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afforded for the traveler desiring to proceed in any direction. The site of the city is beautifully undulating. Originally the settlement on this point of the river was denominated “Hunting Creek Warehouse," but some more classical ear insisted upon dubbing it Belle Haven. At one time it had a fair prospect of becoming the seat of government; and so strong was the influence brought to bear in its favor, that it was included in the federal territory, and afterwards returned, by act of Congress, in 1846, to Virginia. In the latter part of his life, George Washington wás a pew-holder in Christ Church, and many reminiscences of that great man are preserved in the records of this ancient church, and also in the archives of Washington Lodge, No. 22, of Free and Accepted Ma
Alexandria is connected with Georgetown and the West by a canal, and a considerable manufacturing business is carried on. The handsome court-house of Alexandria county is located here ; some fourteen churches, and numerous schools, form the other public buildings.
This military edifice, originally known as Fort Warburton, is about six miles below Alexandria, and generally visited by persons proceeding from the seat of government to Mount Vernon. It is described by General Wilkinson as being, in 1812, a mere water-battery. Since that time it has not improved in its stratagetic importance. It was intended for offensive action only against the river side; and, being under an acclivity, is, of course, of no service in the other direction. During the last war with Great Britain, the town of Alexandria furnished fifteen hundred dollars towards making the fort defensible; but this did
not save that town from a forced contribution, nor preserve the Capital of the nation from plunder.
This spot, so surrounded by patriotic associations, descended to George Washington from his half-brother, Lawrence Washington, whose title descended from the patent of Lord Culpepper to John Washington, dated 1670. The father of these Washingtons first married Jane Butler, who bore him the son named Lawrence, and subsequently united himself in a second marriage with Mary Ball, who was the mother of George Washington. The Mount Vernon estate was bequeathed by Augustine Washington, who died in 1743, to Lawrence Washington. The last-named person received a captain's commission in one of the four regiments raised in the American colonies to aid Great Britain in her memorable struggle against the combined forces of France and Spain. His duties subsequently brought him in contact with Admiral Vernon, for whom he conceived and always cherished a strong affection; and after his marriage, in 1743, having settled upon what was then known as the Hunting Creek estate, he called it Mount Vernon.
This beautiful estate has been suffered to fall into a sad state of dilapidation, but having at length passed into the hands of the women of America, it will doubtless be made worthy of the sacred ashes which repose in its shades.
The central portion of the mansion was erected by Lawrence Washington, and the wings were added by George Washington. In the main hall is preserved the key of the Bastile, presented by Lafayette to Washington, as a fitting symbol of the triumph of modern political
ideas, embodied in the person of Washington, over the barbarous notions of tyranny, so well represented by the most grim and terrible prison of recent ages.
The Tomb of Washington. While many cities of the old world contended for the honor of Homer's birth-place, the strife of modern cities has been for the entombment of Washington's ashes; and it is not impossible that this far-seeing statesman was governed by other reasons than those dictated by his acknowledged modesty, when, in his last will and testament, dated July, 1799, he directed that his remains should be interred upon the family estate of Mount Vernon, and not removed therefrom. In the succeeding December, his body was borne to the old vault, with the observance of the following order of procession :
Cavalry, Infantry, and Guard;
Body. Col. Marsteller,
Citizens. The old family vault, in which the remains were placed, was south of the mansion, and was constructed of freestone, covered with turf. With a wise anticipation of the future importance of his record to the general history of the world, Washington, in his will, expressed his desire for a new mausoleum in the following terms :
“The family vault at Mount Vernon requiring repairs,
and being improperly situated besides, I desire that a new one of brick, and upon a larger scale, may be built at the foot of what is called 'the Vineyard Inclosure, on the ground which is marked out, in which my remains, and those of my deceased relatives now in the old vault, and such others of my family as may choose to be entombed there, may be deposited.” But for the atrocious attempt to steal, for transportation to a foreign country, the hallowed relics of the great Chief of America, it is possible that his wishes about the entombment of his family would have been neglected. A new tomb having been erected, the sacred remains, deposited in a marble sarcophagus constructed and presented by Mr. Struthers, of Philadelphia, were removed to their present resting-place on the seventh day of October, 1837.
Above the arch of the vault, in which, within full view, are the sarcophagi containing the relics of George Washington and his wife, Martha Washington, is incribed this sentence :
WITHIN THIS ENCLOSURE REST THE REMAINS OF
GENERAL GEORGE WASHINGTON.*
* On his recent tour through this country, the Prince of Wales, in company with the President and his Cabinet, visited this sacred tomb. After expressing his appreciation of the glorious character of Washington, he desired to plant a tree on the spot, in commemoration of his visit; and some horse-chestnuts having been handed to him, he placed them in the earth. He afterwards put a few more in his pocket, with the intention, as he said, of planting them in Windsor Park, on his return home, as another memento of a visit he should ever regard with feelings of pe
interest. No more touching tribute was ever paid to the memory of the Father of his Country. The grandson of a king who held Washington as a rebel and a traitor, came to his tomb to do reverence to his virtues; and in this modest but most expressive manner, sought to atone for the errors of his ancestors.
The mansion contains many valuable historical relics; amongst which may be mentioned, the key of the Bastile, presented by Lafayette; portions of the military and personal furniture of Washington; the pitcher portrait, on the back of which some one has recorded a highly complimentary inscription.
Thanks to the efforts of the Ladies' Mount Vernon Society, aided by the patriotic eloquence of Edward Everett, this sanctified estate has been secured for the people of the United States. Here, then, amidst the most sacred historical associations, we bid farewell to the reader. Long may the groves of Mount Vernon, and the costly magnificence of the Seat of Government, enable those who speak a common language, belong to a common origin, and are inevitably linked in a common destiny, to dwell together in unity!