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his wisdom and his valor. But at this closing scene of the draa ma, he is not permitted to sheathe the sword and return to his loved retreat, without performing a memorable service to his country—a service in which his personal agency, his zealous and well timed exertions, prevented a great national evil ; prevented his army from tarnishing the laurels he had acquired through a long and glorious war, and instead of defenders, becoming the despoilers of their country.
The pay of this army was greatly in arrear. They had re. ceived already much of what was due to them in a depreciated paper currency. In discharge of what their country still owed, the same currency, and remote unsettled lands were to form the materials of their compensation. They were about to return to the pursuits of civil life, with only the shadow of reward, for years of danger and of toil; for health impaired, and the prime of life devoted to the public service. They expected more of their country. Their country regretted that their exhausted resources then enabled them to do no more. The army urged by the artful insinuations of an anonymous writer, were on the point of rising, while yet embodied, and of wresting from their country by force, that compensation which they had in vain de manded of its justice. Never did zeal for the welfare of his country, and the honor of his army, blaze forth with greater splendor even in the actions of a Washington, than on this occasion. By private influence ; by public persuasion ; by an appeal to the honor of soldiers, and the patriotism of citizens ; by the regard they owed to their personal character, and their country's good ; by every motive that could influence a generous mind, he conjured them to disband in peace, and to expect from the justice and gratitude of their country, what they were instigated to extort by violence. His influence was triumphant. He succeeded in preserving the honor of his army and his country from an unnatural civil war.
This great object accomplished, we see the American HERO resigning the chief command of the army, and retiring into private life, amid the plaudits and benedictions of his admiring country. He hoped ; he believed he had now taken a final fare. well of public life. His glory seemed to be complete. It ap. peared to be placed beyond the reach of fortune's hand, and to have had the seal of immortality impressed upon it. But no ; the will of heaven had otherwise decreed. New cares and new duties await him. Again his character is to pass through the furnace cf general scrutiny, and his fame once more be launched on the restless ocean of popular opinion.
The feebleness of our general government every day becoma ing more and more notorious ; the decay of our commerce ; the decline of manufactures; the loss of individual and national credit ; the weakness of some states, and the interfering claims of others, threatening to involve us in domestic broils, and exposing us to the attack of any foreign invader; imperiously dea manded the review of our articles of confederation, and the substitution in their place, of an efficient form of government. A convention is according assembled. A plan of national go. vernment is framed. It is recommended to the people. It is adopted and put in operation.
AGAIN this great and good man, by the unanimous voice of his country is called to sit at the helm of the new government, and to execute its laws. He accepts the call, but not for himself. Once more he expressly declines receiving any emolument for his services. At the close of the first period, for which he had been elected PRESIDENT, had he consulted only his personal ease or enjoyment he would have quitted his elevated station, and returned to private life. But higher motives influenced his mind. Love to his country, and the critical state of her affairs, induced him again at the uninfluenced, unanimous call of his fela low-citizens to accept the charge of presiding over the United States, With what fidelity; with what judgment; with what firmness and devotion of time and talents, he fulfilled the duties of this high station, no American citizen need be informed.
We have seen hiin in all his measures, endeavoring to promote or preserve the peace, the welfare, and the happiness of his country. We have seen him filling the various departments of government with men of talents, of integrity, and of private
worth. We have seen him sacrificing his personal attachments on the altar of the public good; and amidst all the obloquy heaped on him by a few factious spirits, who were more friendly to the views of a foreign power, than to the interests of their own government; we in no instance see him taking any measure from resentment, but with a magnanimity above all praise, suffering the slanders that were propagated, to die unnoticed.
FIRMNESS of mind was a quality for which he was eminently distinguished. But when was this estimable trait of character more strikingly displayed, than in the conduct he observed towards the first ambassador of republican France.
When that bold, but ill-advised minister, seconded by a powerful party among ourselves, endeavored to subject the measures of our government, to the will of his own-when he sought by every artifice to involve us in a war with Great-Britain ; and when; on discovering the fixed resolution of our government, to preserve a neutrality amid the contentions of the European powers, he threatened to appeal from the decision of the PRESIDENT, to that of the people ; what was the conduct of our immortal Washington ? Convinced of the rectitude of his own views, and the soundness of his policy ; fearless of the threatened resentment of France, and superior to the clamours of party, we see him stand like a firm and venerable oak, against which the storms of faction beat with fury; but beat in vain.
ANOTHER crisis soon occurred in our affairs, which required the exercise of inflexible firmness, and consummate prudence.
The first naval power in the world, proud of her own strength, and fortified by an alliance with the governments, that first coalesced to crush the democratic system of France, at the close of the year '93, issued orders, the tendency of which was to ruin the commerce of the United States. Our unarmed mer. : chantmen were seized, wherever met, by British cruisers; con
veyed into British ports, and there condemned. Their cargoes without discrimination were confiscated, and our wretched sea. men destitude of aid in foreign countries, and stripped of every
thing valuable, by the hands of merciless captors, were obliged to borrow, or to beg, the means of returning to their native country. The public mind indignant at these spoliations on our trade, was prepared at every risk, for defensive war: Our national council' too, feeling for the injured dignity, and adopting the sentiments of their constituents, commenced a system of measures that must soon have led to an open rupture with Great-Britain,
All eyes were now directed to the CHIEF MAGISTRATE of the Union. In circumstances so embarrassing, what conduct could he pursue that would at, once secure the interest, and preserve the honor of the United States. Uninfluenced by resentment, or by party spirit, and consulting only the true honor and interest of his country, he resolves on making one great effort to avert the calamities of war ; persuaded that if unsuccessful in the attempt, his fellow-citizens would be more united and determined in measures of defence.
In prosecution of this system of pacific policy, we see him with equal judgment and patriotism, selecting as the messenger of peace, a citizen* of known prudence and ability, whose firmness, integrity, and eminent public services, had long en. deared him to his country, and fixed him in her confidence. A negociation takes place. Commenced with moderation and good faith, it could not prove abortive. It resulted in a treaty, afterwards ratified by the PRESIDENT, with the approbation of the SENATE, which preserved our national honor, and, what was of more importance than language can describe, saved us from the fearful vortex of a most destructive war.
To prevent the ratification of this treaty, and thus to embroil us in a war with England, every artifice which French intrigue could devise, was practised, but happily without effect. Neither fattery nor abuse could divert the steady, undeviating mind of our enlightened PRESIDENT, from pursuing that line of conduct which became the government of a neutral nation.
* Mr. Jay, the present governor of New-York.
At this momentous epoch, the friends of virtue, and the lovers of peace, in Europe, as well as in America, beheld his manly and judicious conduct, and beheld it with mingled astonishment and delight. In their eyes, as in ours, he seemed,
“ Like some tall rock that lifts its awful form,
From the elevated place of PRESIDENT of the United States, we see him now voluntarily descend, and once more retire to the humble duties and enjoyments of private life. He retires, full of glory as of years; and like the setting sun, retains a fuller orb of greatness, than when in the meridian of life and power.
The hostile language and conduct of France, within the last three years having rendered defensive armaments necessary, by land as well as by sea, once more his country claims his aid, as the commander of her forces. He assists in organizing the army, and notwithstanding the infirmities of age, and his predilection for private life, stands prepared to take the field, should it be necessary, in defence of his native land. But while discharging the duties of this high command, he is summoned by heaven to another scene. A mortal disease attacks him. Its progress is rapid. It baffles the exertions of the most eminent professors of medicine. From its first approaches, he foresees its fatal issue. He arranges his affairs with composure. He languishes scarce twenty-four hours ; then with a resignation worthy of his useful life, on the fourteenth day of the last month, he finished his glorious career on earth, and hastened to that « bourne from which no traveller returns.”
RETURN then great and virtuous spirit, to the bosom of thy Father and thy God! While thy frame here moulders in the dust, bedewed with the tears of the worthy and the wise ; thy