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rupt, for a moment, the regular order of parliamentary proceedings, I cannot doubt that the proposition which I have to submit will prove as gratifying as it may be unusual.
2. Mr. Samuel T. Washington, a citizen of Kanawha* county, in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and one of my constituents”, has honored me with the commission of prer senting, in his name and on his behalf, to the Congress of the United States, and through that body to the people of the United States, two most interesting and valuable relics, connected with the past history of our country, and with men whose achievements*, both in the field and in the cabinets, best illustrate and adorn our annals.
3. One is the sword worn by George Washington, first as a colonel in the colonial service of Virginia, in Forbes's campaign against the French and Indians, and afterwards, during the whole period of the war of independence, as commander-in-chief of the American army.
4. It is a plain couteau, † or hanger, with a green hilt and silver guard. On the upper ward of the scabbard is engraven “J. Bailey, Fish Kill.” It is accompanied by a buckskin belt, which is secured by a silver buckle and clasp, whereon are engraven the letters “G. W.” and the figures “1757.” These are all of the plainest workmanship, but substantial, and in keeping with the man and with the times to which they belonged.
5. The history of this sword is perfectly authentice, and leaves no shadow of doubt as to its identity. The last will and testament of General Washington, bearing date on the 9th day of February, 1799, contains, among a great variety of bequests, the following clause: “To each of my nephews, William Augustine Washington, George Lewis, George Steptoe Washington, Bushrod Washington, and Samuel Washington, I give one of the swords, or cou
* Pronounced ka-naw'wa.
teaux, of which I may die possessed; and they are to choose in the order they are named. These swords are accompanied with an injunction not to unsheather them for the purpose of shedding blood, except it be for selfdefence, or in defence of their country and its rights; and, in the latter case, to keep them unsheathed, and prefer falling with them in their hands to the relinquishment thereof.”
6. In the distribution of the swords hereby devised 8 among the five nephews therein enumerated, the one now presented fell to the share of Samuel Washington, the devisee' last named in the clause of the will which I have just read.
7. This gentleman, who died a few years since in the county of Kanawha, and who was the father of Samuel T. Washington, the donor, I knew well. I have often seen this sword in his possession, and received from himself the following account of the manner in which it became his property in the division made among the devisees:
8. He said that he knew it to have been the side arm of General Washington during the revolutionary war; not that used on occasions of parade and review, but the constant service sword of the great chief; that he had himself seen General Washington wear this identical sword, he presumed for the last time, when, in 1794, he reviewed the Virginia and Maryland forces, then concentrated at Cumberland under the command of General Lee, and destined to coöperate with the Pennsylvania and New Jersey troops then assembled at Bedford, in suppressing what has been called the “ whiskey insurrection.”
9. General Washington was then president of the United States, and as such was commander-in-chief of the army. It is known that it was his intention to lead the army in person upon that occasion, had he found it necessary; and he went to Bedford and Cumberland prepared
for that event. The condition of things did not require it, and he returned to his civil duties at Philadephia.
10. Mr. Samuel Washington held the commission of a captain at that time himself, and served in that campaign, many of the incidents of which he has related to me.
11. He was anxious to obtain this particular sword, and preferred it to all the others, among which was the ornamented and costly present from the great Frederic.*
12. At the time of the division among the nephews, without intimating what his preference was, he jocosely remarked, that “inasmuch as he was the only one of them who had participated in military service, they ought to permit him to take choice.” This suggestion was met in the same spirit in which it was made, and the selection being awarded him, he chose this, the plainest, and, intrinsically, the least valuable of any, simply because it was the 6 battle sword.”
13. I am also in possession of the most satisfactory evidence, furnished by Colonel George Washington, of Georgetown, the nearest male relative, now living, of General Washington, as to the identity of this sword. His information, as to its history, was derived from his father, William Augustine Washington, the devisee first named in the clause of the will which I have read; from his uncle, the late Judge Bushrod Washington, of the Supreme Court; and Major Lawrence Lewis, the acting executor of General Washington's will; all of whom concurred in the statement that the true service sword was that selected by Captain Samuel Washington.
14. It remained in this gentleman's possession until his death, esteemed by him the most precious memento of his illustrious kinsman. It then became the property of his son, who, animated by that patriotism which so characterized the “Father of his Country,” has consented that such a relic ought not to be appropriated by an individual citizen, and has instructed me, his representative, to offer it to the nation, to be preserved in its public depository as the common property of all, since its office has been to achieve and secure the common liberty of all.
* Frederic II., king of Prussia, a most skilful general, was born in 1712 and died in 1786.
15. He has, in like manner, requested me to present this cane to the Congress of the United States, deeming it not unworthy the public acceptance.
16. This was once the property of the philosopher 12 and patriot Benjamin Franklin.
17. By a codicil "3 to his last will and testament, we find it thus disposed of: “My fine crab-tree walking stick, with a gold head curiously wrought in the form of the cap of Liberty, I give to my friend, and the friend of mankind, General Washington. If it were a sceptre", he has merited it, and would become it.”
18. General Washington, in his will, devises this cane as follows: “ Item : To my brother, Charles Washington, I give and bequeath the gold-headed cane left me by Dr Franklin in his will.”
19. Captain Samuel Washington was the only son of Charles Washington, the devisee from whom he derived by inheritance this interesting memorial; and having transmitted it to his son, Samuel T. Washington, the latter thus seeks to bestow it worthily, by associating it with the battle sword in a gift to his countrymen.
20. I cordially concur with Mr. Washington in the opinion that they both merit public preservation; and I obey, with pleasure, his wishes in here presenting them, in his name, to the nation.
21. Let the sword of the hero and the staff of the phi. losopher go together. Let them have place among the proudest trophies and most honored memorials of our national achievements.
22. Upon that staff once leaned the sage, of whom it has been said, “He snatched the lightning from heaven and the sceptre from tyrants.”
23. A mighty arm once wielded this sword in a righteous cause, even unto the dismemberment of empire. In the hand of Washington this was “the sword of the Lord and of Gideon.”
24. It was never drawn except in the defence of publio liberty; it was never sheathed until a glorious and triumphant success returned it to the scabbard, without a stain of cruelty or dishonor upon its blade; it was never surrendered except to that country which bestowed it.
1 LÉG'IS LĀ-TỊVE. That enacts laws; / 8 Dp-VĪȘED'. Granted by will; belaw-making.
queathed. 2 PÄR-LȚA-MĚNT'A-Ry. Of or pertain- 9 DĚ V-1-ŞĒE'. One to whom a be
ing to parliament, or a legislative quest has been made. body.
10 IN-TRÎN'SỊ-CẠL-L¥. In its nature; 8 CỌN-STÍT'U-ENTS. Those who ap- | really.
point or elect some one to an office 11 EX EC'Ų-TOR. The person appointed as their representative.
I to execute a will, or see it carried 4 A-CHIĒve'MENTS. Deeds ; exploits. Į into effect. 6 CĂB'I-NĚT. The body of ministers 12 Ph!-Lös'o-PHER. A person pro
of state who direct the govern- foundly versed in knowledge. ment of a nation,
13 CÕD'I-CÎL. A writing added to a 6 ÂU'THÉN'TỊC. Properly attested ; will.
being what it purports to be. 14 SCĚP'TRE. A staff borne in the 7 ÚN-SHĒAFHE'. Draw from the hands of kings as an emblem of sheath.
X. - MEMORIALS OF WASHINGTON AND
[Mr. John Quincy Adams, of Massachusetts, rose and addressed the House as follows.]
1. In presenting this resolution to the house, it may perhaps be expected that I should accompany it with some suitable remarks; and yet, sir, I never rose to address this