Showing posts with label George Washington. Show all posts
Showing posts with label George Washington. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Jonathan Worth to Gaius Winningham, May 20, 1861

ASHEBORO, May 20, '61.

Knowing that you are an ardent personal and political friend and that you cannot hear well, and that you are concerned on account of the slanders which my ignoble political opponents are industriously circulating, not to promote the good of the country by breaking me down, but to gratify personal malevolence—I desire to say to you that I have changed no political opinion I have heretofore maintained.

I still firmly believe in the wisdom and virtue of Washington and the early promoters of our government and that war. no other divided government can ever be built up so good as the United one we are pulling down—and hence I abhor the Northern Abolitionist and the Southern Secessionist, both co-operating with different objects, to break up the Union, but the whole nation has become mad. The voice of reason is silenced. Furious passion and thirst for blood consume the air. Democracy and Abolition, moved and instigated by the Devil, are the opposing factions. Nobody is allowed to retain and assert his reason. The cartridge box is preferred to the ballot box. The very women and children are for war. Every body must take sides with one or the other of these opposing factions or fall a victim to the mob or lose all power to guide the torrent when its fury shall begin to subside. It is barely possible that the leaders may pause before the carnage fairly sets in. The best chance to produce such pause and prevent war, is for us to show a united purpose to enlist besides, if we must fight, none of us can hesitate to fight for our wives-our homes-our sections. I have therefore concluded to urge our young men to volunteer. Division or hesitation among us will but invite the invasion of the black Republicans. My maxim has always been to choose among the evils around me and do the best I can. I think the annals of the world furnish no instance of so groundless a war—but as our nation will have it—if no peace can be made—let us fight like men for our own firesides.

 I write this for your own personal satisfaction—not for the public eye,—not that I desire to conceal my views, but because in the present frenzied state of the public mind it will be distorted—misrepresented, and can do no good.

SOURCE: J. G. de Roulhac Hamilton, Editor, The Correspondence of Jonathan Worth, Volume 1, p. 148-9

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Thomas Macon to Jonathan Worth, May 6, 1861

May 6th, 1861.

Having had an acquaintance with your father and formed an attachment to him for the noble and generous principles held by him, I have felt the same attachment for the Worth family and, as you know, have supported them on all occasions. I have been, it seems from my feelings, for some days compelled to pen some thoughts to you that you may know my feelings and anxiety for the preservation of this Union which feels so dear to me. My father and three uncles fought for it, two of whom lost their lives; is there any amongst us who has lost more ancestry blood than myself; then dear friend think it not strange if I entreat you to save the ship, save the ship, save the ship or let not the noble County of Randolph stain her hand in its loss—was not there once a nullification spirit gotten up at the North? Remember the Hartford Convention and how President Monroe treated the commushingers1 sent to him from it, gentlemen I can not receive you only as privet citizens, rather than see him in this capacity they sneak off home, whoted and made fun of in every town through which they passed—the people did not follow there leaders but it seames flew to armes and made peace—by the Vermonters in the affere of Plattsburg and that of Stonington, what next we here that a man by the name of Cooper was sent over to Columbia, South Carolina, as a leader in their College to fill the young students' minds with the seed and doctrine of nullification, which was soon done, and South Carolina nullified and kindled the sire to bust the Union, but it failed. The digest of South Carolina (says a writer) reclaims the name and titles of the King, and his officers so arranged that an uninformed reader from that work would not determine whether she was a state of the Union or a British Province. Hence the old seed of Toryism as a foundation for Nullification Cecession and a combustible to take fire and explode in the land the end at which she has aimed for forty years is at last accomplished; and what has she done, she has filled the country with jealousy, war armies, expenses, murder, rapine with all the horrors concomitant on war—and then Eve-like casts the blame on the North and Old Lincoln—but worse than this, several of the States are now assisting her to fan the flames and consume this once happy country, contrary to Washington's advice and councile, which was to exhume any man an enemy who should mention or intimate a wish to split or divide the Union, observing united we stand, divided we fall. I had an interview with an old man 77 years old the other day near South Caroliny he said his father was born in Virginia come to S. C. and married before the Revolution but in the time of the war the Tories were so bad he had to go back to Virginia and stay til peace was made. Can it be possible that the good and once virtuous people of these Southern States will choose this tyrannical state for their leader? O yes, she has become changed and virtuous enough to be our leader and will lead us on to conquest and to glory but I hope you will use your influence to save the ship—slay not your noble principles bus plead that we follow the example of Kentucky and Tennessee. The treachery of man in the heart and bowels of our country has been very great. O my God, what is to come! Do thou protect the ship: bring to naught the wicked council of the ungodly.

Now dear friend as I have been in the habit of looking up to you for advice but we have falling on strange times it seems. Saton has turned loose, IIaving great power and authority and has filled the earth full of lies from one end to the other: and fear has taken hold on me so that I know not what to do I fear there are unprincipal men enough to take the lives of men already have been called an old abolitionist—what next.

P. S. I have hoped that the good sense and virtue of the people would save the ship from the rocks, by the superintending Providence of God but it seems gon. O that the American people had cultivated the publick mind, taken good heed to themselves and their Country, we are a ruined people, ruined ruined, what a change. I have written a few unconnected thoughts thinking you are better able to understand than myself and will do your duty. Farewell now to farewell in time and in eternity is to do well.


 1 Commissioners.

SOURCE: J. G. de Roulhac Hamilton, Editor, The Correspondence of Jonathan Worth, Volume 1, p. 138-40

Thursday, August 6, 2020

George Washington to William Drayton, November 20, 1786

Mount Vernon, November 20, 1786.

Sir: I wish it was in my power to give you a more favorable accot. than the following, of your Servant Jack.

After absenting himself from you at Dumfries (as I believe my nephew has already informed you) he came here and remained quietly 'till the 12th.; when being informed by some gentlemen from Baltimore that a Packet from that place was on the point of sailing for Charleston, I sent him under the care of a very trusty Overseer to be shipped from that place, requesting a friend of mine in the Town to engage a passage and to provide everything for him on Ship board, that was necessary. When they arrived at Baltimore, unfortunately, the vessel was hove down. It became necessary therefore to commit him to Goal for security; but before this could be effected, he took advantage of a favorable moment and made his escape. Diligent, but ineffectual, search was instantly made, and it is supposed his object is Philadelpa.

The Gentleman to whose care I sent him has promised every endeavor in his power to apprehend him, but it is not easy to do this where there are numbers who had rather facilitate an escape than apprehend a run-away. I hope your journey was not much incommoded by this untoward step of your waiter.

With sentiments of great esteem etc.
[George Washington.]

SOURCE: John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor, The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799, Vol. 29: September 1, 1786—June 19, 1788, p. 78-9

Monday, June 8, 2020

The Soldier’s Dream

On Chicamauga’s bloody field,
     A wounded soldier lay,
Dreaming about his Hoosier Home,
     Six hundred miles away.
Thro’ thick’ning gloom of cloud and rain,
     There came an angel fair,
Robed in celestial light and placed
     A hand on his bloody hair.

And lo! visions broke upon
     The wounded hero’s eye,
As he beheld the rolling clouds
     Parting and upwardly fly;
A vast, reflected multitude
     Knelt on the Southern sod,
By broken chains and gory lash,
     In fervent prayer to God.

Then rose the countless throng erect,
     Their black hands lifted high,
And with supernal pow’r bore
     Abe Lincoln thro’ the sky.
Far thro’ the dim and distant blue,
     Past moon and shining stars,
Beyond Orion’s baleful hue,
     And blood-red light of Mars.

Angels with arms of living light
     By mighty pow’r given,
With radient faces lifted him
     Into the midst of Heaven.
There stood the sainted Washington,
     With heroes of the past,
With kindling eye and glowing face,
     To welcome Abe at last.

Then came a sight which ne’er till now
     Shone on earth’s greenest sod;
The glow’d o’er Lincoln’s noble brow
     Th’ radient smile of God.
A voice of murmurous sweetness said,
     Enter and be blest,
Emancipator of Mankind,
     The land of endless rest.

Then the angel of the soldier
     Turn’d the bright dreamer’s eye
Back from the mansions of the blest,
     Back from the glowing sky;
Down the turbid Mississippi,
     O’er Lake and rolling Bay,
We heard the thunder of our guns
     On their victorious way.

Then Art and Science, like the sun
     Of a Millennial ray,
O’erspread with peace and hope and joy,
     The dawn of Freedom’s day.
The flags of every mighty land,
     Of England, France and Spain,
Bowed down their standards, as of old,
     To Joseph’s golden grain.

And while the wounded soldier’s heart
     Grew warm with glory’s thrill,
There faded from our flag each stripe,
     But Stars were glowing still.
The Angel changed to mortal mould,
     Floated free each shining curl,
Which bound in loves delicious spell,
     Hero and Hoosier girl.

Then burst the clanging bugle’s note
     Upon the morning air;
He woke to see his Country’s flag,
     And Arabell—was there.
Oh wounded soldier, loved and blest,
     Oh Country, fair and free,
Enshrined in every Christian’s heart,
     By Lincoln’s jubilee.

Oh may our banner be the last
     Earth’s sun shall shine upon,
Redeemed in full by ABRAHAM,
     And blest by WASHINGTON.

SOURCES: “Original Poetry, Written for the Herald,” The Indian Herald, Huntington, Indiana, Wednesday, January27, 1864, p. 1; Lincoln, Abraham. Abraham Lincoln papers: Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833 to 1916: De Witt C. Chipman to Abraham Lincoln, Monday,Pomeroy Circular. 1864. Manuscript/Mixed Material.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Proclamation of Major-General Nathaniel P. Banks, January 11, 1864


New Orleans, January 11, 1864.

I. In pursuance of authority vested in me by the President of the United States, and upon consultation with many representative men of different interests, being fully assured that more than a tenth of the population desire the earliest possible restoration of Louisiana to the Union, I invite the loyal citizens of the State qualified to vote in public affairs, as hereinafter prescribed, to assemble in the election precincts designated by law, or at such places as may hereafter be established, on the 22d day of February, 1864, to cast their votes for the election of State officers herein named, viz: Governor, lieutenant-governor, secretary of state, treasurer, attorney-general, superintendent of public instruction, auditor of public accounts, who shall, when elected, for the time being, and until others are appointed by competent authority, constitute the civil government of the State, under the constitution and laws of Louisiana, except so much of the said constitution and laws as recognize, regulate, or relate to slavery, which, being inconsistent with the present condition of public affairs and plainly inapplicable to any class of persons now existing within its limits, must be suspended, and they are therefore and hereby declared to be inoperative and void. This proceeding is not intended to ignore the right of property existing prior to the rebellion, nor to preclude the claim for compensation of loyal citizens for losses sustained by enlistments or other authorized acts of the Government.

II. The oath of allegiance prescribed by the President's proclamation, with the condition affixed to the elective franchise by the constitution of Louisiana, will constitute the qualification of voters in this election. Officers elected by them will be duly installed in their offices on the 4th day of March, 1864.

III. The registration of voters, effected under the direction of the Military Governor and the several Union associations, not inconsistent with the proclamation, or other orders of the President, are confirmed and approved.

IV. In order that the organic law of the State may be made to conform to the will of the people, and harmonize with the spirit of the age, as well as to maintain and preserve the ancient landmarks of civil and religious liberty, an election of delegates to a convention for the revision of the constitution will be held on the first Monday of April, 1864. The basis of representation, the number of delegates, and the details of election will be announced in subsequent orders.

V. Arrangements will be made for the early election of members of Congress for the State.

VI. The fundamental law of the State is martial law. It is competent and just for the Government to surrender to the people, at the earliest possible moment, so much of military power as may be consistent with the success of military operation; to prepare the way by prompt and wise measures for the full restoration of the State to the Union and its power to the people; to restore their ancient and unsurpassed prosperity; to enlarge the scope of agricultural and commercial industry, and to extend and confirm the dominion of rational liberty. It is not within human power to accomplish these results without some sacrifice of individual prejudices and interests. Problems of state too complicate for the human mind have been solved by the national cannon. In great civil convulsions the agony of strife enters the souls of the innocent as well as the guilty. The Government is subject to the law of necessity, and must consult the condition of things rather than the preferences of men, and if so be that its purposes are just and its measures wise, it has the right to demand that questions of personal interest and opinion shall be subordinate to the public good. When the national existence is at stake and the liberties of the people in peril, faction is treason.

The methods herein proposed submit the whole question of government directly to the people. First, by the election of executive officers faithful to the Union, to be followed by a loyal representation in both Houses of Congress, and then by a convention which will confirm the action of the people and recognize the principles of freedom in the organic law. This is the wish of the President. The anniversary of Washington's birth is a fit day for the commencement of so grand a work. The immortal Father of his Country was never guided by a more just and benignant spirit than that of his successor in office, the President of the United States. In the hour of our trial let us heed his admonitions.

Louisiana in the opening of her history sealed the integrity of the Union by conferring upon its Government the Valley of the Mississippi. In the war for independence upon the sea she crowned a glorious struggle against the first maritime power of the world by a victory unsurpassed in the annals of war. Let her people now announce to the world the coming restoration of the Union, in which the ages that follow us have a deeper interest than our own, by the organization of a free government, and her fame will be immortal.

N. P. BANKS,                       
Major-General, Commanding.

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series III, Volume 4 (Serial No. 125), p. 22-3

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Samuel Gridley Howe to Theodore Parker, July 5, 1853

Sunday, 1853.

My Dear Parker: — I have been in to hear you, but did not like what you were saying well enough to stay more than a quarter of an hour in a thorough draught, which I liked still less than your wind.

Why do you hammer away at the heads of Boston merchants, none of whose kith or kin come to hear you, when the rest of the population of the city, and even many of the mechanics, were just as ready to back up the authorities for kidnapping men as the merchants were?

Why do you say, and reiterate so often, that God uses the minimum force to accomplish the maximum ends? Is it so? How do you know? Does God know quantity or space or regard them? Is there more or less with Him? How do you know that without this or that thing or man this or that fact or deed would not have followed?

With the vast waste (or apparent waste) of animal life and mineral resources which geology reveals — families, species, whole races, whole worlds swept away — how do you, Theodore Parker, know that without salt to a potato, or even without salt or potato either, this or that thing would not and could not have been?

That was all very fine about God's great span, Centrifugal and Centripetal, but suppose either one of them should break down or slip a joint, has not the Governor a whole stud in the stable all ready for work? But, coolly, is there not something of what the Turks call Bosh about this? I never knew you to deal in the article before; but did you not go to the wrong barrel this morning? How can you say that without our revolution France would not have had hers — a little later perhaps, but still had it? Who told you that God would have broken down in his purpose if Washington had had the quinsy at a score, instead of three score years; and that New England would have now been worse off than Canada?

I did not stay long enough to hear you say any more unparkerish things, and so I will have done with my comment and close by saying that if I loved you less I might admire you more.

Your incorrigible,
Old Samuel South Boston.

SOURCE: Laura E. Richards, Editor, Letters and Journals of Samuel Gridley Howe, Volume 2, p. 394-5

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Diary of Corporal David L. Day: November 20, 1861

Yesterday, having a day to myself, I visited Annapolis. I was greatly interested in visiting the old State House on account of the historic memories that cluster around it. I was shown up in the hall where Washington, in December, 1783, resigned his commission in the army to the Continental congress, then in session at this place. His resignation was a very solemn and formal affair, and as I stood in this venerable hall, my thoughts went back to those grand old days when our fathers struggled for independence. At the close of the revolution, Maryland offered to cede Annapolis as the Federal capital, but it was thought best to select a site on the Potomac river. Annapolis was originally designed as a great place, being the capital of the state, and possessing a fine harbor with a great depth of water, and long before Baltimore was at all noted, was the seat of wealth, refinement and extensive trade; but it is now chiefly distinguished as the seat of the United States Naval academy. The state house and Episcopal church are located in the centre of the city, and from these radiate all the streets.

To the eye of the stranger, the antique, moss-covered and vine-clad houses, with their deep embrasured windows and peculiar architecture, present a singular appearance. The Naval academy and Episcopal college present a striking contrast to the rest of the town. The buildings are large and of modern style, the grounds around them spacious and tastefully laid out. The Naval academy, located on the west side of the town, comprises an area of several acres, enclosed by a high brick wall. The buildings, of which there are several, are located partly on the water side, the balance on the east side next to the wall. The wharfage and boat houses are extensive and commodious. On the north side, and commanding the harbor, is an old brick building with a few port holes, and mounting a few old iron guns. This they call the fort, and I should suppose a few shots from one of our gunboats would level it to the ground. The park is beautifully laid out with drives and walks, and adorned with a great variety of forest and ornamental trees. The grounds and trees, however, are being sadly damaged by the soldiers and by driving army wagons across.

Here are also several handsome monuments erected in memory of departed naval heroes, among which I may mention one erected in honor of the gallant Capt. Herndon. It is a plain granite shaft, about twenty feet high, and on each of the four sides is engraved simply the name, Herndon. I noticed this more particularly, as I remembered the circumstances of his death. He ranked as lieutenant in the navy, but at the time of his death, in September, 1857, was in command of the steamer Central America, of the New York and California line. The Central America was on her passage from Aspinwall for New York, when she foundered during a terrible storm off Cape Hatteras, and out of 600 persons on board, only 200 were saved. Capt. Herndon superintended the getting off of as many of his passengers as he could, and the last words he was heard to utter were, "1 will never leave the ship until my passengers are all off," and standing on the wheel house, went down with his vessel. Brave, gallant Herndon!

SOURCE: David L. Day, My Diary of Rambles with the 25th Mass. Volunteer Infantry, p. 12-13

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Speech of George Thompson: Published August 8, 1835

In Commemoration of the Abolition of Slavery in the British West India Islands, on the First Anniversary of that event, by the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society.

I shall not advert prospectively, nor retrospectively, to the emancipation of Englishmen. We who are engaged in a struggle similar to that of the British advocates of outraged humanity, are to take up their example. Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Brazil, and the French, will emulate the deed. The day of triumph is certain; — there is no human power which can prevent it, or prescribe its limits; no impiety shall say to the bounding wave “Thus far shalt thou come, and no farther.” The irresponsible spirit, the sublimity and moral prowess of Columbia, are the guarantees of the great achievement. We may be misrepresented and vilified; but be not disturbed at this. The same epithets now bestowed upon us, were bestowed upon a Clarkson and a Wilberforce, when one in Parliament, and the other out of it, devoted time, and talents, comfort, and reputation, to the noble work. All the filthy channels of the dictionary were turned upon a Wilberforce, and they fell like water upon the back of the swan, leaving its purity and loveliness unspotted and unruffled.

We learn by the event, which we commemorate, the folly of striving for less than the whole: we must struggle for complete justice; we must ask nothing, and acquiesce in nothing short of that. The planters from the West Indies, and from the Cape of Good Hope, all respectable men, besought the British nation to be moderate in doing right. O, we must cut off only the claws of the monster, leaving his jaws to crush the bodies and bones of our brethren. They said we must mitigate, mitigate, mitigate; we beseech you, be not rash, but mitigate; and in 1822, Mr. Canning, the Lords and Commons, the King and the Church, men and women, combined to mitigate. What was the result? The planters of Jamaica burned, in the public square, the mitigating act, at 12 o'clock at night. And twelve o'clock it was with the hopes of the abolitionists; for the hour approached when the dawn streaked the dark horizon, and grew brighter and brighter unto the perfect day. No matter how much we mitigate and soften; no matter whether truth come as a tomahawk, or in the form of an instrument of cupping, to a delicate lady, if the truth come at all, we are still fanatics. Wilberforce was called, to the day of his death, a hoary-headed fanatic by the whole pro-slavery phalanx, but when he died, the illustrious and the lowly, thronged around his bier. I saw with these eyes, the deep religious reverence which his memory inspired, and the heartfelt homage which his virtues drew from a vast and splendid train. Royalty, nobility, bishops, Parliament and people, pressed to pay the great tribute of tears to the pure and exalted of the earth, whose spirit had returned to its Father in heaven.

How sleep the good who sink to rest,
With all their country’s wishes blest!
The spring, with dewy fingers cold,
Returns to deck their hallowed mould.
She there shall dress a sweeter sod,
Than Fancy’s feet have ever trod.
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.

Who does not now wish to struggle for the mantle of Wilberforce : Who is not ambitious to be folded in its bright amplitude:

In this cause, you cannot escape calumny. Here is our brother, who has addressed us to day, (referring to Mr. May.) Do his mild and persuasive words, which one would think might soften the hardest heart, save him from the tongue of slander? Is not he a mark as well as I, who am rough and unspun, and not afraid to stir up the bile, so that men may see it, and detest it.

I accuse the press of the United States of dishonesty. There is Antigua, and there are the Bermudas, free as the air above, and the waters around them, and serene and peaceful, and prosperous as free; and what press has spoken — what daily or weekly vehicle of intelligence, has presented this prominent fact, by which the age itself will be quoted in times to come? Is it told in Charleston? No. Is it told in Richmond? Is it told in New York or New Haven? No. In Boston? No. A tempest in a slop basin has been got up in Jamaica; and a scene of desolation, and hanging slaves, has been painted for the gaze of the good people throughout the length of the land.

My friend did not mention the Cape of Good Hope and the Mauritius. More than twenty British colonies, subsisting in peace, and maintaining order in the transit of an unparalleled revolution, without crime, without violence, without turbulence or tumult! ’Tis the death knell of American slavery. American slavery cannot last ten years longer. Let who will sink or swim, American slavery perishes. The monster reels and will down, and we shall tread upon his neck.

But it is said to be presumptuous and wrong in me to meddle with this question in the United States, because I am ignorant of it; and yet those who say this have never thought proper to show any of my errors !

It is, they say, an unconstitutional question. Ay, it is unconstitutional to feel for human suffering; it is unconstitutional to be generous to the abject, or indignant at crime; it is unconstitutional to preach, to pray, to weep. Hold, weeping mother there; your tears are unconstitutional. It is unconstitutional to print, to speak, to say that two and two make four, in the country where the ashes of George Washington lie! They say we shall not prove that two and two are four.

Are the friends of abolition enemies of the Union? The fastest, firmest, fondest friends of the Union, are abolitionists. I have thought that the constitution might stand, and slavery fall; that slavery might die, and the constitution live-live healthy and perennial. I have thought it might live, and the black man and the white man rejoice under its broad and protecting banner.

But I will not dwell upon this, as our friends have gone, for whose special benefit it was intended. [The speaker was supposed to allude to a few persons, who had appeared rather restless, for some time, and had at this stage simultaneously retreated below the stairs.]

Abolition was unconstitutional in the West Indies. It was an infringement of their charter, as my friend, Mr. Child, who has shown such an intimate acquaintance with the West India colonies, knows.

But go to the hut of a free Antigonian, live with him, see a Bermudian toss up a free child, and say if there be aught unconstitutional in these. Look to them of Jamaica, when the three and five years, (a paltry chandler shop business,) have expired; and declare of those regenerated men, if the genius of emancipation have committed anything unconstitutional there.

For the present, you must be prepared to be libelled. When slavery shall have fallen, out of the ruins you may dig a pretty fair reputation. You must not expect your portraits to be-excellently drawn, especially by southern limners. You may be represented with hoofs, and horns, and other appendages of a certain distinguished personage, who shall be nameless. It is in vain to regret, or strive to eschew this. Your reputation is already gone. You are in the case of poor Michael Cassio. ‘O reputation, reputation, reputation, I’ve lost my reputation. But yesterday, rich men bowed, and bade me good morning in State street. The periodicals were delighted with my articles, and returned substantial proofs of approbation. Now my paragraphs of an inch long are suspected; and I seldom see the sunshine of a smile.

But never mind, reputation will come by and by. We have as good a reputation as the Gallileans had, or as their Master had, and who could have a better? Take it inversely, and you will hit it about right (at least if you have all given as little cause as I have.) We have the testimony of the Most High for our principles. In the language of the Declaration of sentiment, man may fail, but principles never. The mustard seed is sown, or to change the figure, the acorn is planted; nay it is not an acorn the oak is set and shall grow, and spread over the black and the white its strong and ample boughs, and when cut down it shall be the bulwark of your glory, and the guarantee of your safety. (Mr. Thompson sat down amidst great applause.)

[The reporter does not pretend to do justice to Mr. Thomson in the above sketch: to take down the thunder and lightning in short hand, expresses his idea of the impossibility of reporting Mr. Thompson aright.  If those who heard shall be unsatisfied, he hopes they will consider this.]

SOURCES: Isaac Knapp, Publisher, Letters and Addresses by G. Thompson [on American Negro Slavery] During His Mission in the United States, From Oct. 1st, 1834, to Nov. 27, 1835, p. 84-7; “First of August, 1835,” The Liberator, Boston, Massachusetts, Saturday, August 8, 1835, p. 3. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Diary of William Howard Russell: July 15, 1861

I need not speak much of the events of last night, which were not unimportant, perhaps to some of the insects which played a leading part in them. The heat was literally overpowering; for in addition to the hot night there was the full power of most irritable boilers close at hand to aggravate the natural d√©sagr√©mens of the situation. About an hour after dawn, when I turned out on deck, there was nothing visible but a warm gray mist; but a knotty old pilot on deck told me we were only going six knots an hour against tide and wind, and that we were likely to make less way as the day wore on. In fact, instead of being near Baltimore, we were much nearer Fortress Monroe. Need I repeat the horrors of this day? Stewed, boiled, baked, and grilled on board this miserable Elizabeth, I wished M. Montalembert could have experienced with me what such an impassive nature could inflict in misery on those around it. The captain was a shy, silent man, much given to short naps in my temporary berth, and the mate was so wild, he might have swam off with perfect propriety to the woods on either side of us, and taken to a tree as an aborigine or chimpanzee. Two men of most retiring habits, the negro, a black boy, and a very fat negress who officiated as cook, filled up the “balance” of the crew.

I could not write, for the vibration of the deck of the little craft gave a St. Vitus dance to pen and pencil; reading was out of the question from the heat and flies; and below stairs the fat cook banished repose by vapors from her dreadful caldrons, where, Medea-like, she was boiling some death broth. Our breakfast was of the simplest and — may I add? — the least enticing; and if the dinner could have been worse it was so; though it was rendered attractive by hunger, and by the kindness of the sailors who shared it with me. The old pilot had a most wholesome hatred of the Britishers, and not having the least idea till late in the day that I belonged to the old country, favored me with some very remarkable views respecting their general mischievousness and inutility. As soon as he found out my secret he became more reserved, and explained to me that he had some reason for not liking us, because all he had in the world, as pretty a schooner as ever floated and a fine cargo, had been taken and burnt by the English when they sailed up the Potomac at Washington. He served against us at Bladensburg. I did not ask him how fast he ran; but he had a good rejoinder ready if I had done so, inasmuch as he was up West under Commodore Perry on the lakes when we suffered our most serious reverses. Six knots an hour! hour after hour! And nothing to do but to listen to the pilot.

On both sides a line of forest just visible above the low shores. Small coasting craft, schooners, pungies, boats laden with wood creeping along in the shallow water, or plying down empty before wind and tide.

“I doubt if we'll be able to catch up them forts afore night,” said the skipper. The pilot grunted, u I rather think yu'll not.” "H--- and thunder! Then we'll have to lie off till daylight?” “They may let you pass, Captain Squires, as you've this Europe-an on board, but anyhow we can't fetch Baltimore till late at night or early in the morning.”

I heard the dialogue, and decided very quickly that as Annapolis lay somewhere ahead on our left, and was much nearer than Baltimore, it would be best to run for it while there was daylight. The captain demurred. He had been ordered to take his vessel to Baltimore, and General Butler might come down on him for not doing so; but I proposed to sign a letter stating he had gone to Annapolis at my request, and the steamer was put a point or two to westward, much to the pleasure of the Palinurus, whose “old woman” lived in the town. I had an affection for this weather-beaten, watery-eyed, honest old fellow, who hated us as cordially as Jack detested his Frenchman in the old days before ententes cordiales were known to the world. He was thoroughly English in his belief that he belonged to the only sailor race in the world, and that they could beat all mankind in seamanship; and he spoke in the most unaffected way of the Britishers as a survivor of the old war might do of Johnny Crapaud — “They were brave enough no doubt, but, Lord bless you, see them in a gale of wind! or look at them sending down top-gallant masts, or anything sailor-like in a breeze. You'd soon see the differ. And, besides, they never can stand again us at close quarters.” By and by the houses of a considerable town, crowned by steeples, and a large Corinthian-looking building, came in view. “That's the State House. That's where George Washington — first in peace, first in war, and first in the hearts of his countrymen — laid down his victorious sword without any one asking him, and retired amid the applause of the civilized world.” This flight I am sure was the old man's treasured relic of school-boy days, and I'm not sure he did not give it to me three times over. Annapolis looks very well from the river side. The approach is guarded by some very poor earthworks and one small fort. A dismantled sloop of war lay off a sea wall, banking up a green lawn covered with trees, in front of an old-fashioned pile of buildings, which formerly, I think, and very recently indeed, was occupied by the cadets of the United States Naval School. “There was a lot of them Seceders. Lord bless you! these young ones is all took by these States Rights' doctrines — just as the ladies is caught by a new fashion.”

About seven o'clock the steamer hove along-side a wooden pier which was quite deserted. Only some ten or twelve sailing boats, yachts, and schooners lay at anchor in the placid waters of the port which was once the capital of Maryland, and for which the early Republicans prophesied a great future. But Baltimore has eclipsed Annapolis into utter obscurity. I walked to the only hotel in the place, and found that the train for the junction with Washington had started, and that the next train left at some impossible hour in the morning. It is an odd Rip Van Winkle sort of a place. Quaint-looking boarders came down to the tea-table and talked Secession, and when I was detected, as must ever soon be the case, owing to the hotel-book, I was treated to some ill-favored glances, as my recent letters have been denounced in the strongest way for their supposed hostility to States Rights and the Domestic Institution. The spirit of the people has, however, been broken by the Federal occupation, and by the decision with which Butler acted when he came down here with the troops to open communications with Washington after the Baltimoreans had attacked the soldiery on their way through the city from the north.

SOURCE: William Howard Russell, My Diary North and South, Vol. 1, p. 419-22

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Thomas W. Thomas to Howell Cobb, July 7, 1848

Elberton, Ga., July 7th, 1848.

Dear Sir:  I wrote you by the last mail in relation to the inquiries contained in yours of the 20th June and promised to write again when I could procure better information. I saw here last Tuesday, Col. John D. Watkins from the neighborhood of Petersburg and had a conversation with him about the prospects of democracy in that quarter. He informs me it is true Speed has declared for Taylor and has been that way inclined for a year past. I learn also it is extremely doubtful that Speed voted for Polk, and the general impression is he voted with the Whigs in that contest. Watkins says he (Speed) can't influence a single other vote, and all the democrats there besides, are unanimous and enthusiastic for Cass. A little to my surprise I learned that Dr. Danelly and he both are, and have been all the time, out and out Cass men. At our celebration here on the 4th a Mr. Vinson Hubbard, heretofore considered a Democrat, offered a toast the substance of which was that Gen. Taylor might be elected and fill the office as Washington did.  This looks a little dangerous and I think it probable he will support Taylor, though we shall not cease until after the election in our efforts to reclaim him. He is a poor man and is living on land free of rent, belonging to a strong Whig, and this possibly explains the heresy. The toast he gave however hints at the only quarter whence we may expect danger in the present campaign. The fool-idea constantly harped upon by the Whig press, of having a second Washington in the chair of state, has turned some weak heads. It had begun to tell upon the public mind before the democratic press noticed the operation, and now we should work vigourously and direct our attack to this point. Our Editors are much to blame in this matter. They seemed to have a sort of reverence for Taylor, which was very ill-timed, and refused to lay hands upon him, even after he was nominated by the Whig convention of Georgia. What is once acquiesced in by a party, though but for a short time, is hard afterwards to be contested, and we are now reaping the fruits of having indulged in the weakness of admiring military prowess. As far as my humble efforts could go, I at an early day charged Taylor with being a Wilmot Proviso man. Notwithstanding he was already the candidate of the Whig party in Georgia, the Democratic press differed with me and took the trouble to write and publish articles to show that I was wrong, thereby defending a Whig candidate. In the Constitutionalist of July 21st, 1847 you will find the charge made by me, fully sustained by documents, and in the same paper a reply by the editor defending Taylor. I am glad to see they are getting back in the right track, and the only difficulty is they may not have time to undo all the mischief they have wrought. I throw out these views to you because you may do something to help these Democratic Taylor champions out of the fog. From a close observation of the prejudices and opinions of the people around me I am satisfied they are well grounded. Could not you send Vinson Hubbard (at Elberton) some document showing Taylor had at last succumbed and taken purely a party position, also one of the same sort to Jesse Dobbs?

SOURCE: Ulrich Bonnell Phillips, Editor, The Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1911, Volume 2: The Correspondence of Robert Toombs, Alexander H. Stephens, and Howell Cobb, p. 114-5

Monday, October 15, 2018

Abraham Lincoln’s Address to the Mayor Bishop and the Citizens of Cincinnati, Ohio, February 12, 1861

Mr. Mayor, Ladies, and Gentlemen: Twenty-four hours ago, at the capital of Indiana. I said to myself I have never seen so many people assembled together in winter weather. I am no longer able to say that. But it is what might reasonably have been expected — that this great city of Cincinnati would thus acquit herself on such an occasion. My friends, I am entirely overwhelmed by the magnificence of the reception which has been given, I will not say to me, but to the President-elect of the United States of America. Most heartily do I thank you, one and all, for it.

I am reminded by the address of your worthy mayor that this reception is given not by any one political party, and even if I had not been so reminded by his Honor I could not have failed to know the fact by the extent of the multitude I see before me now. I could not look upon this vast assemblage without being made aware that all parties were united in this reception. This is as it should be. It is as it should have been if Senator Douglas had been elected. It is as it should have been if Mr. Bell had been elected; as it should have been if Mr. Breckinridge had been elected; as it should ever be when any citizen of the United States is constitutionally elected President of the United States. Allow me to say that I think what has occurred here today could not have occurred in any other country on the face of the globe, without the influence of the free institutions which we have unceasingly enjoyed for three quarters of a century.

There is no country where the people can turn out and enjoy this day precisely as they please, save under the benign influence of the free institutions of our land.

I hope that, although we have some threatening national difficulties now — I hope that while these free institutions shall continue to be in the enjoyment of millions of free people of the United States, we will see repeated every four years what we now witness.

In a few short years, I, and every other individual man who is now living, will pass away; I hope that our national difficulties will also pass away, and I hope we shall see in the streets of Cincinnati — food old Cincinnati — for centuries to come, once every four years, her people give such a reception as this to the constitutionally elected President of the whole United States. I hope you shall all join in that reception, and that you shall also welcome your brethren from across the river to participate in it. We will welcome them in every State of the Union, no matter where they are from. From away South we shall extend them a cordial good-will, when our present difficulties shall have been forgotten and blown to the winds forever.

I have spoken but once before this in Cincinnati. That was a year previous to the late presidential election. On that occasion, in a playful manner, but with sincere words, I addressed much of what I said to the Kentuckians. I gave my opinion that we as Republicans would ultimately beat them as Democrats, but that they could postpone that result longer by nominating Senator Douglas for the presidency than they could in any other way. They did not, in any true sense of the word, nominate Mr. Douglas, and the result has come certainly as soon as ever I expected. I also told them how I expected they would be treated after they should have been beaten; and I now wish to recall their attention to what I then said upon that subject. I then said, “When we do as we say, — beat you, — you perhaps want to know what we will do with you. I will tell you, so far as lam authorized to speak for the opposition, what we mean to do with you. We mean to treat you, as near as we possibly can, as Washington, Jefferson, and Madison treated you. We mean to leave you alone, and in no way to interfere with your institutions; to abide by all and every compromise of the Constitution; and, in a word, coming back to the original proposition, to treat you, so far as degenerate men — if we have degenerated — may, according to the examples of those noble fathers, Washington, Jefferson, and Madison. We mean to remember that you are as good as we; that there is no difference between us other than the difference of circumstances. We mean to recognize and bear in mind always that you have as good hearts in your bosoms as other people, or as we claim to have, and treat you accordingly.”

Fellow-citizens of Kentucky! — friends!—brethren! may I call you in my new position? I see no occasion, and feel no inclination, to retract a word of this. If it shall not be made good, be assured the fault shall not be mine.

And now, fellow-citizens of Ohio, have you, who agree with him who now addresses you in political sentiment— have you ever entertained other sentiments toward our brethren of Kentucky than those I have expressed to you? If not, then why shall we not, as heretofore, be recognized and acknowledged as brethren again, living in peace and harmony again one with another? I take your response as the most reliable evidence that it may be so, trusting, through the good sense of the American people, on all sides of all rivers in America, under the providence of God, who has never deserted us. that we shall again be brethren, forgetting all parties, ignoring all parties. My friends, I now bid you farewell.

SOURCES: John G. Nicolay and John Hay, Editors, Abraham Lincoln: Complete Works, Volume 1, p. 674-6

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Last Will and Testament of Andrew Jackson, June 7, 1843

Hermitage, June 7th, 1843.

In The Name Of God, Amen: — I, Andrew Jackson, Sen’r., being of sound mind, memory, and understanding, and impressed with the great uncertainty of life and the certainty of death, and being desirous to dispose of my temporal affairs so that after my death no contention may arise relative to the same — And whereas, since executing my will of the 30th of September, 1833, my estate has become greatly involved by my liabilities for the debts of my well beloved and adopted son Andrew Jackson, Jun., which makes it necessary to alter the same: Therefore I, Andrew Jackson, Sen’r., of the county of Davidson, and state of Tennessee, do make, ordain, publish, and declare this my last will and testament, revoking all other wills by me heretofore made.

First, I bequeath my body to the dust whence it comes, and my soul to God who gave it, hoping for a happy immortality through the atoning merits of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world. My desire is, that my body be buried by the side of my dear departed wife, in the garden at the Hermitage, in the vault prepared in the garden, and all expenses paid by my executor hereafter named.

Secondly, That all my just debts to be paid out of my personal and real estate by my executor; for which purpose to meet the debt my good friends Gen’l J. B. Planchin & Co. of New Orleans, for the sum of six thousand dollars, with the interest accruing thereon loaned to me to meet the debt due by A. Jackson, Jun., for the purchase of the plantation from Hiram G. Runnels, lying on the east bank of the river Mississippi, in the state of Mississippi. Also, a debt due by me of ten thousand dollars. borrowed of my friends Blair and Rives, of the city of Washington and District of Columbia, with the interest accruing thereon; being applied to the payment of the lands bought of Hiram G. Runnels as aforesaid, and for the faithful payment of the aforesaid recited debts, I hereby bequeath all my real and personal estate. After these debts are fully paid—

Thirdly, I give and bequeath to my adopted son, Andrew Jackson, Junior, the tract of land whereon I now live, known by the Hermitage tract, with its butts and boundaries, with all its appendages of the three lots of land bought of Samuel Donelson, Thomas J. Donelson, and Alexander Donelson, sons and heirs of Sovern Donelson, deceased, all adjoining the Hermitage tract, agreeable to their butts and boundaries, with all the appurtenances thereto belonging or in any wise appertaining, with all my negroes that I may die possessed of, with the exception hereafter named, with all their increase after the before recited debts are fully paid, with all the household furniture, farming tools, stock of all kind, both on the Hermitage tract farms, as well as those on the Mississippi plantation, to him and his heirs for ever.—The true intent and meaning of this my last will and testament is, that all my estate, real, personal, and mixed, is hereby first pledged for the payment of the above recited debts and interest; and when they are fully paid, the residue of all my estate, real, personal and mixed, is hereby bequeathed to my adopted son A. Jackson, Jun., with the exceptions hereafter named, to him and his heirs for ever.

Fourth, Whereas I have heretofore by conveyance, deposited with my beloved daughter Sarah Jackson, wife of my adopted son A. Jackson, Jun., given to my beloved granddaughter, Rachel Jackson, daughter of A. Jackson, Jun. and Sarah his wife, several negroes therein described, which I hereby confirm. — I give and bequeath to my beloved grandson Andrew Jackson, son of A. Jackson, Jun. and Sarah his wife, a negro boy named Ned, son of Blacksmith Aaron and Hannah his wife, to him and his heirs for ever.

Fifth, I give and bequeath to my beloved little grandson. Samuel Jackson, son of A. Jackson, Jun. and his much beloved wife Sarah, one negro boy named Davy or George, son of Squire and his wife Giney, to him and his heirs for ever.

Sixth, To my beloved and affectionate daughter, Sarah Jackson, wife of my adopted and well beloved son, A. Jackson, Jun., I hereby recognise, by this bequest, the gift I made her on her marriage, of the negro girl Gracy, which I bought for her, and gave her to my daughter Sarah as her maid and seamstress, with her increase, with my house-servant Hannah and her two daughters, namely, Charlotte and Mary, to her and her heirs for ever. This gift and bequest is made for my great affection for her — as a memento of her uniform attention to me and kindness on all occasions, and particularly when worn down with sickness, pain, and debility — she has been more than a daughter to me, and I hope she never will be disturbed in the enjoyment of this gift and bequest by any one.

Seventh, I bequeath to my well beloved nephew, Andrew J. Donelson, son of Samuel Donelson, deceased, the elegant sword presented to me by the state of Tennessee, with this injunction, that he fail not to use it when necessary in support and protection of our glorious union, and for the protection of the constitutional rights of our beloved country, should they be assailed by foreign enemies or domestic traitors. This, from the great change in my worldly affairs of late, is, with my blessing, all 1 can bequeath him, doing justice to those creditors to whom I am responsible. This bequest is made as a memento of my high regard, affection, and esteem I bear for him as a high-minded, honest, and honorable man.

Eighth, To my grand-nephew Andrew Jackson Coffee, I bequeath the elegant sword presented to me by the Rifle Company of New Orleans, commanded by Capt. Beal, as a memento of my regard, and to bring to his recollection the gallant services of his deceased father Gen’l John Coffee, in the late Indian and British war, under my command, and his gallant conduct in defence of New Orleans in 1814 and 1815; with this injunction, that he wield it in the protection of the rights secured to the American citizen under our glorious constitution, against all invaders, whether foreign foes, or intestine traitors.

I bequeath to my beloved grandson Andrew Jackson, son of A. Jackson, Jun. and Sarah his wife, the sword presented to me by the citizens of Philadelphia, with this injunction, that he will always use it in defence of the constitution and our glorious union, and the perpetuation of our republican system: remembering the motto — “Draw me not without occasion, nor sheath me without honour.”

The pistols of Gen'l Lafayette, which were presented by him to Gen’l George Washington, and by Col. Wm Robertson presented to me, I bequeath to George Washington Lafayette, as a memento of the illustrious personages through whose hands they have passed — his father, and the father of his country.

The gold box presented to me by the corporation of the City of New York, the large silver vase presented to me by the ladies of Charleston, South Carolina, my native state, with the large picture representing the unfurling of the American banner, presented to me by the citizens of South Carolina when it was refused to be accepted by the United States Senate, I leave in trust to my son A. Jackson, Jun., with directions that should our happy country not be blessed with peace, an event not always to be expected, he will at the close of the war or end of the conflict, present each of said articles of inestimable value, to that patriot residing in the city or state from which they were preented, who shall be adjudged by his countrymen or the ladies to have been the most valiant in defence of his country and our country's rights.

The pocket spyglass which was used by Gen’l Washington during the revolutionary war, and presented to me by Mr. Custis, having been burned with my dwellinghouse, the Hermitage, with many other invaluable relics, 1 can make no dispositon of them. As a memento of my high regard for Gen'l Robert Armstrong as a gentleman, patriot and soldier, as well as for his meritorious military services under my command during the late British and Indian war, and remembering the gallant bearing of him and his gallant little band at Enotochopco creek, when, falling desperately wounded, he called out — “My brave fellows, some may fall, but save the cannon” — as a memento of all these things, I give and bequeath to him my case of pistols and sword worn by me throughout my military career, well satisfied that in his hands they will never be disgraced — that they will never be used or drawn without occasion, nor sheathed but with honour.

Lastly, I leave to my beloved son all my walking-canes and other relics, to be distributed amongst my young re'atives—namesakes—first, to my much esteemed name.t.ike, Andrew J. Donelson, son of my esteemed nephew A. J. Donelson, his first choice, and then to be distributed as A. Jackson, Jun. may think proper.

Lastly, I appoint my adopted son Andrew Jackson, Jun., my whole and sole executor to this my last will and testament, and direct that no security be required of him for the faithful execution and discharge of the trusts hereby reposed in him.

In testimony whereof I have this 7th day of June, one thousand eight hundred and forty-three, hereunto set my hand, and affixed my seal, hereby revoking all wills heretofore made by me, and in the presence of

Marion Adams,

Elizabeth D. Love,

Thos. J. Donelson,
Richard Smith,

R Armstrong.

SOURCE: John Stilwell Jenkins, Life and Public Services of Genl. Andrew Jackson, p. 375-9 

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Last Will and Testament of George Washington, July 9, 1799


I, GEORGE WASHINGTON, of Mount Vernon, a citizen of the United States, and lately President of the same, do make, ordain, and declare this instrument, which is written with my own hand, and every page thereof subscribed with my name,1 to be my last WILL and TESTAMENT, revoking all others.

Imprimis. – All my debts, of which there are but few, and none of magnitude, are to be punctually and speedily paid, and the legacies, herein after bequeathed, are to be discharged as soon as circumstances will permit, and in the manner directed.

Item.—To my dearly beloved wife, Martha Washington, I give and bequeath the use, profit, and benefit of my whole estate, real and personal, for the term of her natural life, except such parts thereof as are specially disposed of hereafter. My improved lot in the town of Alexandria, situated on Pitt and Cameron streets, I give to her and her heirs for ever; as I also do my household and kitchen furniture of every sort and kind, with the liquors and groceries which may be on hand at the time of my decease, to be used and disposed of as she may think proper.

Item.—Upon the decease of my wife, it is my will and desire that all the slaves whom I hold in my own right shall receive their freedom. To emancipate them during her life would, though earnestly wished by me, be attended with such insuperable difficulties, on account of their intermixture by marriage with the dower negroes, as to excite the most painful sensations, if not disagreeable consequences to the latter, while both descriptions are in the occupancy of the same proprietor; it not being in my power, under the tenure by which the dower negroes are held, to manumit them. And whereas, among those who will receive freedom according to this devise, there may be some, who, from old age or bodily infirmities, and others, who, on account of their infancy, will be unable to support themselves, it is my will and desire, that all, who come under the first and second description, shall be comfortably clothed and fed by my heirs while they live; and that such of the latter description as have no parents living, or, if living, are unable or unwilling to provide for them, shall be bound by the court until they shall arrive at the age of twenty-five years; and, in cases where no record can be produced, whereby their ages can be ascertained, the judgment of the court, upon its own view of the subject, shall be adequate and final. The negroes thus bound, are (by their masters or mistresses) to be taught to read and write, and to be brought up to some useful occupation, agreeably to the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia, providing for the support of orphan and other poor children. And I do hereby expressly forbid the sale or transportation out of the said Commonwealth, of any slave I may die possessed of, under any pretence whatsoever. And I do, moreover, most pointedly and most solemnly enjoin it upon my executors hereafter named, or the survivors of them, to see that this clause respecting slaves, and every part thereof, be religiously fulfilled at the epoch at which it is directed to take place, without evasion, neglect, or delay, after the crops which may then be on the ground are harvested, particularly as it respects the aged and infirm; seeing that a regular and permanent fund be established for their support, as long as there are subjects requiring it; not trusting to the uncertain provision to be made by individuals. And to my mulatto man, William, calling himself William Lee, I give immediate freedom, or, if he should prefer it, (on account of the accidents which have befallen him, and which have rendered him incapable of walking, or of any active employment,) to remain in the situation he now is, it shall be optional in him to do so; in either case, however, I allow him an annuity of thirty dollars, during his natural life, which shall be independent of the victuals and clothes he has been accustomed to receive, if he chooses the last alternative; but in full with his freedom, if he prefers the first; and this I give him, as a testimony of my sense of his attachment to me, and for his faithful services during the revolutionary war.

Item. — To the trustees (governors, or by whatsoever other name they may be designated) of the Academy in the town of Alexandria, I give and bequeath, in trust, four thousand dollars, or in other words, twenty of the shares which I hold in the Bank of Alexandria, towards the support of a free school, established at, and annexed to, the said Academy, for the purpose of educating such orphan children, or the children of such other poor and indigent persons, as are unable to accomplish it with their own means, and who, in the judgment of the trustees of the said seminary, are best entitled to the benefit of this donation. The aforesaid twenty shares I give and bequeath in perpetuity; the dividends only of which are to be drawn for and applied, by the said trustees for the time being, for the uses above mentioned; the stock to remain entire and untouched, unless indications of failure of the said bank should be so apparent, or a discontinuance thereof, should render a removal of this fund necessary. In either of these cases, the amount of the stock here devised is to be vested in some other bank, or public institution, whereby the interest may with regularity and certainty be drawn and applied as above. And to prevent misconception, my meaning is, and is hereby declared to be, that these twenty shares are in lieu of, and not in addition to, the thousand pounds given by a missive letter some years ago, in consequence whereof an annuity of fifty pounds has since been paid towards the support of this institution.

Item. —Whereas by a law of the Commonwealth of Virginia, enacted in the year 1785, the Legislature thereof was pleased, as an evidence of its approbation of the services I had rendered the public during the Revolution, and partly, I believe, in consideration of my having suggested the vast advantages which the community would derive from the extension of its inland navigation under legislative patronage, to present me with one hundred shares, of one hundred dollars each, in the incorporated Company, established for the purpose of extending the navigation of James River from the tide water to the mountains; and also with fifty shares, of £100 sterling each, in the corporation of another Company, likewise established for the similar purpose of opening the navigation of the River Potomac from the tide water to Fort Cumberland; the acceptance of which, although the offer was highly honorable and grateful to my feelings, was refused, as inconsistent with a principle which I had adopted, and had never departed from, viz. not to receive pecuniary compensation for any services I could render my country in its arduous struggle with Great Britain for its rights, and because I had evaded similar propositions from other States in the Union; adding to this refusal, however, an intimation, that, if it should be the pleasure of the legislature to permit me to appropriate the said shares to public uses, I would receive them on those terms with due sensibility; and this it having consented to, in flattering terms, as will appear by a subsequent law, and sundry resolutions, in the most ample and honorable manner; – I proceed after this recital, for the more correct understanding of the case, to declare; that, as it has always been a source of serious regret with me, to see the youth of these United States sent to foreign countries for the purpose of education, often before their minds were formed, or they had imbibed any adequate ideas of the happiness of their own; contracting too frequently, not only habits of dissipation and extravagance, but principles unfriendly to republican government, and to the true and genuine liberties of mankind, which thereafter are rarely overcome; for these reasons it has been my ardent wish to see a plan devised on a liberal scale, which would have a tendency to spread systematic ideas through all parts of this rising empire, thereby to do away local attachments and State prejudices, as far as the nature of things would, or indeed ought to admit, from our national councils. Looking anxiously forward to the accomplishment of so desirable an object as this is (in my estimation), my mind has not been able to contemplate any plan more likely to effect the measure, than the establishment of a UNIVERsity in a central part of the United States, to which the youths of fortune and talents from all parts thereof may be sent for the completion of their education, in all the branches of polite literature, in arts and sciences, in acquiring knowledge in the principles of politics and good government, and, as a matter of infinite importance in my judgment, by associating with each other, and forming friendships in juvenile years, be enabled to free themselves in a proper degree from those local prejudices and habitual jealousies which have just been mentioned, and which, when carried to excess, are never-failing sources of disquietude to the public mind, and pregnant of mischievous consequences to this country. Under these impressions, so fully dilated,

Item. —I give and bequeath, in perpetuity, the fifty shares which I hold in the Potomac company, (under the aforesaid acts of the Legislature of Virginia,) towards the endowment of a University, to be established within the limits of the district of Columbia, under the auspices of the general government, if that government should incline to extend a fostering hand towards it; and, until such seminary is established, and the funds arising on these shares shall be required for its support, my further will and desire is, that the profit accruing therefrom shall, whenever the dividends are made, be laid out in purchasing stock in the Bank of Columbia, or some other bank, at the discretion of my executors, or by the Treasurer of the United States for the time being, under the direction of Congress, provided that honorable body should patronize the measure; and the dividends proceeding from the purchase of such stock are to be vested in more stock, and so on, until a sum adequate to the accomplishment of the object is obtained; of which I have not the smallest doubt before many years pass away, even if no aid or encouragement is given by the legislative authority, or from any other source.

Item. — The hundred shares, which I hold in the James River Company, I have given, and now confirm in perpetuity, to and for the use and benefit of Liberty Hall Academy, in the County of Rockbridge, in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Item. – I release, exonerate, and discharge the estate of my deceased brother, Samuel Washington, from the payment of the money which is due to me for the land I sold to Philip Pendleton, (lying in the county of Berkeley,) who assigned the same to him, the said Samuel, who by agreement was to pay me therefor. And whereas, by some contract (the purport of which was never communicated to me) between the said Samuel and his son, Thornton Washington, the latter became possessed of the aforesaid land, without any conveyance having passed from me, either to the said Pendleton, the said Samuel, or the said Thornton, and without any consideration having been made, by which neglect neither the legal nor equitable title has been alienated; it rests therefore with me to declare my intentions concerning the premises; and these are, to give and bequeath the said land to whomsoever the said Thornton Washington (who is also dead) devised the same, or to his heirs for ever, if he died intestate; exonerating the estate of the said Thornton, equally with that of the said Samuel, from payment of the purchase money, which, with interest, agreeably to the original contract with the said Pendleton, would amount to more than a thousand pounds. And whereas two other sons of my said deceased brother Samuel, namely, George Steptoe Washington and Lawrence Augustine Washington, were, by the decease of those to whose care they were committed, brought under my protection, and, in consequence, have occasioned advances on my part, for their education at college and other schools, for their board, clothing, and other incidental expenses, to the amount of near five thousand dollars, over and above the sums furnished by their estate, which sum it may be inconvenient for them or their father's estate to refund; I do for these reasons acquit them and the said estate from the payment thereof, my intention being, that all accounts between them and me, and their father's estate and me, shall stand balanced.

Item. – The balance due to me from the estate of Bartholomew Dandridge, deceased, (my wife's brother,) and which amounted on the first day of October, 1795, to four hundred and twenty-five pounds, (as will appear by an account rendered by his deceased son, John Dandridge, who was the acting executor of his father's will,) I release and acquit from the payment thereof. And the negroes, then thirty-three in number, formerly belonging to the said estate, who were taken in execution, sold, and purchased in on my account, in the year (blank), and ever since have remained in the possession and to the use of Mary, widow of the said Bartholomew Dandridge, with their increase, it is my will and desire shall continue and be in her possession, without paying hire, or making compensation for the same, for the time past or to come, during her natural life; at the expiration of which, I direct that all of them who are forty years old and upwards shall receive their freedom; and all under that age, and above sixteen, shall serve seven years and no longer; and all under sixteen years shall serve until they are twenty-five years of age, and then be free. And, to avoid disputes respecting the ages of any of these negroes, they are to be taken into the court of the county in which they reside, and the judgment thereof, in this relation, shall be final, and record thereof made, which may be adduced as evidence at any time thereafter, if disputes should arise concerning the same. And I further direct, that the heirs of the said Bartholomew Dandridge shall equally share the benefits arising from the services of the said negroes, according to the tenor of this devise, upon the decease of their mother.

Item. – If Charles Carter, who intermarried with my niece, Betty Lewis, is not sufficiently secured in the title to the lots he had of me in the town of Fredericksburg, it is my will and desire, that my executors shall make such conveyances of them as the law requires to render it perfect.

Item.—To my nephew, William Augustine Washington, and his heirs, (if he should conceive them to be objects worth prosecuting,) a lot in the town of Manchester, (opposite to Richmond,) No. 265, drawn on my sole account, and also the tenth of one or two hundred acre lots, and two or three half-acre lots, in the city and vicinity of Richmond, drawn in partnership with nine others, all in the lottery of the deceased William Byrd, are given; as is also a lot which I purchased of John Hood, conveyed by William Willie and Samuel Gordon, trustees of the said John Hood, numbered 139, in the town of Edinburgh, in the County of Prince George, State of Virginia.

Item. — To my nephew, Bushrod Washington, I give and bequeath all the papers in my possession, which relate to my civil and military administration of the affairs of this country. I leave to him also such of my private papers as are worth preserving; and at the decease of my wife, and before, if she is not inclined to retain them, I give and bequeath my library of books and pamphlets of every kind.

Item. — Having sold lands which I possessed in the State of Pennsylvania, and part of a tract held in equal right with George Clinton, late governor of New York, in the State of New York, my share of land and interest in the Great Dismal Swamp, and a tract of land which I owned in the County of Gloucester, — withholding the legal titles thereto, until the consideration money should be paid, and having moreover leased and conditionally sold (as will appear by the tenor of the said leases) all my lands upon the Great Kenhawa, and a tract upon Difficult Run, in the County of Loudoun, it is my will and direction, that whensoever the contracts are fully and respectively complied with, according to the spirit, true intent, and meaning thereof, on the part of the purchasers, their heirs or assigns, that then, and in that case, conveyances are to be made, agreeably to the terms of the said contracts, and the money arising therefrom, when paid, to be vested in bank stock; the dividends whereof, as of that also which is already vested therein, are to inure to my said wife during her life; but the stock itself is to remain and be subject to the general distribution hereafter directed.

Item.—To the Earl of Buchan I recommit the “Box made of the Oak that sheltered the great Sir William Wallace, after the battle of Falkirk,” presented to me by his Lordship, in terms too flattering for me to repeat, with a request “to pass it, on the event of my decease, to the man in my country, who should appear to merit it best, upon the same conditions that have induced him to send it to me.” Whether easy or not to select the man, who might comport with his Lordship's opinion in this respect, is not for me to say; but, conceiving that no disposition of this valuable curiosity can be more eligible than the recommitment of it to his own cabinet, agreeably to the original design of the Goldsmiths' Company of Edinburgh, who presented it to him, and, at his request, consented that it should be transferred to me, I do give and bequeath the same to his Lordship; and, in case of his decease, to his heir, with my grateful thanks for the distinguished honor of presenting it to me, and more especially for the favorable sentiments with which he accompanied it.

Item. — To my brother, Charles Washington, I give and bequeath the gold-headed cane left me by Dr. Franklin in his will. I add nothing to it, because of the ample provision I have made for his issue. To the acquaintances and friends of my juvenile years, Lawrence Washington and Robert Washington, of Chotanck, I give my other two gold-headed canes, having my arms engraved on them; and to each, as they will be useful where they live, I leave one of the spyglasses, which constituted part of my equipage during the late war. To my compatriot in arms, and old and intimate friend, Dr. Craik, I give my bureau (or, as the cabinet-makers call it, tambour secretary) and the circular chair, an appendage of my study. To Dr. David Stuart I give my large shaving and dressing table, and my telescope. To the Reverend, now Bryan, Lord Fairfax, I give a Bible, in three large folio volumes, with notes, presented to me by the Right Reverend Thomas Wilson, Bishop of Sodor and Man. To General de Lafayette I give a pair of finely-wrought steel pistols, taken from the enemy in the revolutionary war. To my sisters-in-law, Hannah Washington and Mildred Washington, to my friends, Eleanor Stuart, Hannah Washington, of Fairfield, and Elizabeth Washington, of Hayfield, I give each a mourning ring, of the value of one hundred dollars. These bequests are not made for the intrinsic value of them, but as mementos of my esteem and regard. To Tobias Lear I give the use of the farm, which he now holds in virtue of a lease from me to him and his deceased wife, (for and during their natural lives,) free from rent during his life; at the expiration of which, it is to be disposed of as is hereinafter directed. To Sally B. Haynie, (a distant relation of mine,) I give and bequeath three hundred dollars. To Sarah Green, daughter of the deceased Thomas Bishop, and to Ann Walker, daughter of John Alton, also deceased, I give each one hundred dollars, in consideration of the attachment of their fathers to me; each of whom having lived nearly forty years in my family. To each of my nephews, William Augustine Washington, George Lewis, George Steptoe Washington, Bushrod Washington, and Samuel Washington, I give one of the swords, or couteaux, of which I may die possessed; and they are to choose in the order they are named. These swords are accompanied with an injunction not to unsheath them for the purpose of shedding blood, except it be for self-defence, or in defence of their country and its rights; and in the latter case, to keep them unsheathed, and prefer falling with them in their hands to the relinquishment thereof. And now, having gone through these specific devises, with explanations for the more correct understanding of the meaning and design of them, I proceed to the distribution of the more important parts of my estate, in manner following;

First. — To my nephew, Bushrod Washington, and his heirs, (partly in consideration of an intimation to his deceased father, while we were bachelors, and he had kindly undertaken to superintend my estate during my military services in the former war between Great Britain and France, that, if I should fall therein, Mount Vernon, then less extensive in domain than at present, should become his property,) I give and bequeath all that part thereof, which is comprehended within the following limits, viz. Beginning at the ford of Dogue Run, near my Mill, and extending along the road, and bounded thereby, as it now goes, and ever has gone, since my recollection of it, to the ford of Little Hunting Creek, at the Gum Spring, until it comes to a knoll opposite to an old road, which formerly passed through the lower field of Muddy-Hole Farm; at which, on the north side of the said road, are three red or Spanish oaks, marked as a corner, and a stone placed; thence by a line of trees, to be marked rectangular, to the back line or outer boundary of the tract between Thompson Mason and myself; thence with that line easterly (now double ditching, with a post-and-rail fence thereon) to the run of Little Hunting Creek; thence with that run, which is the boundary between the lands of the late Humphrey Peake and me, to the tide water of the said creek; thence by that water to Potomac River; thence with the river to the mouth of Dogue Creek; and thence with the said Dogue Creek to the place of beginning at the aforesaid ford; containing upwards of four thousand acres, be the same more or less, together with the mansion-house, and all other buildings and improvements thereon.

Second. — In consideration of the consanguinity between them and my wife, being as nearly related to her as to myself, as on account of the affection I had for, and the obligation I was under to, their father when living, who from his youth had attached himself to my person, and followed my fortunes through the vicissitudes of the late Revolution, afterwards devoting his time to the superintendence of my private concerns for many years, whilst my public employments rendered it impracticable for me to do it myself, thereby affording me essential services, and always performing them in a manner the most filial and respectful; for these reasons, I say, I give and bequeath to George Fayette Washington and Lawrence Augustine Washington, and their heirs, my estate east of Little Hunting Creek, lying on the River Potomac, including the farm of three hundred and sixty acres, leased to Tobias Lear, as noticed before, and containing in the whole, by deed, two thousand and twenty-seven acres, be it more or less; which said estate it is my will and desire should be equitably and advantageously divided between them, according to quantity, quality, and other circumstances, when the youngest shall have arrived at the age of twenty-one years, by three judicious and disinterested men; one to be chosen by each of the brothers, and the third by these two. In the mean time, if the termination of my wife's interest therein should have ceased, the profits arising therefrom are to be applied for their joint uses and benefit.

THIRD. — And whereas it has always been my intention, since my expectation of having issue has ceased, to consider the grandchildren of my wife in the same light as I do my own relations, and to act a friendly part by them; more especially by the two whom we have raised from their earliest infancy, namely, Eleanor Parke Custis and George Washington Parke Custis; and whereas the former of these hath lately intermarried with Lawrence Lewis, a son of my deceased sister, Betty Lewis, by which union the inducement to provide for them both has been increased ; wherefore I give and bequeath to the said Lawrence Lewis, and Eleanor Parke Lewis, his wife, and their heirs, the residue of my Mount Vernon estate, not already devised to my nephew, Bushrod Washington, comprehended within the following description, viz. All the land north of the road leading from the ford of Dogue Run to the Gum Spring, as described in the devise of the other part of the tract to Bushrod Washington, until it comes to the stone and three red or Spanish oaks on the knoll; thence with the rectangular line to the back line (between Mr. Mason and me); thence with that line westerly along the new double ditch to Dogue Run, by the tumbling dam of my Mill; thence with the said run to the ford aforementioned. To which I add all the land I possess west of the said Dogue Run and Dogue Creek, bounded easterly and southerly thereby; together with the mill, distillery, and all other houses and improvements on the premises, making together about two thousand acres, be it more or less.

Fourth. — Actuated by the principle already mentioned, I give and bequeath to George Washington Parke Custis, the grandson of my wife, and my ward, and to his heirs, the tract I hold on Four Mile Run, in the vicinity of Alexandria, containing one thousand two hundred acres, more or less, and my entire square, No. 21, in the city of Washington.

FIFTH. — All the rest and residue of my estate real and personal, not disposed of in manner aforesaid, in whatsoever consisting, wheresoever lying, and whensoever found, (a schedule of which, as far as is recollected, with a reasonable estimate of its value, is hereunto annexed,) I desire may be sold by my executors, at such times, in such manner, and on such credits, (if an equal, valid, and satisfactory distribution of the specific property cannot be made without,) as in their judgment shall be most conducive to the interest of the parties concerned; and the moneys. arising therefrom to be divided into twenty-three equal parts, and applied as follows, viz. To William Augustine Washington, Elizabeth Spotswood, Jane Thornton, and the heirs of Ann Ashton, sons and daughters of my deceased brother, Augustine Washington, I give and bequeath four parts; that is, one part to each of them. To Fielding Lewis, George Lewis, Robert Lewis, Howell Lewis, and Betty Carter, sons and daughters of my deceased sister, Betty Lewis, I give and bequeath five other parts; one to each of them. To George Steptoe Washington, Lawrence Augustine Washington, Harriot Parks, and the heirs of Thornton Washington, sons and daughters of my deceased brother Samuel Washington, I give and bequeath other four parts; one to each of them. To Corbin Washington, and the heirs of Jane Washington, son and daughter of my deceased brother, John Augustine Washington, I give and bequeath two parts; one to each of them. To Samuel Washington, Frances Ball, and Mildred Hammond, son and daughters of my brother Charles Washington, I give and bequeath three parts; one part to each of them. And to George Fayette Washington, Charles Augustine Washington, and Maria Washington, sons and daughter of my deceased nephew, George Augustine Washington, I give one other part; that is, to each a third of that part. To Elizabeth Parke Law, Martha Parke Peter, and Eleanor Parke Lewis, I give and bequeath three other parts; that is, a part to each of them. And to my nephews, Bushrod Washington and Lawrence Lewis, and to my ward, the grandson of my wife, I give and bequeath one other part; that is, a third thereof to each of them. And, if it should so happen, that any of the persons whose names are here enumerated (unknown to me) should now be dead, or should die before me, that in either of these cases, the heirs of such deceased person shall, notwithstanding, derive all the benefits of the bequest, in the same manner as if he or she was actually living at the time. And, by way of advice, I recommend it to my executors not to be precipitate in disposing of the landed property, (herein directed to be sold,) if from temporary causes the sale thereof should be dull; experience having fully evinced, that the price of land, especially above the falls of the river and on the western waters, has been progressively rising, and cannot be long checked in its increasing value. And I particularly recommend it to such of the legatees (under this clause of my will), as can make it convenient, to take each a share of my stock in the Potomac Company, in preference to the amount of what it might sell for; being thoroughly convinced myself, that no uses to which the money can be applied, will be so productive as the tolls arising from this navigation when in full operation, (and thus, from the “nature of things, it must be, ere long,) and more especially if that of the Shenandoah is added thereto.

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 commonly called the Vineyard Enclosure, on the ground which is marked out; in which my remains, with those of my deceased relations (now in the old vault), and such others of my family as may choose to be entombed there, may be deposited. And it is my express desire, that my corpse may be interred in a private manner, without parade or funeral oration.

LAstLY, I constitute and appoint my dearly beloved wife, Martha Washington, my nephews, William Augustine Washington, Bushrod Washington, George Steptoe Washington, Samuel Washington, and Lawrence Lewis, and my ward, George Washington Parke Custis (when he shall have arrived at the age of twenty-one years), executrix and executors of this my will and testament; in the construction of which it will be readily perceived, that no professional character has been consulted, or has had any agency in the draft; and that, although it has occupied many of my leisure hours to digest, and to throw it into its present form, it may, notwithstanding, appear crude and incorrect; but, having endeavoured to be plain and explicit in all the devises, even at the expense of prolixity, perhaps of tautology, I hope and trust that no disputes will arise concerning them. But if, contrary to expectation, the case should be otherwise, from the want of legal expressions, or the usual technical terms, or because too much or too little has been said on any of the devises to be consonant with law, my will and direction expressly is, that all disputes (if unhappily any should arise) shall be decided by three impartial and intelligent men, known for their probity and good understanding; two to be chosen by the disputants, each having the choice of one, and the third by those two; which three men, thus chosen, shall, unfettered by law or legal constructions, declare their sense of the testator's intention; and such decision is, to all intents and purposes, to be as binding on the parties as if it had been given in the Supreme Court of the United States.

In witness of all and of each of the things herein contained, I have set my hand and seal, this ninth day of July, in the year one thousand seven hundred and ninety,2 and of the Independence of the United States the twenty-fourth.


1 In the original manuscript, George Washington's name was written at the bottom of every page.

2 It appears that the testator omitted the word “nine.”

SOURCE: Jared Sparks, The Writings of George Washington; Being His Correspondence, Addresses, Messages, and other Papers Official and Private, p. 569-80