Posts Tagged ‘George Washington’

George Washington: His Country is his Monument

February 18, 2010

GEORGE WASHINGTON.

Few columns rose when Rome was free
To mark her patriot’s last repose;
When she outlived her liberty,
The emperor’s mausoleums rose;
And Trajan’s shaft was reared at last,
When freedom from Tyber passed.
“Better than Trajan” lowly lies
By broad Potomac’s silent shore,
Hallowing the green declivities
With glory, now and evermore.
Art to his fame no aid hath lent —
His country is his monument.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio)1832

GEORGE WASHINGTON.

The following account of the appointment of General Washington to the supreme command of the continental army, June 18th, 1775, has been placed in our hands by a gentleman in whose veracity we have full confidence. We cannot doubt the authenticity of the anecdotes he gives.

This subject has of late years been brought before the public under various versions, and has in every shape attention. The private journal is narrating a conversation with John Adams, senior, before that great and good man was called to his final rest. The relation is more in detail than that which has hitherto been made public, but it substantially corroborates the former versions of the causes which led to the appointment of Washington. Lest we should in any way affect the anecdote, we give it in the words of the narrator.

The army was assembled at Cambridge, Mass., under Gen. Ward, and Congress was sitting at Philadelphia. Every day, new applications in behalf of the army arrived. The country was urgent that Congress should legalize the raising of the army; as they had, what must be considered, only a mob, a band of armed rebels.

The country was placed in circumstances of peculiar difficulty and danger. The struggle had begun, and yet every thing was without order. The great trial now seemed to be in this question. Who shall be the commander-in-chief? It was exceedingly important, and was felt to be the hinge on which the contest might turn for or against us.

The Southern and Middle States, warm and rapid in their zeal for the most part, were jealous of New England, because they felt the real physical force was here; what then was to be done? All New England adored Gen. Ward; he had been in the French war, and went out laden with laurels. He was a scholar and a statesman. Every qualification seemed to cluster in him; and it was confidently believed that the army could not receive any appointment over him. What then was to be done? Difficulties thickened at every step. The struggle was to be long and bloody. Without union, all was lost. The country and the whole country must come in. One pulsation must beat through all hearts.

The cause was one, and the army must be one. The members had talked, debated, considered and guessed, and yet the decisive step had not been taken. At length Mr. Adams came to his conclusion. The means of resolving it were somewhat singular, and nearly as follows: he was walking one morning before Congress hall, apparently in deep thought, when his cousin, Samuel Adams, came up to him and said,

“What is the topic with you this morning?”

“Oh the army,” he replied. “I’m determined to go into the hall this morning, and enter on a full detail of the colonies, in order to show an absolute need of taking some decisive steps. My whole aim will be to induce Congress to appoint a day for adopting the army as the legal army of these united colonies of North America, and then to hint at an election of a Commander-in-Chief.”

“Well,” said Samuel Adams, “I like that, cousin John; but on whom have you fixed as that Commander?”

“I will tell you — George Washington, of Virginia, a member of this house.”

“Oh,” replied Samuel Adams quickly, “that will never do, never.”

“It must do, it shall do,” said John, “and for these reasons — the Southern and Middle States are bout to enter heartily in the cause; and their arguments are portent! they say that New England holds the physical power in her hands, and they fear the result. A New England army, a New England commander, new England perseverance all united, appal them. For this cause they hang back. Now the only course is to allay their fears, and give them nothing to complain of; and this can be done in no other way but by appointing a Southern Chief over this force, and then all will rush to the standard. This policy will blend us in one mass, and that mass will be resistless.”

At this, Samuel Adams seemed greatly moved. They talked over the preliminary circumstances, and John asked his cousin to second the motion. Mr. Adams went in, took the floor, and put forth all his strength, in the delineation he had prepared, all aiming at the adoption of the army. He was ready to own the army, appoint a commander, vote supplies, and proceed to business. After his speech had been finished, some doubted, some objected, and some feared. His warmth increased with the occasion, and to all these doubts and hesitations she[he?] replied.

“Gentlemen, if this Congress will not adopt this army before ten moons have set, New England will adopt it, and she will undertake the struggle alone — yes, with a strong arm, and a clean conscience, she will front the foe single handed.”

This had the desired effect. They saw New England was neither playing, nor to be played with. They agreed to appoint a day. A day was fixed. It came — Mr. Adams went in, took the floor, urged the measure, and after some debate, it passed.

The next thing was to get a commander for his army, with supplies, &c. All looked to Mr. Adams on the occasion, and he was ready. He took the floor, and went into a minute delineation of the character of General Ward, bestowing on him the encomiums which then belonged to no one else. At the end of the eulogy he said, “But this is not the man I have chosen.”

He then went into the delineation of the character of a Commander-in-Chief, such as was required by the peculiar situation of the Colonies at this juncture. And after he had presented the qualifications in his strongest language, and gave the reasons for the nomination he was about to make, he said —

“Gentlemen, I know these qualifications are high, but we all know they are needful, at this crisis in this chief. Does any one say they are not to be obtained in this country? In reply I have to say they are; reside in one of our own body, and he is the person whom I now nominate.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, OF VIRGINIA

Washington, who sat on Mr. Adams’ right hand, was looking at him intently in the face, to watch the name he was about to announce, and not expecting it would be his, sprang from his seat the minute he heard it, and rushed into an adjoining room. Mr. Adams had asked his cousin Samuel to ask for an adjournment as soon as the nomination was made, in order to give the members time to deliberate, and the result is before the world.

I asked Mr. Adams, among other questions, the following:

“Did you ever doubt of the success of the conflict?”

“No, no,” said he, “not for a moment. I expected to be hung and quartered, if I was caught; but no matter for that — my country would be free; I knew George III, could not forge chains long enough and strong enough to reach around these United States.”

The Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Mar 6, 1843

The Old Graveyard: Frederick, Maryland

January 30, 2010

THE OLD GRAVEYARD.

A Spot of Peculiar Historical Interest.

There is a great deal of historic interest attached to the old Presbyterian graveyard which has lately been purchased by the Salvation Army. In 1782 the first Presbyterian church ever built in this county was here erected. It was a very plain stucture of bricks, supposed to have been brought from England. It had a brick floor, high backed pews and a very lofty pulpit. The congregation was composed of Scotch settlers from Pennsylvania with a considerable German element; the first pastor was Rev. S.B. Balch, who was followed by Revs. David Baird and Cunningham Sample. Next came Rev. Samuel Knox from Ireland, a man of rare literary talents, who during his pastorate here was president of the Fred[er]ick Academy. He was the great grandfather of Rev. Wm. Ould, the present incumbent of the church. He was connected by marriage with the McCleery family of this city, who about two years ago removed the bodies of Mr. Knor [Knox?] and wife to Mt. Olivet cemetery. Rev. Patrick Davidson came next who was also president of the Frederick Academy, and it was during his pastorate that a new church was contemplated.

The present site was purchased about the year 1819, though the edifice was not commenced until 1825 and dedicated in 1827. To go back to the old churchyard with its fallen gravestones and sunken graves overrun with myrtle, we find that Rev. Mr. Davi[d]son was buried here in 1825. Among the sleeping dead were members of our prominent families whose sacred dust has just been carefully reinterred in Mt. Olivet. It has been told by an old resident, that Episcopalians and Presbyterians worshipped together in this old church, and their Sunday schools were united until the pastorate of Rev. Dr. Hamner.

Gov. Thomas Johnson (Image from http://www.knowledgerush.com)

One of the most historical events celebrated in this antique church occurred February 22nd, 1800, when Thomas Johnson, first Governor of Maryland, delivered a funeral oration in memory of George Washington.

George Washington (Image from http://shopyield.com)

Eight thousand persons were in attendance. It was one of those masterly orations which have been handed down to posterity. Gov. Johnson was a personal friend of Gen. Washington, and this oration was the last official act of his life. He said: “So strongly was Washington’s dear image imprinted on my memory, that I can now see the manly form and graceful attitude, his piercing blue eyes softened by modesty, innate sweetness and harmony of soul. Let us imitate his example, remember his patriotism, his courage on the field of battle and death, and like him to render up our swords to the country from which we receive them. We are professing Christians, let us live so that at death we may say like Washington, ‘I am not afraid to die.'”

The News (Frederick, Maryland) May 9, 1887

The Presbyterian Church image from: (Google Book LINK – limited preview) “Historical Sketch of the Presbyterian Church 1780-1910” starts on page 448

Title   History of Frederick County, Maryland, Volume 1
Authors    Thomas John Chew Williams, Folger McKinsey
Edition    reprint
Publisher Genealogical Publishing Com, 1979
ISBN    0806379731, 9780806379739
Length    1724 pages

*****

More About Samuel Knox by Bernard C. Steiner in the Maryland Historical Magazine – vol.4; 1909 (Google Books LINK) pg. 276