;
adjourns, 132;
in second session, resolves to petition the king, 133;
adopts Massachusetts army and makes Washington commander, 134;
reasons for his choice, 135;
adheres to short-term enlistments, 149;
influenced to declare independence by Washington, 160;
hampers Washington in campaign of New York, 167;
letters of Washington to, 170, 179, 212, 225, 229, 266, 278, 295,
321, 323, 333;
takes steps to make army permanent, 171;
its over-confidence, 171;
insists on holding Forts Washington and Lee, 174;
dissatisfied with Washington's inactivity, 187;
criticises his proclamation requiring oath of allegiance, 189;
makes unwise appointments of officers, 189;
especially of foreigners, 190-192; 248, 249;
applauds Washington's efforts at Germantown, 200;
deposes Schuyler and St. Clair, 208;
appoints Gates, 210;
irritation against Washington, 212-215;
falls under guidance of Conway cabal, 221, 222;
discovers incompetence of cabal, 223;
meddles with prisoners and officers, 231;
rejects English peace offers, 233;
makes alliance with France, 241;
suppresses protests of officers against D'Estaing, 244;
decline in its character, 257;
becomes feeble, 258;
improvement urged by Washington, 259, 266;
appoints Gates to command in South, 268;
loses interest in war, 278;
asks Washington to name general for the South, 295;
considers reduction of army, 313;
elated by Yorktown, 323;
its unfair treatment of army, 333, 335;
driven from Philadelphia by Pennsylvania troops, 340;
passes half-pay act, 342;
receives commission of Washington, 347-349;
disbands army, ii. 6;
indifferent to Western expansion, 15;
continues to decline, 22;
merit of its Indian policy, 88.

Congress, Federal,
establishes departments, ii. 64;
opened by Washington, 78, 79;
ceremonial abolished by Jefferson, 79;
recommendations made to by Washington, 81-83;
acts upon them, 81-83;
creates commission to treat with Creeks, 90;
increases army, 94, 99;
fails to solve financial problems, 106;
debates Hamilton's report on credit, 107, 108;
establishes national bank, 109;
establishes protective revenue duties, 113;
imposes an excise tax, 123;
prepares for retaliation on Great Britain, 176;
Senate ratifies Jay treaty conditionally, 184;
House demands papers, 207;
debates over its right to concur in treaty, 208-210;
refuses to adjourn on Washington's birthday, 247;
prepares for war with France, 285;
passes Alien and Sedition Laws, 296.

Constitution, Federal,
necessity of, foreseen by Washington, ii. 17-18, 23, 24;
the Annapolis Convention, 23-29;
the Federal Convention, 30-36;
Washington's attitude in, 31,34;
his influence, 36;
campaign for ratification, 38-41.

Contrecoeur, Captain,
leader of French and Indians in Virginia, i. 75.

"Conway cabal,"
elements of in Congress, i. 214, 215;
in the army, 215;
organized by Conway, 217;
discovered by Washington, 220;
gets control of Board of War, 221;
tries to make Washington resign, 222, 224;
fails to invade Canada or provide supplies, 222, 223;
harassed by Washington's letters, 223,226;
breaks down, 226.

Conway, Moncure D.,
his life of Randolph, ii. 65, note, 196;
his defense of Randolph in Fauchet letter affair, 196;
on Washington's motives, 200;
on his unfair treatment of Randolph, 201, 202.

Conway, Thomas,
demand for higher rank refused by Washington, i. 216;
plots against him, 217;
his letter discovered by Washington, 221;
made inspector-general, 221, 222;
complains to Congress of his reception at camp, 225;
resigns, has duel with Cadwalader, 226;
apologizes to Washington and leaves country, 226.

Cooke, Governor,
remonstrated with by Washington for raising state troops, i. 186.

Cornwallis, Lord,
pursues Washington in New Jersey, i. 175;
repulsed at Assunpink, 181;
outgeneraled by Washington, 182;
surprises Sullivan at Brandywine, 197;
defeats Lee at Monmouth, 236;
pursues Greene in vain, 302;
wins battle of Guilford Court House, 302;
retreats into Virginia, 302;
joins British troops in Virginia, 303;
his dangerous position, 304;
urged by Clinton to return troops to New York, 306;
plunders Virginia, 307;
defeats Lafayette and Wayne, 307;
wishes to retreat South, 307;
ordered by ministry to stay on the Chesapeake, 307;
abandoned by Clinton, 308;
establishes himself at Yorktown, 308;
withdraws into town, 315;
besieged, 316, 317;
surrenders, 317;
outgeneraled by Washington, 319, 320.

battle of, i. 301.

Craik, Dr.,
attends Washington in last illness, ii. 300-302;
Washington's friendship with, 363.

their relations with Spaniards, ii. 89, 90;
quarrel with Georgia, 90;
agree to treaty with United States, 91;
stirred up by Spain, 101.

Curwen, Samuel,
on Washington's appearance, i. 137.

Cushing, Caleb,
appointed to Supreme Court, ii. 72.

Custis, Daniel Parke,
first husband of Martha Washington, i. 101.

Custis, G.W.P.,
tells mythical story of Washington and the colt, i. 45;
Washington's care for, ii. 369.

Custis, John,
Washington's tenderness toward, i. 111;
care for his education and marriage, 111;
hunts with Washington, 141;
death of, 322.

Custis, Nellie,
marriage with Washington's nephew, ii. 281, 369;
letter of Washington to, 377.

claims to outrank Washington in Virginia army, i. 91, 97.

Dallas, Alexander,
protests to Genet against sailing of Little Sarah, ii. 155.

Dalton, Senator,
entertains Washington at Newburyport, ii. 359.

Deane, Silas,
promises commissions to foreign military adventurers, i. 190.

De Barras,
jealous of De Grasse, decides not to aid him, i. 310;
persuaded to do so by Washington and Rochambeau, 311;
reaches Chesapeake, 312.

De Grasse, Comte,
announces intention of coming to Washington, i. 305;
warned by Washington not to come to New York, 305;
sails to Chesapeake, 306;
asked to meet Washington there, 308;
reaches Chesapeake, 312;
repulses British fleet, 312;
wishes to return to West Indies, 315;
persuaded to remain by Washington, 315;
refuses to join Washington in attack on Charleston, 322;
returns to West Indies, 322.

De Guichen,----,
commander of French fleet in West Indies, i. 280;
appealed to for aid by Washington, 281;
returns home, 282.

Delancey, Oliver,
escapes American attack, i. 306.

Democratic party,
its formation as a French party, ii. 225;
furnished with catch-words by Jefferson, 226;
with a newspaper organ, 227;
not ready to oppose Washington for president in 1792, 235;
organized against treasury measure, 236;
stimulated by French Revolution, 238;
supports Genet, 237;
begins to attack Washington, 238;
his opinion of it, 239, 240, 258, 261, 267, 268;
forms clubs on French model, 241;
Washington's opinion of, 242, 243;
continues to abuse him, 244, 245, 250, 252;
exults at his retirement, 256;
prints slanders, 257.

Demont, William,
betrays plans of Fort Washington to Howe, i. 175.

D'Estaing, Admiral,
reaches America, i. 242;
welcomed by Washington, 243;
fails to cut off Howe and goes to Newport, 243;
after battle with Howe goes to Boston, 244;
letter of Washington to, 246;
sails to West Indies, 246;
second letter of Washington to, 247;
attacks Savannah, 248;
withdraws, 248.

De Rochambeau, Comte,
arrives at Newport, i. 277;
ordered to await second division of army, 278;
refuses to attack New York, 280;
wishes a conference with Washington, 282;
meets him at Hartford, 282;
disapproves attacking Florida, 301;
joins Washington before New York, 306;
persuades De Barras to join De Grasse, 311;
accompanies Washington to Yorktown, 314.

Dickinson, John,
commands scouts at Monmouth, i. 326.

Digby, Admiral,
bitter comments of Washington on, i. 325.

Dinwiddie, Governor,
remonstrates against French encroachments, i. 66;
sends Washington on mission to French, 66;
quarrels with the Virginia Assembly, 71;
letter of Washington to, 73;
wishes Washington to attack French, 79;
tries to quiet discussions between regular and provincial troops, 80;
military schemes condemned by Washington, 91;
prevents his getting a royal commission, 93.

Diplomatic History:
refusal by Washington of special privileges to French minister,
ii. 59-61;
slow growth of idea of non-intervention, 132, 133;
difficulties owing to French Revolution, 134;
to English retention of frontier posts, 135;

Facebook Google Reddit Twitter Pinterest