« ForrigeFortsett »
HEROES OF THE REVOLUTION.
GEORGE WASHINGTON was born on the 22d of February, 1732, on the banks of the river Potomac, in Virginia. His father dying when he was ten years old, he received a plain but useful education at the hands of his mother. He soon manifested a serious and contemplative disposition, and in his thirteenth year drew up a code of regulations for his own guidance, in which the germs are visible of those high principles which regulated his conduct in mature life. As a boy, he conceived a liking for the naval service, but, being dissuaded from this, he qualified himself for the occupation of a land-surveyor; and, at the age of eighteen, obtained, through his relation, Lord Fairfax, the office of Surveyor of the Western District of Virginia. This introduced him to the notice of Governor Dinwiddie, and in the following
year he was appointed one of the AdjutantGenerals of Virginia, with the duty of training the militia.
The boundaries of the British and French possessions in America were at that time subjects of dispute. In 1753 Washington was sent on a mission to the French settlement on the Ohio, which he executed successfully; and on his return published a journal of his route, which attracted much notice. In the following year he was less fortunate, being taken prisoner with his party, while in command of an expedition against the French. Being allowed to return home, he withdrew from the service, and went to reside at Mount Vernon, an estate which descended to him on the death of an elder brother. In 1755 he accepted the rank of Aide-de-camp to General Braddock, and was present at the surprise of the British in the woods near the Monongahela, where his coolness, courage, and knowledge of Indian warfare, chiefly contributed to the preservation of a handful of the troops. He escaped unhurt, but had three horses killed under him, and his dress was four times pierced with rifle-balls. Having gained much credit by his conduct on this occasion, Washington was next employed to defend the western
frontier against the incursions of the French and Indians. He concluded this harassing service at the end of four years, by reducing Fort du Quesne, and driving the French beyond the Ohio; and then resigned his commission.
After his return to Mount Vernon, in 1759, Washington married ; and during the next fourteen years
his time was divided between his duties as a member of the Colonial Assembly and agricultural pursuits, in which he took great interest. The disputes which preceded the Revolution again drew him from private life. He maintained that the Americans were entitled to all the rights of British subjects, and could not be taxed by a legislature in which they were not represented; and he recommended that, on the failure of peaceful and constitutional resistance, recourse should be had to arms. In 1774 the command of the troops raised by Virginia was given to him; and in 1775 he represented that State in the Convention held at Philadelphia. When the war began, Washington was chosen Commander-in-Chief of the American Army; an office which he accepted without remuneration, saying, that emolument would not have tempted him to forego the pleasures of private life, and that he should only require to have his