all together, was a work of time and difficulty. Washington urged the necessity of an early campaign, but such delays took place that he did not receive orders to assemble his regiment at Winchester, till the 24th of May; nor to proceed from thence to Fort Cumberland, till the 24th of June; nor to proceed to Ray's Town, till the 21st of September. The main body did not commence their march from Ray's Town, till the 2d of October, and it was as late as the 25th of November when they reached Fort Duquesne. These delays were extremely mortifying to Washington, and threatened to render the campaign abortive. He urged the necessity of expedition, and most pointedly remonstrated against one of the principal causes of delay. This was a resolution adopted by his superiors, for opening a new road for the army, in preference to that which was generally known by the name of Gen. Braddock's. Being overruled, he quietly submitted. Instead of embarrassing measures he thought injudicious, the whole energies of himself and his regiment

were exerted to make the most of those which his commanding officer preferred. The

progress of the army was so slow, that it did not reach Loyal Hannah till the 5th of November. Here it was determined in a council of war, “to be unadviseable to proceed any further that campaign.” If this resolution had been adhered to, the only alternative would have been to winter an army of eight thousand men in a cold inhospitable wil. derness, remote from all friendly settlements, or to tread back their steps and wait for a more favourable season. In either case they would have suffered immensely. 'The propriety of the remonstrances made by Washington against the many delays which had taken place, now became obviously striking. The hopes of restoring peace to the frontier settlement by reducing Fort Duquesne, began to va. nish. But contrary to all human appearances, success was now offered to their grasp at the very moment they had given up every hope of obtaining it.

Some prisoners were taken, who gave such information of the state of the garrison, as induced a reversal of the late determination, and encouraged the general to proceed.Washington was in front superintending the opening of the road for the accommodation of the troops. They advanced with slow and cautious steps until they reached Fort Duquesne. To their great surprise they found the fort evacuated, and that the garrison had retreated down the Ohio. The reasons for the abandonment of so advantageous a position, must be looked for elsewhere. The British had urged the war with so much vigour and success against the French to the northward of the Ohio, that no reinforce. ments could be spared to Fort Duquesne. The British fleet had captured a considerable part of the reinforcements designed by France for her colonies. The tide of fortune had begun to turn against the French in favour of the English. This weakened the influence of the former over the Indians, and caused them to withdraw from the support of the garrison. Under different circumstances, the success of the campaign would have been doubtful, perhaps im. practicable. The benefits which resulted from the acqui. sition of Fort Duquesne, proved the soundness of Wash. ington's judgment in so warmly urging, for three years, an expedition for its reduction. These were not confined to Virginia, but extended to Pennsylvania and MarylandWhile the French were in possession of that post, the Indians near the Ohio were entirely at their beck. This was their place of rendezvous, and from it they made frequent and ruinous incursions into these three colonies They neither spared age nor sex, but killed or captivated indiscriminately all who came in their way. Fire and devastation; the scalping knife and tomahawk, marked their route. A complete revolution in the disposition of the Indians, resulted from the expulsion of the French. Always prone to take part with the strongest, the Indians deserted their ancient friends, and paid court to those who by recent conquest, were now in possession of the country. A treaty of peace was soon after concluded with all the Indian tribes between the lakes. Fort Duquesne henceforward assum. ed the name of Fort Pitt, received considerable repairs, and was garrisoned by two hundred men from Washington's regiment. It became as useful in future to the English settlements, as it had been injurious while in the occupa. tion of the French.

The campaign of 1758 ended the military career of Col. Washington as a provincial officer. The great object on which his heart was set, the reduction of Fort Duquesne, being accomplished, he resigned his commission.

During the three preceding years in which he was charged with the defence of Virginia, none of those great events occurred which enliven and adorn the page of history ; yet the duties he performed were extremely arduous. He established exact discipline in his regiment, though unaccựistomed to restraint, and infused into them such a spirit as made them, when in action, fight like men, and die like soldiers.

The difficulties of defending such an extensive frontier, with so inadequate a force, would have chagrined almost any other man into a resignation of the command, but only excited in him greater importunity with the ruling powers, for the correction of errors. The plans he proposed, the systems he recommended for conducting the war, displayed an uncommon vigour of mind. He retired from the army with the thanks of his regiment, and the esteem not only of his countrymen, but of the officers of the British army ; and what is particularly remarkable, with the undiminished confidence of the frontier settlers, to whom he was unable to extend that protection they expected from his hands. They were thoroughly convinced he had made the best possible use of his scanty means for the security of so extensive a frontier; and to the weight of his advice in recommending, and in executing, they ascribed a large proportion of the merit of the late successful expedition against Fort Duquesne; an event from which they promised themselves an exemption from the calamities under which they had long laboured. As a reward of his gallant and patriotic services, he shortly after obtained the hand of Mrs. Custis, who, to a fine person and large fortune, added every accomplishment which contributes to the happiness of married life. Col. Washington, by the death of his elder brother Lawrence, had a few years before acquired an estate situated on the Potowmack, called Mount Vernon, in compliment to admiral Vernon, who, about the year 1741, commanded the British feet in an expedition against Carthagena, in which expedition Mr. Lawrence Washington had been engaged.

To this delightful spot the late commander of the Virginia forces, released from the cares of a military life, and in possession of every thing that could make life agreeable, withdrew, and gave himself up to domestic pursuite..

These were conducted with so much judgment, Steadiness, and industry, as greatly to enlarge and improve his estate. To them he exclusively devoted himself for fifteen years, with the exception of serving in the house of burgesses of the colony of Virginia, and as a judge of the court of the county in which he resided. In these stations he acquitted himself with reputation, and acquired no inconsiderable knowledge in the science of civil government. During this period, the clashing claims of Great Britain and her colonies were frequently brought before the Virginia legislature. In every instance he took a decided part in the opposition made to the principle of taxation claimed by the parent state.

Had Great Britain been wise, the history of George Washington would have ended here, with the addition that he died in the sixty-eighth year of his age, having sustained through life the character of a good man, an excellent far. mer, a wise member of the legislature, and an, impartial distributor of justice among his neighbours. Very differ. ent was his destiny. From being the commander of the forces of his native colony, Virginia, he was advanced to the command of the armies of thirteen United Colonies, and successfully led them through a revolutionary war of eight years duration, which issued in their establishment as thirteen United States. The origin of these great events must be looked for across the Atlantic.


Retrospect of the origin of the American revolutionary war.....

Of George Washington as member of Congress, in 1774 and 1775... As Commander in Chief of the armies of the United Co. lonies in 1775 and 1776, and his operations near Boston, in

these years.

SOON after the peace of Paris, 1763, a new system for governing the British colonies, was adopted. One abridgment of their accustomed liberties followed another in such rapid succession, that in the short space of twelve years they had nothing left they could call their own. The British parliament, in which they were unrepresented, and over which they had no control, not only claimed, but exercised the power of taxing them at pleasure, and of binding them in all cases whatsoever.

Claims so repugnant to the spirit of the British constitution, and which made such invidious distinctions between the subjects of the same king, residing on different sides of the Atlantic, excited a serious alarm among the colopists. Detached as they were from each other by local residence, and unconnected in their several legislatures, a sense of common danger pointed out to them the wisdom and propriety of forming a new representative body, composed of delegates from each colony, to take care of their common interests.

With very little previous concert, such a body was formed and met in Philadelphia, in September, 1774, and entered into the serious consideration of the grievances under which their constituents laboured. To this congress Virginia deputed seven of her most respectable citizens ; Peyton Randolph, Richard Henry Lee, George Washington, Patrick Henry, Richard Bland, Benjamin Harrison, Edmund Pendleton ; men who would have done honour to any age or country. The same were appointed in like manner to attend a second congress on the 10th of May, in the following year. The historians of the American revo

« ForrigeFortsett »