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House of Burgesses, of which, in his absence he had been chosen a member.
His services, while commander of the Virginia forces, were appreciated by his countrymen ; and the British officers with whom he served, bore honourable testimony to his military talents. The sol. dierly and gallant behaviour of his regiment in the field, exhibited the best evidence of the address of their commander, in training them to exact disci. pline, and exciting in them a martial spirit. His officers expressed the great affection and respect, which they entertained for his character, by an unanimous address, presented to him at the close of this campaign ; and the inhabitants of the frontiers placed full confidence in him, even at a time when he was unable to defend them froin the slaughter and devastation of the enemy.
Colonel WASHINGTON now saw the great object attained, to which for years he had directed his whole mind. The enemy was driven from the Ohio, and his country, in a great measure, relieved from the carnage and distress of an Indian war.... His health was impaired by the arduous services of the campaign ; and his private concerns demanded his attention. He therefore resigned his military commission, and retired to the tranquil scenes of domestick life.
Colonel WASHINGTON's Marriage....His Management of the
Estate of Mount Vernon.... Appointed a Judge of the County Court, and a Member of the Virginia Legislature.... Chosen à Member of the first Congress.... Appointed Commander in Chief of the American Forces...Arrives at Camp... Arranges the Army.... Deficiency of Arms and Ammunition.... Colonel Arnold detached to Quebeck... Success of American Cruisers... Evils of temporary inlistments....An attack on the Enemy's Posis meditated....Possession taken of the Heights of Dorchester...Boston evacuated.
1759. SOON after the resignation of his military commission, Colonel WASHINGTON marri. ed Mrs. Martha Custis, a young and beautiful widow, who possessed an ample fortune, and who was endowed with those amiable and pleasing ac. complishments of mind and manners, which give the best security for happiness in the married state, With her, he lived in all the confidence, endearment and felicity which this relation can produce.
On his estate of Mount Vernon, he extensively engaged in the business of agriculture, and was greatly distinguished for the judgment he displayed in the improvement of his lands. Every branch of business was conducted upon system, exact method and economy were observed throughout every department of his household, the accounts of his Overseers he weekly inspected, the divisions of his farm were numbered, the expense of cultivation, and the produce of each lot were regularly registered ; and, at one view he could determine the profit or loss of any crop, and ascertain the respective advantages of particular modes of husbandry. He became one of the greatest landholders in North America. Besides other great and valuable tracts, his Mount Vernon estate consisted of nine thousand acres, all under his own management. On which, in one year, he raised seven thousand bushels of wheat, and ten thousand of Indian corn. His domestick and farming establishments were composed of nearly a thousand persons; and the woollen and linen cloth necessary for their use, was chiefly manufac. tured on the estate. *
Order and industry were carried into all his coneerns. The authority he exercised over his slaves was blended with great tenderness and humanity, and their affection and gratitude insured a prompt and cheerful obedience to his commands. Mount Vernon was ever the seat of hospitality, and here its rights were liberally exercised. Colonel WashINGTON, although exact in requiring the punctual fulfilment of contracts and engagements, yet was diffusive in offices of humanity, and deeds of charity to those of his vicinity who needed his assistance.
From the close of the war on the frontiers of Virginia, to the commencement of the revolution
* See " Legacies of WASHINGTON,” printed at Trenton, in 1809,
ary contest, Colonel WASHINGTON acted as a Judge of a County Court, and represented his district in the House of Burgesses of his Province. Although never distinguished as a popular speaker, yet the soundness of his judgment, the wisdom of his counsels, and the uniform propriety of his behaviour, secured him the confidence and esteem of all who were acquainted with his character.
While a Legislator of Virginia, he took an active and influential part in opposition to the principle assumed by the British Parliament, to tax the American Colonies. When it became expediert to train the Militia for the defence of those rights, which the country determined never to sacrifice, the independent companies, in the Northern part of Virginia chose him their Commander,
He was elected a member of the first Congress, which met in Philadelphia in 1774; in which body he had a distinguished agency in the arrangement of the military resources of the United Provinces. He was the active member of all Committees, to which business of this nature was entrusted. JUNE 15,
At the commencement of hostilities, 1775. Congress deemed it necessary to appoint a Commander in Chief of the American forces. The eminent character of Colonel WASHINGTON pointed him out, as the best qualified to unite the confidence of the publick, and successfully to conduct the arduous conflicts of the war. Congress unanimously elected him “General and Commander in Chief of the United Colonies, and of all the forces now raised, and to be raised by them.” When the Presi
dent of Congress communicated his election, he thus addressed him.
“ Mr. President, although I am truly sensible of the high honour done me in this appointment, yet I feel great distress from a consciousness that my abilities and military experience may not be equal to the extensive trust. However, as the Congress desire it, I will enter upon the momentous duty, and exert every power
I their service, and for the support of the glorious
I beg they will accept my most cordial thanks for this distinguished testimony of their approbation.
“But lest some unlucky event should happen, unfavourable to my reputation, I beg it may be remembered by every gentleman in the room, that I this day declare, with the utmost sincerity, I do not think myself equal to the command I am honoured with. I beg leave, Sir, to assure the Congress, that, as no pecuniary consideration could have tempt. ed me to accept this arduous employment, at the expense of my domestick ease and happiness, I do not wish to make any profit from it. I will keep an exact account of my expenses. These, I doubt not, they will discharge, and that is all I desire.”
Congress, when his commission was executed, unanimously and solemnly resolved, to support him with their lives and fortunes, as the General of their army, in defence of the country. General Wash. INGTON instantly prepared to enter upon the eventful duties of his command. The difficulties which he was to encounter, will clearly appear from a slight