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sponsibility, would be productive of sensations which a better pen than I possess would find it difficult to describe. Nevertheless, the principle by which my conduct has been actuated through life, would not suffer me, in any great emergency, to withhold any services I could render when required by my country ; especially in a case where its dearest rights are assailed by lawless ambition and intoxicated power, in contempt of every prin. ciple of justice, and in violation of solemn com. pact, and of laws which govern all civilized nations; and this too with the obvious intent to sow thick the seeds of disunion, for the purpose of sub. jugating our government, and destroying our independence and happiness.
is Under circumstances like these, accompanied by an actual invasion of our territory, it would be difficult for me at any time to remain an idle spectator, under the plea of age or retirement. With sorrow, it is true, I should quit the shades of my peaceful abode, and the ease and happiness I now enjoy, to encounter anew the turmoils of war, to which possibly my strength and powers might be found incompetent. These, however, should not be stumbling blocks in my own way.”
President Adams nominated Washington with · the rank of Lieutenant General, to the chief command of all the armies raised and to be raised in the United States. His commission was sent to him by Mr. M'Henry, the Secretary of War, who was directed to repair to Mount Vernon, and to conter on the arrangements of the new army with its commander in chief. To the letter which president Adams sent with the commission by the
Secretary of War, Washington, in two days, re. plied as follows;
“I had the honour, on the evening of the 11th. instant, to receive from the hand of the Secretary of War, your favour of the 7th. announcing that you had, with the advice and consent of the Senate, appointed me · Lieutenant General and Com. mander in Chief, of all the armies raised, or to be raised, for the service of the United States.'
“ I cannot express how greatly affected I am at this new proof of public confidence, and the highly flattering manner in which you have been pleased to make the communication. At the same time I must not conceal from you my earnest wish, that, the choice had fallen .upon a man less declined in years, and better qualified to encounter the usual vicissitudes, of war.
“ You know, sir, what calculation I had made relative to the probable course of events, on my retiring from office, and the determination I had consoled myself with, of closing the remnant of my days in my present peaceful abode. You will therefore be at no loss to conceive and appreciate the sensations I must have experienced, to bring my mind to any conclusion that would pledge me, at so late a period of life, to leave scenes I sincerely love, to enter upon the boundless field of public action, incessant trouble, and high rę. sponsibility.
“ It was not possible for me to remain ignorant of, or indifferent to, recent transactions. The conduct of the Directory of France, toward our country ; their insidious hostility to its government; their various practices to withdraw the af
fections of the people from it; the evident tendency of their acts, and those of their agents, to countenance and invigorate opposition; their disregard of solemn treaties and the laws of nations; their war upon our defenceless commerce ; their treatment of our ministers of peace; and their de. mands, amounting to tribute, could not fail to ex. cite in me corresponding sentiments with those my countrymen have so generally expressed in their affectionate addresses to you. Believe me, sir, no one can more cordially approve of the wise and prudent measures of your administration. They ought to inspire universal confidence, 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 jus. tice 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 these United States.
" Thinking in this manner, and feeling how in. cumbent 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 pres. ent, when everything 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 my pres. ence, 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 public ; or that I can receive any emoluments annexed to the appointment, before entering into a situation to incur expense.”
The time of Washington after the receipt of this appointment, was divided between agricultural pursuits, and the cares and attentions which were imposed by his new office. The organization of the army was, in a great measure, left to him. Much of his time was employed in making a prop. er selection of officers, and arranging the whole army in the best possible manner to meet the invaders at the water's edge; for he contemplated a systear of continued attack, and frequently observ. ed, “that the enemy must never be permitted to gain foothold on the shores of the United States.” Yet he always thought that an actual invasion of the country was very improbable. He believed that the hostile measures of France took their rise from an expectation that these measures would produce a revolution of power in the United States, favourable to the views of the French republic; and that when the spirit of the Americans was roused, the French would give up the contest. Events soon proved that these opinions were well founded; for no sooner had the United States armed, than they were treated with respect, and an indirect communication was made that France would acommodate all matters in dispute on reas. onable terms. Mr. Adams embraced these over. tures, and made a second appointment of three en. voys extraordinary to the French republic. These, on repairing to France, found the Directory overthrown, and the government in the hands of Bonaparte, who had taken no part in the disputes which had brought the two countries to the verge of war. With him negotiations were commenced, and soon terminated in a pacific settlement of all differences. The joy to whïch this event gave birth was great ; but in it General Washington did not partake, for before accounts arrived of this amicable adjustment, he ceased to be numbered with the living
On the 13ih, of December, 1799, his neck and hair were sprinkled with a light rain, while he was out of doors attending to some improvements on his estate. In the following night he was seized with an inflammatory affection of the windpipe, attended with pain, and a difficult deglutition, which was soon succeeded by fever, and a laborious res. piration. He was bled in the night, but would not permit his family physician to be sent for before day. About 11 o'clock, A. M. Dr. Craik arrived, and rightly judging that the case was serious, recommended that two consulting physicians should be sent for. The united powers of all three were in vain ; in about twenty four hours from the t.me he was in his usual health, he expired without a struggle, and in the perfect use of his reason.