« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
members of the Washington family.
we not been very tired, I am sure we should not have slept much that night. I made a promise to sleep no more in a bed, choosing rather to sleep in the open air before a fire." Again, after being much longer away from home, Washington says in a letter to a friend: “Yours gave me the more pleasure as I received it among barbarians and an uncouth set of people. Since you received my letter of October last, I have not slept above three or four nights in a bed. But after walking a good deal all the day, I have lain down before the fire on a little hay, straw, fodder, or bear skin, whichever was to be had, with man, wife, and children, like dogs and cats, and happy is he who gets nearest the fire. I have never had my clothes off, but have lain and slept in them, except the few nights I have been in Fredericksburg."
With these and similar experiences, Washington and his companion, with their little party, consisting of an Indian guide and a few white attendants, continued through the weary weeks and months occupied in the fulfillment of their mission. This work was well and thoroughly done; the surveys made were afterwards proved to be careful and accurate. The party finally returned to civilization on the 12th day of April, 1749, more than a year after they set out. The report made to Lord Fairfax proved a source of immediate profit to Washington, who, though but a little more than seventeen years of age, was soon aster made one of the official surveyors of the colony of Virginia. His late employer soon removed to a point in the newly surveyed territory, beyond the Blue Ridge, where he set aside ten thousand acres of land, to constitute his home estate, and projected a grand manor and house, after the English style. The proposed site of this dwelling, which, though Abbott describes it in glowing terms, was never built, is about twelve miles from the present village of Winchester.
Washington pursued his labors with the additional sanction given by his office, which entitled his surveys to become a matter of official record. As will be readily understood, the demand for such services in a new coun. try was great, and, as the number of competent men was small, his labors commanded a correspondingly large remuneration. So for three years he continued, patiently working; his ability and industry commanding respect a daily wider recognition.
so accurate in all his processes that no considerable error was ever charged against him, and a title, finding its basis in one of his surveys, was rarely disputed. The minute acquaintance with the soil, timber, and other natural advantages of the region, thus obtained, proved of great practical value to him in after years, when his increased wealth needed investment; much of the finest land which he surveyed passed into his hands, and was later owned by veyor for three years, when he resigned it to accept more important trusts.
THE CAUSES OF THE FRENCH WAR.
HILE it is the intention to restrict this work, so far as possible,
to the simple record of Washington's life, it is impossible that such a biography should be adequately written or fairly understood, unless collateral matters are to a degree explained. Washington had, at the age of nineteen years, reached the time when it was fated that he should put aside his own interests, turn his back upon home and friends and, in the service of the colony and the crown, take his first hard objectlessons in diplomacy and war. That the circumstances may be understood, and just conclusions attained, it is necessary to give a cursory view of the circumstances that led to the complications of the time, and to the ensuing war between France and England, for supremacy in America.
The fundamental differences arose thus: John Cabot, in 1497, crossed the Atlantic, and discovered the coast of Labrador. This result was enough to satisfy his immediate ambition, and he went back to England, leaving it for his son, Sebastian, who had been his companion, to return, during the ensuing year, and pursue the exploration. Sebastian sailed the same course, and, reaching Labrador, turned southward and skirted the continent, keeping the coast always in sight, as far as the latitude of Hatteras, when, provisions falling short, he, in turn, sailed back to England. By virtue of this cruise, England claimed the entire unknown breadth of the North American continent, between the parallels of latitude bounding Cabot's coastwise 'exploration. Many colonial and personal grants of territory were made upon this basis—that of Virginia, for example, being defined north and south by its coast line, and east and west limited only by the extent of the land. As an instance of combined ignorance and prodigality, it is also interesting to note that King Charles I., in the fifth year of his reign, granted to “his loyal servant, Sir Charles Heath,” all that part of North America bounded by the thirty-first and thirty-sixth degrees of north lati
wide-doored houses in Virginia - the Fren
tude, and extending the entire width of the continent. Truly a very liberal gift!
The French, on the other hand, discovered the mouth of the St. Lawrence in 1508; in 1525 took formal possession of the country, and, between that time and 1671, pushed their explorations and claims of discovery through the entire chain of lakes, building forts, establishing trading posts, and founding missions as far as Lake Superior. In 1673 Pere Marquette and his companions discovered the Mississippi; in 1680 Pere Hennepin followed the great river to its source, and in 1681 La Salle made his wonderful canoe voyage down the river to its mouth. De Soto, the Spanish adventurer, in 1541, discovered the Mississippi, near its mouth, but did not extend his exploration. By right of these various discoveries the French claimed the St. Lawrence and the Mississippi, together with the entire region drained by either of the great rivers. The immense extent of the territory involved in this claim will at once be appreciated. It includes the great central basin of the United States, extending from the Rocky mountains to the Alleghanies, and from the lakes to the head waters of the gulf rivers, the entire Mississippi valley, the northern slope of the watershed of New York and New England, as well as the southern slope of the vast territory north of the St. Lawrence and the lakes.
The first clash directly arising from this conflict of domain was when, in 1699, D'Iberville entered the mouth of the Mississippi, with two French war vessels, and encountered an English exploring ship. The latter waordered to depart forthwith and, compelled by the superior force of tha French, its captain withdrew, having first entered a formal protest.
The claims of England and France remained in abeyance so long as the colonies of each were in their infancy. Circumstances had led to the establishment of the English settlements upon the eastern sea coast, from Massachusetts to South Carolina, in territory indisputably English by right. The French colonies extended from Quebec to Superior, along the lakes. They were not immediately in the way of England's ambition, and she was too busy in assuring the doubtful fortunes of her own settlements, and with the critical condition of affairs at home, to notice encroachments upon Lake Champlain, and at other points, within the territory more nearly in her path. There was so vast a territory, and so great opportunity for trade, in proportion to the scattered population, that, until well toward the middle of the eighteenth century, the disputed claims were of little immediate
So the French continued to exchange cheap guns and knives for fine furs, in the North and Northwest-the English to receive fine furs for cheap knives and guns in the East; the English to build their comfortable,
to Indians to pray to; and, it is to be feared to swear by, every saint in the