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sion; and, with resistless might, it ruled his every thought, and word, and deed.
We see him stepping, as it were, from his cradle, into the fields of glory, and meriting the public confidence, at a period when others too often consume in idleness the moments lent for instruction, or (in pursuit of pleasure) waste their moral energies. While yet his cheek was covered with the down of youth, he had combined the character of an able negociator with that of a gallant soldier. Scarce had he given this early pledge of future service, when he was called on for the quick performance. He accompanies to the western wilds Braddock, who, bred in camps of European war, despised the savage. But soon entrapped in the close ambush, military skill becomes of no avail. The leaders, selected by unerring aim, first fall—the troops lie thick in slaughtered heaps, the victims of an invisible foe. Washington, whose warnings had been neglected, still gives the aid of salutary counsel to his ill-fated chief, and urges it with all the grate of eloquence, and all the force of conviction. A form so manly draws the attention of the savage, and is doomed to perish. The murdering instruments are levelled the quick bolts fly winged with death, and pierce his garments ; but obe. dient to the sovereign will, they dare not shed his blood. Brade dock falls at his feet; and the youthful hero covers, with his brave Virginians, the retreat of Britons, not less brave, but surprized by unusual war.
These bands of brothers were soon to stand in hostile oppo. sition. Such was the decree of Him to whom are present all the revolutions of time and empire. When no hope remained but in the field of blood, Washington was called on by his country to lead her armies. In modest doubt of his own ability, he submitted with reluctance to the necessity of becoming her chief; and took on him the weight, the care and the anguish of a civil war. Ambition wculd have tasted here the sweets of power, and drunk deep of intoxicating draughts, but to the patriot, these sweets are bitterness.
INDUSTRIOUS, patient, persevering, he remained at the head of citizens scarcely armed ; and, sparing of blood, by skill, rather than by force, compelled his foe to seek a more favorable theatre of war. And now all hope of union lost, America (by her declaration of independence) cut the last slender thread of connection.
She had hitherto been successful ; but was soon shaken by adverse storms. The counsel of her chief had been neglected. His army had been raised by annual enlistment. The poor rem nant of accumulated defeat, retreating before an enemy flushed with success, and confident in all superiority, looked with impatience to the approaching term of service. The prospect was on all sides gloomy ; and sunshine friends 6 (turning their halycon beaks to fairer skies”) sought shelter from the storm. But though betrayed by fortune, his calm and steady mind remained true to itself. Winter had closed the campaign. Solacing in the enjoyment of what their arms had acquired, the victors tasted pleasure unalloyed by the dread of danger. They were sheltered behind one of the broad barriers of nature ; and, safely housed, beheld upon its farther shore, a feeble adversary, exposed beneath the canopy of heaven to the rigors of an unpitying season. It was hoped that, when their term of enlistment expired, the American troops would disperse ; and the chief (in despair) throw up his command. Such was the reasoning, and such reasoning would (in ordinary cases) have been conclusive. But that chief was Washington ! He shewe to his gallant comrades the danger of their country, and asks the aid of patriotic service. At his voice their hearts beat high. In vain the raging Delaware, vext with the wintry blast, forbids their marche In vain he rolls along his rocky bed, a frozen torrent, whose ponderous mass threatens to sweep the soldier fronı his uncertain footstep, and bear him down the flood! In vain the beating snow adds to the dangerous ford a darkened horror ! Difficulties and dangers animate the brave. His little band is arrived ; Washington is within the walls--the enemy is subdued !
FORTUNE now smiles—but who can trust to that fallacious smile? Preparations are already made to punish the American
leader for bis adventrous hardihood. And now he sees, stretched out before him in wide array, a force so great that in the battle there is no hope. Behind him the impassable stream cuts off retreat. Already from his brazen throat the cannon gives loud summons to the field. But the setting sun leaves yet a dreary night to brood over approaching ruin. The earth is shrouded in the veil of darkness; and now the illustrious chief takes up his silent march, and in wide circuit leads his little band around the unwary foe. At the dawn, his military thunders tell them their reserve, posted far in the rear, is in the pounces of the American eagle. They hasten back to revenge ; but he has already secured his advantage, and (by a well chosen position) confines them to inglorious repose. The armies now rest from their toil. But for him there is no rest. His followers claim the double right of returning to their homes, and he stands almost alone. He dares not ask for aid, lest the enemy, emboldened by the acknowledgment of weakness, should dissipate his shadow of an army. Nothing remains but to intimidate by the , appearance of a force, which does not exist; and hide from his own troops their great inferiority. Both are effected by skill rarely equalled-never excelled,
'SCARCE hath the advancing season brought forward a few rem cruits when he begins offensive operations. His enemy foiled in each attempt to advance, is compelled to ask from the ocean some safer road to conquest. The propitious deep receives on his broad bosom the invading host, and bids his obedient billows bear them to some shore, where they may join the advantage of surprize with those of number, discipline and appointments; The hope is vain! Washington had penetrated their views, and stands before them! He is unfortunate. Defeated, not subdued-he leads on again to new attack. The half-gained victory, snatched from his grasp, at the head of an inferior, twice beaten army, he passes the long winter in an open field, within one day's march of his foe.
HERE he was doomed to new difficulties, and dangers una known before. Fa&ion had reared in the American councils) her accursed head, and labored to remove him from the com.. mand. That measure would at once have disbanded his af. fedionate troops the country around them was exhausted. He had no means to clothe or feed his army one to change their position. Many perished-each day the numbers were alarmingly diminished, and reinforcement was dangerous, because it night encrease the famine. Under these circumstances, a new system of organization and discipline was to be formed, introduced and enforced, while the soldier could seldom obtain even his poor pittance of depreciated paper.
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It was in the solitary walk of night-it was in the bosom of friendship that he could alone unburthen himself, of the vast woe which weighed-upon his heart. Here was indeed no common or vulgar care. Honor-liberty_his country, stood on the dangerous margin of uncertain fate, and no human eye could pierce the dark cloud which hung upon futurity.
From this black night of gloomy apprehension, broke forth the sun of golden, glorious hope ! -A mighty monarch had connected his fortunes with those of America. In her defence the flag of France was unfurled, and gratitude hailed the sixteenth Louis, protector of the rights of mankind. His powerful in: terference took off from what remained of the war, all reasonable doubt as to the final event. After a varied scene of adverse and prosperous circumstances, that event varied, and a solemn treaty acknowledged your independence, .
GREAT was the joy and high the general expectation, for the political state of America was not duly considered. Her band of federal union had been woven by the hand of distrust. The different states had been held together, in no small degree, by the external pressure of war. That pressure removed, they might fall asunder. There existed various causes of discontent, which the intrigues of European policy might ripen into disgust.
Those who shared in the public counsels were filled, therefore, · with deep apprehension. The army, taught by years of painful experience, became a prey to sinister forebodings. Connected by the endearing ties of soldierly brotherhood, these gallant cons of freedom anticipated with horror the moment when they might be called on to unsheath their swords against each other; and pour, in impious libation, the purest of their blood upon the altars of civil war. Some of the more ardent spirits, smarting from the past, and fearing for the future, had formed a wish, that the army might be kept together, and (by its appearance) accelerate the adoption of an efficient government. The sentiment was patriotic--the plan of doubtful complection the success uncertain--but the prospect was fair if the chief could be engaged.
He knew their wrongs ! He knew their worth! He felt their apprehensions !--They had strong claims upon him, and those claims were strongly urged. Supreme power, with meretricious charms, courted his embrace ; and was clothed, to seduce him, in the robes of justice. If, therefore, ambition had possessed a single corner of his heart, he might have deliberated. But he was ever loyal. He bid a last adieu to the companions of his glory, and laid all his laurels at the feet of his country!
His fame was now complete, and it was permitted him to hope for ease in dignified retirement. Vain hope ! The defects of the federal compact are soon too deeply felt not to be generally acknowledged America direcs a revision by persons of her choice. He is their president. It is a question, previous to the first meeting, what course shall be pursued. Men of de. cided temper, who, devoted to the public, overlooked prudential considerations, thought a form of government should be frained entirely new. But cautious men, with whom popularity was an object, deemed it fit to consult and comply with the wishes of the people. Americans ! let the opinion then delivered by the greatest and best of men, be ever present to your remembrance. He was collected within himself. His conntenance had more than usual solemnity. His eye was fixed, and seemed to look into futurity. “ It is (said he) too probable that no plan we propose will be adopted. Perhaps another dreadful condict is to be sustained, If, to please the people, we offer what