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Universal pronouncing dictionary of biography and mythology (Volume 2) online

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of 1779-80 near Morristown, New Jersey. Early in
1780 Sir Henry Clinton transferred his main army, by
sea, from New York to South Carolina, and besieged
Charleston, which General Lincoln defended for several
weeks, but was compelled to surrender in May. Sir
Henry Clinton, leaving Lord Cornwallis in command
in the Carolinas, returned to New York in June, 1780.
In the same month Congress appointed General Gates
commander of the Southern department This general
was signally defeated by Lord Cornwallis at Camden,
August 16, and was compelled to retreat to North Caro-
lina. During the year 1780 the commander-in-chief was
obliged to remain on the defensive, in consequence of
the weakness and destitution of his army. The exhaus-
tion of the public treasury, and the depreciation of the
currency, were such that he found great difficulty in
obtaining food or clothing for his soldiers. In July, 1780,
a French fleet arrived at Newport, Rhode Island, with
an army of 6000 men, which the French government
had sent to aid the Americans. While the people were
anticipating great advantages from the combined efforts
of the French and American armies, treason was in the
camp and plotting the ruin of the cause of freedom.
Benedict Arnold, who commanded the important fortress
of West Point, made arrangements to betray that place
into the power of Sir Henry Clinton. In consequence
of the capture of Major Andre\ in September, the plot
was detected and frustrated. (See ANDR, JOHN.)



i, e, i, o, u, y, long; A, fe, A, same, less prolonged; a, e, I, o, u, y, short; a, e, i, 9, obscure; far, fill, fat; m8t; not; good; moon



WASHINGTON



2433



WASHINGTON



In a letter addressed by Genera! Washington to Con-
gress in August, 1780, he urged the necessity of forming
an army by drafting men for three years or during the
war, and added, " Had we formed a permanent army in
the beginning, which, by the continuance of the same
men in service, had been capable of discipline, we never
should have had to retreat with a handful of men across
the Delaware in 1776, trembling for the fate of America,
which nothing but the infatuation of the enemy could
have saved j ... we should not have been under the
necessity of fighting at Brandywine with an unequal
number of raw troops, and afterwards of seeing Phila-
delphia fall a prey to a victorious army; we should not
have been at Valley Forge with less than half the force
of the enemy, destitute of everything, in a situation
neither to resist nor to retire." In November, 1780,
General Gates was removed from the command of the
Southern army by Congress, which requested Wash-
ington to appoint a general in his place. lie selected
General Greene, whom he commended to Congress
*s "an officer in whose abilities, fortitude, and integ-
rity he had the most entire confidence." The army
of which Greene took command at Charlotte, North
Carolina, did not much exceed 2200 men, more than
half of whom were militia. In December, 1780, the
army which General Washington commanded in person
retired into winter quarters, the Pennsylvania troops
being stationed at Morristown, and another part of the
army on the Hudson River, near West Point. In Jan-
uary, 1781, a thousand or more of the Pennsylvan'ians
mutinied, and marched towards Philadelphia to demand
a redress of their grievances from Congress. This
mutiny was suppressed by mild measures, and by satis-
fying the claims which were not unreasonable of the
mutineers. The Articles of Confederation between the
States were ratified in February, 1781.

The principal military operations of 1781 were con-
fined to the Southern States. On the I7th of January
General Morgan gained at Cowpens, South Carolina, a
complete victory over Colonel Tarleton, who lost about
900 killed, wounded, and prisoners. The whole loss
of the victors was not more than 80. Compelled to
retire before superior numbers, General Greene made
a rap! j retreat from the Catawba to the Dan Kiver, and
was closely pursued by Lord Cornwallis. His force
having been increased to about 4500 men, General
Greene resolved to risk a battle, and met the enemy
on the I5th of March at Guilford Court-House, North
Carolina. In this battle the British gained some ad-
vantage, but their loss was severe, and the retiring
Americans were not pursued. In April, 1781, Lord
Cornwallis began to march to Virginia, and General
Gteene moved his force into South Carolina. On the
8th of September General Greene defeated the enemy at
Eutaw Springs, and took 500 prisoners. In the spring
of 1781 a force of about 3000 men, under Genera! La
Fayette, was sent to defend Virginia. He conducted a
campaign against Lord Cornwallis, but neither of these
commanders gained any decisive advantage. Lord
Cornwallis collected his troops at Yorktown, Virginia,
where he constructed fortifications. Early in September
a French fleet of twenty-eight ships, commanded by
Count De Grasse, arrived in Chesapeake Bay, and about
the same time General Washington moved the combined
American and French armies from New York to Vir-
ginia, lie began the siege of Yorktown on the 28th of
September, with an army estimated at 15,000 men, and
Lord Cornwallis, on the igth of October, surrendered
his whole army of 7000 men. This victory was one of
the most important events of the war, and was the sub-
ject of enthusiastic rejoicing among the Americans.

In consequence of a general persuasion that peace
was at hand, there was no vigorous prosecution of the
war in 1782. On the 3d of September, 1783, a definitive
treaty of peace was signed in Paris, by which the British

fovernment recognized the independence of the United
tales. General Washington resigned his commission
to Congress, December 23, 1783, and retired to private
life, followed by the enthusiastic love and admiration of
his countrymen. He passed the ensuing years at Mount
Vernon, and resumed his former pursuits of agriculture,



etc. Meanwhile, the form of confederation which had
been adopted by the States in 1781 was found to be
more and more inefficient and impotent. In a letter to
James Warren, of Massachusetts, General Washington
wrote, "The Confederation appears to me to be little
more than a shadow without the substance, and Con-
gress a nugatory body. . . . From the high ground on
which we stood, we are descending into the vale of con-
fusion and darkness." To rescue the nation from this
state of anarchy and degradation, a National Convention
met at Philadelphia in May, 1787. General Washington
was unanimously elected president of this Convention,
which, after a session of several months, adopted a new
Constitution, that greatly increased the power of the
Federal government. He was elected, without opposi-
tion, President of the United States for four years from
the 4th of March, 1789. Before .the election he wrote
to Alexander Hamilton, "If I should be prevailed upon
to accept it, [the Presidency,] the acceptance would be
attended with more diffidence and reluctance than ever
I experienced before in my life." He was inaugurated
on the 30th of April, in New York, and delivered in the
Senate-chamber an inaugural address to both Houses
of Congress. In this address he affirmed that " the
preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny
of the republican model of government are justly con-
sidered as deeply, perhaps as FINALLY, staked on the
experiment intrusted to the hands of the American
people." He appointed Thomas Jefferson secretary of
state, Alexander Hamilton secretary of the treasury,
General Henry Knox secretary of war, and Edmund
Randolph attorney-general. Among the difficulties
encountered by the President were the deplorable con-
dition of the finances and the opposition of a powerful
party which disapproved the Federal Constitution and
asserted the sovereignty of the States. In January, 1 790,
Hamilton presented to Congress an able report on the
public credit and a plan for the support of the same.
The results of this financial policy were the speedy
restoration of the public credit and the revival of trade
and other departments of industry. The people became
divided into two great parties, called Federalists and
Republicans, (or Democrats,) the latter of which insisted
on State rights and wished to reduce the power of the
Federal government. Although Washington was not
formally committed to either party, his principles and
measures were such as necessarily connected him with
the Federalists. A great excitement was caused by the
French Revolution, in relation to which the Federalists
and Democrats differed widely. The latter party, of
which Jefferson was the leader, desired that the United
States should aid the French in the war against Great
Britain, while the Federalists advocated the policy of
strict neutrality.

In 1792 Washington was again unanimously elected
President, and John Adams, a Federalist, was re-elected
Vice-President, receiving seventy-seven electoral votes,
while his opponent, George Clinton, a Democrat, re-
ceived fifty votes. During his second term of office
the President resided at Philadelphia, which was then
the seat of government. In April, 1793, he issued a.
iroclamation of neutrality, (between the British and the
French,) which gave great offence to the Republicans.
" The proclamation," says Irving, " was stigmatized as a
r oyal edict and a daring assumption of power."

M. Genet, the ambassador of the French republic,
arrived at Charleston, South Carolina, in April, and
ssued commissions for privateers, which captured seve
ral British vessels. The official communications of
Genet became so offensive and insulting to the Presi-
dent that the American minister to France was in-
structed to desire his recall. Jefferson, having failed in
lis efforts to eject his rival Hamilton from the cabinet,
resigned the office of secretary of state in December,
1793, and was succeeded by Edmund Randolph, the
: ormer attorney-general. When the new Congress met,
n December, 1793, it was found that the opponents
of the administration had a majority in the House of
Representatives. The perplexity of the President was
ncreased by the fact that American vessels had been
captured by British cruisers, which inflamed the popular



t as k: c as /; g hard; g as /; c, H, K, guttural; N, nasal; R, trilleJ; s as t; th as in this. (5f = See Explanations, p. 2j.)

153



WASHINGTON



2434



WASHINGTON



heart and reinforced the party which opposed neutrality.
Resolving to prevent a war, if possible, by negotia-
tions, the President sent John Jay as a special envoy to
England, (April, 1794.) "Scarcely has any public act
of the President," says Marshall, "drawn upon his ad-
ministration a greater degree of censure than this." In
January, 1794, the office of secretary of the treasury was
resigned by Mr. Hamilton, " who had wasted in the public
service a great part of the property acquired by his
previous labours." (Marshall.) General Knox having
also resigned his place in the cabinet, Timothy Picker-
ing was appointed secretary of war, and Oliver Wolcott
secretary of the treasury. 'Mr. Jay negotiated a treaty,
which was signed November 19, 1794, and presented to
the United States Senate for ratification in June, 1795.
This treaty was vehemently opposed and denounced by
the Democrats and those who were most partial to the
French revolutionists; but it was finally approved b
the Senate, and signed by the President, August iS
1795. After the question had been decided, the voice
of faction continued to assail the President. "His
military and political character," says Marshall, "was
attacked with equal violence, and it was averred that
he was totally destitute of merit either as a soldier or
a statesman."

In 1795, Timothy Pickering was appointed secretary
of state, in the place of Edmund Randolph, who had
resigned. In March, 1796, the House of Representatives
p.issed a resolution requesting the President to lay
before that House a copy of the instructions given to
Mr. Jay, together with the documents relative to the
treaty with Great Britain. lie declined to comply with
their request, affirming that it would establish a dan-
gerous precedent to admit the right of the House to
demand the papers respecting a foreign negotiation.
When La Fayette was confined in the dungeon of
Olmiitz, General Washington wrote a private letter to
the Emperor of Germany, and entreated him to release
that captive.

Although the people generally wished to elect Gene-
ral Washington for a third term, he announced his
determination to retire from public life at the end of his
second term. He also issued a " Farewell Address to
the People of the United States," which, having been
revised by Alexander Hamilton, appeared in Septem-
ber, 1796, and produced a deep impression. In this
address he insisted on the vast importance of union as
" a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence ;
the support of your tranquillity at home ; your peace
abroad ; of your safety ; of your prosperity j of that
very liberty which you so highly prize. liut, as it is
easy to foresee that much pains will be taken, many
artifices employed, to weaken in your minds the convic-
tion of this truth ; as this is the point in your political
fortress against which the batteries of internal and ex-
ternal enemies will be most constantly and actively
(though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of
infinite moment (hat you should properly estimate the
immense value of your national union to your collect-
ive and individual happiness." He also advised the
people to have as little political connection as possible
with foreign nations, and to "steer clear of permanent
alliances with any portion of the foreign world."

On the 7th of December, 1796, the President met for
the last time the Houses of Congress, to which he made
a dignified address. His official career terminated March
4, 1797, and he then retired to Mount Vernon, leaving
the nation in a state of great prosperity. The capture
of American vessels by French cruisers led to hostilities
between the United States and France, although there
was no formal declaration of war. In this emergency,
the government of the United States raised an army of
about 10,000 men, of which General Washington was
appointed commander-in-chief, July, 1798. He accepted
this appointment on the condition that Colonel Hamil-
ton should be the second in command. The selection
of Hamilton as second in command was also desired by
the public, but was not in accordance with the will of
President Adams, who, however, finally assented, lie
fore the question of war or peace had been decided,
Washington died, without issue, at Mount Vernon, aftei



I a short illness, on the !4th of December, 1799. A few
hours before his death, he said. " I look to the event with
perfect resignation." His disease was acute laryngitis.

On learning the death of Washington, the House of
Representatives resolved, "That a committee be ap-
pointed to consider the most suitable manner of paying
honour to the memory of the MAN first in war, first in
peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen."*

Genera] Washington had inherited a number of slaves,
whom he emancipated by his last will. In a letter to
Mr. Morris, in 1786, he said, "There is not a man living
who wishes more sincerely than I do, to see a plan
adopted for the abolition of slavery."

In stature General Washington was six feet and two
inches high, with a frame well proportioned and firmly
knit. His hair was brown, his eyes blue and far apart.
He was remarkable from boyhood for his great physical
strength. It is related that in his youth he threw a
stone across the Rappahannock opposite his father's
bouse, a feat which has never, it is said, been performed
by any one since that time. When young, he was ever
foremost among his companions in all athletic sports,
and was especially distinguished as a skilful and fearless
horseman.t He was scrupulously attentive to his dress
and personal appearance. His manner, though gentle
and gracious, was in public characterized by a certain
military dignity and reserve. He was proverbial for
punctuality as well as for truthfulness.

In the whole history of mankind, few, if any, great
men will be found more worthy of our heartfelt esteem
and admiration than Washington. Without any of the
dazzling gifts of genius, without perhaps possessing
talents of the very highest order, yet his various powers
were so admirably proportioned and adjusted to each
other, so under the control of lofty moral principle and
a high heroic will, which neither the extremity of peril
or disaster, the fiercest blasts of obloquy, nor the seduc-
tions of ambition had power to shake, that, though he
may have been surpassed by many in some single point,
if we consider his character as a whole, we shall scarcely
find his equal, and shall search in vain for his superior.
One result of the admirable equipoise and harmony of
his powers was a wisdom of the rarest order. It is well
known that wisdom is not the product of one or two
faculties, but the combined result of many, including
the moral as well as intellectual. Napoleon, with ail
his transcendent genius, was in wisdom far inferior to
Washington. No man of his day more clearly foresaw
the future dangers to which our country would be ex-
posed, or showed more distinctly and forcibly how they
were to be avoided, than Washington. And of all men
that ever lived, he may be said to have most truly and
fully merited the glorious title of " Pater Patrias," the
" Father of his Country."

His great rival Jefferson, who differed from him widely
on questions of state policy and other points, bears the
following testimony to his character: "His integrity
was the most pure, his justice the most inflexible, I have
ever known, no motives of interest or consanguinity,
of friendship or hatred, being able to bias his decision.
He was indeed, in every sense of the word, a wise,
a good, and a great man. His temper was naturally
rntable and high-toned ; but reflection and resolution
lad obtained a firm and habitual ascendency over it."
Tucker's " Life of Jefferson.")

" In him," says Marshall, " that innate and unassuming
modesty which adulation would have offended, which the
voluntary plaudits of millions could not betray into in
discretion, was h.ippily blended with a high and correct
sense of personal dignity, and with a just consciousness
of that respect which is due to station."
"How grateful," says Lord Brougham, "the relief



* The original form of this celebrated expression was, " first io
war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his fellow-citizens." la
he funeral or.nion pronounced by General Lee, the word "country-
nen" was substituted for " fellow-citizens," as being both shorter
nd more euphonious; and with this change the pa.ss.ige is commonly
juoted.

t "His person," says Jefferson, "was fine, his stature exactly

what one would wish, hie deportment easy, erect, and noble; the

CM horseman of his ace, and the most graceful fieure that could be

n, on horseback." (Tucker's " Life of Jefferson.")



a,e, i, o,u, y, A;f.-a, 4, 6, same, less prolonged; i,e, 1, 6, u, Jf, sh^rt; a, e, i, q,ohfiire; far, fill, fit; m?t; ndt;good; mfion;



WASHINGTON



2435



WATHEK



which the friend of mankind, the lover of virtue, experi-
ences, when, turning from the contemplation of such a
character, [Napoleon I.,] his eye rests upon the greatest
man of our own or of any age I ... It will -be the duty
of the historian and the sage, in all ages, to omit no
occasion of commemorating this illustrious man ; and
until time shall be no more will a test of the progress
which our race has made in wisdom and virtue be de-
rived from the veneration paid to the immortal name of
Washington." ("Edinburgh Review" for October, 1838.)
See JOHN MARSHALL, "Life of George Washington," 5 vols.,
1804-07; WASHINGTON IRVING, "Life of George Washington," 5
vols-, 1855-59: JARED SPARKS, "The Life and Writings of George
Washington: being his Correspondence, Messages," etc., 12 vola.
8vo, 1833-40; J. K. PAULDINC. " Life of G. Washington," i vols
1835; F. GUIZOT, " Essai sur la V!e dn General Washington," 18,9;
Louis DE FONTANES, " Eloge de Washington, "iSoo: A BANCROFT
"Essay on Che Life of C. Washington," 1807: JAMES MADISON,
'Discourse on the Death of General Washington," 1800; FISHER
AMES, "Oration on the Sublime Virtues of Washington." iSoo-
WEEMS, " Life of G. Washington," 1805: D. RAMSAV, "Life of G
Washington," 1807; EDUARD GEHE, " Leben Washington's," 1838;
F. GUIZOT, "Washington: Fondation de la Repiibliqne dcs Etats-
Unis." etc., i vols., 1850; J T. HEADLEV, " Washington and his
Generals," 2 vols., 1847; PETER PARLEY. " Life of Washington."
1817 ; BANCROFT, " H istory of the United States ;" GOSCH, " Wash-
ington und die Refreiung der Nordamerikanischen Freistaaten," 3
vols., 1815. See, also, the interesting article on Washington in the
"New American Cyclopedia," (by EDWARD EVERETT.)

Washington, wSsh'ing-tpn, (Captain JOHN,) R.N.
an English officer and hydrographer. He served 'in
the American war of 1812, and rose through severa
promotions to the rank of commander in 1833. Being
appointed in 1841 to continue the survey of the Nortl
Sea, he examined that part of it lying 'between lati
tude 52 10' and the coast of the Netherlands. He was
made post-captain in 1842, and hydrographer to the
admiralty in 1855. He was also elected a Fellow of the
Royal Society. He published a "Geographical Notice
of the Empire of Marocco," and other treatises, in the
"Journal of the Royal Geographical Society." Died in

Washington, (JoHN A.,) proprietor of Mount Ver
non, Virginia, lie was taken prisoner by Captain John
Brown near Harper's Ferry, October 16, 1859. He
took arms against the Union, became a colonel, anc
wa killed on Cheat Mountain in September, iS6t.

Washington, (WILLIAM AUGUSTINE,) an American
officer of the Revolution, born in Stafford county, Vir-
ginia, in 1752, was a relative of General Washington.
He was present at the battles of Trenton and Princeton,
commanded the cavalry at Cowpens, and was made i
brigadier-general in 1798. Died in 1810.

Wasmuth, wjs'moot, (MATTHIAS,) a German Orien-
talist, born at Kiel in 1625. He became professor of
Oriental languages at Kiel, and published, besides other
works, an Arabic Grammar, (1654.) Died in 1688.

Waase, w6ss, (JOSEPH,) an English scholar, born in
Yorkshire in 1672, became rector of Aynhoe. He pub-
lished an edition of Sallust, (1710,) and wrote several
essays on various subjects. Bentley is reported to have
said, " When I am dead, Wasse will be the most learned
man in England." Died in 1738.

Wassenaer, van, vin wis'seh-njR', (GERARD,) a
Dutch jurist, born at Utrecht in 1585 ; died in 1664.

Wassenaer, van, (jAcon,) a Dutch admiral, born
about 1610. lie succeeded Van Tromp as commander
of the fleet in 1653, and was killed in a battle against
the English in 1665.

Wassenberg or Wassenbergh, von, fon wls'sen-
b?RO, (EVERARD,) a German historian, born at Emme-
rich in 1610. He published " Florus Germanicus,'-
(1640,) which treats of the wars waged by Ferdinand II.
and Ferdinand III. from 1627 to 1640. Died after 1672.

See CRANE, "Vita E. van Wassenbergh," 1828.

Wassian. See VASTAN,.

Wasaon, wos'son, (DAVID ATWOOD,) an American
author, born at Brooksville, Maine, May 14, 1823. He
studied at Bowdoin College, and then read law and
theology. He became minister of an Independent



Wast or Waast, w5st or vlst, |Lat VFDAS'TUS,
SAINT, a French ecclesiastic, who became Bishop of
Arras about 500 A.r>. Died in 540,

See ALCUIN, "Viu Vedasli ;" GAZET, "Vie de Saint-Wist,"
1622.

WasteL, wos'tej, (SiMON,) an English poet and school-
master of Northampton, born in Westmoreland about
1566. He is chiefly remembered for his "True Chris-
tian's Daily Delight," (1623,) afterwards enlarged and
reprinted as " Microbiblion," (1629.)

Wastelain, vis'teh-I^N', ? (CHARLES,) a Belgian his-



church at Groveland, Massachusetts, and in 1865-66
was minister of Theodore Parker's society in Boston.
He contributed largely In prose and verse to periodical
literature. Died January 21, 1887.



torian and Jesuit, born in Ilainault in 1695. lie pub-
lished a " Description of Belgian Gaul in Three Ages of
History," (1761.) Died in 1782.
Wateau. See WATTEAU.

Watelet, vSt'l.}', (CLAUDE HENRI,) a French ama-
teur artist and writer upon art, was born in Paris in
1718. He was the author of a didactic poem, entitled


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Online LibraryJoseph ThomasUniversal pronouncing dictionary of biography and mythology (Volume 2) → online text (page 388 of 425)