« PreviousContinue »
5. The water and woodland view from the portico is highly imposing. But it was not the mere recognition of the picturesque and beautiful in nature, that moved Herman and Jessie. They would have felt that they were on holy ground, had the landscape been devoid of natural charm. Here the feet of the first of heroes had trod, and here, in boyhood, he had sported with his beloved brother Lawrence.
6. In those forests, those deep-wooded glens, he had hunted, when a stripling, by the side of old Lord Fairfax; here he took his first lessons in the art of war; to this home he brought his bride; by this old-fashioned, hospitable-looking fireside, he sat with that dear and faithful wife; beneath yonder alley of lofty trees he has often wandered by her side; here he indulged the agricultural tastes in which he delighted; here resigned his Cincinnatus vocation, and bade adieu to his cherished home at the summons of his country.
7. Here his wife received the letter which told her that he had been appointed Commander-in-chief of the army; here, when the glorious struggle closed at the trumpet notes of victory-when the British had retired-when, with tears coursing down his benignant, manly countenance, he had uttered a touching farewell-bestowed a paternal benediction on the American army, and resigned all public servicehere he returned, thinking to resume the rural pursuits that charmed him, and to end his days in peace!
8. Here are the trees, the shrubbery he planted with his own hands, and noted in his diary; here are the columns of the portico round which he twined the coral honeysuckle; the ivy he transplanted still clings to yonder garden wall; these vistas he opened through yon pine groves to command far-off views! Here the valiant Lafayette sojourned with him; there hangs the key of the Bastile" which he presented. 9. Here flocked the illustrious men of all climes, and
were received with warm, unpretending, almost rustic hospitality. Here the French Houdon modeled his statue, and the English Pine painted his portrait, and caused that jocose remark, "I am so hackneyed to the touches of the painters' pencil, that I am altogether at their beck, and sit like 'Patience on a monument !'"
10. Then came another summons from the land he had s ved, and he was chosen by unanimous voice its chief ruler. Thousands of men, women, and children, sent up acclamations, and called down blessings on his head, as he made his triumphal progress from Mount Vernon to New York, to take the presidential oath. The roar of cannon rent the air. The streets through which he passed, were illuminated and decked with flags and wreaths. Bonfires blazed on the hills. From ships and boats floated festive decorations. At Gray's Ferry, he passed under triumphal arches
11. On the bridge across the Assumpink, at Trenton, (the very bridge over which he had retreated in such blank despair, before the army of Cornwallis, on the eve of the battle of Princeton,) thirteen pillars, twined with laurel and evergreens, were reared by woman's hands. The foremost of the arches those columns supported, bore the inscription, "The Defender of the Mothers will be the Protector of the Daughters." Mothers, with their white-robed daughters, were assembled beneath the vernal arcade. Thirteen maidens scattered flowers beneath his feet, as they sang an ode of gratulation. The people's hero ever after spoke of this tribute, as the one that touched him most deeply.
12. When his first presidential term expired, and his heart yearned for the peace of his domestic hearth, the entreaties of Jefferson, Randolph, and Hamilton, forced him to forget that home for the one he held in the hearts of patriots, and to allow his name to be used a second time. A second time
he was unanimously elected to preside over his country's welfare. But, the period happily expired, he thankfully laid aside the mantle of state, the scepter of power, and, five days after the inauguration of Adams, returned here to his Mount Vernon home. And here the good servant, whom his Lord, when He came, found watching and ready, calmly yielded up his breath, exclaiming, "It is well!" and his spirit was wafted to Heaven by the blessings of his enfranchised countrymen.
QUESTIONS.-1. Where is Mount Vernon? 2. What is said of Washington's tomb? 3. Mention some of the things which he did here? 4. What demonstrations were made by the people, as he went to New York to take the oath of office? 5. Did he serve more than one term as President?
1. WHILE we bring our offerings for the mighty of our own land, shall we not remember the chivalrous spirits of other shores, who shared with them the hour of weakness and woe'? Pile to the clouds the majestic column of glory'; let the lips of those who can speak well, hallow each spot where the bones of your bold repose'; but forget not those who, with your bold, went out to battle.
2. Among those men of noble daring, there was one, a young and gallant stranger, who left the blushing vine-hills of his delightful France. The people whom he came to succor, were not his people; he knew them only in the melancholy story of their wrongs. He was no mercenary adventurer, striving for the spoil of the vanquished; the palace acknowledged him for its lord, and the valley yielded him its increase. He was no nameless man, staking life for reputation; he ranked among nobles, and looked unawed upon kings.
3. He was no friendless outcast, seeking for a grave to hide a broken heart; he was girdled by the companions of his childhood; his kinsmen were about him; his wife was before him. Yet from all these loved ones he turned away. Like a lofty tree that shakes down its green glories, to battle with the winter storm, he flung aside the trappings of place and pride, to crusade for Freedom, in Freedom's holy land. He came'; but not in the day of successful rebellion', not when the new-risen sun of Independence had burst the cloud of time, and careered to its place in the heavens'.
4. He came when darkness curtained the hills, and the tempest was abroad in its anger'; when the plow stood still in the field of promise, and briers cumbered the garden of beauty'; when fathers were dying, and mothers were weeping over them'; when the wife was binding up the gashed bosom of her husband, and the maiden was wiping the death-damp from the brow of her lover'. He came when the brave began to fear the power of man, and the pious to doubt the favor of God. It was then that this one joined the ranks of a revolted people.
5. Freedom's little phalanx bade him a grateful welcome. With them he courted the battle's rage; with theirs, his arm was lifted; with theirs, his blood was shed. Long and
doubtful was the conflict. At length, kind Heaven smiled on the good cause, and the beaten invaders fled. The profane were driven from the temple of Liberty, and, at her pure shrine, the pilgrim-warrior, with his adored commander, knelt and worshiped. Leaving there his offering, the incense of an uncorrupted spirit, he at length rose, and, crowned with benedictions, turned his happy feet toward his 1ng-deserted home.
6. After nearly fifty years, that one has come again. Can mortal tongue tell? can mortal heart feel, the sublimity of that coming? Exulting millions rejoice in it; and their loud, long, transporting shout, like the mingling of many winds, rolls on, undying, to Freedom's farthest mountains. A congregated nation comes around him. Old men bless him, and children reverence him. The lovely come out to look upon him; the learned deck their halls to greet him; the rulers of the land rise up to do him homage.
7. How his full heart labors! He views the rusting trophies of departed days; he treads the high places where his brethren molder; he bends before the tomb of his "father;"* his words are tears, the speech of sad remembrance. But he looks round upon a ransomed land and a joyous race; he beholds the blessings these trophies secured, for which these brethren died, for which that "father" lived; and again his words are tears, the eloquence of gratitude and joy.
8. Spread forth creation like a map; bid earth's dead multitudes revive; and of all the pageant splendors that ever glittered to the sun, when looked his burning eye on a sight like this? Of all the myriads that have come and gone, what cherished minion ever ruled an hour like this? Many