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CHAPTER VIII. Washington at Mount Vernon


CHAPTER IX. Convention-Evils to be remedied by it-The New Constitu

tion-Washington solicited to accept the Presidency-Consents with great Reluctance-Is chosen unanimously, Leaves Mount Vernon-His Reception on his Journey-Situation of Public Affairs-Disputes with England-SpainWar with Moors and Indians-National Debt-Administration of Washington-Final Retirement to Mount Vernon 158

CHAPTER X. The last Years and Death of Washington


CHAPTER XI. Character and Death of Washington






Hopes derived from the new Posture of Affairs—Arrival of the

French Fleet-Difficulties about Military Etiquette-Dispute between Count d'Estaing and General Sullivan-Washington still compelled to act on the Defensive–British Army marches up the Hudson-Affair at Egg Harbour-British Fleet dispersed by a Storm-D'Estaing sails for the West Indies—The Army erects Huts in the Highlands and goes into Winter-quarters-Washington's Spring-He dissuades Congress from attacking Canada.

The sun of liberty seemed now slowly emerging from the dark cloud in which it had been enveloped, with few intervals, ever since the battle of Long Island. It had occasionally broke out for a little while at Princeton and Trenton, only to retire again into deeper obscurity. The surrender of Burgoyne, the alliance with France, and the honourable result of the battle of Monmouth combined to give new life to hope, but at the same time relaxed the vigour of perseverance. The storm seemed to have reached the crisis of its violence, and the lighthouse and the haven appeared in distant perspective. The crew of the vessel fell asleep, but the pilot remained awake at the helin.

The battle of Monmouth was quickly followed by news of the arrival of a powerful French fleet, under Count d'Estaing, at Chingoteague Inlet, in Virginia. On board this fleet was a large body of land forces, and the intention of the Count had been to strike the mouth of Delaware Bay, with a view to shutting up the British fleet in that river. A long passage of nearly three months prevented the success of this well-laid plan, and probably saved both the British fleet and British army. Congress communicated the arrival of our allies to Washington, and directed him to co-operate with the French commander.

This co-operation was a delicate affair

Hitherto the French had always been looked upon as enemies by the people of the United States. All their wars had been with that nation, and the recollection was rendered more keen by its connection with Indian atrocities. Besides this, there is always a jealousy, justified by universal example, on the part of weaker nations against their more powerful allies, who have almost invariably only assisted in breaking the chains of others in order to rivet their own. They always sell their favours at a high price. The French government, with a politic delicacy, had conferred on Washington the rank of lieutenant-general in the armies of France, which placed him on an equality with Count d'Estaing, who, besides being commander of the French fleet, was also a lieutenant-general.

The allied forces commenced their operations in New-England, where difficulties very soon occurred in relation to military etiquette, and the right of directing the combined army. The rank of D'Estaing, as a lieutenant-general, placed him above every American officer except Washington ; and Sullivan, who commanded the forces of the United States in that

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