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Pierpont, John, Clergyman and Poet.....
Pinckney, Charles Cotesworth, Soldier and Statesman
Polk, James Knox, Eleventh President.
Porter, David, Naval officer.
Powers, Hiram, Sculptor......
Preble, Edward, Naval officer...
Prentice, George Denison, Poet and Journalist.
Prentiss, Seargeant Smith, Lawyer and Orator.
Prescott, William, Military officer....
Prescott, William Hickling, Historian..
Priestley, Joseph, Philosopher, Chemist and Theologian..
Stanton, Edwin McMasters, Lawyer and Statesman...............1814
Stark, John, Military officer.
Stedman, Edmund Clarence, Poet...
Story, William Wetmore, Poet and Sculptor.
Sumner, Charles, Orator and Statesman..
Wayne, Anthony, Military officer..
Webster, Daniel, Statesman, Lawyer and Orator.
White, Andrew Dickson, Educator........
White, Richard Grant, Philologist and Scholar........
Whitney, Eli, Inventor...
Whitney, William Dwight, Philologist...
Whittier, John Greenleaf, Poet...
Wilkes, Charles, Naval officer.
Wilson, Alexander, Ornithologist..
Willard, Emma C., Teacher and Author...
Williams, Roger, Founder of R. I..............
Willis, Nathaniel Parker, Poet and Journalist......
Wilson, Henry, Statesman.
THE FIRST PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
The most exemplary character, perhaps, that ever adorned any era in history, and who received in his life-time the noble appellations of "the Founder of a Republic," and "the Father of his Country," was born in the county of Westmoreland, Virginia, on the 22d of February, 1732. His early instruction was domestic and scanty, but full of good discipline and sound principles; and as his father died when he was only ten years old, he had no subsequent opportunities for acquiring a thorough literary or scientific education. However, as his mind was naturally mathematical and philosophical, he prepared himself to be useful to his fellow-citizens as a civil engineer; and as the country was wild, and much of it then unsurveyed, he occasionally found agreeable and profitable employment in surveying different parts of his native State. He also directed much of his attention to the science of arms, in the use of which every young man was instructed, in order to repel the incursions of the Indians, who were often led on by skillful Frenchmen. At the age of nineteen, he was appointed one of the adjutant-generals of Virginia, which gave him the rauk of major, and soon after he was advanced to a colonelcy, and sent by Governor Dinwiddie to the Ohio with dispatches to the French commander, who was erecting fortifications from Canada to New Orleans, in violation of existing treaties. The Governor was so much pleased with the faithful discharge of this duty, that he ordered his journal, which extended to only eighty days, to be printed; but, small as it was, it afforded evidence of great sagacity, fortitude, and a sound judgment, and firmly laid the foundation of his future fame.
In the spring of 1755, Washington was persuaded to accompany General Braddock as an aid, with the rank of Colonel, in his disastrous expedition against Fort DuQuesne; and had his advice been followed on that occasion, the result would have been different.
Three years afterward (1758) Washington commanded the
Virginians in another expedition against the fort, which ter minated successfully. At the close of this campaign he left the army, and was soon after married to Mrs. Martha Custis (the widow of Colonel Daniel Parke Custis), whose maiden name was Dandridge, and whose intelligent and patriotic conduct, as wife and widow, will ever be gratefully remembered in American annals.
In 1759, he was elected to the House of Burgesses, and continued to be returned to that body, with the exception of occasional intervals, until 1774, when he was sent to represent Virginia in the Continental Congress. His well-tempered zeal and military skill, which enabled him to suggest the most proper means for national defense, if the country were urged to extremities, soon fixed all eyes upon him, as one well qualified to direct in the hour of peril; and accordingly, after the first scene of the revolutionary drama was opened at Lexington and Concord, and an army had concentrated at Cambridge, he was, on the 15th of June, 1775, unanimously appointed Commander-in-Chief of the American forces. The self-sacrificing spirit which governed his future course is too well known to require any elucidation.
After bringing the war to a successful termination, he hastened to Annapolis, where Congress was then in session, and on the 23d of December, 1783, formally resigned his commission.
In May, 1787, he was elected to the Convention which met at Philadelphia for the purpose of forming a Constitution, and was at once called upon to preside over its deliberations. After that admirable instrument was adopted by the people, he was unanimously elected the first President of the United States for four years; at the expiration of which he was unanimously reëlected for a second term.
On the 12th of December, 1799, he was seized with an inflammation in the throat, which grew worse the next day, and terminated his life on the 14th, in the 68th year of his age.