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TO THE SECOND EDITION.
The author persuades himself that no apology will be required for offering to his fellow-citizens a revised edition of the LIFE OF GENERAL WASHINGTON.
The period during which he lived, and acted a conspicuous part in American affairs, was the most interesting of American history. The war of our revolution, the very instructive interval between its termination and the adoption of our present constitution, the organization of the . new government, and the principles which were developed in its first operation, form great epochs, claiming the attention not only of every statesman, but of every American unwilling to remain ignorant of the history of his country, and the character of his countrymen.
The transactions of this period constitute the subject of the following pages. In compiling them, the Author has relied chiefly on the manuscript papers of General Washington. These have supplied the requisite information respecting all facts immediately connected with himself. But as many occurrences are unavoidably introduced in which he acted no direct part, it has been drawn occasionally from other sources.
The history of General Washington, from the time of his appointment to the command of the American armies, is the history of his country. Yet the peculiar character of biography seemed to require that his private opinions, and his various plans, whether carried into execution or neglected, should be given more in detail than might be deemed proper in a general history. Copious extracts have, therefore, been made from his correspondence. Maný political events, too, especially during the war, while his particular duties were of a military character, seem less appro
priate to his biography, than to a professed history of the United States. These are alluded to incidentally.
The great questions which were debated in Congress during the first operations of the government, have not yet lost their interest. Deep impressions were then made respecting the subjects themselves, and the persons by whom the various important propositions then discussed were supported or opposed, which are not yet entirely effaced. Justice to the patriot statesmen, who then devoted their time and talents to the public service, requires that the reasons on which they acted should be known. The arguments, therefore, for and against those measures which had most influence over the opinion of the nation, are substantially stated. They are necessarily collected from the papers of the day.
Other transactions of immense importance at the time, conveying lessons as instructive as experience can give, in which almost every
individual took some part, passed under the view of the nation, and are detailed, in some degree, from the observation of the author himself. In stating these, which belong equally to history and biography, his endeavour has been to represent sentiments and actions, leaving it to the reader to draw his own conclusions from them.
The work was originally composed under circumstances which might afford some apology for its being finished with less care than its importance demanded. The immense mass of papers which it was necessary to read, many of them interesting when written, but no longer so, occupied great part of that time which the impatience of the public could allow for the appearance of the book itself. It was therefore hurried to the press without that previous careful examination, which would have resulted in the correction of some faults that have been since perceived. In the hope of presenting the work to the public in a form more worthy of its acceptance, and more satisfactory to himself, the author has given it a careful revision. The language has been, in some instances, alteredhe trusts improved; and the narrative, especially that part of it which details the distresses of the army during the war, relieved from tedious repetitions of the same suffering. The work is reduced in its volume, without discarding any essential information.
Birth of Mr. Washington. His mission to the French on the Ohio.--Appointed
Lieutenant Colonel of a regiment of regular troops.—Surprises Monsieur Jumonville.—Capitulation of fort Necessity.—Is appointed aid-de-camp to General Braddock.- Defeat and death of that general.—Is appointed to the command of a regiment.--Extreme distress of the frontiers, and exertions of Colonel Washington to augment the regular forces of the colony.--Expedition against fort Du Quesne.Defeat of Major Grant.--Fort Du Quesne evacuated by the French, and taken possession of by the English.--Resignation of Colonel Washington.-His marriage.
GEORGE WASHINGTON, the third son of Augustine Washington, was born on the 22d of February, 1732, near the banks of the Po
1732. towmac, in the county of Westmoreland, in Virginia. His father first married Miss Butler, who died in 1728; leaving two sons, Lawrence and Augustine. In 1730, he intermarried with Miss Mary Ball, by whom he had four sons, George, John, Samuel and Charles; and one daughter, Betty, who intermarried with Colonel Fielding Lewis, of Fredericksburg.
His great grand-father, John Washington, a gentleman of a respectable family, had emigrated from the north of England about the year 1657, and settled on the place where Mr. Washington was born. At the
age of ten years he lost his father. Deprived of one parent, he became an object of more assiduous attention to the other; who
1742. continued to impress those principles of religion and virtue on his tender mind, which constituted the solid basis of a character that was maintained through all the trying vicissitudes of an eventful life. But his education was limited to those subjects, in which alone the sons of gentlemen, of moderate fortune, were, at that time, generally instructed. It was confined to acquisitions strictly useful, not even extending to foreign languages.
In 1743, his eldest brother intermarried with the daughter of the