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leaders going over to the enemy, and the British commanders succeeding in every enterprize, general Washington did not despair. He slowly retreated before the advancing foe, and determined to fall back to Pennsylvania-to Augusta county in Virginia--and, if necessary, to the westward of yonder mountains, where he was resolved, in the last extremity, to renew the struggle for the independence of his country. While his unconquered mind was brooding on these ideas, 1,500 of the Pennsyl.' vania militia joined him. With this small increase of force he .. formed the bold resolution of recrossing the Delaware, and at. tacking that part of the enemy which was posted in Trenton. Heaven smiled on the enterprize. On the 26th of December, 900 Hessians were killed, wounded, or taken prisoners. This bold enterprize was, in eight days after, followed by another, which was planned with great address. General Washington with his army stole away under cover of the night, from the vicinity of a force far superior to his own, and attacked in their rear a detachment of the British posted in Princeton : 300 were taken prisoners, and about 100 killed and wounded. These two victories revived the drooping spirits of the Americans, and seemed under Providence to have been the means of their political salvation. They made the British so cautious of extending their posts, that general Washington, with an army of 1,500 men, for several months, kept nearly 15,000 of the enemy closely pent up in Brunswick.
The same wise policy of avoiding decisive engagements was pursued by our hero through the campaign of 1777, 'with so much effect, that it was as late as the 26th of September before Sir William Howe possessed himself of Philadelphia.
- In the various marches and counter-marches which took place between the two armies, in the course of this campaign, repeated proofs were given, that though general Washington was forward to engage, when he thought it to his advantage, yet it was impossible for the royal commander to bring him to action against his consent.
I CLAIM your indulgence for recapitulating so much of the history of our late revolution, which is already known to you
all. Is it no digression ? It is all to my purpose. When general Washington is the subject, history and eulogy are the same the speaker praises him best, who gives the most faithful narrative of his actions.
Ir time permitted, I would run over every campaign, and point out to you, in each, the many instances in which our hero displayed the talents of an accomplished general, as well as the mild virtues of the father of his country. I would particularize how eager he was to attack when it could be done to advantage; and with how much dexterity he avoided engageinents, when his situation was unfavorable. With what address he kept together a half naked-half starvedand unpaid army, particularly in the last year of the war, when gold and silver were banished from circulation, and the continental currency had depreciated almost to nothing. I would unfold how the magic of his name produced union and concert among the jarring states, and their discordant troops. I would—but time fails, me even to enumerate the topics, from which, by the simple relation of facts, I could heighten your admiration of this extraordinary man.-I shall, therefore, conclude my observations on his military career, by observing, that in consequence of a most judicious plan, in concerting, and executing which, general Washington had a principal share, lord Cornwallis, with 7,000 men, was, in October, 1781, compelled to surrender to the combined forces of France and the United States. This was the closing scene of the revolutionary war. At Trenton the first, and at York.town the last decisive blow was given to the British forces in the United States, and both were conducted under the immea diate command of general Washington.
Thougu the capture of lord Cornwallis, in a great measure, terminated the war, yet great and important services were rendered to the United States, by our general, after that event. The army which had fought the battles of independence was about to be disbanded without being paid. At this period, when the minds of both officers and men were in a highly irritable state, attempts were made by plausible but seditious publications, to induce them to unite in redressing their grievances, while they had arms in their hands. The whole of general Washington's influence was exerted, and nothing less than his unbounded influence would have been availing to prevent the adoption of measures, that threatened to involve the country in an intestine war, between the army on the one side, and the citi. zens on the other. If Washington had been a Julius Cæsar, or an Oliver Cromwell, all we probably would have gained by the revolution would have been .a change of our allegiance from being the subjects of George the third of Great-Britain, to become the subjects of George the first of America.
The war being ended the peace, liberties, and independence of these states being acknowledged and secured, our beloved general presents himself before congress, and returns into their hands his commission as commander in chief of their armies. The scene was grand and majestic. After having successfully served his country for eight years, and conducted its armies through a revolutionary war, which terminated in the establishment of the liberties and independence of these states-When he is about to retire to private life, does he demand honors or emoluments for himself, family, or friends ? No such thing. In modest language, he recommended to the favorable notice, and patronage of congress, the confidential officers who were attached to his person. For them he indireally asks favors, but nothing for himself. The only privilege conferred by congress on the retiring Washington, which distinguished him from any other private citizen, was, a right of sending and receiving letters free of postage. Think not, I mean to charge my country with ingratitude. Nothing would have been refused to him which he wished to have ; but, to use his own language on another occasion, “he shut his hand against all pecuniary compensation."
· Do you ask me how this illustrious general, after being used for eight years to camps, bore the languid indifference of private life? Do you enquire whether he went to Europe in a public or private character ? Had he been a vain man, fond of applause, or of glittering in the public eye, he would doubtless have put himself in the way of receiving those flattering atten. tions, which are so eagerly coveted by the vulgar great. Very different was the line of conduct he pursued. After resigning his commission, he hastened with ineffable delight to his longneglected farm at Mount Vernon-sheathed his sword-laid aside his uniform, and assumed the dress and habits of a country gentleman. With the same assiduity he had lately visited camps and forts, he began once more to visit his fields and his mills. In a short time, the first general of the world be. came the best farmer in Virginia.
Do you enquire on what subjects this great man, after retira ing from an exalted public station, used to converse ? Was it his practice to “ fight his battles o'er again,” and entertain his company with a recital of the great scenes in which he had been a principal actor ? Ask the many gentlemen who partook of his hospitality, and they will one and all tell you, that he rarely spoke of the war, and still more rarely of himself, unless his guests forced conversation upon these subjects. His favorite topics were agricultural ; on these he dwelled with peculiar pleasure, and rejoiced in every opportunity of giving and receiving information on the first and best employment of man. In this beloved retreat, from the cares and business of public life, he wished to spend the remainder of his days ; but, after having enjoyed himself on his farm for four years, his country again called for his services.
FROM the inefficacy of the articles of confederation, and from several other concurring causes, a tide of evils flowed in upon the United States, in the years that immediately followed the return of peace. A convention of the different states was called, to digest a form of government, equal to the exigencies of the union. To this illustrious assembly general Washington was deputed, and of it he was unanimously elected president.. His wisdom had a great share in forming, and the influence of his name a still greater in procuring the acceptance of the constitution, which the convention recommended to the people for their adoption. By this, one legislative, executive and judicial power was made to pervade all the states, and the executive in
particular was committed to an officer, by the name of presie dent. Though great diversity of opinions had prevailed about the merits of the new constitution, there was but one opinion about the person who should be appointed its supreme executive officer. Three millions'of people, by their representatives, unanimously gave their suffrages in favor of George Washington. Unambitious of further honors, he wished to be excused from all public service ; but that ardent patriotism, by which he had always been governed, prevailed over his love of retirement, and induced him once more to engage in the great work of making a nation happy. The popularity of his name, and the confidence which the people of all the stases reposed in his tried integrity, enabled him to give an energy to'the new constitution, which it would not have had under the administration of any other person,
I NEED not remind you of the great improvements which have taken place in the wealth, resources and commerce of the United States since Washington has been president. You know them-you feel them--and the daily increasing prosperity of our country attests them.
In the midst of this prosperity, a storm arose in a far distant land, which threatened to involve these states in its wide spreading devastation ; but our political pilot once more saved us from impending danger. When the war broke out between France and England, an artful ininister was sent from the former, with the avowed design of involving us in the contest. The kindred name of a republic-unbounded love and gratitude to France, for beneficial aid, afforded us in our struggle for independence-rankling hatred of Great-Britain, for the many ina juries she had done us in the same period, all concurred to make a strong party among us, favorable to the views of the French minister. This was increased by impolitic and illegal' captures of our floating property, by the vessels of his Britannic majesty. When we were apparently on the point of being drawn into the vortex of the war, president Washington, by virtue of his constitutional powers, prevented it. He nominated an envoy extraordinary to negociate with the court of London. This, like