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sulted in disaster. According to the best authorities not less than twenty thousand British soldiers and seamen perished, chiefly from a fatal sickness that prevailed, especially among the troops who were commanded by General Wentworth. To that scourge Thompson, in his “Summer," thus touchingly alludes
“You, gallant Vernon, saw
In the midst of that terrible pestilence the system of Law rence Washington received those seeds of fatal disease against whose growth it struggled manfully for ten years, and then yielded.
Lawrence returned home in the autumn of 1742, the provincial army in which he had served having been disbanded, and Admiral Vernon and General Wentworth recalled to England. He had acquired the friendship and confidence of both those officers. For several years he kept up a correspondence with the former, and received from him a copy of a medal struck in commemoration of the capture of Porto Bello by Admiral Vernon. This was preserved at Mount Vernon until Washington's death, and is probably in fossession of some member of the family. The only speci. men of the medal I have ever seen is in my own possession, from which the engraving was made.
Lawrence intended to go to England, join the regular army, and seek preferment therein; but love changed his resolution and the current of his life, for
" Love rules the court, the camp, the grove,
And man below, and saints above."
Beautiful Anné, the eldest daughter of the Honorable William Fairfax, of Fairfax county, became the object of his warm attachment, and they were betrothed. Their nuptials were about to be celebrated in the spring of 1743, when a sudden attack of gout in the stomach deprived Lawrence of his father But the marriage took place in July. All thoughts of military life as a profession passed from the mind of Lawrence, and, taking possession of his Hunting Creek estate, he erected a plain, substantial mansion upon the highest eminence along the Potomac front of his domain, and named the spot Mount VERNON, in honor of the gallant admiral.
In that mansion Lawrence resided until his death, and but little change was made in its appearance from the time when it came into the possession of his brother George by inheritance, until the close of the Old War for Independence. It has been described as a house of the first class then occupied by thrifty Virginia planters; two stories in height, with a porch in front, and a chimney built inside, at each end, contrary to the prevailing style. It stood upon a most lovely spot, on the brow of a gentle slope which ended at a thicklywooded precipitous river bank, its summit nearly one hundred feet above the water. Before it swept the Potomac with a magnificent curve, its broad bosom swarming with the graceful swan, the gull, the wild duck, and smaller water-fowl; and beyond lay the green fields and shadowy forests of Maryland.
When Lawrence was fairly settled, with his bride, in this new and pleasant home, little George was a frequent and much-petted visitor at Mount Vernon. His half-brother loved him tenderly, and after their father's death he took a paternal interest in all his concerns. The social influences to which he was subjected were of the highest order. The Fairfaxes held the first rank in wealth and social position, both in England and in Virginia; and the father-in-law of Lawrence, who occupied a beautiful country seat not far from Mount Vernon, called Belvoir, was a man of distinction, having served as an officer of the British army in the East and West Indies, and officiated as governor of New Providence, one of the Bermudas. He now managed an immense landed estate belonging to his cousin, Lord Fairfax, a tall, gaunt, rawboned, near-sighted man, upon whom had fallen the snows of sixty winters, and who, made shy and eccentric by disappointed love in early life, was now in Virginia, and living at Belvoir, but secretly resolving to go over the Blue Mountains of the West, and make his home in the deep wilderness, away from the haunts of men. Thither he went a few years later, and in the great valley of Virginia took up his abode in a lodge at a spot where he resolved to build a manor-house, in the midst of ten thousand acres of arable and grazing land, call it Greenway Court, and live, a solitary lord over a vast domain. But the mansion was never built, and in that lodge (which remained until a few years ago) the lord of the manor lived during all the stormy days of the French and Indian war, and as a stanch loyalist throughout the struggles of the Americans for independence, until the news came one day that his young friend Washington had captured Cornwallis and all his army. Then, says tradition, he called to his servant and said, “Come, Joe, carry me to my bed, for I'm sure it's high time for me to die!”
Then up rose Joe, all at the word,
And took his master's arm,
The lord of Greenway farm.
And thrice he wept full sore,
And word spake never more.'
It was early in 1782, at the age of ninety-two years, that Lord Fairfax died at Greenway Court, loved by many for his generosity and benevolence.
Lawrence Washington was also distinguished for his wealth and intelligence. He was adjutant-general of his district, , with the rank and pay of major, and at this time was a popular member of the Virginia House of Burgesses. At Mount Vernon and at Belvoir the sprightly boy George, who was a favorite everywhere, became accustomed to the refinements and amenities of English social life, in its best phases, and this had a marked influence upon his future character.
There were other influences there which made a deep impression upon the mind of the thoughtful boy. Sometimes the companions-in-arms of his brother, or officers from some naval vessel that came into the Potomac, would be guests at Mount Vernon, and perils by field and flood would be related. In these narratives Sir William Fairfax often joined, and related his experience in the far-off Indies, in marches, battles, sieges, and retreats. These fired the soul of young Washington with longings for adventure, and accordingly, we find him, at the age of fourteen years, preparing to enter the English navy as a midshipman, a warrant having been procured. His brother and Mr. Fairfax encouraged his inclination, and his mother's reluctant consent was obtained. A vessel-of-war was lying in the Potomac, and the lad's luggage was on board, when his mother received the following letter from her brother, in England, dated Stratford-by-Bow, 19th May, 1747:
“I understand that you are advised and have some thoughts of putting your son George to sea. I think he had better be put apprentice to a tinker, for a common sailor before the mast has by no means the common liberty of the subject; for they will press him from a ship where he has fifty shillings a