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• Had we had a regular army, says he, we never should have ⚫ had to retreat across the Delaware in 1776, trembling for the fate of America, which nothing but the infatuation of the enemy could have saved. We should not have remained all the succeeding winter at • their mercy, liable at every moment to be dispersed, if they had only thought proper to march against us. We should not have been at Valley-Forge, in a situation neither to resist nor to retire; in short, • indebted for our safety during the greater part of the war to the inactivity of our enemy.' IV. 301:
It is impossible, we think, for any one who reads carefully the history of Washington's campaigns, not to assent to Dr Ramsay's proposition, that his military services were as great as ever were performed by any man to any nation.' (p. 262.) These services, however, are not to be estimated by great battles, or great victories. History is full of far more brilliant exploits; but it must always be recollected, that in Washington's situation, not to be defeated was victory. In the arrangements of the day of battle, we should discover but a small portion of those happy endowments which gave him an unrivalled ascendancy over the minds of his countrymen ;-which enabled him to keep a powerful enemy in awe with fluctuating levies, whose defective constitution forbade the necessary severities of discipline ;-which enabled him to awaken sentiments of honour and patriotism in hearts divided by animofities and jealoufies, difgufted with the hardships of war, or foured by neglect of paft fervices. In criticizing his military conduct, we must always keep in view his means; and if we cannot discover any fingle achievement of peculiar brilliancy, fhall yet be forced to admire a long series of arduous operations which display penetration and energy, combined with uniform and unerring fagacity. It is abfurd to call him a Fabius, as fome have done, in order to convey an idea, that he was more cautious than enterprizing. His fyftem was by neceffity defenfive; but he never failed to take advantage of any eligible opening for the bolder operations of active war. Not to mention other inftances, his conduct at Trenton and Princeton, after the difaftrous campaign of 1776, had, in the opinion both of America and her enemies, brought the war almost to a conclufion,-fufficiently manifefted what he would have done, had he, instead of a dejected and undifciplined militia, commanded fuch troops as thofe to which he was oppofed. Many generals who have gained laurels at the head of practifed and veteran armies, would have yet funk under the complicated and long enduring difficulties of his command. His fucceffes have a double glory, from the inftruments with which they were obtained. Però è da duplicare la gloria e la laude a quelli Capitani, che non folamente hanno avuto a
vincere il nemico, ma prima che venghino alle mani con quello, è convenuto loro inftruire l'efercito loro, e farlo buono. Perchè in quefti fi moftra doppia virtù, e tanto rara, che fe tale fatica freffe fata data a molti, ne farebbero fimati e rèputati meno apar che non fono. Machiavel. difc. pol. 1. 3. c. 13.
The last great fervice which Washington performed, before refigning his command of the army, was to prevent its rebellionto fave the ftate from those very arms by which it had just been faved from the enemy. The jealoufy which Congrefs and the country at large had entertained of a regular force, only gave way, and that flowly and imperfectly, to the preffure of neceffity; and, as foon as that preffure was removed, it again manifefted itself in an unwillingness to make any provifion for the officers after they should be disbanded. The pay, too, was conftantly in arrear; and, as there feemed to be but little inclination to liquidate their claims, one fentiment of indignation and suffering was equally shared by the officers and foldiery. The wants of the army were no doubt, in fome meafure, occafioned by the pecuniary diftreffes of the country, arifing from the lamentable want of fyftem, energy and intelligence, in her financial administration but a good deal must be ascribed to the influence of that jealousy to which we have alluded. Blinded by this feeling, they did not difcern that the army was likely to be dangerous, exactly in proportion as it was neglected; and that to leave it without any obligations to the civil power, was to fubject it to the machinations of any ambitious spirit who fhould be defirous of profecuting his own aggrandizement, under the plaufible pretext of obtaining juftice for his companions in arms. At the peace, difaffection had reached its acme; and open rebellion would have immediately enfued, had not the wifdom and patriotifm of Washington fuggefted expedients to allay the ferment, and avert the danger. Thus, the dark cloud which threatened to extinguish the beams of liberty, just as they began to warm and cheer the American horizon, was happily diffolved by the Guardian Genius of her revolution.
History has no other example of so happy an iffue to a revolu tion confummated by a long civil war. Indeed, it feems to be very near a maxim in political philosophy, that a free government cannot be obtained, where a long employment of military force is neceffary to establish it. In the cafe of America, however, the military power was, by a rare felicity, difarmed by that very influence which makes a revolutionary army fo formidable to liberty; for the images of grandeur and power,-thofe meteor-lights, which are exhaled in the ftormy atmosphere of a revolution to allure the ambitious and dazzle the weak,-made no impreffion upon the firm and virtuous foul of the American commander.
Having given liberty to his country, Washington once more retired from public life to his paternal roof; followed by the fervent admiration of his countrymen. Every heart, indeed, at all fufceptible of being moved by the view of moral greatness-of all that difplays divinity of foul in created man, muft have warmed into admiration on feeing him, who faved a country, renounce power and honours, and retain no other reward for his fervices than that country's love. The following letter to La Fayette, written foon after his arrival at Mount Vernon, gives a lively picture of his feelings, and breathes a fine fpirit of philofophy.
"At length, my dear Marquis, I have become a private citizen "on the banks of the Potomac, and under the shadow of my own "vine, and my own fig-tree. Free from the bustle of a camp, and "the busy scenes of public life, I am solacing myself with those "tranquil enjoyments, of which the soldier, who is ever in pur"suit of fame-the statesman, whose watchful days and sleepless "nights are spent in devising schemes to promote the welfare of his "own, or the ruin of other countries, as if this globe was insuffi"cient for us all-and the courtier, who is always watching the "countenance of his prince, in the hope of catching a gracious smile, "can have very little conception. I have not only retired from all "public employments, but am retiring within myself; and shall be "able to view the solitary walk, and tread the paths of private life “with heartfelt satisfaction. Envious of none, I am determined to "be pleased with all, and move gently down the stream of life, un"til I sleep with my fathers." V. 2, 3.
During his retirement, objects of public utility ftill occupied his thoughts; and it was not long before he formed, with his characteristic fagacity, a plan for improving the internal navigation of the country. This plan was, to open as high as poffible the great Eastern rivers, and to connect them, by means of intermediate ftreams, with the Ohio and his object, in this magnificent undertaking, was to draw the ftates beyond the Alleghanies into a clofer connexion with thofe upon the Atlantic; and thus, by multiplying their commercial relations, to give ftability and unity to thofe of a political nature. When his fcheme was mature, he fubmitted it to the legislatures of Maryland and Virginia, whofe fanction was neceffary for opening the rivers James and Potomac ; and by his advice, acts were paffed to carry the plan into execution. In order to manifeft their fenfe of his fervices, in originating and promoting this great national work, an act was at the fame time paffed, conferring upon him one hundred and fifty fhares in the company for opening the navigation; but neither upon this, or any other occafion, would he ever receive a reward for fervices done his country. We recollect Sir William Temple records a fimilar inftance of De Witt's difinterestedness in rejecting
a large donation offered him by the United Provinces; and, perhaps, this is not the only point of coincidence between the characters of these celebrated patriots.
M. Volney remarks, in the introduction to his Account of the Climate and Soil of America, that but little is known in Europe of her history during the period which elapfed between the conclufion of peace, and the adoption of the prefent conftitution. The first part of Mr Marshall's concluding volume, though its information is by no means well arranged, will in a great measure fupply this defect. It contains many interefting details and documents, illuftrative of the diftreffes of that anarchical period.
Though the transition from a ftate of dependence to a state of abfolute freedom, had not, from the peculiar circumftances of the revolution, produced any violent or convulfive movements in the internal frame of the American communities; ftill, from the removal of the antient reftraints, and their correfponding habits, or, to use Mr Burke's phrafe, inftincts of obedience,' there was naturally generated a tendency to agitation and diforder, which, after the enemy had withdrawn, manifefted itself to such a degree, as to fill the friends of fober freedom with ferious alarms. The decay of industry and credit confequent upon the flagrant breaches of public faith to the ftate's creditors, and their mischievous paper fyftem, came in aid of these revolutionary tremors; and their combined operation feemed to threaten the fubverfion of thofe infant republics. A moderate power in the general government would undoubtedly have prevented, or eafily remedied thefe evils, in a country fo thinly peopled, and which, as M. Talleyrand has remarked, poffeffed in its rich, unoccupied diftricts, fo copious an outlet for the reftlefs and difcontented. But the peftilent jealoufies of the states, and their tenacity of power, for a long time oppofed every attempt to inveft the federal head with authority fufficient to preferve general order and tranquillity. In fhort, fome of the beft patriots of the revolution began to think liberty, as Bru→ tus, in the wreck of his fortunes, did virtue,-a deceitful name; and to start the fearful doubt, whether arbitrary power was not the only remedy for the anarchy with which they were menaced. In thefe circumftances, Washington was not long permitted to enjoy that retirement, of which paft toils had given him fo keen a relifh, and to which he had always looked forward as the folace of his age. After having brought the veffel into the harbour, he faw, with distress, that it was about to drift into a tempeftuous o cean, through the mutinous fpirit of thofe to whofe management, he had committed it. His letters at this period are exceedingly interefting; and they who with either to ftudy his character, or to ftore their minds with facts which may affift their fpeculations
upon political change, will be gratified by the perufal. When, at laft, it became evident to all that fome alteration of the general fyftem was indifpenfable to the prefervation of its parts, a convention was held under his aufpices; and the constitution which it formed having been adopted by the greater part of the ftates, he was, in April 1789, called to the office of first President, by the unanimous voice of the confederation. There is abundance of evidence in these volumes, that he accepted this office with the greatest reluctance. He had no ambition of high place; and, free from all prefumption, this truly great man felt diffident of his capacity to adminifter, in peace, the affairs of a country which, in war, he had faved from ruin. "I bade adieu to Mount-Vernon, to private life, and domeftic felicity, " fays he, in an entry in his diary "and with a mind oppreffed with more anxious
and painful fenfations than I have words to express, set out for "New York, with the beft difpofitions to render fervice to my "country, but with lefs hope of anfwering its expectations. "
In choofing the officers of his government, in virtue of the pow ers committed to him by the conftitution, he is univerfally allowed to have difplayed the utmost difintereftedness. No prejudices, no affections, no interefts were feen to interfere with his great duty, to call to the management of a nation's concerns the talents from which a nation has moft to hope. We felect from Mr Marfhall the following fketch of the two moft diftinguifhed members of his cabinet, and whofe names, after those of Washington and Franklin, are oftenest heard on this fide the Atlantic. The characters are certainly not given with the pen of a Clarendon; but they are from the Chief Juftice of America, and may poffibly contain particulars with which all our readers are not acquainted.
At the head of the department of foreign affairs, he placed Mr Jefferson. This gentleman had been bred to the bar; and, at an early period of life, had acquired considerable reputation for extensive attainments in the science of politics. He had been a member of the second Congress, and had been named to a diplomatic appointment, which he had declined. Withdrawing from the administration of continental affairs, he had been appointed governor of Virginia; which office he filled for two years. In the year 1784, he was appointed to succeed Dr Franklin at the court of Versailles. In that station he had acquitted himself much to the public satisfaction, and had added considerably to the reputation he had previously acquired. His notes on Virginia, which were read with applause, were generally considered as an able specimen of his talents. for composition, and as evincing the correctness of his political opi, nions. He had long been contemplated by America amongst the most eminent of her citizens, and had long been classed by the President with those who were most capable of serving the nation with effect.