WM. McKINLEY READS THE ACCOUNT OF HIS ELECTION TO HIS MOTHER,
1.. :- a
favorite Sons and 1aubters
FULL ACCOUNTS OF THE LIVES AND HEROIC DEEDS OF ABOUT HALF A
HUNDRED ILLUSTRIOUS MEN AND WOMEN WHO HAVE MADE
OUR COUNTRY GREAT AND OUR FLAG RESPECTED
THROUGHOUT THE WORLD
From the Time of George and Mary Washington to
Admiral Dewey and Clara Barton
PREPARED BY A CORPS OF DISTINGUISHED WRITERS:
JOHN S. C. ABBOTT, WILLIAM OARNETT, D. C L., Prof. W. W. BIRDSALL,
EDWARD S. ELLIS and Others
Illustrated with Magnificent Full=page Photogravure Portraits
AND A WEALTH OF OTHER FINE ENGRAVINGS
Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time."
WORLD BIBLE HOUSE,
in the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.
W. E. S.: .LL,: .
iffi ----- if
:ah yji8~5"~% 0~8
ff;- 0 flu-
T HE tomb of Mohammed is said to be ornamented with over eleven million
dollars' worth of precious stones, and devout followers of Islam make long
and toilsome pilgrimages from all parts of the world to gaze upon these
dazzling gems, not one of which they may take for themselves.
America has a hundred more helpful shrines than the jeweled tomb of the
Arabian prophet in the lives and memories of her distinguished sons and daugh-
ters, and they are set with gems of character more brilliant than diamonds, more
beautiful than topaz, and with price far above rubies." It is to these shrines that
this volume conducts the youth of our land, and, having shown them all, invites
the young reader to select and appropriate unto himself whatsoever he will.
When Lord Macaulay wrote, "There is no history but biography," he spoke
the truth, for it is what the great men and women of any nation do that make
up the annals of that nation. But biography is more than history, and the latter
cannot supply its place. In the reading of history we fail to find a connected
story of the lives of its illustrious makers. They are seen only in the light of
their great public deeds. Neither the beginning nor ending of the career is
shown, except, now and then, in cold statistics.
What schoolboy who makes George Washington, or Abraham Lincoln, or
Grant, or Lee his model great man does not turn from his United States His-
tory with a feeling of disappointment because it does not take him into closer
confidence and tell him of the private lives of these heroes ?-where did they
come from ?-what were their circumstances in boyhood ?-what their trials and
opportunities when they were young like myself?--were they like other boys or
were they always superior beings, born great, and continually in the midst of
prominent scenes or doing wonderful acts, as history presents them?
These are some of the natural questions that come to the mind of the as-
piring young reader who desires to make his life useful and honorable, and who
would use some great man, or several great men, as his models. He wants ta
know what opportunity, what hope, there is for him to be like them. Biography
answers these laudable inquiries upon which history is silent.
Still less comfort does the ambitious girl find upon the pages of the national
history in seeking an acquaintance with her model great woman; for here, as
upon the stage of a Chinese theatre, few women are to be seen, and they only
in glimpses where circumstances intrude them forward. And yet, as a matter
of fact, woman has contributed vastly to our national growth, and deserves
scarcely less prominence than man. In this volume she has that recognition to
which she is so justly entitled. George Washington becomes all the greater
hero when the exalted virtues of Mary Washington, his mother (to whom he said
he owed all that he was), stand out as they do in this volume-a background
from which the great son steps forth in bolder relief. And so Abraham Lin-
coln and Garfield and Stonewall Jackson and President McKinley found the
seeds of their greatness in the noble mothers whose lives are printed-some of
them for the first time-in chapters fully as prominent as those devoted to their
great sons in this volume. In like manner do the noble sisters of humanity,
heralds of liberty and angels of mercy-Frances Willard, Dorothea Dix, Harriet
Beecher Stowe, Mrs. Livermore, Susan B. Anthony, Mrs. Ballington Booth, and
others-pass before the young girls and women who read this volume, with the
magnetism of their lovely and loving characters and the exalted inspiration of
their noble lives and beneficent deeds.
It is the province of these biographies not only to entertain by the narration
of wonderful achievements, but to conduct the reader into the private lives and
characters of these great men and women, to encourage and inspire, and by the
force of example to awaken a spirit of emulation in the young. In these true sto-
ries of famous men and women we have a complete picture of their public and pri-
vate records woven skillfully together. The early lives of these illustrious charac-
ters with their humble environments-aye, often discomforts, struggles and poverty
-will find perfect counterparts in the circumstances and surroundings of many
of our young readers. Here the ambitious but hampered youth will find their
heroes and heroines have traveled the same roads which they themselves are
now treading, and encountered and struggled with the same or similar difficul-
ties and temptations as those which they are now battling against.
There is nothing so potent in its influence for good as the examples of truly
great leaders. It would be hard to overestimate the power which the lives of
Washington, Franklin, Frances Willard, and other noble men and women treated
in this book have had in the past and will continue to have upon succeeding
Every one of these great names stands for something. Washington repre-
sents truthfulness and integrity; Jefferson, the democratic idea of the rule of the
people; Franklin, industry and devotion to duty, with statesmanship and diplo-
macy; Frances Willard, self-sacrifice for the betterment of the home life of the
nation; Harriet Beecher Stowe, the liberation of the enslaved. And so we
might continue throughout the list-they all stand for, as they lived for, some
noble attribute of character for the elevation of their country or the advancement
of the world toward a nobler destiny. They embody great virtues, they stand
for great principles, they illustrate noble qualities, and no man can estimate
their helpful and educational value to those who read them.
When Lincoln was a boy he procured a life of Washington, and read it
over and over many times in his backwoods home by the light of a pine-knot
fire. Washington was his model, and how like him in character-truth, honor,
and every brave and noble quality-did this boy of an ill-starred childhood be-
come! Side by side with the father of his country stands Lincoln, its savior,
both equally enthroned in the hearts of a grateful nation-both held up as
models of true and exalted greatness throughout all civilization.
Benjamin Franklin was a true lover of biography. The lives of all great
men he read with avidity; and, he declares, the reading of one book made him
what he was.
Henry Clay, it is said, read "Plutarch's Lives" of ancient men of fame
entirely through twenty times in ten years. The special chapters devoted to
great orators he read perhaps one hundred times over, so that the published
lives of Demosthenes and Cicero were as familiar to him as the recollections of
his own career. Is it any wonder that the tongue of burning fire and of silvery,
witching eloquence" descended from the ancient Greek and Roman masters
upon him, and that listening multitudes hung breathless upon his utterances,
while he, at his pleasure, lashed them into a mad fury or soothed them as with
the lullaby song of a mother?
In the days of Washington, Franklin, Clay, and Lincoln, the catalogue of
great Americans was but small; now it is a large one. The youth of the present
day has vastly the advantage of them in so many noble models after which to
fashion the pattern of his own destiny.
These biographies teach the young men and young women of America the
important lesson that
"Honor and shame from no conditions rise,"
and that, in America at least, "all men are born free and equal;" but, while all
have a chance, "everyone must be the architect of his own fortune." It is this
truth impressed, as it is in this volume, upon the youth of our country, with the
opportunity for its application by the boys and girls, young men and young
women alike, that is at once the glory of our American institutions, the rainbow
of promise to every aspiring youth, and the hope of America's future greatness.,
If the foreign accusation that Americans are natural hero worshipers be
true, we should answer, it is well they should be so; for they have the grandest
heroes and heroines that any nation can boast, and to read their lives is to kin-
dle every latent ember of patriotism into a glowing blaze, and to awaken every
noble sentiment of the human soul. Their influence has gone out like beacon-
lights to all the world, and their names stand as synonyms of patriotism, exalted
courage, freedom, wisdom, humanity, charity, love, and mercy, It is through
them that the glory of America shines above that of all other lands foremost and
uppermost in the vanguard of progress with "a government of the people, by
the people, and for the people," founded upon principles and fostered by a citi-
zenship which are a guarantee that it "shall not perish from the earth."
It is with a pleasant sense of satisfaction over a work well done, and of con-
fidence in its hearty reception, that the publishers present this volume to the
public. It has been prepared on a plan peculiarly its own. It embraces the
greatest men and women of America from the days of George and Mary Wash-
ington to Admiral Dewey and Frances Willard, and it will be read with pleasure
and profit by old and young alike.
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
FATHER AND FOUNDER OF THE REPUBLIC, PAGN
GEORGE WASHINGTON . 17
OUR FIRST GREAT PHILOSOPHER AND STATESMAN,
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 43
THE PIONEER OF DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA,
THOMAS JEFFERSON 59
THE HERO OF THE WAR OF 1812, AND POPULAR PRESIDENT,
ANDREW JACKSON 75
POPULAR ORATOR, PATRIOT, AND STATESMAN,
HENRY CLAY 88
THE GREAT DEFENDER OF NATIONAL UNION,
THE GREAT PRESERVER OF THE UNION,
ABRAHAM LINCOLN 119
THE SUCCESSFUL HERO OF THE CIVIL WAR,
ULYSSES S. GRANT 143
THE GREAT COMMANDER OF THE CONFEDERATE ARMIES,
ROBERT E. LEE 163
THE FIRST HERO OF THE AMERICAN NAVY,
JOHN PAUL JONES .. 175
10 TABLE OF CONTENTS.
VICTOR OF THE BATTLE OF LAKE ERIE, PAGE
OLIVER H. PERRY 179
THE GREAT UNION NAVAL COMMANDER,
DAVID G. FARRAGUT 181
THE BELOVED PRESIDENT OF A UNITED COUNTRY,
JAMES A. GARFIELD 189
SOLDIER, ORATOR, AND STATESMAN,
BENJAMIN HARRISON 201
SUCCESSFUL LAWYER, GOVERNOR, AND PRESIDENT,
GROVER CLEVELAND 204
THE FINANCIER AND STATESMAN,
JOHN SHERMAN 208
THE GREAT "SPEAKER" AND DEBATER,
THOMAS BRACKETT REED 212
THE NOBLE AND PATRIOTIC SENATOR,
WILLIAM B. ALLISON 216
THE ABLE CHAMPION OF FREE SILVER COINAGE,
HENRY MOORE TELLER 219
THE DISTINGUISHED TARIFF REFORMER AND WAR PRESIDENT,
WILLIAM McKINLEY 223
THE APOSTLE OF SUNSHINE AND CHEERFULNESS,
CHAUNCEY MITCHELL DEPEW 226
THE ELOQUENT DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT,
WILLIAM JENNINGS BRYAN 230
COMMANDER OF OUR NAVY FOR THE CONQUEST OF CUBA,
WILLIAM T. SAMPSON 233
THE HERO OF THE BATTLE OF MANILA,
GEORGE DEWEY .. .. 237
TABLE OF CONTENTS. 1I
COMMANDER OF THE UNITED STATES ARMY, PAGE
NELSON A. MILES 241
THE BRAVE UNITED STATES CONSUL-GENERAL TO CUBA,
FITZHUGH LEE 244
OUR FIRST GOVERNOR OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS.
WESLEY MERRITT 249
SECRETARY OF STATE DURING THE SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR,
WILLIAM R. DAY 252
THE NOBLE MOTHER OF GEORGE WASHINGTON,
MARY BALL 254
"AMERICA'S MOST GRACIOUS SOCIAL QUEEN,"
DOLLY MADISON 269
THE TWO GOOD MOTHERS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN,
NANCY HANKS AND SALLY JOHNSON . 279
THE SORROWFUL MOTHER OF STONEWALL JACKSON,
JULIA NEALE 286
THE AUTHOR OF "UNCLE TOM'S CABIN,"
HARRIET BEECHER STOWE 293
THE HEAVEN-SENT ANGEL OF MERCY AND PRISON REFORM,
DOROTHEA Dx 303
SLAVERY'S ENEMY AND FREEDOM'S FRIEND,
LUCRETIA MOTT 312
THE HEROIC MOTHER OF JAMES A. GARFIELD,
ELIZA BALLOU 318
THE CHILDREN'S AUTHOR AND HUMANITY'S FRIEND,
LOUISA MAY ALCOTT 327
12 TABLE OF CONTENTS.
THE DEVOTED WIFE OF GENERAL GRANT, PAGE
JULIA DENT GRANT 334
THE FAMOUS CHAMPION OF WOMAN-SUFFRAGE,
SUSAN B. ANTHONY 344
THE BANKER'S DAUGHTER FAMOUS IN LITERATURE,
JULIA WARD HOWE 350
TEACHER, EDITOR, LECTURER, AND HOSPITAL NURSE,
MARY A. LIVERMORE 355
THE NOBLE MOTHER OF PRESIDENT McKINLEY,
NANCY ALLISON 333
THE INSPIRING SPIRIT OF THE AMERICAN VOLUNTEERS,
MRs. MAUD (BALLINGTON) BOOTH 372
THE FOUNDER AND FIRST PRESIDENT OF THE WORLD'S W. (. T. U.,
FRANCES E. WILLARD 97
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
Progress (head-piece), . .
Washington's Reception at Trenton,
Washington Taking the Oath, .
Washington Crossing the Delaware,
Old Birmingham Meeting House,
Washington Reproving Lee, .. ..
Washington and Rochambeau,
Tomb of Washington, Mt. Vernon,
Penn's Treaty with the Indians,
Penn's Residence in Second Street,
Death of General Wolfe, .
Rear View of Independence Hall, .
Franklin's Grave .. ...
The Liberty Bell at New Orleans, .
Independence Hall. Philadelphia, Front,
Stage-coach of Jefferson's Time, .
Signing Declaration of Independence,
Fairfax Court House, Virginia,
Virginia Currency, . ...
An Indian Mother, . .
Kentucky Scene in Jackson's Youth,
The Indian's Declaration of War,
The Old Marigny House, a Relic of
the War of 1812 . .
An Indian Fight in Florida, .. ..
An Old Virginia Mansion, . .
An Old Virginia Mansion-Interior,
Turnpike in the Blue-Grass Region,
Residence of a Southern Planter,.
Faneuil Hall, Boston, which Webster
called The Cradle of Liberty," .
Lincoln's Boyhood Home in Kentucky,
Home of Lincoln, Gentryville, Indiana,
Opening Illinois and Michigan Canal,
Lincoln and His Son Tad,"
Libby Prison in Richmond, .....
View of Andersonville Prison, .
The Capture of Booth, Slayer of Lincoln,
Maip Building, Centennial Exposition,
Decoration Day . ..
Unites States Mint, New Orleans,
Moist Weather at the Front, .. ..
Surrender of General Lee, . .
General Grant and Li Hung Chang,
Viceroy of China, . .
3 The Funeral Train of General Grant, 158
20 An Old Indian Farmhouse .. 160
24 John Brown after His Capture, 165
28 The James River and Country near
30 Richmond .... . 166
31 Libby Prison in 1884, before its re-
34 moval to Chicago. . 168
.38 "General Lee to the Rear," 170
40 Lee and the Ferryman . ... 171
46 Lee and the Union Soldier, . 172
50 Monument to General Lee at Richmond,
53 Va, . ..... 174
56 Eight-inch Gun of the Baltimore,". 18
59 Bailey's Dam on the Red River, 183
62 One of the Miantonomah's Four Ten-
64 inch Breech-loading Rifles, .. 186
67 The Farragut Monument in Washington
69 City, .. . .187
71 Model of United States Man-of-War, 188
75 The Home of Garfield's Childhood, 19
77 Garfield on the Towpath, .. .19
81 Hiram College, . . 193
Garfield's Assassination .. 198
83 Tablet in the Waiting-room of the Rail-
85 way Station where Garfield was Shot, 200
92 The Battle of Manila, .. 232
93 Naval Heroes of the Spanish-American
96 War (group), ... . 233
lo0 Leading Commanders of our Army in
the Spanish-American War (group), 241
Io8 Mary Ball as a Young Woman Spinning
120 Flax .. ... .254
123 Mary Washington House at Fredericks-
124 burg, . . 261
13', The Mother of Washington Receiving
134 the Marquis Lafayette,... 263
136 The New Mary Washington Monument
137 at Fredericksburg, . 267
143 The Burning of Washington, .. 276
146 The Birthplace of Abraham Lincoln, 281
150 House in which Stonewall Jackson Died,
152 Richmond, Va . 289
154 Negro Village in Georgia, .294
New England Cotton Mill of Mrs.
156 Stowe's Time, ....... 300
14 LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS AND FULL-PAGE LITHOGRAPHS.
PAGE PA G
Dorothea Dix on the Battlefield, 310 Famous Women Orators and Reformers
Lucretia Mott Protecting the Negro, (group) ...... 348
Dangerfield, from the Mob in Phila., 313 Mrs. Livermore, the Young Governess,
The Home of Lucretia Mott near Phila., 316 in the South, . .. 355
The Boy, Garfield, Bringing His First Mrs. Livermore as a Young Teacher, 358
Day's Earnings to His Mother, 318 Mrs. Livermore the Editress, .. 360
Garfield Kissing His Mother when He Mrs. Livermore the Lecturer, .. 361
Took the Oath of Office, .. 323 Residence of Mother McKinley, Can-
Louisa's School in the Barn, . 327 ton, Ohio, . .... .367
Miss Alcott as a Hospital Nurse,. 331 Hope Hall, Mrs. Booth's Prison Reform
The Happy Meeting on Grant's Return Home, . . .. 375
from the Mexican War, . 337 Mrs. Booth and Her Prison Relief Corps, 378
Grant, Miss Dent, and Her Brother, 339 Mrs. Booth and Her Children, . 379
Mrs. Grant Visiting the General at the Birthplace of Frances E. Willard, 397
Front . . 340 Miss Willard's First School, .. 399
Grant at Windsor Castle, .. .341 Frances E. Willard and Her Mother, 402
LIST OF PORTRAITS AND FULL-PAGE LITHOGRAPHS.
Washington and His Mother
(lithograph) .. Frontispiece
George Washington, . .. 16
Benjamin Franklin, . 42
Thomas Jefferson . .. 58
Andrew Jackson, . .. .74
Martin Van Buren, . .. .86
Henry Clay, . . .89
James K. Polk . .. 99
Daniel Webster, . 105
John Tyler, . . .113
Millard Fillmore, . 115
Abraham Lincoln . 118
Winfield Scott, .. . 133
Andrew Johnson . ... 140
Ulysses S. Grant, .. .. .. 142
Robert E. Lee, . . 162
John Paul Jones, . . 175
David D. Porter, ....... 184
James G. Garfield at age of Sixteen, 192
Chester A. Arthur, . 196
Benjamin Harrison, . .. 201
Grover Cleveland . . 205
John Sherman, . .... 209
Thos. B. Reed, .. . 212
Wm. B. Allison, . . 217
Henry M. Teller, . ... 220
McKinley and His Mother (lithograph), 223
Wm. McKinley, Jr., . 224
Chauncey M. Depew,. . 227
Wm. Jennings Bryan . 230
Win. T. Sampson, . . 233
George Dewey, . 233
John Crittenden Watson, . 233
Winfield Scott Schley, . 233
Nelson A. Miles, . . 241
Wesley Merritt,. .. .. 241
Fitzhugh Lee, . ... 241
Wm. R. Shafter, . . 241
Wm. R. Day . . 252
Mrs. James Madison, . 269
Dolly Madison Saving the Declaration
of Independence (lithograph), 273
Sarah Johnson, Lincoln's Step-mother, 279
Stonewall Jackson . 286
Harriett Beecher Stowe, . 292
John Brown, . . 298
Dorothea Lynde Dix, . .. 303
Lucretia Mott, . 312
Mother of President Garfield, . 319
Louisa May Alcott, . .. .333
Julia Dent Grant, . .. .334
Susan B. Anthony at Thirty-six, 344
Susan B. Anthony at Fifty-six, 347
Susan B. Anthony at Seventy-six, 348
Belva A. Lockwood, . 348
Frances E. Willard, . 348
Mary A. Livermore, . ... 348
Julia Ward Howe,. . 348
Elizabeth Cady Stanton,. .. 348
Anna Dickinson, . . 348
Julia Ward Howe . 350
Mother of President McKinley, 363
Mrs. Ballington Booth, . 372
Commander Ballington Booth, 374
Memorial Picture ofF. E. Willard(litho.), 397
:, '" .' -'- ,
k i :,~I i
-.. .- .- --.:., _'..; ...:.. :,... .- -:,
WASHINGTON AND HIS MOTHER.
FATHER AND FOUNDER OF THE REPUBLIC.
--- ?----- :- --: AMONG the multitude who in different
... lands and times have won fame in vary-
ing degrees, a few stand out so distinct,
i- so far above the rest, that they mark the
eras of the world's progress. By them
we measure our growth; by them we
test our advance or decline. We no
one-- ---es: tt:r e longer judge them, but rather judge
Ourselves by them, by the extent to
which we can appreciate and under-
stand them. An age in which they are
honored is glorious; a generation by
which they are not esteemed is con-
temptible. Among the few thus truly
great is WASHINGTON. A thousand cimes
has the story of his noble life been told;
yet never were men so eager to hear it
as now. His character has endured
every test; his fame is secure. "It will
be the duty of the historian in all ages,"
says Lord Brougham, "to omit no occa-
sion of commemorating this illustrious
S-man; and until time shall be no
A VIRGINIA PLANTATION GATEWAY. more will a test of the progress which
our race has made in wisdom and virtue
be derived from the veneration paid to the immortal name of Washington."
Two centuries ago Virginia was almost an unexplored wilderness; but the
climate, the soil, the rivers, bays, mountains, valleys, all combined to render it
one of the most attractive spots upon our globe. Two young brothers, Law-
rence and John Washington, were lured by these attractions to abandon their
home in England, and seek their fortunes in this new world. They were both
gentlemen. Lawrence was a fine scholar, a graduate of Oxford; John was an
accomplished man of business.
The two brothers had purchased a large tract of land about fifty miles
above the mouth of the Potomac, and on its western banks. John built him a
house, and married Anne Pope. Augustine, his second son, inherited the
paternal homestead. Augustine's first wife, Jane Butler, as lovely in character
as she was beautiful in person, died, leaving three little motherless children
The disconsolate father, in the course of years, found another mother for his
He was singularly fortunate in his choice. Mary Ball was everything that
husband or child could desire. She was beautiful in person, intelligent, accom-
plished, energetic and prudent, and a warm hearted Christian. Augustine and
Mary were married on the 6th of March, 1730. On the 22d of February, 1732,
they received into their arms their first-born child. Little did they dream, as
they bore their babe to the baptismal font and called him George Washington,
that that name was to become one of the most memorable in the annals of
From earliest childhood George developed a very noble character. He had
a vigorous constitution, a fine form, and great bodily strength. In childhood he
was noted for frankness, fearlessness, and moral courage; and yet far removed
from manifesting a quarrelsome spirit. He never tyrannized over others ; and
none were found to attempt to tyrannize over him.
After twelve happy years of union with Mary Ball, when George was but
ten years of age, Augustine Washington died, leaving George and five other
children fatherless. The mother was equal to the task thus imposed upon her.
The confidence of her husband in her judgment and maternal love is indicated
by the fact that he left the income of the entire property to her until her children
should respectively come of age. Nobly she discharged the task. A nation's
homage gathers around the memory of the mother of Washington. Life's
severe discipline developed a character simple, sincere, grave, cheered with
earnest and unostentatious piety. Her well-balanced mind gave her great influ-
ence over her son, which she retained until the hour of her death.
Mrs. Alexander Hamilton tells the story that, when George Washington
was in the meridian of his fame, a brilliant party was given in his honor at
Fredericksburg, Va. When the church-bell rang the hour of nine, his mother
rose and said, Come, George, it is nine o'clock: it is time for us to go home."
George, like a dutiful son, offered her his arm, and they retired. Mrs. Hamil-
ton admits, however, that after Washington had seen his mother safely home
he returned to the party.
At sixteen years of age George, then a man in character, and almost a mar
LIFE IN THE WILDERNESS.
In stature, left school. He excelled in mathematical studies, and had become
familiar with the principles of geometry and trigonometry and of practical sur-
veying. In was then his intention to become a civil engineer. At that time, in
this new and rapidly-growing country, there was great demand for such services,
and the employment was very lucrative. He had formed his character upon the
right model. Everything he did he did well. If he wrote a letter, every word
was as plain as print, with spelling, capitals, punctuation, all correct. His dia
grams and tables were never scribbled off, but all executed with great beauty
These excellent habits, thus early formed, were retained through life.
Upon leaving school George went to spend a little time with his elder
brother, Lawrence, at Mount Vernon. Then, as now, that was an enchanting
spot. The house, situated upon a swell of land, commanded an extensive view
of the Potomac and of the surrounding country. It was nearly one hundred
miles above the home of George. Lord Fairfax, a man of large fortune and
romantic tastes, had been lured by the charms of this delightful region to pur-
chase a vast territory, which extended far away, over the Blue Mountains. It
was a property embracing rivers and mountains, forests and prairies, and wealth
unexplored. Lord Fairfax was charmed with young Washington, his frankness,
his intelligence, his manliness, his gentlemanly bearing,- a boy in years, a man
in maturity of wisdom and character; and he engaged this lad, then but one
month over sixteen years of age, to explore and survey these pathless wilds, a
large portion of which was then ranged only by wild beasts and savage men. It
may be doubted whether a lad of his age ever before undertook a task so ardu-
ous. With a few attendants, the boy entered the wilderness. We have some
extracts from the journal which he kept, which give us a vivid idea of the life he
then led. Under date of March 15, 1748, he writes:-
"Worked hard till night, and then returned. After supper, we were lighted
into a room; and I, not being so good a woodman as the rest, stripped myself
very orderly, and went into the bed, as they call it, when, to my surprise, I found
it to be nothing but a little straw matted together, without sheet or anything else,
but only one threadbare blanket, with double its weight of vermin. I was glad
to get up and put on my clothes, and lie as my companions did. Had we not
been very tired, I am sure we should not have slept much that night. I made a
promise to sleep so no more in a bed, choosing rather to sleep in the open air
before a fire."
On the 2d of April he writes, "A blowing, rainy night. Our straw, upon
which we were lying, took fire; but I was luckily preserved by one of our men
awaking when it was in a flame. We have run off four lots this day."
George returned from this tramp with all his energies consolidated by toil,
peril, and hardship. Though but seventeen years of age, he was a responsible,
self-reliant man. The State of Virginia now employed him as public surveyor.'
WASHINGTON'S RECEPTION AT TRENTON.
~_ ~---L I _
A PERILOUS JOURNEY.
For three years he was engaged in these laborious duties, which introduced him
to scenes of romance and adventure. Though he often, during these three years,
visited his mother, his headquarters were with his brother at Mount Vernon, as
this was much nearer. Lord Fairfax, who, it is said, was the victim of a love
disappointment, had built him a substantial stone mansion in the valley beyond
the Blue Ridge, where he was living in a sort of baronial splendor, and where
George was an ever welcome guest.
MISSION TO THE FRENCH COMMANDER.
Having performed his duty as surveyor so well, he was chosen adjutant-
general, with the rank of major, over a portion of the militia whose duty it was
to repel the encroachments of the French and Indians. In the meantime, how-
ever, he was absent four months in Barbadoes with a sick brother. The next
year, being then twenty-one years of age, he was sent as commissioner by
Governor Dinwiddie to demand of the French commander why he had invaded
the king's colonies. For seven hundred and fifty miles, more than half of the
distance through an unbroken wilderness, he made his way, accompanied by
only seven persons; and after forty-one days of toil, in the middle of Decem-
ber he reached his destination. Having concluded his mission, he set out in the
dead of winter to retrace his dreary route. The horses after a while gave out,
and the drivers were left to take care of them, while he and one companion
pushed on alone, on foot, through the wilderness. Traveling in this manner,
they came upon an Indian, who, under the pretence of acting as guide, led them
off their route, and then shot at them. Sparing his life, contrary to the wishes
of his friend, Washington soon got rid of him, and walked all night to escape
pursuit. Coming to the Alleghany river, they found it only partly frozen over,
and here the two friends lay down upon the bank in the cold snow, with
nothing but their blankets over them, and thus, weary and hungry, passed the
dreary night. The next morning they set to work with a single hatchet to build
a raft. They worked all day long on the frail thing, and just after sunset suc-
ceeded in launching it on the turbulent stream. When nearly half across, huge
fragments of floating ice came driving down the current, and, jamming against
the crazy fabric, jerked them overboard, into ten feet of water. The two
adventurers swam and waded to an island, where, amid frost and snow, wet to
the skin, without a blanket to cover them or a spark of fire, with their clothes
frozen stiff upon their backs, they passed the long, wintry night. They were
now without the means of reaching either shore; but the biting cold that be-
numbed their limbs froze also the river, so that when morning dawned it was
bridged over with ice between them and the shore. Escaping the shot of the
Indian, the dangers of the forest, and death by cold, they at length, after an
absence of eleven weeks, arrived safely at home.
Washington's journal of this tour was published in London, and attracted
much attention, as it contained conclusive proof that the French would resist
any attempts of the English to establish their settlements upon the Ohio. The
Legislature of Virginia was in session at Williamsburg when Washington
returned. Modestly, and unconscious that he would attract any attention, he
went into the gallery to observe the proceedings. The Speaker chanced to see
him, and, rising, proposed that
The thanks of this house be given to Major Washington, who now sits in
the gallery, for the gallant manner in which he has executed the important trust
lately reposed in him by his excellency the governor."
Every member of the house rose to his feet; and Washington was greeted
with a simultaneous and enthusiastic burst of applause. Embarrassed by the
unexpected honor, and unaccustomed to public speaking, the young hero en-
deavored in vain to give utterance to his thanks. Out of this painful dilemma
the eloquent Speaker helped him as generously as he had helped him into it. Sit
down, Mr. Washington," said he, in his most courteous manner, "your modesty
equals your valor, and that surpasses the power of any language that I possess."
Nothing could be more elegant or skilful than this double stroke, which not only
relieved Washington, but paid him at the same time the highest compliment that
could be bestowed.
BRADDOCK S EXPEDITION.
Early in the spring of 1755 General Braddock, a self-conceited, stubborn
man, landed in Virginia with two regiments of regular troops from Great
Britain. Arrogant in the pride of his technical military education, he despised
alike Frenchmen, Indians, and colonists. With his force, Braddock started on
a march through the wilderness for the reduction of Fort Duquesne. Washing-
ton accompanied him as volunteer aid. In a straggling line four miles in length,
this army of two thousand men, totally unacquainted with Indian warfare, and
thoroughly despising such barbaric foes, commenced its march, with ponderous
artillery and a cumbrous baggage-train, through the forest, for the distant june.
tion of the Alleghany and the Monongahela. Washington, who well knew the
foe they were to encounter, was alarmed at this recklessness, and urged greater
caution. The regular British general was not to be taught the art of war by a
provincial colonel, who had never even seen the inside of a military school. Suc-
cessfully they had threaded the wilderness, and on a beautiful summer's day they
were exultingly marching along the banks of the Monongahela, when they
entered a defile of picturesque beauty.
Suddenly, like the burst of thunder from the cloudless heavens, came the
crash of musketry, and a tempest of lead swept through their ranks. Crash
followed crash in quick succession, before, behind, on the right, on the left. No
foe was to be seen; yet every bullet accomplished its mission. The ground was
soon covered with the dead and wounded. Amazement and consternation ran
through the ranks. An unseen foe was assailing them. Braddock stood his
ground with bull-dog courage, until he fell, pierced by a bullet. When nearly
half of the army were slain, the remnant broke in wild disorder and fled. The
ambush was entirely successful. Six hundred of these unseen assailants were
Indians. They made the forest ring with their derision in scorn of the folly of
Washington, through this awful scene, which he had been constantly antici-
pating, was perfectly collected, and, with the coolest courage, did everything
which human sagacity could do to retrieve the disaster. Two horses were shot
beneath him, and four bullets passed through his coat. Eight hundred of Brad-
dock's army, including most of the officers, were either dead or wounded.
Washington rallied around him the few provincials, upon whom Braddock had
looked with contempt. Each man instantly placed himself behind a tree,
according to the necessities of forest warfare. As the Indians burst from their
ambush, the unerring fire of the provincials checked them and drove them back.
But for this the army would have been utterly destroyed. All Washington's
endeavors to rally the British regulars were unavailing. Indignantly he writes,
"They ran like sheep before the hounds." Panic-stricken, abandoning artillery
and baggage, they continued their tumultuous retreat to the Atlantic coast. The
provincials, in orderly march, protected them from pursuit. Braddock's defeat
rang through the land as Washington's victory. The provincials, who, submit.
ting to military authority, had allowed themselves to be led into this valley of
death, proclaimed far and wide the precautions which Washington had urged,
and the heroism with which he had rescued the remnant of the army.
The French made no attempt to pursue their advantage, but quietly retired
to Fort Duquesne, there to await another assault, should the English decide to
make one. A force of about seven hundred men was raised, and placed under
the command of Washington, to protect the scattered villages and dwellings of
this vast frontier. For three years Washington gave all his energies to this
arduous enterprise. It would require a volume to record the awful scenes
through which he passed during these three years.
In November, 1758, Fort Duquesne was wrested from the French, and the
galley of the Ohio passed from their control forever. The Canadas soon aftel
surrendered to Wolfe, and English supremacy was established upon this conti-
nent without a rival.
Washington was now twenty-six years of age. The beautiful estate of
Mount Vernon had descended to him by inheritance. On the 6th of January.
1759, he married Mrs. Martha Custis, a lady of great worth and beauty. Wash-
ington was already wealthy; and his wife brought with her, as her dower, a
fortune of one hundred thousand dollars. After the tumultuous scenes of his
.- /"-' .,
BARON STEUBEN. GOV. ARTHUR ST CLAIR. SEC Y SAMU.EL A. OTIS. ROGER SHERMAN. GOV GEORG. CLINTON.
CHANCELLOR ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON. GEORGE WASHINGTON. GEN'L HENRY KNOX.
WASHINGTON TAKING THE OATH AS PRESIDENT,
APRIL 30, 1789, ON THE SITE OF THE PRESENT TREASURY BUILDING, WALL STREET, NEW YORK CITY.
Virginia gave us this imperial man,
Cast in the massive mould
Of those high-statured ages old
Which into grander forms our mortal metal ran;
Mother of States and undiminished men,
Thou gavest us a Country, giving him.
-JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL.
THE BEGINNING OF WAR.
youth, he retired with his bride and her two children to the lovely retreat of
Mount Vernon, where he spent fifteen years of almost unalloyed happiness.
He enlarged the mansion, embellished the grounds, and by purchase made very
considerable additions to his large estate.
OUTBREAK OF THE REVOLUTION.
During these serene years of peace and prosperity an appalling storm was
gathering, which soon burst with fearful desolation over all the colonies. The
British ministry, denying the colonists the rights of British subjects, insisted
upon exercising the despotic power of imposing taxes upon the colonists, while
withholding the right of representation. All American remonstrances were
thrown back with scorn. Troops were sent to enforce obedience to the man-
dates of the British Crown. The Americans sprang to arms, called a Congress,
and chose George Washington commander-in-chief.
To the Congress which elected him he replied: "I beg leave to assure the
Congress that, as no pecuniary consideration could have tempted me to accept
this arduous employment at the expense of my domestic ease and happiness,
I do not wish to make any profit front it. I will keep an exact account of my
expenses. Those, I doubt not, they will discharge. That is all I desire."
To his wife, the object of his most tender affection, he wrote that it was his
greatest affliction to be separated from her, but that duty called, and he must
obey. He said that he could not decline the appointment without dishonoring
his name, and sinking himself even in her esteem.
On the 2d of July Washington arrived in Cambridge and took command
of the army. The ceremony took place under the elm-tree which still stands
immortalized by the event. General Gage was commander of the British forces.
Twelve thousand British regulars were intrenched on Bunker's Hill and in the
streets of Boston. About fifteen thousand provincial militia, wretchedly armed
and without any discipline, occupied a line nearly twelve miles in extent, en-
circling, on the land side, Charlestown and Boston. The British war-ships held
undisputed possession of the harbor.
At length, in March, 1776, after months of toil and surmounting difficulties
more than can be enumerated, Washington was prepared for decisive action.
In a dark and stormy night he opened upon the foe in the city, from his encir-
cling lines, as fierce a bombardment as his means would allow. Under cover of
this roar of the batteries and the midnight storm, he dispatched a large force of
picked troops, with the utmost secrecy, to take possession of the Heights of
Dorchester. There, during the hours of the night, the soldiers worked with the
utmost diligence in throwing up breastworks which would protect them from the
broadsides of the English fleet. Having established his batteries upon those
heights, he commanded the harbor.
In the early dawn of the morning, the British Admiral saw, to his con-
sternation, that a fort bristling with cannon had sprung up during the night
almost over his head. He immediately opened upon the works the broadsides
of.all his ships; but the Americans, defiant of the storm of iron which fell
around them, continued to pile their sand-bags and to ply their shovels, until
they had thrown up ramparts so strong that no cannonade could injure them.
The British fleet was now at the mercy of Washington's batteries. In a spirit
almost of desperation, the Admiral ordered three thousand men in boats to land
and take the heights at every hazard. But a great storm came to the aid of
the colonists. The gale increased to such fury that not a boat could be launched.
Before another day and night had passed the redoubt was made so strong that
it could defy any attack.
It was the morning of the I7th of March, 1776. The storm had passed
away. The blue sky overarched the beleaguered city and the encamping armies.
Washington sat upon his horse, serene and majestic, and contemplated in silent
triumph, from the Heights of Dorchester, the evacuation of Boston. The
whole British army was crowded on board the ships. A fresh breeze from the
west filled their sails; and the hostile armament, before the sun went down, had
disappeared beyond the distant horizon. It was a glorious victory. Such
another case, perhaps, history does not record. Washington, without ammuni-
tion, had maintained his post for six months within musket-shot of a powerful
British army. During this time he had disbanded the small force of raw militia
he at first had with him, and had recruited another army; and had then driven
the enemy into his ships, and out into the sea.
The latter part of June, just before the Declaration of Independence, two
large British fleets, one from Halifax and the other direct from England, met at
the mouth of the Bay of New York, and, disembarking a powerful army, took
possession of Staten Island. Washington had assembled all his available mili-
tary force to resist their advances. The British Government regarded the leaders
of the armies, and their supporters in Congress, as felons, doomed to the scaffold.
They refused, consequently, to recognize any titles conferred by Congress.
By the middle of August the British had assembled, on Staten Island and
at the mouth of the Hudson River, a force of nearly thirty thousand soldiers,
with a numerous and well-equipped fleet. To oppose them Washington had
about twelve thousand men, poorly armed, and quite unaccustomed to military
discipline and the hardships of the camp. A few regiments of American troops,
about five thousand in number, were gathered near Brooklyn. A few thousand
more were stationed at other points on Long Island. The English landed with-
out opposition, fifteen thousand strong, and made a combined assault upon the
Americans. The battle was short, but bloody. The Americans, overpowered,
sullenly retired, leaving fifteen hundred of their number either dead or in the
A CAMPAIGN OF RETREATS.
hands of the English. A vastly superior force of well-trained British troops,
flushed with victory, pressed upon the rear of the dispirited colonists. Their
situation seemed desperate.
Again Providence came to our aid. The wind died away to a perfect calm,
so that the British fleet could not move. A dense fog was rolled in from the
ocean. The Americans, familiar with every foot of the ground, improved the
propitious moments. Boats were rapidly collected; and, in the few hours of
that black night, nine thousand men, with nearly all their artillery and military
stores, were safely landed in New York. The transportation was conducted so
secretly that, though the Americans could hear the English at work with their
pickaxes, the last boat had left the Long Island shore ere the retreat was sus
The American army was now in a deplorable condition. It had neither arms,
ammunition, nor food. The soldiers were unpaid, almost mutinous, and in rags.
There were thousands in the vicinity of New York who were in sympathy with
the British. Nearly all the Government officials and their friends were on that
side. A conspiracy was formed, in which a part of Washington's own guard
was implicated, to seize him, and deliver him to that ignominious death to which
the British Crown had doomed him.
Washington was equal to the crisis. He saw that the only hope was to be
found in avoiding an engagement, and in wearing out the resources of the enemy
in protracted campaigns. He slowly retired from New York to the Heights of
Harlem, with sleepless vigilance watching every movement of the foe, that he
might take advantage of the slightest indiscretion. Here he threw up breast-
works, which the enemy did not venture to attack. The British troops ascended
the Hudson and East River to assail Washington in his rear. A weary cam-
paign of marches and counter-marches ensued, in which Washington, with
scarcely a shadow of an army, sustained, in the midst of a constant succession
of disasters, the apparently hopeless fortunes of his country. At one time
General Reed in anguish exclaimed,-
My God General Washington, how long shall we fly ?"
Serenely Washington replied, "We shall retreat, if necessary, over every
river of our country, and then over the mountains, where I will make a last stand
against our enemies."
THE NEW JERSEY CAMPAIGN.
Washington crossed the Hudson into the Jerseys. The British pursued
him. With consummate skill, he baffled all the efforts of the foe. With an army
reduced to a freezing, starving band of but three thousand men, he retreated to
Trenton. The British pressed exultantly on, deeming the conflict ended and the
Revolution crushed. It was December. The foe tracked the patriots by the
blood of their lacerated feet on the frozen ground. With great difficulty Wash.
WASHINGTON CROSSING TIE DELAWARE.
(Fran the Painting bv Leutze.)
THE SURPRISE AT TRENTON.
tngton succeeded in crossing the Delaware in boats, just as the British army
arrived upon the banks of the stream. They needed but to cross the river tc
take possession of Philadelphia. The ice was so rapidly forming that they
would soon be able to pass at any point without obstruction. The enemy with
apparently nothing to fear, relaxed his vigilance.
The night of December 25, 1776, was very dark and intensely cold. A,
storm of wind and snow raged violently. The British, considering the patriot:
utterly dispersed, and that a broad, icy river flowed between them and tht
retreating American bands, gathered around the firesides. In the darkness of
that wintry night, and amidst the conflict of its elements, Washington re-
embarked his troops to recross the Delaware. Forcing his boats through the
floating blocks of ice, he succeeded, before- daylight the next morning, in land-
ing upon the opposite shore twenty-four hundred men and twenty pieces of
cannon. The British were carelessly dispersed, not dreaming of danger. The
Americans sprang upon the first body of the foe they met, and, after a short
but bloody strife, scattered them, capturing a thousand prisoners and six cannon.
The British retreated to Princeton, and Washington took possession of Trenton.
Soon Lord Cornwallis, having received large reinforcements, marched upon
Trenton, confident that General Washington could no longer escape them. At
the close of a bleak winter day his army appeared before the lines which
Washington had thrown up around Trenton. "To-morrow," he said, "at the
break of day, I will attack them. The rising sun shall see the end of the
The sun rose the next morning, cold but cloudless. In the night the
American army had vanished. Replenishing his camp-fires to deceive the
enemy, at midnight, with the utmost precaution and precipitation, he evacuated
his camp, and, by a circuitous route, fell upon the rear of the English at Prince-
ton. A hundred and sixty of the British were shot down, and three hundred
were taken prisoners.
Cheered by this success, Washington led his handful of troops to the
Heights of Morristown. There he intrenched them for winter-quarters. He,
however, sent out frequent detachments, which so harassed the enemy that, in a
short time, New Jersey was delivered from their presence. The country was
animated by these achievements, and Congress roused itself to new energies.
During the remainder of the winter vigorous efforts were made in prepare.
tion for the opening of the spring campaign. The different States sent troops
to join the army at Morristown. The people of France, in sympathy with oi:r
cause, sent two vessels. The Marquis de Lafayette left his mansion of opulence,
and his youthful bride, to peril his life in the cause of American independence.
The British, harassed by Washington's sleepless vigilance, yet unable to compel
him or to lure him into a general engagement, left New York in a fleet, with
eighteen thousand soldiers, to capture Philadelphia. They landed near Elkton,
at the head of Chesapeake Bay. Washington, with but eleven thousand men,
marched to encounter them. The two armies met on the banks of the Brandy,
wine. A bloody battle ensued. Lafayette was wounded. The Americans,
overpowered, were compelled to retreat. Washington, after a short but severe
engagement at Germantown, retired, and the British took possession of Phil*
Congress precipitately adjourned to Lancaster, and thence to York.
Winter again came. The British were comfortably housed in Philadelphia.
Washington selected Valley Forge, about twenty miles from Philadelphia, as his
winter-quarters. Eleven thousand men here passed the winter of 1777 and
S .-' -
-T I 1I1
II *,, OL'.y -'JIRtIr -AM M"ETIr" "IIOUSE
1778. It was a period of great discouragement and suffering. The army was
in a state of destitution, which Washington did not dare to proclaim abroad, 1le.
the foe should rush upon him in his helplessness.
In this dark hour France came forward to our aid; recognizing our inde
pendence, entering into a friendly alliance with us, and sending both a fleet and
an army to our support. The British army in New York and Philadelphia
amounted to thirty thousand men. The whole American army did not exceed
fifteen thousand. But the British, apprehensive that a French fleet might soon
appear, and thus endanger the troops in Philadelphia, evacuated the city, and
the troops commenced their march through New Jersey. The cold of winter
had given place to the heat of summer.
LEE'S TREA CHLRY
Washington followed close in the rear of the foe, watching for a chance to
strike. The 28th of June, 1778, was a day of intense heat. Not a breath of
air was stirring, while an unclouded sun poured
do:\ n it.- U, irt rin. ray: i upoln pl r- ii"t'"' an,.] [' .ir .ii''-
TIhe ;rii.lh tr',:, l.\-- 're at Monm,:,uih. The m:irch
o one moi '. -,- w'l-V \\:'lld --) lini-E, tleinm \il l lith army
in New \\ rlc that .-
the,-y -wV oul L s" .
*, 'ii i r i i r '" Ir F LtL AT
I ,l i I .:i.' T -i,.
tfror a-ttti- k. (-,-_ii'iA Lee, with
l -. l',e r.thousand men. \\ia in the
'a.vanc:e. \\a-.shin.,-t,:,I- s en
"--.. ... -r "'"~ or ;:lrc to 1im ilm m e-ji ltI,\' to
commence n thn onr-, ni. \\ith the
assurance that he would hasten
to his support. As Washington was pressing eagerly forward, to his inexpres-
sible chagrin he met General Lee at the head of his troops, in full retreat. It
is said that Washington, with great vehemence of manner and utterance, cried
out, "General Lee, what means this ill-timed prudence?" The retreating
General threw back an angry retort. But it was no time for altercation.
Washington turned to the men. They greeted him with cheers. At his com-
mand they wheeled about and charged the enemy. A sanguinary battle
ensued, and the English were driven from the field. The colonists slept upon
their arms, prepared to renew the battle in the morning. When the morning
dawned, no foe was to be seen. The British had retreated in the night, leaving
three hundred of their dead behind them. The Americans lost but sixty-nine.
DARK DAYS OF THE WAR.
Another cold and cheerless winter came. The British remained within
their lines at New York. They sent agents, however, to the Six Nations of
Indians, to arm them against our defenseless frontier. These fierce savages,
accompanied by Tory bands, perpetrated horrors too dreadful for recital. The
massacres of Cherry Valley and of Wyoming were among the most awful trage-
dies ever witnessed on this globe. The narrative of these fiendish deeds sent a
thrill of horror through England as well as America. Four thousand men were
sent by Washington into the wilderness, to arrest, if possible, these massacres.
The savages and their allies were driven to Niagara, where they were received
into an English fortress. General Clinton commenced a vigorous prosecution of
a system of violence and plunder upon defenseless towns and farm-houses. The
sky was reddened with wanton conflagration. Women and children were driven
houseless into the fields. The flourishing towns of Fairfield and Norwalk, in
Connecticut, were reduced to ashes.
While the enemy was thus ravaging that defenseless State, Washington
planned an expedition against Stony Point, on the Hudson, which was held by
the British. General Wayne conducted the enterprise, on the night of the 15th
of July, with great gallantry and success. Sixty-three of the British were killed,
five hundred and forty-three were taken prisoners, and all the military stores of the
fortress captured. During this summer campaign the American army was never
sufficiently strong to take the offensive. It was, however, incessantly employed
striking blows upon the English wherever the eagle eye of Washington could
discern an exposed spot.
The winter of 1779 set in early, and with unusual severity. The Americar
army was in such a starving condition that Washington was compelled to make
the utmost exertions to save his wasting band from annihilation. These long
years of war and woe filled many even of the most sanguine hearts with despair.
Not a few patriots deemed it madness for the colonies, impoverished as they
were, any longer to contend against the richest and most powerful nation upon
the globe. General Arnold, who was at this time in command at West Point,
THE WAR IN THE SOUTH
saw no hope for his country. Believing the ship to be sinking, he turned traitor,
and offered to sell his fortress to the English. The treason was detected, but
the traitor escaped; and the lamented Andre, who had been lured into the
position of a spy, became the necessary victim of Arnold's crime.
Lord Cornwallis was now, with a well-provided army and an assisting navy,
overrunning the two Carolinas. General Greene was sent, with all the force
which Washington could spare, to watch and harass the invaders, and to furnish
the inhabitants with all the protection in his power. Lafayette was in the
vicinity of New York, with his eagle eye fixed upon the foe, ready to pounce
upon any detachment which presented the slightest exposure. Washington was
everywhere, with patriotism which never flagged, with hope which never failed,
cheering the army, animating the inhabitants, rousing Congress, and guiding
with his well-balanced mind both military and civil legislation. Thus the dreary
year of 1780 lingered away.
As the spring of 1781 opened, the war was renewed. The British directed
their chief attention to the South, which was far weaker than the North. Rich-
mond, in Virginia, was laid in ashes; and a general system of devastation and
plunder prevailed. The enemy ascended the Chesapeake and the Potomac
with armed vessels. They landed at Mount Vernon. The manager of the
estate, to save the mansion from pillage and flames, furnished them with abun-
dant supplies. Washington was much displeased. He wrote to his agent:-
"It would have been a less painful circumstance to me to have heard that,
in consequence of your non-compliance with their request, they had burned my
house and laid the plantation in ruins. You ought to have considered yourself
as my representative, and should have reflected on the bad example of commu-
nicating with the enemy, and making a voluntary offer of refreshments to them,
with a view to prevent a conflagration."
Lord Cornwallis was now at Yorktown, in Virginia, but a few miles from
Chesapeake Bay. There was no force in his vicinity seriously to annoy him.
Washington resolved, in conjunction with our allies from France, to make a
bold movement for his capture. An army of six thousand men, under Count
Rochambeau, had been sent by France to aid the American cause. This army,
with the French fleet, were most important aids to Washington. He succeeded
in deceiving the English into the belief that he was making great preparations
for the siege of New York. Thus they were prevented from rendering any aid
By rapid marches from the neighborhood of New York Washington has-
tened to Virginia. Early in September Lord Cornwallis, as he arose one morn
ing, was amazed to find himself surrounded by the bayonets and batteries of the
Americans. At about the same hour the French fleet appeared, in invincible
strength, before the harbor. Cornwalh was caught. There was no escape:
.k : iP
I I N
MEETING OF WASHINGTON AND ROCHAN.SEAU.
TIHE TRIUMPH AT YORKTOWN.
there was no retreat. Neither by land nor by sea could he obtain any supplies.
Shot and shell soon began to fall thickly into his lines. Famine stared him in
the face. After a few days of hopeless conflict, on the i9th of October, 1781,
he was compelled to surrender. Seven thousand British veterans laid down
their arms. One hundred and sixty pieces of cannon, with corresponding mili.
tary stores, graced the triumph.
When the British soldiers were marching from their intrenchments to lay
down their arms, Washington thus addressed his troops: My brave fellows,
let no sensation of satisfaction for the triumphs you have gained induce you to
insult your fallen enemy. Let no shouting, no clamorous huzzaing, increase
their mortification. Posterity will huzza for us."
This glorious capture roused renewed hope and vigor all over the country.
The joyful tidings reached Philadelphia at midnight. A watchman traversed the
streets, shouting at intervals, Past twelve o'clock, and Cornwallis is taken I "
Candles were lighted; windows thrown up ; figures in night-robes and night-caps
bent eagerly out to catch the thrilling sound ; shouts were raised ; citizens rushed
into the streets, half clad,--they wept; they laughed. The news flew upon the
wings of the wind, nobody can tell how, and the shout of an enfranchised people
rose, like a roar of thunder, from our whole land. With such a victory, repub-
lican America would never again yield to the aristocratic government of England.
Early in May, 1782, the British Cabinet opened negotiations for peace.
Hostilities were, by each party, tacitly laid aside. Negotiations were protracted
in Paris during the summer and the ensuing winter. Early in the following
spring the joyful tidings arrived that a treaty of peace had been signed at Paris.
The intelligence was communicated to the American army on the i9th of April,
1783,-just eight years from the day when the conflict was commenced on the
Common at Lexington.
Late in November the British evacuated New York, entered their ships,
and sailed for their distant island. Washington, marching from West Point,
entered the city as our vanquished foes departed. America was free and inde-
pendent. Washington was the savior of his country.
After an affecting farewell to the officers of the army, Washington set out
for his Virginia home. At every town and village he was received with love and
gratitude. At Annapolis he met the Continental Congress, where he was to
resign his commission. It was the 23d of December, 1783. All the members
of Congress, and a large concourse of spectators, were present. His address
closed with the following words:-
Having now finished the work assigned me, I retire from the great theatre
of action, and bidding an affectionate farewell to this august body, under whose
orders I have so long acted, I here offer my commission, and take my leave of
all the employment of public life."
The next day he returned to Mount Vernon, where he expected to spend
the remainder of his days as a private citizen. This, however, could not be.
The wisdom and ability of which he had given such abundant proof was soon
.required once more in his country's service.
The great problem which now engrossed all minds was the consolidation of
the thirteen States into a nation. To this subject Washington, who had suffered
so intensely from the inefficiency of the Continental Congress, devoted his most
anxious attention. A convention was called in the year 1787. Washington
was a delegate from Virginia, and was unanimously chosen to preside over its
deliberations. The result was the present Constitution of the United States
which created a nation from the people of all the States, with supreme powers
for all the purposes of a general government, and leaving with the States those
questions of local law in which the integrity of the nation was not involved.
The Constitution of the United States is, in the judgment of the millions of the
American people, the most sagacious document which has ever emanated from
uninspired minds. It has created the strongest government upon this globe.
It has made the United States of America what they now are. The world must
look at the fruit, and wonder and admire.
FIRST PRESIDENT OF THE NEW NATION.
Upon the adoption of the Constitution all eyes were turned to Washington
as chief magistrate. By the unanimous voice of the Electors he was chosen the
first President of the United States. There was probably scarcely a dissentient
voice in the nation. New York was then the seat of government. As Wash-
ington left Mount Vernon for the metropolis to assume these new duties of toil
and care, we find recorded in his journal:-
"About ten o'clock I bade adieu to Mount Vernon, to private life, and to
domestic felicity; and, with a mind oppressed with more anxious and painful
sensations than I have words to express, set out for New York, with the best
disposition to render service to my country in obedience to its call, but with less
hopes of answering its expectations."
On his journey to New York Washington was met and escorted by crowds
of people, who made his progress a march of triumph. At Trenton a beautiful
arch, decorated with flowers, spanned the road, commemorating his victory
over the Hessians in 1776. His path was strewn with flowers, and troops of
children sang songs of welcome.
Washington was inaugurated President of the United States on the 30th
of April, 1789. He remained in the presidential chair two terms of four years
each. At the close of his administration, in the year 1796, he again retired to
the peaceful shades of Mount Vernon. Soon after his return he wrote a letter
to a friend, in which he described the manner in which he passed his time. He
rose with the sun, and first made preparations for the business of the day.
SI AM READY FOR ANY SERVICE THAT I CAN GIVE MY COUNTRY"
In 1798 our Government was about to declare war against France. Congress appointed Washington commander-in-chief
of the American Army. The Secretary of War carried the commission in person to Mt. Vernon. The old
hero, sitting on his horse in the harvest field, accepted in the above patriotic words.
By the time I have accomplished these matters," he adds, "breakfast is
ready. This being over, I mount my horse, and ride round my farms, which
employs me until it is time to dress for dinner, at which I rarely miss to see
strange faces, come, as they say, out of respect to me. And how different is
this from having a few friends at the social board! The usual time of sitting at
table, a walk, and tea, bring me within the dawn of candle-light; previous to
which, if not prevented by company, I resolve that, as soon as the glimmering
taper supplies the place of the great luminary, I will retire to my writing-table,
and acknowledge the letters I have received. Having given you this history.of
a day, it will serve for a year."
The following anecdotes have been related, illustrative of President Wash.
ington's habits of punctuality. Whenever he assigned to meet Congress at
noon, he seldom failed of passing the door of the hall when the clock struck
twelve. His dining-hour was at four o'clock, when he always sat down to his
table, whether his guests were assembled or not, merely allowing five minutes
for the variation of time-pieces. To those who came late, he remarked, Gen-
tlemen, we are punctual here: my cook never asks whether the company has
arrived, but whether the hour has."
Captain Pease had a beautiful span of horses, which he wished to sell to the
President. The President appointed five o'clock in the morning to examine
them at his stable. The Captain arrived with his span at quarter past five. He
was told by the groom that the President was there at five o'clock, but was then
gone to attend to other engagements. The President's time was wholly occu-
pied for several days, so that Captain Pease had to remain a whole week in
Philadelphia before he could get another opportunity to exhibit his span.
Washington, having inherited a large landed estate in Virginia, was, as a
matter of course, a slaveholder. The whole number which he held at the time
of his death was one hundred and twenty-four. The system met his strong
disapproval. In 1786 he wrote to Robert Morris, saying, "There is no man
living who wishes more sincerely than I do to see a plan adopted for the aboli-
tion of slavery."
Long before this he had recorded his resolve : "I never mean, unless some
particular circumstances should compel me to it, to possess another slave by
purchase; it being among my first wishes to see some plan adopted by which.
slavery in this country may be abolished by law."
Mrs. Washington, immediately after her husband's death, learning from his
will that the only obstacle to the immediate emancipation of the slaves was her
right of dower, immediately relinquished that right, and the slaves were at once
The 12th of December, 1799, was chill and damp. Washington, however,
took his usual round on horseback to his farms, and returned late in the after,
noon, wet with sleet, and shivering with cold. Though the snow was clinging
to his hair behind when he came in, he sat down to dinner without changing his
dress. The next day three inches of snow whitened the ground, and the sky
was clouded. Washington, feeling that he had taken cold, remained by the fire-
side during the morning. As it cleared up in the afternoon, he went out to
THE TOMB OF WASHINGTON AT MOUNT VERNON.
superintend some work upon the lawn. He was then hoarse, and the hoarse
ness increased as night came on. He, however, took no remedy for it, saying,
"I never take anything to carry off a cold. Let it go as it came."
He passed the evening as usual, reading the papers, answering letters, and
conversing with his family. About two o'clock the next morning, Saturday, the
14th, he awoke in an ague-chill, and was seriously unwell. At sunrise his
physician, Dr. Craig, who resided at Alexandria, was sent for. In the mean-
time he was bled by one of his overseers, but with no relief, as he rapidly grew
worse. Dr. Craig reached Mount Vernon at eleven o'clock, and immediately
bled his patient again, but without effect. Two consulting physicians arrived
during the day; and, as the difficulty in breathing and swallowing rapidly
increased, venesection was again attempted. It is evident that Washington
then considered his case doubtful. He examined his will, and destroyed some
papers which he did not wish to have preserved.
His sufferings from inflammation of the throat and struggling for breath, as
the afternoon wore away, became quite severe. Still, he retained his mental
faculties unimpaired, and spoke briefly of his approaching death and burial.
About four o'clock in the afternoon he said to Dr. Craig, "I die hard; but I am
not afraid to go. I believed, from my first attack, that I should not survive it:
my breath cannot last long." About six o'clock, his physician asked him if he
would sit up in his bed. He held out his hands, and was raised up on his pillow,
when he.said, "I feel that I am going. I thank you for your attentions. You
had better not take any more trouble about me, but let me go off quietly. I
cannot last long."
He then sank back upon his pillow, and made several unavailing attempts
to speak intelligibly. About ten o'clock he said, "I am just going. Have me
decently buried, and do not let my body be put into the vault until three days
after I am dead. Do you understand me?" To the reply, "Yes, sir," he
remarked, "It is well." These were the last words he uttered. Soon after this
he gently expired, in the sixty-eighth year of his age.
At the moment of his death Mrs. Washington sat in silent grief at the foot
of his bed. "Is he gone?" she asked, in a firm and collected voice. The
physician, unable to speak, gave a silent signal of assent. "'Tis well," she
added, in the same untremulous utterance. "All is now over. I shall soon
follow him. I have no more trials to pass through."
On the I8th his remains were deposited in the tomb at Mount Vernon,
where they still repose; and his name and memory live on immortal, forever
enshrined in the hearts of a grateful people.
"How sleep the brave who sink to rest
By all their country's wishes blest!
By fairy hands their knell is rung;
By forms unseen their dirge is sung;
There Honor comes, a pilgrim gray,
To bless the turf that wraps their clay;
And Freedom shall awhile repair
To dwell, a weeping hermit, there."
PENN'S TREATY WITH THE INDIANS.
A:; z~I~~.ric~~.l ~
THE INVENTOR, PHILOSOPHER, AND STATESMAN.
C. ONE," says a well-known writer, "ever started from
,, :,, ,-:. a lower point than the poor apprentice of Boston;
," no one ever raised himself higher by his own un-
Saided forces than the inventor of the lightning-rod.
S-Better than the biographies of Plutarch, this life,
< '- so long and so well filled, is a source of perpetual
S instruction to all men. Every one can there find
.'counsel and example."
.. Franklin's autobiography is one of the most
'., fascinating books in the language. It has the charm of
l,Jt' common to all of his writings; and no one who has
opportunity should miss reading this unrivaled book. It was
undertaken at first for the edification of the members of his own family, and
afterward continued at the pressing request of friends in London and Paris.
His autobiography, however, covers only the first fifty years of his life.
For three hundred years at least Franklin's family lived in the village of
Ecton, in Northamptonshire, England, the eldest son, who inherited the property,
being always brought up to the trade of a smith. Franklin himself was the
youngest son of the youngest son for five generations back." Franklin's
father, Josiah, took his wife and three children to New England in 1682, where
he practiced the trade of a tallow-chandler and soap-boiler. Franklin was born
in 1706, and was the youngest of seventeen children.
Benjamin being the youngest of ten sons, his father intended him for the
Church, and sent him to school when eight years of age. Although he made
very rapid progress in the school, his father concluded he could not afford a
college education. At the age of ten young Benjamin was taken home to assist
in cutting the wicks of candles, and otherwise to make himself useful.
Until twelve years of age Benjamin continued in his father's business, but
as he manifested a great dislike for it, his parents set about finding some trade
more congenial to his tastes. With this view his father took him to see various
artificers at their work, that he might observe the tastes of the boy. This
44 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.
experience was very valuable to him, as it taught him to do many little jobs for
himself. During this time Benjamin spent most of his pocket-money in purchase.
ing books, some of which he sold when he had read them, in order to buy others.
He read through most of the books in his father's very limited library.
At length Franklin's fondness for books caused his father to decide to make
him a printer. His brother James had already entered that business, and. had
set up in Boston. He signed his indentures when only twelve years old,
apprenticing himself to his brother until the age of twenty-one.
Meeting with a book on vegetarianism, Franklin determined to give the
system a trial. This led to some inconvenience in his brother's housekeeping,
so Franklin proposed to board himself if his brother would give him half the
sum h~ paid for his board. Out of this he was able to save a considerable
amouift for the purpose of buying books. Moreover, the time required for his
meals'was now so short that the dinner-hour afforded considerable leisure for
In 1720 or 1721 James Franklin began to print the New England Coz rant.
To this paper, which he helped to compose and print, Benjamin becarr e an
anonymous contributor. The members of the staff spoke highly of his contribu-
tions, but when the authorship became known, James conceived a jealousy of his
younger brother, which led to their separation. An article in the paper having
offended the Assembly, James was imprisoned for a month, and forbidden to
print the paper. He then secretly freed Benjamin from his indentures, in order
that the paper might be published in his name. At length, a disagreement arising
Benjamin took advantage of the canceling of his indentures to quit his brother's
service. As he could get no employment in Boston, he obtained a passage to
New York, whence he was recommended to go to Philadelphia, which he reached
after a very troublesome journey. His whole stock of cash then consisted of a
Dutch dollar and about a shilling's worth of coppers. His first appearance in
Philadelphia, about eight o'clock on a Sunday morning, was certainly striking.
A youth between seventeen and eighteen years of age, dressed in his working
clothes, which were dirty through his journey, with his pockets stuffed out with
stockings and shirts, his aspect was not calculated to command respect.
'"I walked up the street," he writes, gazing about, till near the market-
house I met a boy with bread. I had made many a meal on bread, and, inquir-
ing where he got it, I went immediately to the baker's he directed me to, on
Second street, and ask'd for bisket, intending such as we had in Boston; but
they, it seems, were not made in Philadelphia. Then I asked for a threepenny
loaf, and was told they had none such. So, not considering or knowing the dif-
ference of money, and the greater cheapness, nor the name of his bread, I bade
him give me three-penny-worth of any sort. He gave me, accordingly, three
great puffy rolls. I was surpriz'd at the quantity, but took it, and having no
FRANKLIN IN PHILADELPHIA.
room in my pockets, walk'd off with a roll under each arm, and eating the
other. Thus I went up Market street as far as Fourth street, passing by the
door of Mr. Read, my future wife's father; when she, standing at the door, saw
me, and thought I made, as I certainly did, a most awkward, ridiculous appear-
ance. Then I turned and went down Chestnut street and part of Walnut street,
eating my roll all the way, and, coming round, found myself again at Market
street wharf, near the boat I came in, to which I went for a draught of the river
water; and, being filled out with one of my rolls, gave the other two to a woman
and her child that came down the river in the boat with us, and were waiting to
FRANKLIN IN PHILADELPHIA.
In Philadelphia Franklin obtained an introduction to a printer, named Kei-
mer, who had set up business with an old press which he appeared not to know
how to use, and one pair of cases of English type. Here Franklin obtained em-
ployment when the business on hand would permit, and he put the press in order
and worked it. Keimer obtained lodging for him at the house of Mr. Read,
and, by industry and economical living, Franklin soon found himself in easy
circumstances. Sir William Keith, the Governor of Pennsylvania, hearing of
Franklin, called upon him, and promised to obtain for him the Government print-
ing if he would set up for himself. Josiah Franklin thought his son too young
to take the responsibility of a business, whereon the Governor, stating that he
was determined to have a good printer there, promised to find the means of equip-
ping the printing-office himself, and suggested Franklin's making a journey to
England to purchase the plant. He promised letters of introduction to various
persons in England, as well as a letter of credit. These were to be sent on
board the ship, and Franklin, having gone on board, awaited the letters. When
the Governor's despatches came, they were all put into a bag together, and the
captain promised to let Franklin have his letters before landing. On opening
the bag off Plymouth, there were no letters of the kind promised, and Franklin
was left, without introductions and almost without money, to make his own way
in the world. In London he learned that Governor Keith was well known as a
man in whom no dependence could be placed, and as to his giving a letter of
credit, he had no credit to give."
A friend of Franklin's, named Ralph, accompanied him from America, and
the two took lodgings together. Franklin immediately obtained employment at
a printing-office, but Ralph, who knew no trade but aimed at literature, was unable
to get any work. He could not obtain employment, even as a copying clerk so
for some time the wages which Franklin earned had to support the two.
Among Franklin's fellow-passengers from Philadelphia to England was an
American merchant, a Mr. Denham. This gentleman always remained a firm
friend to Franklin, who, during his stay in London, sought his advice when any
important questions arose. When Mr. Denham returned to Philadelphia, he
offered Franklin an appointment as- clerk, which was afterward to develop into
a commission agency. The offer was accepted, and the two returned to Phila-
delphia in October, 1726. Here he found that Miss Read, to whom he had
become engaged before leaving for England, and to whom he had written only
once during his absence, had married. Shortly after starting in business, Mr.
Denham died, and thus left Franklin to commence life again for himself. Kei-
aier had by this time obtained a fairly extensive establishment, and employed a
PENN'S RESIDENCE IN SECOND STREET, BELOW CHESTNUT STREET.
number of hands, but none of them of much value; and he made overtures to
Franklin to take the management of his printing-office. Franklin set the print-
ing-house in order, started type-founding, made the ink, and, when necessary,
While working for Keimer, Franklin formed a club, called the Junto, which
was destined to exert considerable influence on American politics. It was essen-
tially a debating society, the subject for each evening's discussion being proposed
at the preceding meeting. The Club lasted for about forty years, and became
-,rs ..I -=
t, "- : :,' JILrlY
"POOR RICHARD'S ALMANACK."
the nucleus of the American Philosophical Society, of which Franklin was the
On leaving Keimer's, Franklin went into partnership with one of his fellow.
workmen, Hugh Meredith, whose father found the necessary capital, and a print-
ing-office was started which soon excelled its two rivals in Philadelphia. Frank-
lin's industry attracted the attention of the townsfolk, and inspired the merchants
with confidence in the prospects of the new concern.
In order to secure my credit and character as a tradesman, I took care not
only to be in reality industrious and frugal, but to avoid all appearances to the
contrary. I drest plainly; I was seen at no places of idle diversion. I never
went out a-fishing or shooting; a book, indeed, sometimes debauch'd me from
my work, but that was seldom, snug, and gave no scandal; and, to show that I
was not above my business, I sometimes brought home the paper I purchased at
the stores thro' the streets on a wheelbarrow. Thus being esteem'd an indus-
trious, thriving young man, and paying duly for what I bought, the merchants
who imported stationery solicited my custom; others proposed supplying me with
books, and I went on swimmingly. In the meantime, Keimer's credit declin-
ing daily, he was at last forc'd to sell his printing-house to satisfy his creditors."
On September I, 1730, Franklin married his formerfiancde, whose previous
husband had left her and was reported to have died in the West Indies. The
marriage was a very happy one. Industry and frugality reigned in the house-
hold of the young printer. Mrs. Franklin not only managed the house, but
assisted in the business, folding and stitching pamphlets, and in other ways
making herself useful.
PUBLIC SERVICE AND RESPONSIBILITY.
In 1732 appeared the first copy of "Poor Richard's Almanack." This was
published by Franklin for about twenty-five years in succession, and attained a
world-wide fame. Besides the usual astronomical information, it contained a
collection of entertaining anecdotes, verses, jests, etc., while the "little spaces
that occurred between the remarkable events in the calendar" were filled with
proverbial sayings, inculcating industry and frugality as helps to virtue. These
sayings were collected and prefixed to the almanack of 1757, whence they were
copied into the American newspapers, and afterward reprinted as a broad-sheet
in England and in France.
In 1736 Franklin was chosen Clerk to the General Assembly, an office to
which he was annually re-elected until he became a member of the Assembly
about 1750. There was one member who, on the second occasion of his
election, made a long speech against him. Franklin determined to secure the
friendship of this member. Accordingly, he wrote to him to request the loan
of a very scarce and curious book which was in his library. The book was lent
and returned in about a week, with a note of thanks. The member ever after
manifested a readiness to serve Franklin, and they became great friends-
"Another instance of the truth of an old maxim I had learned, which says, 'He
that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another than he
whom you yourself have obliged.' And it shows how much more profitable it is
to prudently remove, than to resent, return, and continue inimical proceedings."
Spain, having been for some years at war with England, was joined at length
by France. This threatened danger to the American colonies. Franklin pub-
lished a pamphlet entitled Plain Truth," setting forth the unarmed condition
,of the colonies, and recommending the formation of a volunteer force for
defensive purposes. The pamphlet excited much attention. The provision of
war material was a difficulty with the Assembly, which consisted largely of
Quakers, who, though privately willing that the country should be put in a state
of defense, hesitated to vote in opposition to their peace principles. Hence,
when the Government of New England asked a grant of gunpowder from Penn-
sylvania, the Assembly voted 3000 "for the purchasing of bread, flour, wheat,
or other grain." When it was proposed to devote /60 toward the erection of
a battery below the town, Franklin suggested that it should be proposed that a
fire-engine be purchased with the money, and that the committee should "buy
a great gun, which is certainly afire-engine."
The "Pennsylvania fireplace" was invented in 1742. A patent was offered
to Franklin by the Governor of Pennsylvania, but he declined it on the principle
"that, as we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, we should be
glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours; and this we
should do freely and generously."
Having practically retired from business, Franklin intended to devote him-
self to philosophical studies, having commenced his electrical researches some
time before in conjunction with the other members of the Library Company.
Public business, however, crowded upon him. He was elected a member of the
Assembly, a councillor, and afterward an alderman of the city, and by the
Governor was made a justice of the peace. As a member of the Assembly, he
was largely concerned in providing the means for the erection of a hospital, and
in arranging for the paving and cleansing of the streets of the city. In 1753 he
was appointed, in conjunction with Mr. Hunter, Postmaster-General of America.
The post-office of the colonies had previously been conducted at a loss. In a few
years, under Franklin's management, it not only paid the stipends of himself
and Mr. Hunter, but yielded a considerable revenue to the Crown.
In 1754 war with France appeared to be again imminent, and a Congress
of Commissioners from the several colonies was arranged for. Of course,
Franklin was one of the representatives of Pennsylvania, and was also one of
the members who independently drew up a plan for the union of all the colonies
JOURNEY TO ENGLAND.
under one government, for defensive and other general purposes, and his was
the plan finally approved by Congress for the union, though it was not accepted
by the Assemblies or by the English Government, being regarded by the former
as having too much of the prerogative in it, by the latter as being too democratic.
Franklin wrote respecting this scheme : "The different and contrary reasons of
dislike to my plan makes me suspect that it was really the true medium; and 1
am still of opinion that it would have been happy for both sides the water if it
had been adopted. The colonies, so united, would have been sufficiently strong
to have defended themselves; there would then have been no need of troops
from England; of course, the subsequent pretense for taxing America, and the
bloody contest it occasioned, would have been avoided."
In the following year General Braddock started on his famous expedition
againstt Fort Duquesne. Franklin's services were called for in providing
horses and wagons from the Pennsylvania farmers; and in the disastrous defeat
which Braddock suffered, and in the long years of the French and Indian war
which followed, Franklin took a prominent part in devising means of protection
for the Colonies. When at last the war was ended by the victory and death
of Wolfe on the heights of Quebec, Franklin's attention was turned to the
relations of the Colonies to the mother country, which were becoming daily
more strained by the oppressions of the British Parliament.
FRANKLIN SENT TO ENGLAND.
In 1757 Franklin was sent by the Assembly of Pennsylvania to London,
to present a remonstrance against the conduct of the Governor, who refused to
assent to bills for raising revenue for the king unless the proprietary estates
were exempted from taxation. When Franklin reached London he took up his
abode with Mrs. Margaret Stevenson. For Mrs. Stevenson and her daughter
Mary, then a young lady of eighteen, he acquired a sincere affection, which con-
tinued throughout their lives. Miss Stevenson spent much of her time with an
aunt in the country, and some of Franklin's letters to her respecting the con-
duct of her "higher education are among the most interesting of his writings.
In coming to England, Franklin brought with him his son William, who entered
on the study of law. To his wife and daughter Franklin frequently sent pres-
ents, and his letters to Mrs. Franklin give a pretty full account of all his doings
while in England. During his visit he received the honorary degrees of D.C.L.
from the University of Oxford, and LL.D. from that of Edinburgh. In August,
1762, he started again for America, and reached Philadelphia on November
I, after an absence of five years. His son William had shortly before been
appointed Governor of New Jersey. From this time William Franklin became
very much the servant of the proprietaries and of the English government, but
no offer of patronage produced any effect on the father.
'-r' L -'
V y j
DEATH OF WOLFE,
FOLLY OF THE STAMP ACT. 5
Franklin's stay in America was of short duration. While there he was
mainly instrumental in quelling an insurrection in Pennsylvania, and was en-
gaged in long and tedious efforts to compose the incessant disputes between
the Assembly and the proprietary governors. As soon as the Assembly was
convened, it determined to send Franklin to England, to take charge of a peti-
tion for a change of government. The merchants subscribed /iIIoo toward
his expenses in a few hours, and in twelve days he was on his journey, being
accompanied to the ship by a cavalcade of three hundred of his friends. Arrived
in London, he at once took up his old lodgings with Mrs. Stevenson. He was a
master of satire, equaled only by Swift, and during the quarrels which preceded
the War of Independence, as well as during the war, he made good use of his
One of- Franklin's chief objects in coming to England was to prevent the
passing of the Stamp Act. The colonists urged that they had always been
liberal in their votes, whenever money was required by the Crown, and that
Parliament had no right to tax America so long as the colonists were unrepre-
sented in Parliament. Had Mr. Grenville, instead of that act, applied to the
King in Council for requisitional letters, I am sure he would have obtained more
money from the colonies by their voluntary grants than he himself expected
from the sale of stamps. But he chose compulsion rather than persuasion, and
would not receive from their good-will what he thought he could obtain without
it." The Stamp Act was passed, stamps were printed, distributors were ap-
pointed, but the colonists would have nothing to do with the stamps. The
distributors were compelled to resign their commissions, and the captains of
vessels were forbidden to land the stamped paper. The cost of printing and
distributing amounted to /12,000; the whole return was about 1500, and
that mainly from Canada and the West Indies.
In 1767 Franklin visited Paris. Though Parliament had repealed the Stamp
Act, it nevertheless insisted on its right to tax the colonies. The Duty Act was
scarcely less objectionable than its predecessors. On Franklin's return from
the continent, he heard of the retaliatory measures of the Boston people, who
had assembled in town-meetings, formally resolved to encourage home manu-
factures, to abandon superfluities, and, after a certain time, to give up the use of
some articles of foreign manufacture.
A quantity of tea sent by the East India Company to Boston was destroyed
by the people. The British Government then blockaded the port. This soon led
to open hostilities. Franklin worked hard to effect a reconciliation. He drew
up a scheme, setting forth the conditions under which he conceived a reconcilia-
tion might be brought about, and discussed it fully with Mr. Daniel Barclay and
Dr. Fothergill. This scheme was shown to Lord Howe, and afterward brought
before the Ministry, but was rejected. All his negotiations were fruitless. At
last he addressed a memorial to the Earl of Dartmouth, Secretary of State,
complaining of the blockade of Boston, which had then continued for nine
months, and had during every week of its continuance done damage to that
town equal to what was suffered there by the India Company;" and claiming
reparation for such injury beyond the value of the tea which had been destroyed.
This memorial was returned to Franklin by Mr. Walpole, and Franklin, shortly
afterward returned to Philadelphia.
THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR.
Before Franklin reached America, the War of Independence, though not
formally declared, had fairly begun. He was appointed a member of the second
Continental Congress, and one of a committee to confer with General Washing-
ton respecting the Continental Army. On October 3, 1775, he wrote to
"Tell our dear good friend, Dr. Price, who sometimes has his doubts and
despondencies about our firmness, that America is determined and unanimous;
a very few Tories and placemen excepted, who will probably soon export
themselves. Britain, at the expense of three millions, has killed a hundred and
fifty Yankees this campaign, which is 20,000 a head; and at Bunker's Hill she
gained a mile of ground, half of which she lost again by our taking the post on
Ploughed Hill. During the same time sixty thousand children have been born
in America. From these data his mathematical head will easily calculate the
time and expense necessary to kill us all and conquer our whole territory."
On the 4th of July Franklin took part in the signing of the Declaration of
Independence. When the document was about to be signed, Mr. Hancock
remarked, "We must be unanimous ; there must be no pulling different ways;
we must all hang together." Franklin replied, "Yes, we must indeed all hang
together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately."
In the autumn of 1776 Franklin was unanimously chosen a Special Com-
missioner to the French Court. He took with him his two grandsons, William
Temple Franklin and Benjamin Franklin Bache, and leaving Marcus Hook on
October 28th, crossed the Atlantic in a sloop of sixteen guns. In Paris he met
with an enthusiastic reception. M. de Chaumont placed at his disposal his house
at Passy, about a mile from Paris. Here he resided for nine years, being a con-
stant visitor at the French Court, and certainly one of the most conspicuous
figures in Paris. He was obliged to serve in many capacities, and was very much
burdened with work. Not only were there his duties as Commissioner at the
French Court, but he was also made Admiralty Judge and Financial Agent,
so that all financial negotiations, either with the French Government or con-
tractors, had to pass through his hands. Perhaps the most unpleasant part
of his work was his continued applications to the French Court for monetary
AID FROM FRANCE.
advances. The French Government warmly espoused the cause of the Ameri-
cans, and to the utmost of its ability assisted them with money, material, andc
REAR VIYW OF INDEPENDENCE HALL, PHILADELPHIA.
At first the British Government, regarding the Americans as rebels, did not
treat their prisoners as prisoners of war, but threatened to try them for high.
treason. Their sufferings in the English prisons were very great. Mr. David
Hartley did much to relieve them, and Franklin transmitted money for the pur.
pose. When a treaty had been formed between France and the United States,
and fortune began to turn in favor of the united armies, the American prisoners
received better treatment from the English Government, and exchanges took
In a letter to Mr. Hartley, Franklin showed something of the feelings of
the Americans with respect to the English at that time:-
You may have heard that accounts upon oath have been taken in America,
by order of Congress, of the British barbarities committed there. It is expected
of me to make a school-book of them, and to have thirty-five prints designed
here by good artists, and engraved, each expressing one or more of the horrid
facts, in order to impress the minds of children and posterity with a deep sense
of your bloody and insatiable malice and wickedness. Every kindness I hear
of done by an Englishman to an American prisoner makes me resolve not to
proceed in the work."
Franklin always advocated freedom of commerce, even in time of war. He
was of opinion that the merchant, the agriculturist, and the fisherman were bene-
factors to mankind. He condemned privateering in every form, and endeav-
ored to bring about an agreement between all the civilized powers against the
fitting out of privateers. He held that no merchantman should be interfered with
unless carrying war material. He greatly lamented the horrors of the war, but
preferred anything to a dishonorable peace. To Priestley he wrote:-
Perhaps as you grow older you may repent of having murdered in
mephitic air so many honest, harmless mice, and wish that, to prevent mischief,
you had used boys and girls instead of them. In what light we are viewed by
superior beings may be gathered from a piece of late West India news, which
possibly has not yet reached you. A young angel of distinction, being sent down
to this world on some business for the first time, had an old courier-spirit assigned
him as a guide. They arrived over the seas of Martinico, in the middle of the
long day of obstinate fight between the fleets of Rodney and De Grasse. When,
through the clouds of smoke, he saw the fire of the guns, the decks covered with
mangled limbs and bodies dead or dying; the ships sinking, burning, or blown
into the air; and the quantity of pain, misery, and destruction the crews yet
alive were thus with so much eagerness dealing round to one another,-he
turned angrily to his guide, and said, 'You blundering blockhead, you are igno
rant of your business ; you undertook to conduct me to the earth, and you have
brought me into hell!' No, sir,' says the guide, 'I have made no mistake; this is
really the earth, and these are men. Devils never treat one another in this cruel
manner; they have more sense and more of what men (vainly) call humanity.' "
Franklin maintained that it would be far cheaper for a nation to extend its
possessions by purchase from other nations than to pay the cost of war for the
sake of conquest.
VIEWS ON RELIGION.
At last, after two years' negotiations, a definitive treaty of peace was
signed between Great Britain and the United States, Franklin being one of the
Commissioners for the latter, and Mr. Hartley for the former, and therewith
terminated the seven years' War of Independence. Franklin .celebrated the
surrender of the armies of Burgoyne and Cornwallis by a medal, on which the
infant Hercules appears strangling two serpents.
RETURN TO AMERICA.1
On May 2, 1785, Franklin received from Congress permission to return to
America. He was then in his eightieth year. On July i2th he left Passy for
Havre, whence he crossed to Southampton, and there saw for the last time his
old friend, the Bishop of St. Asaph, and his family. He reached his home in
Philadelphia early in September, and the day after his arrival he received a
congratulatory address from the Assembly of Pennsylvania. In the following
month he was elected President of the State, and was twice re-elected to the
same office, it being contrary to the Constitution for any President to be elected
for more than three years in succession.
The following extract from a letter, written most probably to Thomas Paine,
is worthy of the attention of some writers:-
"I have read your manuscript with some attention. By the argument it
contains against a particular Providence, though you allow a general Providence,
you strike at the foundations of all religion. For without the belief of a Provi-
dence that takes cognizance of, guards and guides, and may favor particular
persons, there is no motive to worship a Deity, to fear His displeasure, or to
pray for His protection. I will not enter into any discussion of your principles,
though you seem to desire it. But were you to succeed, do you imagine any
good would be done by it? You yourself may find it easy to live a virtuous
life without the assistance afforded by religion; you having a clear perception
of the advantages of virtue and the disadvantages of vice, and possessing
strength of resolution sufficient to enable you to resist common temptations.
But think how great a portion of mankind consists of weak and ignorant men
and women, and of inexperienced, inconsiderate youth of both sexes, who have
need of the motives of religion to restrain them from vice, to support their
virtue, and retain tnem in the practice of it till it becomes habitual, which is the
great point for its security. And perhaps you are indebted to her originally,
that is, to your religious education, for the habits of virtue upon which you
now justly value yourself. You might easily display your excellent talents of
reasoning upon a less hazardous subject, and thereby obtain a rank with our
most distinguished authors. For among us it is not necessary, as among the
Hottentots, that a youth, to be raised into the company of men, should prove
his manhood by beating his mother.
I would advise you, therefore, not to attempt unchaining the tiger, but to
burn this piece before it is seen by any other person; whereby you will save
yourself a great deal of mortification by
-the enemies it may raise against you,
__ and perhaps a good deal of regret and
repentance. If men are so wicked with
1'i i i: religion, what would they be if without
it ? I intend this letter itself as a jrooJ
o I f my friendship, and therefore add no
,-- 'i professions to it; but subscribe simply
i' MI During the last few years of his life
Franklin suffered from a painful disease,
r which confined him to his bed and seri-
SH 1 ously interfered with his literary work,
preventing him from completing his bio-
---, graphy. During this time he was cared
.-.. i4., ,y. for by his daughter, Mrs. Bache, who
S resided in the same house with him. He
FRANKLIN'S GRAVE. died on April i7, I790, the immediate
cause of death being an affection of
the lungs. He was buried beside his wife in the cemetery of Christ Church,
Philadelphia, the marble slab upon the grave bearing no other inscription than
the name and date of death. In his early days (1728) he had written the tol.
lowing epitaph for himself:-
(LIKE THE COVER OF AN OLD BOOK,
ITS CONTENTS TORN OUT
AND STRIPT OF ITS LETTERING AND GILDING),
LIES HERE, FOOD FOR WORMS.
BUT THE WORK HALL NOT BE LOST,
FOR IT WILL (AS HE BE IEVED) APPEAR ONCE 1MOE
IN A NEW AND MO ZE ELEGANT EDITION,
REVISED AN ) CORRECTED
T"HE PIONEER OF DEMOCRACY IN AMERIOA.
AT the beginning of the nine-
teenth century the people
of the United States may
be said to have been di-
vided into two classes,-
those who thought Thomas
Jefferson the greatest and
II wisest of living men, and
those who believed him the
worst and most dangerous.
The French Revolution,
that great uprising of the
masses against the oppres-
sions of despotic power,
had then divided public
opinion throughout the
whole civilized world. Jef-
ferson was at the head of
"" the party which sympa-
thized with the common
people, and advocated their
J"-" cause. The opposite party,
shocked and horrified at
THE LIBERTY BELL, AS EXHIBITED AT THE NEW ORLEANS EXPOSITION. the excesses committed by
the revolutionists in France,
looked upon everything democratic with indescribable fear and aversion.
These extremes of opinion make it difficult, even at this day, to get a fair and
moderate opinion of Jefferson. He is either a fiend incarnate or an angel of
light. But whether the principles for which he stood be approved or con-
demned, their success at least cannot be denied. Jefferson was the pioneer
of democracy, the apostle of the sovereignty of the common people, which
from his time to the present has become every year more firmly rooted in
American politics; and whether it be for good or ill, it is for this that he will be
remembered in the centuries yet to come.
Thomas Jefferson was born in' 1743, near the site of the present town of
Charlottesville, Virginia. His father, Peter Jefferson, owned a plantation of
fourteen hundred acres called Shadwell, from the name of the parish in London
where his wife was born. His home was literally hewn out of the wilderness.
There were but few white settlers within many miles of the mansion, which con-
sisted of a spacious story and a half cottage-house. A wide hall and tour large
rooms occupied the lower floor. Above these there were good chambers and a
spacious garret. Two huge outside chimneys contributed to the picturesque
aspect of the mansion. It was delightfully situated upon a gentle swell of land
on the slopes of the Blue Ridge, and commanded a sublime prospect of far-
reaching mountains and forests.
Thomas was naturally of a serious, pensive, reflective turn of mind. From
the time he was five years of age he was kept diligently at school under the best
teachers. He was a general favorite with both teachers and scholars. In the year
1760 he entered William and Mary College. Williamsburg was then the seat
of the colonial court, and the abode of fashion and splendor. Young Jefferson
lived in college somewhat expensively, keeping fine horses, and much caressed
by gay society. Still, he was earnestly devoted to his studies and irreproachable
in his morals.
In 1767 he entered upon the practice of the law. His thoroughly disci-
plined mind, ample stores of knowledge, and polished address, were rapidly
raising him to distinction, when the outbreak of the Revolution introduced him
to loftier spheres of responsibility. He had been but a short time admitted to
the bar ere he was chosen by his fellow-citizens to a seat in the Legislature of
Virginia. This was in 1769. Jefferson was then the largest slaveholder in the
house. It is a remarkable evidence of his foresight, his moral courage, and the
love of liberty which inspired him, that he introduced a bill empowering slave-
holders to manumit their slaves if they wished to do so. Slavery caught the
alarm. The proposition was rejected by an overwhelming vote.
In 1772 he married Mrs. Martha Skelton, a very beautiful, wealthy, and
highly accomplished young widow. She brought to him, as her munificent
dowry, forty thousand acres of land, and one hundred and thirty-five slaves.
He thus became one of the largest slaveholders in Virginia : and yet he labored
with all his energies for the abolition of slavery; declaring the institution to be
a curse to the master, a curse to the slave, and an offense in the sight -of God.
In 1775 Jefferson was chosen a member of the Continental Congress, and
in June of that year he left Williamsburg to take his seat in the Congress
at Philadelphia. He was the youngest member in the body but one. His
THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR.
reputation as a writer had preceded him, and he immediately took a conspicu-
ous stand, though he seldom spoke. The native suavity of Jefferson, his mod-
esty, and the frankness and force with which he expressed his views, captivated
even his opponents. It is said that he had not an enemy in Congress.
WRITING THE GREAT DECLARATION.
When the time came for drafting the "Declaration of Independence," that
great task was committed to Jefferson. Franklin and Adams suggested a few
changes before it was submitted to Congress. The Declaration passed a fiery
ordeal of criticism. For three days the debate continued. Mr. Jefferson opened
not his lips. John Adams was the great champion of the Declaration on the
floor. One may search all the ages to find a more solemn, momentous event than
the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It was accompanied with
prayer to Almighty God. Silence pervaded the room as one after another
affixed his name to that document, which brought down upon him the implacable
hate of the mightiest power upon the globe, and which doomed him inevitably to
the scaffold, should the feeble colonies fail in the unequal struggle.
In 1779 Mr. Jefferson was chosen governor of Virginia. He was then
thirty-six years of age. The British were now preparing to strike their heaviest
blows upon the South. Georgia had fallen helpless into the hands of the foe;
South Carolina was invaded, and Charleston threatened. At one time the
British officer, Tarleton, sent a secret expedition to Monticello to capture the
governor. Scarcely five minutes elapsed after the hurried escape of Mr. Jeffer-
son and his family ere his mansion was in the possession of the British troops.
A detachment of the army of Cornwallis, in their march north from the Carolinas,
seized also another plantation which he owned on the James river. The foe
destroyed all his crops, burnt his barns and fences, drove off the cattle, seized
the serviceable horses, cut the throats of the colts, and left the whole plantation
a smouldering, blackened waste. Twenty-seven slaves were also carried off.
"Had he carried off the slaves," says Jefferson with characteristic magnanimity,
"to give them freedom, he would have done right."
The English ministry were now getting tired of the war. The opposition
in Parliament had succeeded in carrying a resolution on the 4th of March, 1782,
"That all those who should advise, or by any means attempt, the further prose-
cution of offensive war in America, should be considered as enemies to their
king and country." This popular decision overcame the obstinacy of the king,
and he was compelled to make overtures for peace.
Mr. Jefferson had wonderful power of winning men to his opinions, while
he scrupulously avoided all controversy. The following extract from a letter to
his grandson brings clearly to light this trait in his character:-
"In stating prudential rules for our government in society, I must not omit
the important one of never entering into dispute or argument with another. I
never yet saw an instance of one of two disputants convincing the other by
argument; I have seen many, of their getting warm, becoming rude, and shoot-
ing one another. Conviction is the effect of our own dispassionate reasoning,
INDEPENDENCE HALL, PHILADELPHIA.
either in solitude or weighing within ourselves dispassionately what we hea"
from others, standing uncommitted in argument ourselves. It was one of the
rules, which, above all others, made Dr. Franklin the most amiable of men ip
society, 'never to contradict anybody.' "
RETURN FROM FRANCE.
In May, 1784, Congress appointed Mr. Jefferson to act as minister with
Mr. Adams and Dr. Franklin in negotiating treaties of commerce with foreign
nations. Leaving two daughters with their aunt, he took his eldest daughter
Martha with him and sailed for Europe. After a delightful voyage he reached
Paris on the 6th of August. Here he placed his daughter at school, and, meet-
ing his colleagues at Passy, engaged vigorously with them in accomplishing the
object of his mission. Dr. Franklin, now aged and infirm, obtained permission
to return home from his embassy to France. His genial character, combined
with his illustrious merit, had won the love of the French people; and he was
unboundedly popular with both peasant and prince. Such attentions were
lavished upon him in his journey from Paris to the coast, that it was almost an
ovation. It was, indeed, a delicate matter to step into the position which had
been occupied by one so enthusiastically admired. Few men could have done
this so gracefully as did Jefferson.
"You replace Monsieur Franklin, I hear," said the celebrated French
minister, the Count de Vergennes. "I succeed him," was the prompt reply:
"no man can replace him."
SECRETARY OF STATE.
In September, 1789, Jefferson returned with his daughter to America.
Immediately upon his return from France, Washington wrote to him in the most
flattering terms, urging upon him a seat in his cabinet as Secretary of State.
After some conference he accepted the appointment. His eldest daughter,
Martha, was married on the 23d'of February, 1790, to Colonel Thomas M.
Randolph. A few days after the wedding, on the ist of March, Mr. Jefferson
set out for New York, which was then the seat of government. He went by
way of Richmond and Alexandria. The roads were horrible. At the latter
place he took a stage, sending his carriage round by water, and leading his
horses. Through snow and mud, their speed seldom exceeded three or four
miles an hour by day, and one mile an hour by night. A fortnight, of great
fatigue, was consumed in the journey. Occasionally Jefferson relieved the
monotony of the dreary ride by mounting his led saddle-horse. At Philadel-
phia he called upon his friend Benjamin Franklin, then in his last illness.
The American Revolution did not originate in hostility to a monarchical
form of government, but in resisting the oppressions which that government
was inflicting upon the American people. Consequently, many persons, who
were most active in the Revolution, would have been very willing to see an
independent monarchy established here. But Mr. Jefferson had seen so much
of the pernicious influence of kings and courts in Europe that he had become
an intense republican. Upon his arrival in New York he was much surprised
at the freedom with which many persons advocated a monarchical government
"I cannot describe the wonder and mortification with which the table con.
versation filled me. Politics were the chief topic; and a preference of a kingly
over a republican government was evidently the favorite sentiment. An apos-
tate I could not be, nor yet a hypocrite; and I found myself, for the most part,
the only advocate on the republican side of the question, unless among the
guests there chanced to be some member of that party from the legislative
President Washington watched with great anxiety the rising storm, and did
all he could to quell its fury. His cabinet was divided. General Hamilton,
Secretary of the Treasury, was leader of the so-called Federal party. Mr.
STAGE-COACH OF JEFFERSON'S TIME.
Jefferson, Secretary of State, was leader of the Republican party. On the 30th
of September, 1792, as he was going from Monticello to the seat of govern-
ment, he stopped, as usual, at Mount Vernon, and spent a night with President
Washington. Mr. Jefferson makes the following record in his note-book of this
interview, which shows conclusively that President Washington did not agree
with Mr. Jefferson in his belief that there was a strong monarchical party in this
"The President," he writes, "expressed his concern at the difference which
he found to subsist between the Secretary of the Treasury and myself, of which,
he said, he had not been aware. He knew, indeed, that there was a marked
difference in our political sentiments; but he had never suspected it had gone
DISPUTES WITH HAMILTON
so far in producing a personal difference, and he wished he could be the mediator
to put an end to it; that he thought it important to preserve the check of my
opinions in the administration, in order to keep things in their proper channel,
and prevent them from going too far; that, as to the idea of transforming this
government into a monarchy, he did not believe there were ten men in the United
States, whose opinions were worth attention, who entertained such a thought."
Some important financial measures which were proposed by Mr. Hamilton,
Mr. Jefferson violently opposed. They were, however, sustained by the cabinet,
adopted by both houses of the legislature, and approved by the President. The
enemies of Mr. Jefferson now. pressed him with the charge of indelicacy in hold-
ing office under a government whose leading measures he opposed. Bitter was
the warfare waged between the two hostile secretaries. Hamilton accused
Jefferson of lauding the constitution in public, while in private he had admitted
that it contained those imperfections of want of power which Hamilton laid to its
The President seems to have been in accord with Mr. Jefferson in his views
of the importance of maintaining cordial relations with France. Both England
and Spain were then making encroachments upon us, very menacing in their
aspect. The President, in a conversation with Mr. Jefferson, on the 27th of
December, 1792, urged the necessity of making sure of the alliance with France
in the event of a rupture with either of these powers. There is no nation,"
said he, on whom we can rely at all times, but France." This had long been
one of the fundamental principles of Mr. Jefferson's policy. Upon the election
of President Washington to his second term of office, Mr. Jefferson wished. to
retire from the Cabinet. Dissatisfaction with the measures of the government
was doubtless a leading cause. At the earnest solicitation, however, of the
President, he consented to remain in his position, which was daily becoming
more uncomfortable, until the last of July, when he again sent in his resignation.
But still again President Washington so earnestly entreated him to remain, that,
very reluctantly, he consented to continue in office until the close of the year.
Every day the political horizon was growing more stormy. All Europe
was in the blaze of war. England, the most powerful monarchy on the globe,
was straining every nerve to crush the French Revolution. The haughty course
which the British government pursued toward the United States had exasper-
ated even the placid Washington. He wrote to General Hamilton on the 31st
of August, 1794:-
By these high-handed measures of that government, and the outrageous
and insulting conduct of its officers, it would seem next to impossible to keep
peace between the United States and Great Britain."
Even John Adams became aroused. Two years after, he wrote, in refer-
ence to the cool treatment which his son, John Quincy Adams, had received in
England: "1 am glad of it; for I would not have my son go as far as Mr,
Jay, and affirm the friendly disposition of that country to this. I know better.
I know their jealousy, envy, hatred, and revenge, covered under pretended
contempt." Jefferson's slumbering energies were electrified; he wrote fiery
letters, and by his conversational eloquence moved all who approached him.
A new presidential election came on. John Adams was the Federal can-
diate; Thomas Jefferson the Republican. It does not appear that Mr. Jefferson
was at all solicitous of being elected. Indeed, he wrote to Mr. Madison, "There
is nothing I so anxiously hope as that my name may come out either second or
third ; as the last would leave me at home the whole of the year, and the other
two-thirds of it." Alluding to the possibility that "the representatives may be
divided," he makes the remarkable declaration, of the sincerity of which no one
who knows the man can doubt, "This is a difficulty from which the Constitution
has provided no issue. It is both my duty and inclination, therefore, to relieve
the embarrassment, should it happen ; and, in that case I pray you, and autho-
rize you fully, to solicit on my behalf that Mr. Adams may be preferred. He
has always been my senior from the commencement of our public life; and, the
expression of the public will being equal, this circumstance ought to give him
As the result of the election, Mr. Adams became President, and Mr. Jef-
ferson, Vice-President. This rendered it necessary for him to leave Monticello
for a few months each year to attend the sessions of Congress. His numerous
letters to his children show how weary he had become of party strife, with
what reluctance he left his home, with what joy he returned to it.
In June, 1800, Congress moved from Philadelphia to Washington. The
new seat of government, literally hewn out of the wilderness, was a dreary place.
Though for twelve years workmen had been employed in that lonely, uninhab-
ited, out-of-the-way spot, in putting up the public buildings, there was nothing
as yet finished; and vast piles of stone and brick and mortar were scattered
at great distances from each other, with swamps or sand-banks intervening.
Mrs. John Adams, who had seen the residences of royalty in Europe,--
Buckingham Palace, Versailles, and the Tuileries,-gives an amusing account
of their entrance upon the splendors of the White House." In trying to find
Washington from Baltimore, they got lost in the woods. After driving for some
time, bewildered in forest paths, they chanced to come upon a black man, whom
they hired to guide them through the forest. "The house," she writes, "is
upon a grand and superb scale, requiring about thirty servants to attend, and
keep the apartments in proper order. The fires we are obliged to keep, to
secure us from daily agues, are another very cheering comfort; but, surrounded
with forests, can you believe that wood is not to be had, because people cannot
be found to cut and cart it?"
SIGNING THE DECLARATION OF AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE.
The four years of Mr. Jefferson's Vice-Presidency passed joylessly away,
while the storm of partisan strife.between Federalist and Republican was ever
growing hotter. General Hamilton, who was a great power in those days,
became as much alienated from Mr. Adams as from Jefferson. There was a
split in the Federal party. A new presidential election came on. Mr. Jeffer-
son was chosen President; and Aaron Burr, Vice-President.
THE PEOPLE'S PRESIDENT.
The news of the election of Jefferson was received in most parts of the
Union with the liveliest demonstrations of joy. He was the leader of the suc-
cessful and rapidly increasing party. His friends were found in every city and
village in our land. They had been taught to believe that the triumph of the
opposite party would be the triumph of aristocratic privilege and of civil and
religious despotism. On the other hand, many of the Federalists turned pale
when the tidings reached them that Thomas Jefferson was President of the
United States. Both the pulpit and the press had taught them that he was the
incarnation of all evil,-an infidel, an atheist, a scoffer at all things sacred; a
leveler, a revolutionist, an advocate of mob government.
Jefferson was exceedingly simple in his tastes, having a morbid dislike of
all that court etiquette which had disgusted him so much in Europe. Washing-
ton rode to the halls of Congress in state, drawn by six cream-colored horses.
Jefferson, on the morning of his inauguration, rode on horseback to the Capitol
in a dress of plain cloth, without guard or servant, dismounted without assist-
ance, and fastened the bridle of his horse to the fence. It may be that Mr.
Jefferson had allowed his mind to become so thoroughly imbued with the con-
viction that our government was drifting towards monarchy and aristocracy,
that he felt bound to set the example of extreme democratic simplicity.
The political principles of the Jeffersonian party now swept the country,
and Mr. Jefferson swayed an influence which was never exceeded by Washing-
ton himself. Louisiana, under which name was then included the whole territory
west of the Mississippi to the Pacific, was purchased of France, under his admin-
istration, in the year 1803, for fifteen millions of dollars.
He was now smitten by another domestic grief. In the year 1804 his beau-
tiful daughter M-ria, whom he so tenderly loved, sank into the grave, leaving
her babe behind her. His eldest daughter, Martha, speaking of her father's
suffering under this terrible grief, says,-
"I found him with the Bible in his hands. He who has been so often and
so harshly accused'of unbelief,-he, in his hour of intense affliction, sought and
found consolation in the sacred volume. The comforter was there for his true
heart and devout spirit, even though his faith might not be what the world calls
SECOND TERM AS PRESIDENT
Another presidential election came in 1804. Mr. Jefferson was reflected
President with wonderful unanimity; and George Clinton, Vice-President. Jef-
ferson was sixty-two years of age, when, on the 4th of March, 1805, he entered
upon his second term of office. Our relations with England were daily becom-
ing more complicated, from the British demand of the right to stop any of our
ships, whether belonging to either the commercial or naval marine, and to take
from them any sailors whom they felt disposed to claim as British subjects. The
course England pursued rendered it certain that war could not be avoided. Mr.
Jefferson humanely did everything in his power to prevent the Indians from
FAIRFAX COURT HOUSE-A TYPICAL VIRGINIA COURT HOUSE.
taking any part in it whatever. The British, on the contrary, were endeavoring
to rouse them to deluge the frontiers in blood. Strange as it may now seem,
the measures of government to redress these wrongs were virulently opposed.
But notwithstanding the strength and influence of the opposition to Mr. Jeffer-
son's administration, he was sustained by the general voice of the nation.
In the year 1808 Mr. Jefferson closed his second term bf office, and James
Madison succeeded him as President of the United States. In the following
terms the retiring President e-nresses to a friend his feelings upon surrendering
the cares of office :-
"Within a few days I retire to my family, my books, and farms, and,
having gained the harbor myself, I shall look on my friends, still buffeting the
storm, with anxiety indeed, but not with envy. Never did a prisoner, released
from his chains, feel such relief as I shall on shaking off the shackles of power.
Nature intended me for the tranquil pursuits of science by rendering them my
supreme delight; but the enormities of the times in which I have lived have
forced me to take a part in resisting them, and to commit myself on the bolster
ous ocean of political passions. I thank God for the opportunity of retiring
from them without censure, and carrying with me the most consoling proofs of
HOME LIFE AND HOSPITALITY.
Jefferson's subsequent life at Monticello was very similar to that of Wash-
ington at Mount Vernon. His mornings he devoted to his numerous corre-
spondence; from breakfast to dinner he was in the shops and over the farms;
from dinner to dark he devoted to recreation and friends ; from dark to early
bedtime he read. He was particularly interested in young men, advising
them as to their course of reading. Several came and took up their resi-
dence in the neighboring town of Charlottesville, that they might avail them-
selves of his library, which was ever open for their use.
Toward the latter part of his life, from a series of misfortunes, Mr. Jef-
ferson became deeply involved in debt, so that it was necessary for him to
sell a large portion of his estate. He was always profuse in his hospitality.
Whole families came in their coaches with their horses,-fathers and mothers,
boys and girls, babies and nurses,-and remained three or even six months.
One family of six persons came from Europe, and made a visit of ten months.
After a short tour they returned, and remained six months longer. Every
day brought its contingent of guests. Such hospitality would speedily con-
sume a larger fortune than Mr. Jefferson possessed. His daughter, Mrs.
Randolph, was the presiding lady of this immense establishment. The domes-
tic service required thirty-seven house servants. Mrs. Randolph, upon being
asked what was the greatest number of guests she had ever entertained any
one night, replied, she believed fifty."
In the winter Mr. Jefferson had some little repose from the crowd of visitors.
He then enjoyed, in the highest possible degree, all that is endearing in domes-
tic life. It is impossible to describe the love with which he was cherished by
his grandchildren. One of them writes, in a letter overflowing with the gush
ing of a loving heart, My Bible came from him, my Shakespeare, my first
writing-table, my first handsome writing-desk, my first Leghorn hat, my first
silk dress: what, in short, of all my treasures did not come from him ? My
sisters, according to their wants and tastes, were equally thought of, equally
provided for. Our grandfather seemed to read our hearts, to see our individual
LIFE AT MONTICELLO.
wishes, to be our good genius, to wave the fairy wand to brighten our young
lives by his goodness and his gifts."
Another writes: I cannot describe the feelings of veneration, admiration,
and love that existed in my heart toward him. I looked on him as being too
great and good for my comprehension; and yet I felt no fear to approach him,
and be taught by him some of the childish sports I delighted in. Not one of
us, in our wildest moods, ever placed a foot on one of the garden-beds, for that
would violate one of his rules ; and yet I never heard him utter a harsh word to
one of us, or speak in a raised tone of voice, or use a threat."
In 1812 a perfect reconciliation took place between Mr. Adams and Mr.
Jefferson; the latter very handsomely and magnanimously making the first
advances. This friendship, which was kept up by a constant interchange of
letters, continued unabated until their death,-on the same day, and almost at
the same hour.
In a letter dated N34o
March 2 1819, he writes
ONE SIXTHOFA. SPANISH
to Dr. Vire Utley, "I D Millt.Dollar.-aortheValhz
never go to bed without Ihereof i Go/dtorSilver
an hour or half an hour's a /oegivenin.exchange at
previous reading of some- Treasuryof VRGaIlA,
.Pursu nt to ACT of
thing moral whereon to Turst -r A T M B -
ruminate in the intervals S, 1777.
of sleep." The book from -
which he oftenest read was OFAID OLLARIT
a collection which he had D nEATI- T9o
made by cutting such pas-
sages from the Evange- VIRGINIA CURRENCY
lists as came directly from
the lips of the Saviour. These he arranged in a blank-book. Jefferson writes to
a friend : "A more beautiful or precious morsel of ethics I have never seen: it is
a document in proof that I am a real Christia*n; that is to say, a disciple of the
doctrines of Jesus." This book Mr, Jefferson prepared evidently with great'
care. It is a very full compend of the teachings of our Saviour. It was entitled
"The Philosophy of Jesus of Nazareth." He also prepared a second volume,
which he had bound in morocco, in a handsome octave volume, and which he
labeled on the back, Morals of Jesus." It is a little remarkable that Mr.
Jefferson should have made these collections so secretly that none of the mem-
bers of his family knew even of the existence of the books until after his death.
The year 1826 opened gloomily upon Mr. Jefferson. He was very infirm,
and embarrassed by debts, from which he could see but little hope of extrica.
tion. The endorsement for a friend had placed upon him an additional twenty
thousand dollars of debt. He applied to the Legislature for permission to dis,
pose of a large portion of his property by lottery, hoping thus to realize a sum
sufficient to pay his debts, and to leave enough to give him a competence for
his few remaining days. Though opposed to all gambling, he argued, in sup-
port of his petition, that lotteries were not immoral. He wrote to a friend,
that, if the Legislature would grant him the indulgence he solicited, I can save
the house of Monticello and a farm adjoining to end my days in, and bury my
bones; if not, I must sell house and all here, and carry my family to Bed-
ford, where I have not even a log hut to put my head into."
To Mr. Jefferson's great gratification, the lottery bill finally passed. But,
all over the country, friends, who appreciated the priceless value of the services
which he had rendered our nation, began to send to him tokens of their love.
The mayor of New York, Philip Hone, sent him, collected from a few friends,
eight thousand five hundred dollars; from Philadelphia, five thousand dollars
were sent; from Baltimore, three thousand dollars; and one or two thousand
more were sent from other sources. These testimonials, like sunshine breaking
through the clouds, dispelled the gloom which had been so deeply gathering
around his declining day. Very rapidly he was now sinking. His steps
became so feeble that with difficulty he could totter about the house.
There was something peculiarly gentle and touching in his whole demeanor.
His good-night kiss, his loving embrace, his childlike simplicity and tenderness,
often brought tears to the eyes of those whose privilege it was to minister to his
wants. It was evident that he was conscious that the hour of his departure was
at hand. He was exceedingly careful to avoid making any trouble, and was far
more watchful for the comfort of those around him than for his own. His pas-
sage was very slow down into the vale of death. To one who expressed the
opinion that he seemed a little better, he replied,-
Do not imagine for a moment that I feel the smallest solicitude about the
result. I am like an old watch, with a pinion worn out here and a wheel there,
until it can go no longer."
On Monday evening, the 3d of July, he awoke about ten o'clock from
troubled sleep, and, thinking it morning, remarked, "This is the 4th of July."
Immediately he sank away again into slumber. As the night passed slowly
away, all saw that he was sinking in death. There was silence in the death-
chamber. The mysterious separation of the soul from the body was painlessly
taking place. About noon, July 4th, 1826, the last breath left the body, and
the great statesman and patriot was no more.
THE HERO OF THE WAR OF 1812, AND POPULAR
-. SOME men are remembered for what they
Sdo, others for what they are. To the
latter class belongs Andrew Jackson.
----' No American has left a more distinct
4 "'A-^ impress of himself on the popular mind;
.no man of his time is so well known,
.. and so vividly remembered. He may
S'-:. i' be loved or hated, but he cannot be for-
gotten. And this is not because he was
l ...;? t. I twice President, nor because he threat-
''". ened to hang the South Carolina nulli-
'>1 i-'.,- fiers, nor because he made war on the
.. United States Bank, nor because he
',* .introduced the spoils system. It is
-/ because he was Andrew Jackson.
'"" iNo greater contrast could be found
i, *" ..than that between his administration
S. and the preceding one of John Quincy
-.. Adams. Adams was the model official.
His ambition was to make his adminis-
tration a perfect machine. Under it the people prospered; the public business
was admirably done; the country grew and expanded. But amid all this his
personality was almost completely sunk. Few ever thought of John Quincy
Adams. When Jackson became President, this was reversed. Good men were
turned out and bad men were put in. The public business was sacrificed to
personal and party advantage. The rights and powers of other branches of
'the government were usurped, and tyranny of the grossest kind came to be a
matter of course. Amid all this the single figure was Andrew Jackson. He
was the person whom every one saw, of whom all thought and talked; and it
is safe to say that no other President, down to the time of Lincoln, is so well
remembered by the common people.
Jackson was born in the northwestern corner of South Carolina, in 1767.
His father, an Irishman of Scotch descent, who had only two years before come
to this country, died before his birth, leaving his mother almost utterly destitute,
with the care of a large family. Nothing could exceed the trials and hardships
of his youth. When he was only thirteen, the British ravaged South Carolina,
killed his oldest brother, Hugh, and captured Andrew and his brother Robert,
carrying them off with others to Camden, forty miles distant from their home.
The captives were not allowed food or even water on the way; they were thrown
into a wretched prison-pen, without beds, medical attendance, or any means of
dressing their wounds. They were kept on miserable food, and, to crown all,
smallpox broke out among them. Dying and dead lay on the ground together.
Their mother came to the rescue of her boys ; she obtained their exchange,
took them home, and nursed them; but Robert died in two days, and Mrs.
Jackson herself fell a victim to the disease. Thus at fourteen years of age
Jackson was left alone in the world, without father, mother, or brother, and
without a dollar to call his own.
Before Andrew had fully recovered his strength, he entered a shop to learn
the trade of a saddler; but he became a wild, reckless, lawless boy. He drank,
gambled, fought cocks, and was regarded as about the worst character that
could anywhere be found. Soon he began to think of a profession, and decided
to study law. With a very slender purse, and on the back of a fine horse, he
set out for Salisbury, N. C., a distance of about seventy-five miles, where he
entered the law office of Mr. McCay.
At the age of twenty Jackson was a tall young man, standing six feet and
an inch in his stockings. He was very slender, but remarkably dignified and
graceful in his manners, an exquisite horseman, and developing, amidst his pro-
fanity and numerous vices, a vein of rare magnanimity. His temper was fiery
in the extreme ; but it was said that no man knew better than Andrew Jackson
when to get angry, and when not. He was fond of all rough adventures, wild
riding, camping out; loved a horse passionately; and, though sagacious and
prudent, was bold in facing danger. The experience through which he had
passed in the Revolution had made him a very stanch republican.
LIFE IN THE WILDS OF TENNESSEE.
The whole of that region which we now call Tennessee was then almost an
unexplored wilderness. It was ranged by bands of Indians, who had been so
outraged by vagabonds among the whites that they had become bitterly hostile.
There was a small settlement of pioneers, five hundred miles west of the summit
of the Alleghanies, near the present site of Nashville, on the banks of the Cum-
berland. Andrew Jackson'was appointed public prosecutor for the remote dis-
trict of Nashville. It was an office of little honor, small emolument, and great
EMIGRATING TO TENNESSEE.
peril. Few men could be found to accept it. Early in the spring of 1788
Jackson joined a party of emigrants, who rendezvoused at Morgantown, the
last frontier settlement in North Carolina. They were all mounted on horse-
back, with their baggage on pack-horses. In double file, the long cavalcade
crossed the mountains by an Indian trail, which had widened into a road.
Late in October, '1788, this long train of emigrants reached Nashville.
They took with them the exciting news that the new Constitution had been
accepted by a majority of the States, and that George Washington would
undoubtedly be elected the first President. It was estimated that then, in this
outpost of civilization, there were scattered, in log huts clustered along the
A FAMILIAR KENTUCKY SCENE IN JACKSON'S YOUTH.
banks of the Cumberland, about five thousand souls. The Indians were so
active in their hostilities that it was not safe for any one to live far from the
stockade Every man took his rifle with him to the field. Children could not
go out to gather berries unless accompanied by a guard.
Nasl ville had its aristocracy. Mrs. Donelson belonged to one of the first
families. She was the widow of Colonel John Donelson, and lived in a cabin of
hewn logs the most commodious dwelling in the place. She had a beautiful,
mirth-lovir.g daughter, who had married a very uncongenial Kentuckian, Lewis
Robards, t f whom but little that is good can be said. She and her husband
lived with her widowed mother, and Andrew Jackson was received into the
ANDREW JA CKSON.
family as a boarder. It was an attractive home for him. Of the gay and lively
Mrs. Robards it is said that she was then the best story-teller, the best dancer,
the sprightliest companion, the most dashing horsewoman, in the western
And now Andrew Jackson commenced vigorously the practice of law. It
was an important part of his business to collect debts. It required nerve.
Many desperate men carried pistols and knives. During the first seven years
of his residence in those wilds, he traversed the almost pathless forest between
Nashville and Jonesborough, a distance of two hundred miles, twenty-two times.
Hostile Indians were constantly on the watch, and a man was liable at any
moment to be shot down in his own field. Andrew Jackson was just the man
for this service,-a wild, rough, daring backwoodsman. Daily he was making
hairbreadth escapes. He seemed to bear a charmed life. Boldly, alone or
'with few companions, he traversed the forests, encountering all perils, and
triumphing over all.
Mrs. Robards and her husband lived unhappily together. Before Jackson's
arrival, he had once, from his jealous disposition, separated from her. Andrew
Jackson was an exceedingly polite, gallant, fascinating man. Captain Robards
became jealous of Jackson, and treated Mrs. Robards with great cruelty. Jack-
son decided, in consequence, to leave the house, and took board in another
place. Soon after this, Mr. and Mrs. Robards separated. The affair caused
Andrew Jackson great uneasiness; for though he knew that the parties had
separated once before, and though conscious of innocence, he found himself to
be the unfortunate cause of the present scandal.
Captain Robards applied to the Legislature of Virginia for a bill of divorce.
It was granted by an act of the Legislature, provided that the Supreme Court
should adjudge that there was cause for such divorce. Robards laid aside this
act and did nothing for two years. Virginia was far away. The transmission
of intelligence was very slow. It was announced in Nashville that Robards had
obtained a divorce. This was universally believed. Influenced by this belief,
Andrew Jackson and Rachel Robards were married in the fall of 1791.
Two years after this, Mr. and Mrs. Jackson learned, to their great surprise,
that Robards had then only just obtained a divorce. Thus Mr. Jackson had, in
reality, been married for two years to another man's wife, though neither he nor
Mrs. Jackson had been guilty of the slightest intentional wrong. To remedy
the irregularity as far as possible, a new license was obtained, and the marriage
ceremony was again performed.
It proved to be a marriage of rare felicity. Probably there never was a
more affectionate union. However rough Mr. Jackson might have been abroad,
he was always gentle and tender at home; and through all the vicissitudes of
their lives, he treated Mrs. Jackson with the most chivalric attentions. He was
SENATOR AND JUDGE.
always very sensitive upon the question of his marriage. No one could breathe
a word which reflected a suspicion upon the purity of this affair but at the risk
of a bullet through his brain.
In January, 1796, the territory of Tennessee then containing nearly eighty
thousand inhabitants, the people met in convention at Knoxville to frame a
constitution. Five were sent from each of the eleven counties. Andrew
Jackson was one of the delegates from Davidson County. They met in a shabby
building in a grove outside of the city. It was fitted up for the occasion at an
expense of twelve dollars and sixty-two cents. The members were entitled to
two dollars and a half a day. They voted to receive but a dollar and a half,
that the other dollar might go to the payment of secretary, printer, door-
keeper, etc. A constitution was formed, which was regarded as very demo-
cratic; and in June, 1796, Tennessee became the sixteenth State in the Union.
The new State was entitled to but one member in the national House of Repre-
sentatives. Andrew Jackson was chosen that member. Mounting his horse,
he rode to Philadelphia, where Congress then held its sessions,-a distance
of eight hundred miles.
A vacancy chanced soon after to occur in the Senate, and Andrew Jackson
was chosen United States Senator by the State of Tennessee. John Adams
was then President ; Thomas Jefferson, Vice-President. Many years after, when
Mr. Jefferson had retired from the presidential chair, and Andrew Jackson was
candidate for the presidency, Daniel Webster spent some days at the home of
the sage of Monticello. He represents Mr. Jefferson as saying:-
I feel much alarmed at the prospect of seeing General Jackson President.
He is one of the most unfit men I know of for such a place. He has very
little respect for law or constitutions, and is, in fact, merely an able military
chief. His passions are terrible. When I was president of the Senate he was
senator; and he could never speak on account of th6 rashness of his feelings.
I have seen him attempt it repeatedly, and as often choke with rage. His
passions are no doubt cooler now. He has been much tried since I knew
him; but he is a dangerous man."
In 1798 Mr. Jackson returned to Tennessee and resigned his seat in their
Senate. Soon after he was chosen judge of the Supreme Court of that State,
with a salary of six hundred dollars. This office he held for six years. It
is said that his decisions, though sometimes ungrammatical, were generally
Judge Jackson did not enjoy his seat upon the bench, and renounced the
dignity in the summer of 1804. About this time he decided to try his fortune
through trade. He purchased a stock of goods in Philadelphia, sent them to
Pittsburgh by wagon, down the Ohio to Louisville in flat-boats, thence by
wagons or pack-horses to Nashville, where he opened a store. He lived about
thirteen miles from Nashville, on a tract of land of several thousand acres,
mostly uncultivated. He used a small block-house for his store, from a narrow
window of which he sold goods to the Indians.
In Jackson's early life he fought numerous duels, and took part in brawls
almost without number. One of the most notorious of his duels was one with
Charles Dickenson, who was also a lawyer, and a dealer in country produce.
Jackson challenged him and insisted upon an immediate fight. The meeting
was appointed at seven o'clock in the morning of Friday, May 30, 1806. Dick-
enson had a young and beautiful wife and an infant child, and was said to have
been a very amiable man. They met in a grove. Dickenson got the first fire.
His ball broke a rib, and glanced, leaving a bad but not dangerous wound.
Jackson then took deliberate aim. Dickenson, appalled by the certain death
which awaited him, recoiled a step or two. Back to the mark, sir shouted
Jackson's second. The unhappy man took his stand. Again Jackson raised
his pistol with calm, determined aim, and pulled the trigger. The pistol did
not go off. He examined it, and found that it had stopped at half-cock. Re-
adjusting it, he again took cool, careful aim, and fired. Dickenson reeled and
fell. The ball had passed through his body, just above the hips. Jackson
and his party retired, leaving the dying man in the hands of his friends. All
day long he suffered agony, and in the evening died. The next day his frantic
wife, hurrying to his relief, met a wagon conveying back to Nashville his re-
mains. Dickenson was a great favorite in Nashville, and his untimely death
excited profound sympathy. For a time this affair greatly injured General
Jackson's popularity. If he ever felt any remorse, he never revealed it.
General Jackson now withdrew from commercial pursuits, which he had not
found very profitable, and devoted himself to the culture of his plantation.
His home was a very happy one. Mrs. Jackson was an excellent manager, and
one of the most cheerful and entertaining of companions. She had a strong
mind, much intelligence, but very little culture. They had no children, but
adopted a son of one of Mrs. Jackson's sisters. This boy became the pride,
the joy, the hope of the general's life. Soon after, he received another little
nephew into his family, whom he nurtured and educated. It is said that this
wonderfully irascible man was never even impatient with wife, children, or
A young friend of Jackson, by the name of William Carroll, challenged
Jesse Benton, a younger brother of Colonel Thomas H. Benton, to a duel.
Jackson, then forty-six years of age, somewhat reluctantly acted as second to
Carroll. Both parties were wounded, young Benton quite severely. This
roused the indignation of Colonel Thomas H. Benton, who had conferred some
AFFRAY WITH THE BENTONS. 81
signal favors on Jackson, and he vowed vengeance. Meeting the Benton
brothers soon after at a Nashville hotel, a bloody affray followed, in which
Jackson's arm and shoulder were horribly shattered by two balls and a slug
I,,:I 1: 11
I --. ..- ..
THE INDIAN'S DECLARATION OF WAR.
from the pistol of Jesse Benton. Jackson's -
wounds were very severe. While he was
lingering, haggard and wan, upon a bed of suffering, news came that the Indians,
who had combined under Tecumseh, from Florida to the Lakes, to exterminate
the white settlers, were committing the most awful ravages. Decisive action
became necessary. General Jackson, with his fractured bones just beginning to
heal, his arm in a sling, and unable to mount his horse without assistance, gave
his amazing energies to the raising of an army to rendezvous at Fayetteville,
on the borders of Alabama, on the 4th of October, 1813.
FIGHTING THE INDIANS.
The Creek Indians had established a strong fort on one of the bends of the
Fallapoosa River, near the centre of Alabama, about fifty miles below Fort
Strother. With an army of two thousand men, General Jackson traversed the
pathless wilderness in a march of eleven days. He reached their fort, called
Tohopeka, or Horseshoe, on the 27th of March, 1814. The bend of the river
inclosed nearly one hundred acres of tangled forest and wild ravine. Across
the narrow neck the Indians had constructed a formidable breastwork of logs
and brush. Here nine hundred warriors, with an ample supply of arms and
ammunition, were assembled.
The fort was stormed. The fight was utterly desperate. Not an Indian
would accept of quarter. When bleeding and dying, they would fight those
who endeavored to spare their lives. From ten in the morning until dark the
battle raged. The carnage was awful and revolting. Some threw themselves
into the river; but the unerring bullet struck their heads as they swam. Nearly
every one of the nine hundred warriors was killed. A few probably, in the
night, swam the river and escaped. This ended the war. The power of the
Creeks was broken forever. This bold plunge into the wilderness, with its ter-
rific slaughter, so appalled the savages, that the haggard remnants of the bands
came to the camp, begging for peace.
This closing of the Creek war enabled us to concentrate our militia upon
the British, who were the allies of the Indians. Immediately, on the 31st of
May, Jackson was appointed major-general in the army of the United States.
This gave him an income of between six and seven thousand dollars a year, and
made him, for those times, a rich man. No man of less resolute will than Gen-
eral Jackson could have conducted this Indian campaign to so successful an
issue. Through the whole Indian campaign he suffered terribly from the wounds
and debility occasioned by his senseless feud with Colonel Benton. He was
pale and haggard and pain-worn, often enduring the extreme of agony. Not
many men, suffering as he did, would have been out of the sick chamber.
Immediately upon the fall of Napoleon, in 1814, the British Cabinet decided
to strike America a crushing blow. It was their plan to take New Orleans, lay
all our seaport towns in ashes, annihilate our navy, and, by holding the Atlantic,
the Mississippi, and the Lakes, to imprison us in our forests. The British were
at Pensacola and Appalachicola, dispensing arms to the Indians in that region,
and preparing for their grand naval and land expedition to New Orleans. Most
DEFENSE OF NEW ORLEANS.
of the hostile Indians, flying from the tremendous blows which General Jackson
had dealt them, had also taken refuge in Florida. Jackson, far away in the
wilderness, was left to act almost without instructions. He decided to take
the responsibility, and assumed the independence of a sovereign.
The whole South and West were fully aroused to meet and repel the foe.
By the Ist of November General Jackson had in Mobile an army of four thou
sand men. He resolved to march upon Pensacola, where the Spaniards were
sheltering our foes, and, as he expressed it, rout out the English." He
advanced upon Pensacola, stormed the town, took possession of every fort, and
drove the British fleet out to sea. Garrisoning Mobile, he moved his troops to
New Orleans, a distance of one hundred and seventy miles. General Jackson
himself was so feeble that he could ride but seventeen miles a day. He reached
the Ist of De- --_-. -- -
cember. New- -:
Orleans at that / _
time contained i-
about twenty .
man in the
place and coun- .
try near was
service. n eene' e
fleet of sixty
ships, many of THE OLD MARIGNY HOUSE, A RELIC OF THE WAR OF ISI2.
them of the first
class, and which had obtained renown in the naval conflicts of Trafalgar and the.
Nile, was assembled in a spacious bay on the western end of the Island of
Jamaica. This fleet, which carried a thousand cannon, was manned by nearly
nine thousand soldiers and marines, and transported a land force of ten thou-
sand veteran soldiers, fresh from the wars of Europe, and flushed with victory
over Napoleon. The fleet entered Lake Borgne, a shallow bay opening into.
the Gulf of Mexi.. near New Orleans, on the Ioth of December, 1814. There
were five small -1ters in the lake, which were soon overpowered by the im-
mense force of foe.. Unaware how feeble was General Jackson's force,
they did not dcl,_- it prudent to move upon the city until they had greatly-
increased their numbers. This delay probably saved New Orleans.
At two o'clock in the afternoon of the 23d, General Jackson learned that
the foe, marching from Lake Borgne, were within a few miles of the city. He
immediately collected his motley force of young farmers and mechanics, about
two thousand in number, and marched to meet them. He fell upon them im-
petuously in a night attack, checked their progress, and drove them back toward
their landing-place. The British, surprised by the fury of the assault, waited
for reinforcements, which came up in large numbers during the night.
THE GREAT VICTORY AT NEW ORLEANS.
Pakenham, on the 28th, pushed his veteran battalions forward on a recon-
noissance, and to sweep, if possible, over General Jackson's unfinished breast-
work. It was a brilliant morning. Jackson, an old borrowed telescope in
his hand, was on the watch. The solid columns of red-coats came on, in
military array, as beautiful as awe-inspiring. The artillery led, heralding the
advance with a shower of Congreve rockets, round shot, and shell. The
muskets of the infantry flashed like mirrors in the light of the morning sun.
The Britons were in high glee. It was absurd to suppose that a few thousand
raw militia could resist the veterans who had conquered the armies of
General Jackson had not quite three thousand men behind his breastwork;
but every one had imbibed the spirit of his chieftain. There were eight thou-
sand veteran soldiers marching upon them. For a few hours there were the
tumult, the horror, the carnage of a battle; and then the British host seemed
to have melted away. With shattered ranks, leaving their dead behind them,
a second time they retreated. A third attack, on January Ist, had the same
On Friday, the 6th, General Jackson became assured that the enemy was
preparing to attack him on both sides of the river. At half an hour before
dawn, Sunday morning, January 8, 1815, a rocket from the hostile lines gave
the signal for the attack. In two solid columns, the British advanced upon our
ramparts, which were bristling with infantry and artillery, and behind which
General Jackson had now collected an army of about four thousand men, all
inspired with the zeal of their commander.
Our men were well protected. With bare bosoms, the British marched
upon the embankment, from which there was poured forth an incessant storm of
bullets, balls, and shells, which no flesh and blood could stand. It was one of
the most awful scenes of slaughter which was ever witnessed. Every bullet
accomplished its mission, spending its force in the bodies of those who were
insanely driven forward to inevitable death. Two hundred men were cut down
by one discharge of a thirty-two pounder, loaded to the muzzle with musket-
balls, and poured into the head of a column at the distance of but a few yards,
A SPLENDID VICTORY.
Regiments vanished, a British officer said, "as if the earth had opened and
swallowed them up." The American line looked like a row of fiery furnaces.
General Jackson walked slowly along his ranks, cheering his men, and saying:-
"Stand to your guns! Don't waste your ammunition! See that every
shot tells Let us finish the business to-day! "
Two hours passed, and the work was done,--effectually done. As the
smoke lifted, the whole proud array had disappeared. The ground was so
, ? ', j ,, '
. ,,,, ........~
'I ', -
AN INDIAN FIGHT IN FLORIDA.
covered with the dying and the dead, that, for a quarter of a mile in front, one
might walk upon their bodies; and, far away in the distance, the retreating lines
of the foe were to be seen. On both sides of the river the enemy was repulsed.
The British had about nine thousand in the engagement, and we but
about four thousand. Their loss in killed and wounded was two thousand six
hundred, while ours was but thirteen. Thus ended the great battle of New
In those days intelligence traveled so slowly that it was not until the 4th of
February that tidings of the victory reached Washington. The whole country
blazed with illuminations, and rang with rejoicings. Ten days after this, news
of the Treaty of Ghent was received, signed before the battle took place.
Jackson now returned to Nashville, and honors were poured on him with-
out number. He still retained his command of the southern division of the
army. The Seminole Indians in Florida were committing outrages upon our
frontiers. General Jackson gathered an army of over two thousand men, and
regardless of treaties, marched into Florida, punished the Indians severely,
attacked a Spanish post, shot by court-martial a Scotchman, and hung an
Englishman accused of inciting
the Indians to insurrection. His
energy, and disregard of treaties
and the forms of law, were de-
nounced by one party and com-
mended by another. He was,
However, sustained by Congress
e o -. te and the President; and, after the
purchase of Florida from Spain,
General Jackson was appointed
governor of the newly acquired
SENATOR AND PRESIDENT,
For some reason he soon
became tired of his office, and,
resigning it, again retired to his
farm and his humble home in
Tennessee. His name soon be-
gan to be brought forward as
MARTIN VAN BUREN. that of a candidate for the presi-
dency of the United States. In
the autumn of 1823 he was elected, by the Tennessee Legislature, United
States Senator. In the stormy electoral canvass of 1824, which resulted in
the choice of John Quincy Adams by the House of Representatives, General
lackson received a larger number of electoral votes than either of his com-
petitors. The Democratic party now with great unanimity fixed upon him to
succeed Mr. Adams. In the campaign of 1828 he was triumphantly elected
President of the United States. In 1829, just before he assumed the reins of
government, he met with the most terrible affliction of his life in the death of
his wife, whom he had loved with devotion which has perhaps never been sur-
passed. From the shock of her death he never recovered.
RETIREMENT AND DEATH.
He ever afterward appeared like a changed man. He became subdued
In spirit, and, except when his terrible temper had been greatly aroused, seldom
used profane language. It is said that every night afterward, until his own
death, he read a prayer from his wife's prayer-book, with her miniature likeness
His administration was one of the most memorable in the annals of our
country ; applauded by one party, condemned by the other. No man had more
bitter enemies or warmer friends. It is, however, undeniable that many of the
acts of his administration, which were at the time most unsparingly denounced,
are now generally commended. With all his glaring faults, he was a sincere
patriot, honestly seeking the good of his country. With the masses of the
people, Andrew Jackson was the most popular President, with possibly the
exceptions of Washington and Lincoln, who ever occupied the chair. At the
expiration of his two terms of office, he retired, in 1837, to the "Hermitage,"
his Tennessee home, resigning his office at Washington to his friend and sup-
porter, Martin Van Buren.
His sufferings from sickness during the last years of his life were dreadful;
but he bore them with the greatest fortitude, never uttering a complaining word.
On Sunday morning, June 8th, 1845, it was seen that his last hour had come.
He assembled all his family around him, and, in the most affecting manner, took
leave of each one. He then," writes one who was present, "delivered one
of the most impressive lectures on the subject of religion that I have ever
heard. He spoke for nearly half an hour, and apparently with the power of
inspiration." Soon after this he suddenly, and without a struggle, ceased to
breathe. Two days after he was placed in a grave by the side of his wife. He
had often said, Heaven will be no heaven to me if I do not meet my wife
POPULAR HERO, PATRIOT, AND STATESMAN.
'JI ITH the close of the great civil war in 1865 disap-
peared from our politics the great problem which for
u half a century had absorbed the attention and
S1 tasked the abilities of American statesmen.
Throughout that period there was always one
^ overshadowing subject. Whatever other ques-
tions of domestic policy came up,-tariff, currency,
internal improvements, State rights,-they were
always subordinate to the main question, how to
Preserve the Union and slavery together. Some,
i like Calhoun, were ready to abandon the Union to
save slavery; others, like Garrison, were ready to
abandon the Union to destroy slavery; but between
these extremes stood a great body of able and patriotic statesmen, who
loved and prized the Union above all else, and who, to save it, would make
any sacrifice, would join in any compromise. At the head of these, for more
than fifty years, towered the great figure of Henry Clay.
Not often does a man whose life is spent in purely civil affairs become such
a popular hero and idol as did Clay-especially when it is his fate never to
reach the highest place in the people's gift. Was there ever," says Parton,
"a public man, not at the head of a state, so beloved as he ? Who ever heard
such cheers, so hearty, distinct and ringing, as those which his name evoked?
Men shed tears at his defeat, and women went to bed sick from pure sympathy
with his disappointment. He could not travel during the last thirty years of his
life, but only make progresses. When he left home the public seized him and
bore him along over the land, the committee of one State passing him on to the
committee of another, and the hurrahs of one town dying away as those of the
next caught his ear." One evidence of his popularity is the great number of
children named in his honor. An English woman traveling in America during
the Presidential canvass of 1844 writes that at least three-fourths of all the boy
babies born in that year must have been named for Henry Clay. Even now,
more than thirty years after his death," says Carl Schurz, writing in 1886, "we
may hear old men, who knew him in the days of his strength, speak of him
with an enthusiasm and affection so warm and fresh as to convince us that the
recollection of having followed his leadership is among the dearest treasures of
Henry Clay was born in Hanover county, near Richmond, Virginia, in one
of the darkest days of the Revolution,-the year of 1777 ; the year of the battles
of Brandywine and Germantown, before yet the glad news of Burgoyne's sur-
render had come to cheer the hearts of the struggling colonists. His father, a
poor Baptist preacher, died when Henry was four years old, leaving a wife and,
seven children. There is a story that while his body was lying in the house, a
party of British cavalry made a raid through the neighborhood, and left on
Mrs. Clay's table a handful of silver to pay for some property they had taken;
but that as soon as they were gone, even in her poverty and grief the spirited
woman swept the money from the table and threw it in the fireplace.
Clay's boyhood was that of the typical "self-made man,"-a time of hard
labor, poverty, and small opportunities. "We catch our first glimpse of the
boy when he sat in a little log school-house, without windows or floor, one of a.
humming score of shoeless boys, where a good-natured, irritable, drinking
English schoolmaster taught him to read, write, and cipher as far as Practice.
This was the only school he ever attended, and that was all he learned at it. His
widowed mother with her seven young children, her little farm, and two or three
slaves, could do no more for him. Next, we see him a tall, awkward, -ilender
stripling of thirteen, still barefoot, clad in homespun butternut of his mother's
making, tilling her fields, and going to mill with his bag of corn strapped upon
the family pony." At fourteen, in the year 1791, a place was found for him in a
Richmond drug store, where he served as errand boy and youngest clerk for
At this time occurred an event which decided his future. His mother hav-
ing married again, her husband had influence enough to obtain for the youth a
clerkship in the office of the Court of Chancery. The young gentlemen
employed in that office long remembered the entrance among them of their new
comrade. He was fifteen at the time, but very tall for his age, very slender,
very awkward, and far from handsome. His good mother had arrayed him in
a full suit of pepper-and-salt "figinny," an old Virginia fabric of silk and cotton.
His shirt and shirt-collar were stiffly starched, and his coat-tail stood out boldly
behind him. The dandy clerks of Richmond exchanged glances as this gawky
figure entered and took his place at a desk to begin work.
As he grew older, the raw and awkward stripling became a young man
whose every movement had a winning or commanding grace. Handsome he
never was : but his ruddy face and abundant light hair, the grandeur of his fore-
head, and the speaking intelligence of his countenance, more than atoned for
the irregularity of his features. But of all the physical gifts bestowed by nature
A RISING LA WYER.
upon this favored child, the most unique and admirable was his voice. There
was a depth of tone in it, a volume, a compass, a rich and tender harmony,
which invested all he said with majesty. Parton writes that he heard it last when
Clay was an old man, past seventy; and all he said was a few words of acknowl-
edgment to a group of ladies in the largest hall in Philadelphia. He spoke
only in the ordinary tone of conversation; but his voice filled the room as the
organ fills a great cathedral, and the ladies stood spellbound as the swelling
cadences rolled about the vast apartment. We have heard much of Whitefield's
piercing voice and Patrick Henry's silvery tones, but we cannot believe that
either of, those natural orators possessed an organ superior to Clay's majestic
bass. No one who ever heard him speak will find it difficult to believe what
tradition reports, that he was the peer-
less star of the Richmond Debating
Society in 1795.' ,
But he soon discovered that these
gifts would not get him a paying practice '
as an attorney in Richmond so quickly ,''
as he desired; and as his mother and g pa
step-father had removed to Kentucky in
1792, he resolved to follow them to the
western wilds, and there "grow up with -'
the country." He was in his twenty-
first year when he left Richmond, with
his license to practice as an attorney,
but with little else, in his pocket.
A tall, plain, poor, friendless youth
was young Henry Clay, when he set up
in Lexington, and announced himself a
candidate for practice as an attorney. AN OLD VIRGINIA.MANSION.
He had not even the means of paying
his board. "I remember," he said, in a speech in 1842, "how comfortable 1
thought I should be if I could make ioo, Virginia money, per year; and
with what delight I received my first fifteen-shilling fee. My hopes were
more than realized. I immediately rushed into a lucrative practice."
Less than two years after his arrival at Lexington, in April, 1799, Clay had
achieved a position sufficiently secure to ask for and to obtain the hand of
Lucretia Hart, the daughter of a man of high character and prominent standing
in the State. She was a very estimable woman, and a most devoted wife to him.
His prosperity increased rapidly; so that soon he was able to purchase Ash-
land, an estate of some six hundred acres, near Lexington, which afterward
became famous as Henry Clay's home.
During the first thirteen years of Henry Clay's active life as a politician, he
appears only as the eloquent champion of the policy of Mr. Jefferson, whom he
esteemed the first and best of living men. After defending him on the stump
and aiding him in the Kentucky Legislature, he was sent in 1806, when scarcely
thirty, to fill for one term a seat in the Senate of the United States, made vacant
by the resignation of one
of the Kentucky Senators.
Returning home at the end
of the session, he re-entered
the Kentucky Legislature.
In support of President Jef
person's policy of non-inter-
course with the warring
nations of Europe, who were
preying upon American com-
merce, Mr. Clay proposed
that members of the Legis-
lature should bind them-
selves to wear nothing that
was not of American manu-
facture. A Federalist mem-
ber, ignorant of the fact that
the refusal of the people to
use foreign imports had
caused the repeal of the
Stamp Act, and would have
postponed the Revolution
but for the accident at
Lexington, denounced Mr.
Clay's proposition as the act
of a demagogue. Clay chal-
lenged this ill-informed gen-
tleman, and a duel resulted,
AN OLD VIRGINIA MANSION-INTERIOR.
in which two shots were ex-
:hanged, and both antagonists were slightly wounded. Elected again to the
Senate for an unexpired term, he re-appeared in that body in i809, and sat
during two sessions.
Mr. Clay's public life proper began in November, 18 11, as a member of
the House of Representatives. He was immediately elected speaker by the
war party, by the decisive majority of thirty-one. He was then thirty-four years
CLA Y AS SPEAKER.
It is agreed that to Henry Clay, Speaker of the House of Representatives,
more than to any other individual, we owe the war of 1812. When the House
hesitated, it was he who, descending from the chair, spoke so as to re-assure it.
When President Madison faltered, it was the stimulus of Clay's resistless pres-
ence that put heart into him again. Clay it was whose clarion notes rang out
over departing regiments, and kindled within them the martial fire; and it was
Clay's speeches which the soldiers loved to read by the camp-fire. When the
war was going all wrong in the first year, President Madison wished to appoint
Clay commander-in-chief of the land forces; but, said Gallatin, What shall we
do without him in the House of Representatives ?"
In 1814, Clay was sent with four other commissioners to Ghent, in Belgium,
to arrange the terms of a peace with England. A single anecdote will illustrate
the impression he everywhere produced. An octogenarian British earl, who
had retired from public life because of his years, but who still cherished a natural
interest in public men and measures, being struck by the impression made in the
aristocratic circles of London by the American commissioners, then on their way
home from Ghent, requested a friend to bring them to see him at his house, to
which his growing infirmities confined him. The visit was promptly and cheer-
fully paid, and the obliging friend afterwards inquired of the old lord as to the
impression the Americans had made upon him. "Ah !" said the veteran, with
the light of other days gleaming from his eyes, I liked them all, but I liked
the Kentucky man best." It was so everywhere.
From 1815, when he returned from Europe, until 1825, when he became
Secretary of State under John Quincy Adams, Clay was Speaker of the House
of Representatives. He was confessedly the best presiding officer that any
deliberative body in America has ever known, and none was ever more severely
tried. The intensity and bitterness of party feeling during the earlier portion
of his speakership cannot now be realized except by the few who remember those
days. On the floor of the house, Mr. Clay was often impetuous in discussion,
and delighted to relieve the tedium of debate, and modify the bitterness of antag-
onism, by a sportive jest or lively repartee. On one occasion, General Smythe
of Virginia, who often afflicted the house by the dryness and verbosity of his
harangues, had paused in the middle of a speech, which seemed likely to endure
forever, to send to the library for a book from which he wished to note a pas-
sage. Fixing his eye on Mr. Clay, he observed the Kentuckian writhing in his
seat, as if his patience had already been exhausted. "You, sir," remarked
Smythe, addressing him, speak for the present generation ; but I speak for
posterity." Yes," said Clay, and you seem resolved to speak until the arrival
of your audience."
Only once in the course of his long representative career was Clay obliged
to canvass for his election, and he was never defeated, nor ever could be, before
a public that he could personally meet and address. The one searching ordeal
to which he was subjected, followed the passage of the Compensation Act" of
1816, whereby Congress substituted for its per diem rate a fixed salary of
$1500 to each member. This act excited great hostility especially in the West,
then very poor.
While canvassing the district, Mr. Clay encountered an old hunter, who
had always before been his warm friend, but was now opposed to his re-election
on account of the Compensation Bill. Have you a good rifle, my friend?"
asked Mr. Clay. "Yes." "Did it ever flash?" "Once only," he replied,
" What did you do with it,-throw it away ? No; I picked the flint, tried it
again, and brought down the game." Have I ever flashed, but upon the Com-
pensation Bill?" "No!" "Will you throw me away?" "No, no!" ex-
claimed the hunter with enthusiasm, nearly overpowered by his feelings; "1
will pick the flint, and try you again! He was ever afterward a warm sup-
porter of Mr. Clay.
THE FAMOUS MISSOURI COMPROMISE."
In March, 1818, a petition for the admission of Missouri into the Union was
presented in Congress; and then began that long and bitter struggle over
slavery, which, after convulsing the country for nearly half a century, was finally
ended on the banks of the Appomattox, in 1865. No sooner had the debate
begun," says Schurz, than it became clear that the philosophical anti-slavery
sentiment of the revolutionary period had entirely ceased to have any influence
upon current thought in the South. The abolition of the foreign slave trade
had not, as had been hoped, prepared the way for the abolition of slavery or
weakened the slave interest in any sense. On the contrary, slavery had been
immensely strengthened by an economic development making it more profitable
than it ever had been before. The invention of the cotton gin by Eli Whitney,
in 1793, had made the culture of cotton a very productive source of wealth. In
1800 the exportation of cotton from the United States was 19,ooo,ooo pounds,
valued at $5,700,000.' In 1820 the value of the cotton export was nearly $20,-
000,000, almost all of it the product of slave labor. The value of slaves may be
said to have at least trebled in twenty years. The breeding of slaves became a
profitable industry. Under such circumstances the slaveholders arrived at the
conclusion that slavery was by no means so wicked and hurtful an institution as
their revolutionary fathers had thought it to be. The anti-slavery professions
of the revolutionary time became to them an awkward reminiscence, which they
would have been glad to wipe from their own and other people's memories.
On the other hand, in the Northern States there was no such change of feeling.
Slavery was still, in the nature of. things, believed to be a wrong and a sore.
The change of sentiment in the South had not yet produced its reflex in the
North. The slavery question had not become a subject of difference of opinion
THE SLA VARY QUESTION.
and of controversy among the Northern people. As they had abolished slavery
in their States, so they took it for granted that it ought to disappear, and would
disappear in time, everywhere else. Slavery had indeed, now and then, asserted
itself in the discussions of Congress as a distinct interest, but not in such a way
as to arouse much alarm in the free States. The amendment to the Missouri
Bill, providing for a restriction with regard to slavery, came therefore in a per-
fectly natural way from that Northern sentiment which remained still faithful to
the traditions of the revolutionary period. And it was a great surprise to most
Northern people that so natural a proposition should be so fiercely resisted on
.3"J- Y -".. I
TURNPIKE IN THE BLUE GRASS REGION OF KENTUCKY.
the part of the South. It was the sudden revelation of a change of feeling in
the South which the North had not observed in its progress. 'The discussion
of this Missouri question has betrayed the secret of their souls,' wrote John
Quincy Adams. The slaveholders watched with apprehension the steady
growth of the free States in population, wealth, and power. In 1790 the popula-
tion of the two sections had been nearly even. In 1820 there was a difference
of over 600,000 in favor of the North in a total of less than ten millions. In
1790 the representation of the two sections in Congress had been about evenly
balanced. In 1820 the census promised to give the North a preponderance of
more than thirty votes in the House of Representatives. As the slaveholders
had no longer the ultimate extinction, but now the perpetuation, of slavery in
view, the question of sectional power became one of first importance to them,
and with it the necessity of having more slave States for the purpose of main-
taining the political equilibrium, at least in the Senate. A struggle for more
slave States was to them a struggle for life. This was the true significance of
the Missouri question."
The famous Missouri Compromise," by which the ominous dispute of
1820 was at last settled, included the admission of one free State (Maine) and
one slave State (Missouri) at the same time;-a precedent which it was under-
stood would be thereafter followed; and it was enacted that no other slave State
should be formed out of any of the Louisiana or Northwest territory" north of
latitude 360 30', which was the southern boundary line of Missouri. The assent
of opposing parties to this arrangement was secured largely by the patriotic
efforts of Clay, who, says Schurz, did not confine himself to speeches, .
but went from man to man, expostulating, beseeching, persuading, in his most
winning way. ... His success added greatly to his reputation and gave new
strength to his influence." The result, says John Quincy Adams, was to bring
into full display the talents and resources and influence of Mr. Clay." He was
praised as "the great pacificator,"-a character which was confirmed by the
deeds of his later life.
During his long term in the House of Representatives, Clay had the
misfortune to incur the hatred of General Jackson,-a hatred which, once
roused, was implacable. The only ground for Jackson's ill-will was found in
proper criticisms by Clay of his public acts; but to Jackson no criticism was
proper; and from that time forward hatred of Clay became one of Jackson's
leading motives, actually determining his course in many of the most important
%acts of his public life. In 1825 it led to an attack which profoundly affected
the political history of the time, as well as the career of Henry Clay.
The presidential election of 1824 gave no one of the candidates a majority
of the electoral votes. Jackson had 99 votes, Adams 84, Crawford 41, and
Clay 37. Under the Constitution this result made it necessary for the House
of Representatives to choose the President from among the three candidates
having the largest number of votes. Clay was Speaker of the House; and as
his influence at this time was very great, it was at once perceived that he had it
practically within his power to decide the choice; and the friends of both Jack-
son and Crawford began to pay assiduous court to him. He however promptly
declared his intention of using his influence to secure the choice of Adams;
whereupon the Jackson party, a few days before the election, publicly accused
him of having sold his influence to Adams under a "corrupt bargain," by which
Clay was to be given the Secretaryship of State in payment for making Adams
THE COMPROMISE TARIFF
President. Adams was Clay's natural choice, and it was altogether fitting and
proper that Clay should take the first place in the cabinet; but the charge, with
ingenious malice, was made before the election; and when the event proved as
predicted, the confirmation of what seemed a prophecy was almost irresistible,
and it had a tremendous and most damaging effect. For years the cry of bar-
gain and sale was never allowed to drop. History has shown that no charge
was ever more completely unfounded. It appears to have been a deliberately
concocted slander; yet, in spite of every defense, the injury to Clay's reputa.
tion and subsequent career was very great.
In 1829, Jackson succeeded to the Presidency, and for a short season Clay
returned to private life in his beautiful Kentucky home; but he was not long to
remain there; in 1831 he was again elected to the Senate, where he remained
until 1842. They were stormy years. In South Carolina the opposition to
the protective tariff had led to the promulgation of the famous "nullification"
theory,-the doctrine that any State had the power to declare a law of the
United States null and void. Jackson, whose anger was thoroughly aroused,
dealt with the revolt in summary fashion ; threatening that if any resistance to
the government was attempted, he would instantly have the leaders arrested
and brought to trial for treason. Nevertheless, to allay the discontent of the
South, Clay devised his Compromise Tariff of 1833, under which the duties
were gradually reduced, until they reached a minimum of twenty per cent. In
1832 he allowed himself, very unwisely, to be a candidate for the presidency,
Jackson's re-election being a foregone conclusion. In 1836 he declined a nomi-
nation, and Van Buren was elected. Then followed the panic of 1837, which
insured the defeat of the party in power, and the election of the Whig candidate
at the following presidential election; but the popularity of General Jackson
had convinced the party managers that success demanded a military hero as a
candidate; and accordingly General Harrison, "the hero of Tippecanoe," was
elected, after the famous Log Cabin and Hard Cider campaign" of 1840.
This slight was deeply mortifying to Clay, who had counted with confidence
upon being the candidate of the party. I am the most unfortunate man in
the history of parties," he truly remarked: "always run by my friends when
sure to be defeated, and now betrayed for a nomination when I, or any one
else, would be sure of an election."
THE CAMPAIGN OF 1844.
In 1844, however, Clay's opportunity came at last. He was so obviously
the Whig candidate that there was no opposition. The convention met at
Baltimore in May, and he was nominated by acclamation, with a shout that
shook the building. Everything appeared to indicate success, and his supporters
regarded his triumphant election as certain.
HENRY CLA Y.
But into the politics of the time had come a new factor-the Liberty party."
This had been hitherto considered unimportant; but the proposed annexation
of Texas, which had become' a prominent question, was opposed by many in
the North who had hitherto voted with the Whig party. Clay was a slaveholder;
and though he had opposed the extension of slavery, his record was not satis-
factory to those who disapproved of the annexation of Texas. By letters and
speeches he endeavored to conciliate them; but he was between two fires; he
did not succeed in securing their adherence, while his efforts to do so lost him
the support of many with whom annexation was popular. Then, too, his old
enemy, Jackson, from his seclusion at the "Hermitage," wrote letters reviving
the old bargain and corrup-
4h I .- tion" story of 1825. By an
w posed in Pennsylvania as the
friends of protection, and the cry
of Polk, Dallas, and the tariff
of 1842 was made to do duty
Pat .- against him. As the campaign
progressed, the more clear-
sighted among his friends, in
spite of his immense popularity,
began to feel somewhat less cer-
tain of the result. But while the
managers noticed the adverse
current, the masses of the Whig
party firmly expected success to
the very last. It seemed impos.
sible to them that Henry Clay
could be defeated by James K.
Polk. Everything depended on
JAMES K. POLK. New York. The returns from
the interior of the State came in
slowly. There seemed to be still a possibility that heavy Whig majorities in the
western counties might overcome the large Democratic vote in the eastern. The
suspense was painful. People did not go to bed, watching for the mails. When
at last the decisive news went forth which left no doubt of the result, the WhigF
broke out in a wail of agony all over the land. It was," says Nathan Sargent
" as if the first-born of every family had been stricken down." The descriptions
we have of the grief manifested are almost incredible. Tears flowed in abund
ance from the eyes of men and women. In the cities and villages the business
places were almost deserted for a day or two, people gathering together in
Too FINANCIAL TROUBLES.
groups to discuss in low tones what had happened. Neither did the victorious
Democrats indulge in the usual demonstrations of triumph. There was a feeling
as if a great wrong had been done. The Whigs were fairly stunned by their
defeat. Many despaired of the republic, sincerely believing that the experiment
of popular government had failed forever. Almost all agreed that the great
statesmen of the country would thenceforth always remain excluded from the
presidency, and that the highest office would be the prize only of second-rate
During the autumn and early part of the winter of 1844-5 Clay remained
at Ashland, receiving and answering a flood of letters from all parts of the
United States, and even from Europe, which conveyed to him expressions of
condolence and sympathy. Private cares had meanwhile gathered, in addi-
tion to his public disappointments. He had for some time been laboring
under great pecuniary embarrassment, owing partly to the drafts which are
always made upon the purse of a prominent public man, partly to the business
failure of one of his sons. Aside from other pressing debts,.there was a heavy
mortgage resting on Ashland, and, as an old man of sixty-seven, Clay found
himself forced to consider whether, in order to satisfy his creditors, it would not
be necessary to part with his beloved home. Relief came to him suddenly, and
in an unexpected form. When offering a payment to the bank at Lexington,
the president informed him that sums of money had arrived from different parts
of the country to pay off Henry Clay's debts, and that all the notes and the
mortgage were canceled. Clay was deeply moved. Who did this ?" he asked
the banker. All the answer he received was that the givers were unknown, but
they were presumably "not his enemies." Clay doubted whether he should
accept the gift, and consulted some of his friends. They reminded him of the
many persons of historic renown who had not refused tokens of admiration and
gratitude from their countrymen; and added that, as he could not discover the
unknown givers, he could not return the gift : and, as the gift appeared in the
shape of a discharged obligation, he could not force the renewal of the debt
At last he consented to accept, and thus was Ashland saved to him.
THE COMPROMISE OF 1850.
The last and greatest public work of Clay's life was the famous Compromise
of 1850, which, as has often been said, postponed for ten years the great Civil
War. In 1849 he was unanimously elected United States Senator by the Ken
tucky Legislature, in spite of the well-known fact that his views on the slavery
question were distasteful to a large number of his constituents. The truth is
that they saw that a storm was gathering, and relied on Clay's wisdom and
patriotism to meet the emergency. The sentiment against slavery was increas-
ing. The free States were outstripping the slave States in wealth and popula-
tion. It was evident that slavery must have more territory or die. Shut out of
the Northwest by the Missouri Compromise, it was supposed that a great field
for its extension had been gained in Texas and the territory acquired from
Mexico. But now California, a part of this territory which had been counted
upon for slavery, was populated by a sudden rush of Northern immigration, at-
tracted by the discovery of gold; and a State government was organized, with
a constitution excluding slavery. Thus, instead of adding to the area of slavery,
the Mexican territory seemed likely to increase the strength of freedom. The
South was both alarmed and exasperated. Threats of disunion were freely
made. It was evident that prompt measures must be taken to allay the prevail
RESIDENCE OF A SOUTHERN PLANTER.
Ig excitement, if disruption were to be avoided. In such an emergency it was
natural that all eyes should turn to the "great pacificator," Henry Clay.
When, at the session of 1849-'5o, he appeared in the Senate, to assist, if
possible, in removing the slavery question from politics, Clay was an infirm and
serious, but not sad, old man of seventy-two. He never lost his cheerfulness
or faith, but he felt deeply for his distracted country. During that memorable
session of Congress he spoke seventy times. Often extremely sick and feeble,
scarcely able, with the assistance of a friend's arm, to climb the steps of the
Capitol, he was never absent on the days when the Compromise was to be
debated. On the morning on which he began his great speech, he was accom.