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In accordance with one of the foregoing resolutions, General Henry Lee, of Virginia, then a member of Congress, was invited to pronounce an oration on the 26th. He consented, and the Lutheran Church in Fourth street, above Arch, in Philadelphia, the largest in the city, was crowded on that occasion. No man in the Congress could have been chosen better fitted for the service than General Lee. He had served his country nobly as an officer of cavalry during the war for independence, and from boyhood had been a special favorite of Washington. He was a son of that “Lowland Beauty” who won the heart of young Washington, and drew sentimental verses from his pen. Throughout the war he was beloved by his chief for his manly and soldierly qualities, and he was an ever welcome guest at Mount Vernon, where he was on terms of the greatest intimacy with Washington and his family. Mr. Irving gives the following example of Lee's perfect familiarity with his chief, when on a visit at Mount Vernon after the war:
“ Washington one day at table mentioned his being in want of carriage-horses, and asked Lee if he knew where he could get a pair.
“I have a fine pair, General,' replied Lee, but you cannot get them."
“. Because you will never pay more than half price for any thing; and I must have full price for my horses. '
"The bantering reply set Mrs. Washington laughing, and her parrot, perched beside her, joined in the laugh. The general took this familiar assault upon his dignity, in good part. 'Ah, Lee, you are a funny fellow,' he said—see, that bird is laughing at you.'
Lee's oration on the death of Washington, though hastily prepared, was an admirable production: and in it he
pronounced those remarkable words of eulogy, so often quoted :
FIRST IN WAR, FIRST IN PEACE, FIRST IN THE HEARTS OF
On that occasion, the McPherson's Blues, a military corps of Philadelphia, composed of three hundred young men, the élite of the city, performed the duties of a guard of honor. Only seven of them, who were present on that occasion, now (August, 1859) survive, namely: Samuel Breck, aged eighty. eight; 8. Palmer, aged seventy-nine; S. F. Smith, aged seventy
nine; Charles N. Bancker, aged eighty-three; Quintin Camp
bell, aged eighty-three, Robert Carr, aged eighty-two, and the annalist of Philade). phia and New York, aged eighty.
President Adams transmitted the resolutions of Congress to Mrs. Washington, and in reply to their request concerning the remains of her husband, she said :
Taught by the great example which I have so long had before me, never to oppose my private wishes to the public will, I must consent to the request made by Congress, which you have the goodness to transmit to me; and in doing this, I need not, I cannot say, what a sacrifice of individual feeling I make to a sense of public duty.”
The remains of Washington have never been removed from his beloved Mount
Vernon. It is well. They never should be.
The HOME and the TOMB of our
illustrious Friend, should be inseparable; and the glowing words of LunT should express the sentiment of every American :
" Ay, leave him alone to sleep forever,
Till the strong archangel calls for the dead,
Where first they pillowed his mighty head.
"Lowly may be the turf that covers
The sacred grave of his last repose;
Broad as the daybreak, and bright as its close.
“Though marble pillars were reared above him,
Temples and obelisks, rich and rare-
Cold and lone as he slumbers there.
“Why should ye gather with clioral numbers ?
Why should your thronging thousands come?
Or take him away from his narrow home?
• Well he sleeps in the majesty,
Silent and stern, of awful death!
Alone with God, and his own hushed breath.
“Revel and pomp would profane his ashes:
And may never a sound be murmured there
And the pilgrim's voice in his heartfelt prayer."
The death of her husband, so sudden and unexpected, weighed heavily upon the mind and heart of Mrs. Washington for a time, but her natural cheerfulness of disposition and habitual obedience to the will of God manifested in his dispensations, healed the wound and supported her burdened spirit. She received many letters and visits of condolence. The president of the United States and his wife (Mr. and Mrs. Adams) visited Mount Vernon for the purpose, and so also did many distinguished citizens. From every part of the land came testimonials of respect and veneration for the dead; and from beyond the Atlantic she received gratifying evidences of the profound esteem in which her beloved husband was held. On hearing of his death, Lord Bridport, who was in command of a British fleet of almost sixty sail, at Torbay, ordered every ship to lower her flag to half-mast; and Bonaparte, then First Consul of France, announced his death to his army, and ordered black crape to be suspended from all the flags and standards in the French service for ten days.
The domestic establishment at Mount Vernon was kept up after the death of the General, upon the same liberal scale of hospitality that marked it during his lifetime; and scores of pilgrims to the tomb of the Hero, Patriot and Sage, were entertained by the widow. But her prediction at the death-bed of her husband "I shall soon follow him”—did not reinain long unfulfilled. Two years and a half afterward, her body was laid in a leaden coffin by his side, in the vault. She died of a bilious fever, on the 22d of May, 1802; and the estate of Mount Vernon passed into the possession of the General's nephew, pursuant to the following clause in his will :
“ To my nephew, Bushrod Washington, and his heirs (partly in consideration of an intimation made to his deceased father, while we were bachelors, and he had kindly undertaken to superintend my estate during my military service in the former war between Great Britain and France, that if I should fall therein, Mount Vernon, then less extensive in domain than at present, should become his property), I give and bequeath all that part thereof which is comprehended within the following limits : [here the boundaries are specified] containing upward of four thousand acres, be the same more or less, together with the mansion house, and all other buildings and improvements thereon.” He also bequeathed to Bushrod his "library of books and pamphlets,” and all of his papers. .
This principal heir of Washington (who had no children) was a son of the General's brother, George Augustine, and was at that time about forty years of age. Two years before