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the venerable annalist of Philadelphia and New York, and at his house in Germantown the annexed sketch of it was made.
WASHINGTON AS A VIRGINIA COLONEL AT THE AGE OF FORTY.
Field had a pleasant countenance and fine portly figure. He was, on the whole, rather fat, and loved his ease.
66 When at Centreville, on the eastern shore of Maryland, in 1798," says Rembrandt Peale, in a recent letter to a friend, “Field and I took a walk into the country, after a rain. A wide puddle of water covered the road beyond the fence on both sides. I climbed the fence and walked round, but Field, fat and lazy, in good humor paid an old negro to carry him on his shoulders over the water. In the middle of it, Field became so convulsed with laughter, that he nearly shook himself off the old man's back.”
Field went to Canada, studied theology a little, was ordained a priest of the Established Church, and became a bishop.
The portrait painted by young Peale, at that time, was the first that was ever made of Washington. From the study he then made, he painted the fine picture which hung at Mount Vernon until
the owner's death, and since that time has graced the walls of Arlington House, the home of the late George Washington Parke Custis. The study -the really first portrait, was afterward dressed in the continental costume.
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Received Ten Sunea
This remained in posses
sion of the artist and
his family until the Peale gallery, in Philadelphia, was sold a few years ago, when it was purchased by Charles S. Ogden, Esq., in whose possession it now
FAC-SIMILE OF PEALE'S RECEIPT.
While at Mount Vernon at that time, Peale painted a miniature of Mrs. Washington, for her son, John Parke Custis, then a youth of eighteen, for which Washington, as his guardian, paid ten guineas, according to a receipt in the hand-writing of Washington, and signed by the artist, a fac-simile of which is on the preceding page.
Peale's miniatures were exquisitely painted, and very
much sought after. A few years later he painted a portrait, in miniature, of young Custis, who was then General Washington's aide; also of his wife, the second daughter of Benedict Calvert, of Maryland, a descendant of Lord Baltimore. He also painted a portrait of that lady, life size, before her marriage, in which she is represented as a beautiful young girl in equestrian costume, the riding-jacket being open in front, and
on her head a riding-hat with a feather. The miniature of John Parke Custis, from which our engraving was copied, was in the possession of Mrs. Washington until her death, and is now the property of his granddaughter, the wife of Colonel Robert E. Lee, of Arlington House, Virginia.
A shadow fell upon Mount Vernon in the spring of 1773. No child had blessed the union of Washington and his wife, and her two children received the most tender parental care and solicitude from their step-father. He appeared to love them as his own. Martha was a sweet girl, of gentle temper, graceful form, winning ways, and so much a brunette, that she was called “the dark lady.” Just as she was blooming into womanhood, pulmonary consumption laid its withering hand upon
her. For several months her strength had been failing, and letters filled with expressions of anxiety went frequently from her mother to Washington, who was engaged in his duties in the House of Burgesses at Williamsburg. At length a most alarming letter reached him. He had just made arrangements to accompany Lord Dunmore, the governor, on a long tour of observation west of the mountains, but he hastened to Mount Vernon. He found the dear child in the last moments of earthly life. His manly spirit was bowed with grief, and with deep feeling he knelt at the side of her bed and prayed most earnestly for her recovery. Upon the wings of that holy prayer her spirit ascended, and when he arose and looked upon her pale and placid face, Death had set its seal there. She expired on the nineteenth of June, when in the seventeenth year of her age. Her departure left a great void in the heart of the mother, and Washington remained for some time at Mount Vernon, in seclusion, to console his afflicted wife, instead of taking the contemplated journey with the governor.
* Mr. Peale painted many other portraits of Washington, life size and in mma. ture. For an account of these, see note to the chapter on Washington's Portraits, in Custis's Recollections and Private Memoirs of Washington.
And now the flames of the Revolution were rapidly kindling all over the land. The representatives of royal authority had been buffeted in Boston, and acts of parliament had been set at naught, in such manner, that an indignant decree went forth from the throne, that the port of the New England capital should be shut, and the entire machinery of the colonial government be clogged, until the people there should show practical signs of penitence for their political sins. The people defied the ministerial power, and laughed at ministerial anathemas. Then a new governor, with armed soldiers, took possession of Boston, and, with iron heel, crushed its commerce and its prosperity.
Hot was the indignation of the colonists over the length and breadth of the land, and to every stroke of resistance given by the people of Massachusetts, those of Virginia abetted and gave loud acclamations of applause. For ten long years the people, in separate communities, had petitioned and remonstrated in vain. Now there was a universal desire for unity of action, and a GENERAL CONGRESS was proposed, in accordance with a suggestion made by Doctor Franklin. It received a hearty response in every colony, and the 5th of September, 1774, was the time agreed upon for such congress to assemble, and Philadelphia the place.
For a long time Washington had been much engaged in the discussion of the momentous political questions of the day. He