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of November, when they reached Fort Duquesne.—These delays were extremely mortifying to Washington, and threatened to render the campaign abortive. He urged the necessity of expedition, and most pointedly remonstrated against one of the principal causes of delay. This was a resolution adopted by his superiors, for opening a new road for the army, in preference to that which was generally known by the name of general Braddock's. Being overruled, he quietly submitted. Instead of embarrassing measures which he thought injudicious, the whole energies of himself and his regiment were exerted to make the most of those which his commanding officer preferred.
About the time when this resolution was formed, and before the army was put into motion, major Grant was detached from the advanced post at Loyal Hannah, with eight hundred men, partly British, and partly provincials, to reconnoitre the fort and the adjacent country. This officer invited an attack from the garrison, the result of which was, that upwards of three hundred of the detachment were killed and wounded, and major Grant himself was made prisoner. The
progress of the main army was so slow, that it did not reach Loyal Hannah till the 5th of November. Here, it was determined in a council of war, “to be unadvisable to proceed any further that campaign.” If this resolution had been adhered to, the only alternative would have been, to winter an army of eight thousand men in a cold, inhospitable wilderness, remote from all friendly settlements, or to retrace their steps, and wait for a more favourable season. In either case, they would have suffered immensely. The propriety of the remonstrances made by Washington against the many delays which had occurred, now became obviously striking. The hopes of restoring peace to the frontier settlements, by reducing Fort Duquesne, began to vanish. But, contrary to all human appearances, success was now offered to their grasp, at the very moment when they had given up every hope of obtaining it.
Some prisoners were taken, who gave such information of the state of the garrison, as induced a reversal of the late determination, and encouraged the general to proceed. Washington was in front, superintending the opening of the road for the accommodation of the troops. They advanced with slow and cautious steps, until they reached Fort Duquesng
To their great surprise, they found the fort evacuated, and learned that the garrison had retreated down the Ohio.
The reason for the abandonment of so advantageous a position, must be sought for elsewhere. The British had urged the war with so much vigour and success against the French to the northward of the Ohio, that no reinforcements could be spared to Fort Duquesne. The British fleet had captured a considerable part of the reinforcements designed by France for her colonies. The tide of fortune had begun to turn against the French, in favour of the English. This weak ened the influence of the former over the Indians, and caused them to withdraw from the support of the garrison. Under different circumstances, the success of the campaign would have been doubtful, perhaps impracticable.
The benefits which resulted from the acquisition of Fort Duquesne, proved the soundness of Washington's judgment, in so warmly urging, for three years, an expedition for its reduction. These were not confined to Virginia, but ertended to Pennsylvania and Maryland. While the French were in possession of that post, the Indians near the Ohio were entirely at their command. This was their place of rendezvous, and from it they made frequent and ruinous incursions into these three colonies. They spared neither age nor sex, but killed or captured indiscriminately all who came in their way.-Fire and devastation, the scalping knife and tomahawk, marked their route. A complete revolution in the disposition of the Indians, resulted from the expulsion of the French. Always prone to take part with the strongest, the Indians deserted their ancient friends, and paid court to those who, by recent conquest, were now in possession of the country. A treaty of peace was soon afterwards concluded with all the Indian tribes between the lakes and the Ohio. Fort Duquesne (the site of the present city of Pittsburg) was named Fort Pitt: it received considerable repairs, and was garrisoned by two hundred men from Washington's regiment. It became as useful in future to the English settlements, as it had been injurious while in the occupation of the French.
The campaign of 1758, ended the military career of Colcnel Washington, as a provincial officer. Having marched with the remainder of regiment to Winchester, he set out soon afterwards to attend the Assembly, of which he had been elected a member by the county of Frederick, while at
Fort Cumberland; and the great object of his exertions, the reduction of Fort Duquesne, being accomplished, he resigned his commission.
During the three preceding years, in which he had been charged with the defence of Virginia, none of those great events occurred, which enliven and adorn the page of history; yet the duties he performed were extremely arduous. He established exact discipline in his regiment, though composed of men unaccustomed to restraint; and infused into them such a spirit, as made them fight and die like soldiers.
The difficulties of defending so extensive a frontier, with so inadequate a force, would have caused almost any other man to resign the com
ommand, but they excited in him only a greater importunity with the ruling powers, for the correction of errors. The plans proposed, and the systems recommended by him for conducting
the war, displayed uncommon vigour of mind. He retired from the army with the thanks of his regiment, and the esteem, not only of his countrymen, but of the officers of the British army ; and what is particularly remarkable, with the undiminished confidence of the frontier settlers, to whom he had been unable to extend that protection which they had expected. They were thoroughly convinced that he had made the best possible use of his scanty means for the security of so extensive a frontier; and to the weight of his advice in recommending, and spirited co-operation in executing, they ascribed a large proportion of the merit of the late successful expedition against Fort Duquesne ; an event by which they promised theinselves an exemption from the calamities under which they had long laboured.—As a reward for his gallant and patriotic services, he shortly afterwards obtained the hand of the widow of Mr. Custis, a young lady, to whom he had for some time been strongly attached, and who, to a fine person, and a large fortune, added every accomplishment which contributes to the happiness of married life. Colonel Washington, by the death of his elder brother Lawrence, had a few years before acquired an estate situated on the Potomac, called Mount Vernon, in compliment to Admiral Vernon, who, about the year 1741, commanded the British fleet in an expedition against Carthagena, in which Mr. Lawrence Washington had been engaged.
To this delightful residence, the late commander of the
Virginia forces, released from the cares of a military life and in possession of every thing that could make life agree able, withdrew, and applied himself to domestic pursuits. These were conducted with so much judgment, steadiness, and industry, as greatly to enlarge and improve his estate. To them, he exclusively devoted himself for fifteen years, with the exception of serving in the house of burgesses in the colony of Virginia, and as a judge of the court of the county in which he resided. In these stations, he acquitted himself with reputation, and acquired no inconsiderable knowledge in the science of civil government. During this period, the conflicting claims of Great Britain and the colo-, nies were frequently brought before the Virginia legislature. In every instance, he took a decided part in the opposition made to the principle of taxation claimed by the parent state.
Had Great Britain been wise, the history of George Washington would have ended here, with the addition that he died in the sixty-eighth year of his age, having sustained, through life, the character of a good man, an excellent farmer, a wise member of the legislature, and an impartial distributor of justice amongst his neighbours. Very different was his destiny. From being the commander of the forces of his native colony, Virginia, he was advanced to the command of the armies of thirteen United Colonies, and success fully led them through a revolutionary war of eight years' duration, which ended in their establishment as thirteen United States.
Retrospect of the origin of the American Revolutionary
War. Of George Washington, as member of Congress in 1774 and 1775. As Commander-in-chief of the armies of the United Colonies in 1775 and 1776, and his operations near Boston in these years.
Soon after the peace of Paris, in 1763, a new system for governing the British colonies was adopted. One abridgment of their accustomed liberties followed another, in so rapid succession, that, in the short space of twelve years
they had nothing left which they could call their own. The British parliament, in which they were unrepresented, and over which they had no control, not only claimed, but exercised the power of taxing them at pleasure, and of binding them in all cases whatsoever.
Claims, so repugnant to the spirit of the British constitution, and which made so invidious distinctions between the subjects of the same king, residing on different sides of the Atlantic, excited a serious alarm amongst the colonists. Detached as they were from each other by local residence, and unconnected in their several legislatures, a sense of common danger pointed out to them the wisdom and propriety of forming a new representative body, composed of delegates from each colony, to take care of their common interest.
With very little previous concert, such a body was formed, and met in Philadelphia, in September, 1774, and entered into the serious consideration of the grievances under which their constituents laboured. To this congress, Virginia deputed seven of her most respectable citizens ; Peyton Randolph, Richard Henry Lee, George Washington, Patrick Henry, Richard Bland, Benjamin Harrison, and Edmund Pendleton ; men who would have done honour to any age or country. The same were appointed in like manner to attend a second congress on the 10th of May, in the following year.—The historians of the American revolution will detail with pleasure and pride, the proceedings of this illustrious assembly; the firmness and precision with which they stated their grievances, and petitioned their sovereign to redress them; the eloquence with which they addressed the people of Great Britain, the inhabitants of Canada, and their own constituents ; the judicious measures which they adopted of cementing union at home, and procuring friends abroad. They will also inform the world, of the unsuccessful termination of all plans proposed for preserving the union of the empire; and that Great Britain, proceeding from one oppression to another, threw the colonies out of her protection; made war upon them, and carried it on with a view to their subjugation.—All these matters, together with the commencement of hostilities at Lexington, and the formation of
American army by the colony of Massachusetts, for defending themselves against a royal army in Boston, must be