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The marquis de la Fayette, the brave and generous nobleman, whofe fervices command the gratitude of every American, had been dispatched with about two thoufand light infantry, from the main army, to watch the motions of Lord Cornwallis in Virginia. He profecuted this expedition with the greatest military ability. Although his force was much inferior to that of the enemy, he obliged them to leave Richmond, and Will amfburgh, and to feek protection under their fhipping.
About the latt of Auguft, count de Graffe arrived with a large fleet in the Chefapeck, and blocked up the British troops at York town. Admiral Greaves, with a British fleet, appeared off the Capes, and an action fucceeded; but it was not decifive.
General Washington had before this time moved the main body of his army, together with the French troops, to the fouthward; and as foon as he heard of the arrival of the French fleet in the Chefapeek, he made rapid marches to the head of Elk, where embarking, the troops foon arrived at York town.
A clofe fiege immediately commenced, and was carried on with fuch vigour, by the combined forces of America and France, that Lord Cornwallis was obliged to furrender. This glorious event, which took place on the 19th of October, 1781, decided the conteft in favour of America; and laid the foundation of a general peace.
A few months after the furrender of Cornwallis, the British evacuated all their pofts in South Carolina and Georgia, and retired to the main army in New-York.
Cn the night of the 3d of March, 1783, Major William Crane, Captain Thomas Quigley, and fix others, embarked from Elizabeth-Town point in a whale boat, and proceeded for New-York, where they boarded and took poffeffion of a twenty-four gun fhip, called the Eagle, then lying under the old battery. This expedition was conducted with fo much gallantry and addrefs, that no oppofition was attempted by the crew; on the contrary, every individual fought a place of fecurity; but their endeavours for that purpose were rendered abortive by the unprecedented valour and vigilance of thofe heroic men, who conducted the enterprize.-After having captured three naval captains, and eighteen men, they fecured them on board the floop, which then lay along fide the Eagle; and which was laden with one hundred and nineteen puncheons of Jamaica fpirits, moft of the fhips fails, with twelve nine pounders, loaded and mounted, befides mufquets, &c.-The floop they brought off, and paffed through the Kills, without moleftation for Elizabeth-Town point; where, having lightened the veffel, they conducted her in triumph to the landing.
The next fpring (1782) Sir Guy Carleton arrived in New-York, and took the command of the British army in America. Immediately on his arrival, he acquainted General Washington and Congrefs, that negociations for a peace had been commenced at Paris.
On the 30th of November, 1782, the provifional articles of peace were figned at Paris; by which Great-Britain acknowledged the independence and fovereignty of the United States of America; and these articles were ratified by a definitive treaty.
Thus ended a long and arduous conflict, in which Great-Britain expended near an hundred millions of money, with an hundred thousand
NOTE (A) for Page 104.
TOTWITHSTANDING it has often been afferted with confidence, that General Washington was a native of England, certain it is his ancestors came from thence to this country fo long ago as the year 1657. He, in the third defcent after their migration, was born on the 11th of February, (old ftile) 1732, at the parish of Washington, in Weftmoreland county, in Virginia. His father's family was numerous, and he was the first fruit of a fecond marriage. His education having been principally conducted by a private tutor, at fifteen years old he was entered a midshipman on board of a British veffel of war ftationed on the coast of Virginia, and his baggage prepared for embarkation: but the plan was abandoned on account of the reluctance his mother expreffed to his engaging in that profeffion,
Previous to this tranfaction, when he was but ten years of age, his father died, and the charge of the family devolved on his eldest brother. His eldest brother, a young man of the most promifing talents, had a command in the colonial troops employed against Carthagena, and on his return from the expedition, named his new patrimonial manfion MOUNT VERNON, in honour of the admiral of that name, from whom he had received many civilities. He was afterwards made adjutant-general of the militia of Virginia, but did not long furvive. At his decease (notwithstanding there are heirs of an elder branch who poffefs a large moiety of the paternal inheritance) the eldeft fon by the fecond marriage inherited this feat and a confiderable landed property. In confequence of the extenfive limits of the colony, the vacant office of adjutant-general was divided into three districts, and the future Hero of America, before he attained his twentieth year, began his military fervice by a principal appointment in that department, with the rank of major.
When he was little more than twenty-one years of age, an event occurred which called his abilities into public notice. In 753, while the government of the colony was adminiftered by lieutenant-governor Dinwiddie, encroachments were reported to have been made by the French, from Canada, on the territories of the British colonies, at the weftward. Young Mr. Washington, who was fent with plenary powers to afcertain the facts, treat with the favages, and warn the French to defift from their aggreffions, performed the duties of his miffion with fingular induftry, intelligence
and addrefs. His journal, and report to Governor Dinwiddie, which were published, announced to the world that correctnefs of mind, manlinefs in ftile, and accuracy in the mode of doing business, which have fince characterised him in the conduct of more arduous affairs. But it was deemed, by fome, an extraordinary circumftance that fo juvenile and inexperienced a perfon fhould have been employed on a negociation, with which fubjects of the greatest importance were involved: fubjects which fhortly after became the origin of a war between England and France, that raged for many years throughout every part of the globe.
As the troubles ftill fubfifted on the frontiers, the colony of Virginia raifed the next year a regiment of troops for their defence. Of this corps, Mr. Fry, one of the profeffors of the college, was appointed Colonel, and Major Wafhington received the commifiion of Lieutenant-Colonel. But Colonel Fry died the fame fummer, without ever having joined; and of courfe left his regiment and rank to the fecond in command. Colonel Washington made indefatigable efforts to form the regiment, eftablifh magazines, and open roads fo as to pre-occupy the advantageous poft at the confluence of the Allegany and Monongahela rivers, which he had recommended for that purpofe in his report the preceding year. He was 10 have been joined by a detachment of independent regulars from the fouthern colonies, together with fome companies of provincials from North-Carolina and Maryland, But he perceived the ncceflity of expedition, and without waiting for their arrival, commenced his march in the month of May. Notwithstanding his precipitated advance, on his afcending the Laurel-hill, fifty miles fhort of his object, he was advised that a body of French had already taken pofleflion and erected a fortification, which they named Fort du Quefne. He then fell back to a place known by the appellation of the Great Meadows, for the fake of forage and fupplies. Here he built a temporary flockade, merely to cover his flores; it was from its fate called Fort Neceffity. His force, when joined by Captain M'Kay's regulars, did not amount to four hundred effectives. Upon receiving information from his scouts that a confiderable party was approaching to reconnoitre his pott, he fallied and defeated them. But in return he was attacked by an army, computed to have been fifteen hundred ftrong, and after a gallant defence, in which more than onethird of his men were killed and wounded, was forced to capitulate. The garrifon marched out with the honours of war, but were plundered by the Indians, in violation of the articles of capitulation. After this difafter, the remains of the Virginia regiment returned to Alexandria, to be recruited and furnished with neceflary fupplics.
In the year 1755, the British government fent to this country General Braddock, who, by the junction of two veteran regiments from Ireland, with the independent and provincial corps in America, was to repel the French from the confines of the English fettlements. Upon a royal ar rangement of rank, by which no officer who did not immediately derive his commiffion from the king, could command one who did," Col. Washington relinquifhed his regiment, and went as an extra aid-de-camp into the family of General Braddock. In this capacity, at the battle of Monongahela he attended that general, whofe life was gallantly facrificed in attempting to extricate his troops from the fatal ambufcade into
which his over-weening confidence had conducted them. Braddock had feveral horses shot under him, before he fell himself; and there was not an officer, whofe duty obliged him to be on horfeback that day, excepting Colonel Washington, who was not either killed or wounded. This circumftance enabled him to display greater abilities in covering the retreat, and faving the wreck of the army, than he could otherwife have done. As foon as he had fecured their paffage over the ford of the Monongahela, and found they were not purfued, he haftened to concert measures for their further fecurity with Colonel Dunbar, who had remained with the fecond divifion and heavy baggage at fome diftance in the rear. To effect this, he travelled with two guides all night, through an almoft impervious wilderness, notwithstanding the fatigues he had undergone in the day, and notwithstanding he had fo imperfectly recovered from fick nefs, that he was obliged in the morning to be fupported with cushions on his horfe. The public accounts in England and America were not parfimonious of applaufe for the effential fervice he had rendered on fo trying an occafion.
Not long after this time, the regulation of rank, which had been fo injurious to the colonial officers, was changed to their fatisfaction, in confequence of the discontent of the officers and the remonstrance of Colonel Washington; and the fupreme authority of Virginia, impreffed with a due fenfe of his merits, gave him, in a new and extenfive commiffion, the command of all the troops raised and to be raised in that colony.
It would not comport with the intended brevity of this fketch, to mention in detail the plans he fuggefted, or the fyftem he purfued for defending the frontiers, till the year 1758, when he commanded the van brigade of General Forbes's army in the capture of Fort Du Quefne. A fimilar reafon will preclude the recital of the perfonal hazards and atchievments which happened in the courfe of his fervice. The tranquillity on the frontiers of the middle colonies having been reftored by the fuccefs of this campaign, and the health of Colonel Washington having become extremely debilitated by an inveterate pulmonary complaint, in 1759 he refigned his military appointment. Authentic documents are not wanting to fhew the tender regret which the Virginia line expreffed at parting with their commander, and the affectionate regard which he entertained for them.
His health was gradually re-established. He married Mrs. Cuftis a handsome and amiable young widow, poffeffed of an ample jointure, and fettled as a planter and farmer on the eftate where he now refides in Fairfax county. After fome years he gave up planting tobacco, and went altogether into the farming bufinefs. He has raifed feven thoufand bufhels of wheat, and ten thoufand of Indian corn in one year. Although he has confined his own cultivation to this domeftic tract of about nine thoufand acres, yet he poffeffes excellent lands, in large quantities, in feveral other counties. His judgment in the quality of foils, his command of money to avail himfelf of purchases, and his occafional employment in early life as a furveyor, gave him opportunities of making advantageous locations, many of which are much improved.
After he left the army, until the year 1775, he thus cultivated the arts of peace. He was conftantly a member of affembly, a magiftrate of his * General and Mrs. Washington were both born in the fame year.
county, and a judge of the court. He was elected a delegate to the firft congrefs in 1774, as well as to that which affembled in the year following. Soon after the war broke out, he was appointed by Congrefs commander in chief of the forces of the United Colonies.
It is the lefs neceflary to particularize, in this place, his tranfactions in the courfe of the late war, because the impreffion which they made is yet fresh in every mind. But it is hoped pofterity will be taught in what manner he transformed an undisciplined body of peafantry into a regular army of foldiers. Commentaries on his campaigns would undoubtedly be highly interefting and inftructive to future generations. The conduct of the first campaign, in compelling the British troops to abandon Boston by a bloodless victory, will merit a minute narration. But a volume would fcarcely contain the mortifications he experienced, and the hazards to which he was expofed in 1776 and 1777, in contending against the prowess of Britain, with an inadequate force. His good destiny and confummate prudence prevented want of fuccefs from producing want of confidence on the part of the public; for want of fuccefs is apt to lead to the adoption of pernicious counfels, through the levity of the people or the ambition of their demagogues. Shortly after this period, sprang up the only cabal that ever exifted during his public life, to rob him of his reputation and command. It proved as impotent in effect, as it was audacious in defign. In the three fucceeding years the germ of difcipline unfolded; and the refources of America having been called into co-operation with the land and naval armies of France, produced the glorious conclufion of the campaign in 1781. From this time the gloom began to difappear from our political horizon, and the affairs of the union proceeded in a meliorating train, until a peace was moft ably negociated by our ambaffadors in Europe, in 1783.
No perfon, who had not the advantage of being prefent when General Washington received the intelligence of peace, and who did not accompany him to his domestic retirement, can defcribe the relief which that joyful event brought to his labouring mind, or the fupreme fatisfaction with which he withdrew to private life. From his triumphal entry into New-York, upon the evacuation of that city by the British army, to his arrival at Mount Vernon, after the refignation of his commiffion to congrefs, feftive crouds impeded his paffage through all the populous towns, the devotion of a whole people purfued him with prayers to heaven for bleffings on his head, while their gratitude fought the most expreffive language of manifefting itself to him, as their common father and benefactor. When he became a private citizen, he had the unusual felicity to find that his native flate was among the moft zealous in doing juftice to his merits; and that ftronger demonftrations of affectionate esteem (if poffible) were given by the citizens of his neighbourhood, than by any other defcription of men on the continent. But he has conftantly declined accepting any compenfation for his fervices, or provifion for the augmented expences which have been incurred by him in confequence of his public employment, although propofals have been made in the most delicate manner, particularly by the ftates of Virginia and Pennsylvania.
The virtuous fimplicity which diftinguishes the private life of General Washington, though lefs known than the dazzling fplendor of his mili