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and will, no doubt, combined with the state of things, call from Congress such laws and means as will enable you to meet the full force and extent of the crisis.
Satisfied, therefore, that you have sincerely wished and endeavoured to avert war, and exhausted to the last drop the cup of reconciliation, we can, with pure hearts, appeal to heaven for the justice of our cause, and may confidently trust the final result, to that kind Providence who has heretofore, and so often, signally favoured the people of the United States.
" Thinking in this manner, and feeling how incum-. bent it is upon every person of every description to contribute, at all times, to his country's welfare, and especially in a moment like the present, when every thing we hold dear and sacred is so seriously threatened, I have finally determined to accept the commission of Commander in Chief of the Armies of the United States, with the reserve only, that I shall not be called into the field until the army is in a situation to require iny presence, or it becomes indispensable by the urgency of circumstances.
“ In making this reservation, I beg it to be understood that I do not mean to withhold any assistance to arrange and organize the army, which you may think I can afford. I take the liberty also to mention that I must decline having my acceptance considered as drawing after it any immediate charge upon the publick, or that I can receive any emoluments annexed to the appointment before I am in a situation to incur ex. pense."
From this period the domestick employments of Ge. neral WASHINGTON were blended with the concerns of his publick commission ; but he did not apprehend that France would push her aggressions to actual war. He conceived that the object of the Directory was to subject the Government of the United States to their measures, either through fear of war, or by the controlling influence of the people. Vol. II
It was the settled opinion of the General, that the great body of the American people were actuated by the love of country, and only needed information respecting the measures of government to induce them to support it. In the patriotiok spirit, excited in 1798, he contemplated a resource, which might at all times be relied upon to repel foreign aggressions, and on this occasion he confidently expected that France would recede from her insolent pretensions.
But he did not live to see the fulfilment of his predictions. On Friday, December 13, 1799, while superintending some improvements on his estate, he was out in a light rain, which wet his neck and hair. The occurrence commanded no immediate attention, but in the course of the ensuing night he was seized with an inflammation of the wind pipe. The complaint was accompanied with difficulty in swallowing, and with a quick and laborious respiration.
Conceiving that bleeding would be salutary, a vein was opened by one accustomed to the use of the lancet, and fourteen ounces of blood taken from him ; but he could not be persuaded to send for his physician until the morning. About 11 o'clock, on Saturday, Dr. Craik arrived, and perceiving his extreme danger, desired the advice of two consulting physicians ; but their aid, in this case, was unavailing. Speaking soon became painful, and respiration contracted and imperfect, and at half past eleven on Saturday night, December 14, in the full possession of reason, he expired.
From the moment of attack, he believed the disease would prove mortal, and submitted to medical aid rather to gratify the wishes of his anxious friends, than from any expectation of relief. Some hours before death, with extreme difficulty, he intelligibly expressed a desire that he might be permitted to die without further disturbance. When he could no longer swallow, he undressed himself and got into bed, there to await his dissolution. Dr. Craik took the head of his
beloved and respected friend in his lap, to whom the General said, “ Doctor, I am dying, and have been dying for a long time, but I am not afraid to die.” With fortitude he bore the painful conflict, and with perfect serenity resigned himself to his God.
His interment on Wednesday, the 18th of December, was attended by religious services, and military honours; and a great concourse of people followed his hearse, as undissembled mourners.
The report of the death of General WASHINGTON reached the seat of Government before the information of his sickness. It excited the highest sensibility in the members of Congress, and overwhelmed them with affliction. A solemn silence prevailed in the House of Representatives for several minutes. At length Mr. Marshall, the present Chief Justice of the United States, mentioned the melancholy information. “ This information is not certain," he observed,“ but there is too much reason to believe it true. After receiving intelligence,” he added, “ of a national calamity so heavy and afflicting, the House of Representatives can be but ill fitted for publick business.” In consequence, both Houses adjourned.
On opening the House the next morning, Mr. Mar. shall addressed the Chair in the following manner.
“ The melancholy event which was yesterday announced with doubt, has been rendered but too certain. Our WASHINGTON is no more! The Hero, the Patriot, and the Sage of America—the man on whom, in times of danger, every eye was turned, and all hopes were placed, lives now only in his own great actions, and in the hearts of an affectionate and afflicted people.
“ If, sir, it had even not been usual openly to testify respect for the memory of those whom Heaven has selected as its instruments for dispensing good to man, yet, such has been the uncommon worth, and such the extraordinary incidents which have marked the life of him whose loss we all deplore, that the whole Ameri
can nation, impelled by the same feelings, would call, with one voice, for a publick manifestation of that sorrow which is so deep and so universal.
“ More than any other individual, and as much as to one individual was possible, has he contributed to found this our wide spreading empire, and to give to the Western World, independence and freedom.
“ Having effected the great object for which he was placed at the head of our armies, we have seen him convert the sword into the ploughshare, and sink the soldier into the citizen.
" When the debility of our Federal System had become manifest, and the bonds which connected this vast Continent were dissolving, we have seen him, the Chief of those Patriots who formed for us a Constitution, which, by preserving the Union, will, I trust, substantiate and perpetuate those blessings which our Revolution had promised to bestow.
" In obedience to the general voice of his country, calling him to preside over a great people, we have seen him once more quit the retirement he loved, and in a season more stormy and tempestuous than war itself, with calm and wise determination, pursue the true interests of the nation, and contribute, more than any other could contribute, to the establishment of that system of policy, which will, I trust, yet preserve our peace, our honour, and independence.
“ Having twice been unanimously chosen the Chief Magistrate of a free people, we have seen him, at a time when his re-election with universal suffrage could not be doubted, afford to the world a rare instance of moderation, by withdrawing from his high station to the peaceful walks of private life.
“ However the publick confidence may change, and the publick affections fluctuate with respect to others, with respect to him, they have, in war and in peace, in publick and in private life, been as steady as his own firm mind, and as constant as his own exalted virtues.
“ Let us then, Mr. Speaker, pay the last tribute of respect and affection to our departed friend. Let the Grand Council of the nation display those sentiments which the nation feels. For this purpose I hold in my hand some resolutions which I take the liberty of offer. ing to the House."
The resolutions, after stating the death of General WASHINGTON, were as follows.
Resolved, that this House will wait on the President in condolence of this mournful event.
“Resolved, That the Speaker's chair be shrouded with black, and that the members and officers of the House wear black during the session.
“Resolved, That a Committee in conjunction with one from the Senate, be appointed to consider on the most suitable manner of paying honour to the memory of the man, first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his fellow citizens."
These resolutions had no sooner passed, than a written message was received from the President, transmitting a letter from Mr. Lear, -- which," said the message, " will inform you that it had pleased Divine Providence to remove from this life our excellent fellow citizen, GEORGE WASHINGTON, by the purity of his life, and a long series of services to his country, rendered illustrious through the world. It remains for an affectionate and grateful people, in whose hearts he can never die, to pay suitable honour to his memory.”
On this mournful event, the Senate addressed to the President the following letter.
6 The Senate of the United States respectfully take leave, sir, to express to you their deep regret for the loss their country sustains in the death of General GEORGE WASHINGTON.
" This event, so distressing to all our fellow citizens, must be peculiarly heavy to you, who have long been associated with him in deeds of patriotism. Permit us, sir, to mingle our tears with yours. On this occa