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replaced the wrecked artillery of the French, the fort was re-christened Fort Pitt, in honor of the great minister, and the question of supremacy in the valley of the Ohio was settled forever, in favor of the English race. Washington, leaving a detail of two hundred men as a garrison for the fort, conducted the remainder of his force to Winchester, and, parting with it there, proceeded to the capital, where he took his seat in the General Assembly, to which he had shortly before been elected.
The reduction of Fort Duquesne released Virginia, not only from the danger of French invasion, but insured the good behavior of the Indians, and Washington at last felt that he might, without dishonor, retire from the army, as he had long desired, thus gaining opportunity to recover his health, which was much impaired by repeated and arduous campaigns, to devote some time to neglected business interests and, most of all, to escape the constant annoyance to which a provincial officer was subjected by reason of the rules of precedence to which reference has been made. Hence, at the end of the year he resigned his dual office of colonel of the First Virginia regiment, and commander in chief of all the forces of the colony, and laid down his sword, only to again wear it when there came the supreme call for a man who might lead the revolting colonies in the struggle against the mother country
The value of this hard and thankless service against the French, to Washington and to his country—who can measure it? Not only by the disciplining and developing of his own mind and the increase of his direct knowledge of the art of war, but in the familiarity which he acquired with the methods and the weaknesses of the army and the military system which he was to oppose, a familiarity which, when practically applied, enabled him, with a small, undisciplined, and ill-equipped army—often starving and freezing from sheer paucity of supplies, to harass, worry, and annoy the finest armies in the world to ultimate demoralization and defeat. More than all, it had assured the maintenance of his mental equipoise, in the face of disaster in the field and disaffection in the councils of those who should have been his friends; it had prepared him for the discouragements, the intrigues, and the cabals of the Revolution. Accidentmere blind good-fortune-may make a victorious commander a hero; only he who is exceptionally wise and able, can win reputation from
Of the three campaigns in which Washington participated, during the French war, two ended in disaster-the third in a success due to extraneous circumstances, rather than to any merit of commanders or bravery of men, yet from so unlikely a military experience, Washington emerged with an uncontested reputation as the foremost soldier in bravery, wisdom, experience, and fertility of expedient, in all the colonies.
It is not within the scope of this biography to further follow the details of the French war, so-called; the story of the vigorous prosecution of the
war in the north ; of the fall of Fort Niagara, the bloody battle at Fort George, on the lake now bearing the same name; the capture of Ticonderoga; the investment of Quebec, with the death of Wolfe and the yielding of the city to the English ; the last stand and final surrender of Montreal, and the peace that gave to England, for the time, undisputed
title to the continent of North America-of all these it would be interesting to write, but, though the first volley in the encounter between the forces of Washington and De Jumonville opened the war, Washington had no active part in it after the occupation of Duquesne by the English, and hence our concern with it as well is at an end.
MARRIAGE AND HOME LIFE.
HUS far these pages have told little of the private life of Washington,
save as it appears by glimpses in the struggles, labors, disappointments and successes that so often interrupted it. Indeed, there is little of real boyhood, or of the small pleasures and hopes of youth, to tell. Washington made but a single step from the school-room to the field, seeming to open fully and at once from an exceptionally serious and thoughtful childhood to the full stature of the noble manhood that was his own. It is difficult to mark the development that intervened between the setting out upon that first journey into the wilderness and the surrender at Yorktown. Development of course there was, but so reserved was the character of the man, so chary was he of the utterance of sentiment or the expression of enthusiasm, so few are the recorded utterances that have no direct and serious bearing upon the business of his life, that the growth is all below the surface and we may only judge of its extent by the results that it compassed. Yet Washington was not without an element of romance, under all the practical
When only a boy of fifteen he had a love affair-with whom, no one will ever certainly know, for his natural secretiveness led him to refer to her-never name her. (Supposed to be the mother of Henry Lee—“Light Horse Harry.”)
He treated this new ailment of his with all the seriousness with which he later planned a campaign or directed a battle; he was not ashamed of it-he had none of the bashfulness of boys who are sophisticated in skirts and become men of the world in short trousers. His correspondence with his young friends is full of allusions to this lowland beauty,” and in his copy-books are a few awkward and unmusical rhymes, in which, after the ordinary boyish fashion, he bewails the fate that keeps him from the fair unknown. Action, however
, cured him, as it has cured many a man of the same ailment, and after he became a friend and later entered the service of the bluff old
ity of his nature.
Lord Fairfax, we hear nothing more of the mysterious maid. It was not until 1756 that he again felt the irritating sensation of love. He was at that time colonel of the First Virginia regiment and commander in chief of all the forces of the colony, yet he found his authority questioned by a captain ir. command of a fort within the colony, on the ground that the latter held a king's commission. Out of all patience, Washington set out on horseback for Boston, there to submit the question to the arbitrament of the commander in chief. He was successful in his principal mission, but at grave expense in peace of mind, for he lost his heart to Miss Mary Phillipse, who was an inmate of the family of a Virginia friend of Washington, then a resident of New York, she being a sister of the latter's wife. The young lady was a niece of an aristocratic and wealthy gentleman, and one of the two presumptive heiresses of his estate. Washington certainly laid close siege to the young lady's heart; he as certainly took a sudden departure for Virginia, but whether, as Irving kindly holds, called to the field by the summons of duty, or urged by the gloomy prospect of his suit, history cannot say.
At all events he deserted the ground, and Captain Morris of New York won the young beauty, with her broad acres, and, from the two, sprang one of the most distinguished families of the State. By an odd coincidence, the seat of the Morrises on the Hudson became the headquarters of Washington during one of his revolutionary campaigns. So ended his second affaire du caur.
After Washington's assignment to duty with the Forbes expedition his men, having been mustered, were without arms, ammunition or equipment. Repeated representations of the state of affairs having failed of eliciting a satisfactory response from the colonial government, Washington was ordered to proceed to Williamsburg, and urge in person the necessity of placing the troops upon an effective footing. Mounting his horse, and taking a single servant, he set out for the seat of government. Upon the road he fell in with a Mr. Chamberlayne, a Virginia gentleman, whose estate lay hard by, and who insisted with characteristic hospitality, that Washington should pause at his house for dinner. The latter was in great haste to reach Williamsburg, and only when resistance began to seem discourteous did he yield assent to the invitation. His resolve proved a most fortunate one. At Mr. Chamberlayne's table he met a young and charming widow, Mrs. Martha Custis, whose husband, John Parke Custis, had died three years previously. She was a daughter of John Dandridge and, by blood and marriage, was a member of two families of the simonpure Virginia aristocracy. Perhaps Washington had met her before. At all events it is evident that he succumbed at once to her charms, which were assuredly sufficient to excuse so ready a surrender. All his eagerness to press on to Williamsburg vanished. His horse, which he had ordered his servant to bring to the door immediately after dinner. walked contented'y