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the great change which she was admonished by her advanced age, might nearly await her.
But one of the many weaknesses that usually characterize humanity, was manifested by this heroic woman. Upon the approach of a thunder-storm she invariably retired to her own apartment, and remained there until calmness was restored to the elements. This almost constitutional timidity, was occasioned by a singularly distressing incident of her youth—the instant death, from the effects of lightning, of a young friend, who was, at the moment when the accident occurred, sitting close beside her.
The appearance of Mrs. Washington is said to have been pleasing. Her countenance was agreeable and highly expressive, and her person wellproportioned and of average height.
She goes unto the Rock sublime
Child of time! Schiller.
Before Washington's departure for the seat of government, to assume the duties of President of the United States, he went to Fredericksburg to pay his parting respects to his aged mother.
Mrs. Washington's health had now become so infirm as to impress her with the conviction that she beheld for the last time the crowning blessing of her declining age.
Forgetting all else in the same mournful belief, the calm self-possession that no calamity had for years been able to shake, yielded to the claims of nature, and, overpowered by painful emotion, the mighty chieftain wept long, with bowed head, over the wasted form of his revered and much-loved parent.
Sustained, even in this trying hour, by her native strength of mind, the heroic Mother fervently invoked the blessing of Heaven upon her sorrowing Son, and solemnly bestowing her own, bade him pursue the path in which public duty summoned him to depart.
Mrs. Washington retained unimpaired possession of her mental faculties to her latest moments, but during the last three years of her life, her physical powers were much diminished by the effects of the distressing malady with which she was long afflicted.
This painful disease* terminated her earthly existence in her eighty-third year. Her death occurred on the 25th of August, 1789. She had been forty-six years a widow.
The last hours of this incomparable woman were accompanied by a tranquillity and resignation most unlike the usual death-bed attendants of the world's scathed devotees.
An extract from a letter written by WashingTon to his sister, soon after the decease of their Mother, will best illustrate the methodical calmness with which she made a final adjustment of her temporal affairs. Our readers will also, thus become possessed of the minutest information in relation to the concluding scenes of Mrs. Wash* Cancer in the breast.
ington's life, that persevering research has ena^ bled us to discover.
"To Mes. Betty Lewis.
"New York, 13th September, 1*789.
"My Dear Sister:—
"Awful and affecting as the death of a parent is, there is consolation in knowing that Heaven has spared ours to an age beyond which few attain, and favored her with the full enjoyment of her faculties and as much bodily strength as usually falls to the lot of fourscore. Under these considerations, and a hope that she is translated to a happier place, it is the duty of her relatives to yield due submission to the decrees of the Creator. When I was last at Fredericksburg, I took a final leave of my mother, never expecting to see her more.
"It will be impossible for me at this distance, and circumstanced as I am, to give the smallest attention to the execution of her will; nor, indeed is much required, if, as she directs, no security should be given, nor appraisement made of her estate; but that the same should be allotted to the devisees with as little trouble and delay as may be. How far this is legal I know not. Mr. Merced can, and I have no doubt would, advise you if asked, which I wish you to do. If the ceremony of inventorying, appraising", &c, can be dispensed with, all the rest, as the will declares that few or no debts are owing, can be done with very little trouble. Every person may, in that case, immediately receive what is specially devised.
"Were it not that the specific legacies, which are given to me by the will, are meant and ought to be considered and received as mementoes of paternal affection in the last solemn act of life, I should not be desirous of receiving or removing them; but in this point of view, I set a value on them much beyond their intrinsic worth."
We are, of course, indebted to Mr. Sparks' Life Of Washington for the communication from which this extract is derived. We also give Mrs. Washington's age, at the time of her death, as stated by Mr. S., though it is sometimes represented to have been still more advanced.
We cannot better, or more suitably, close this chapter than by presenting our readers with the just, discriminating, and graceful eulogy expressed in the following eloquent passage from the pen of the same accurate and accomplished author:—