IN the valley of the Hudson, at St. Stephen’s College, above the noble river closely associated with the career of General Washington, the Vice-Chancellor of Hobart College, Rev. Doctor Charles Frederick Hoffman, has erected a library worthily designed and named. The Hoffman Library Lecture Course is on the same foundation. As the first lecture, his own, related to the Divine element in books and libraries; and the second, by Doctor James Grant Wilson, was entitled: “The World’s Largest Libraries;” it has been deemed appropriate that the theme of the third should be Washington, a Model in His Library and Life. The first lecture was enlarged to form a volume; the second was so extended as to be delivered but in part; and here the unbroken precedent, as to length, is followed.
On the twelfth of May, more than a century ago, Washington, as instructed by Congress, took the oath as commander-in-chief of the army already under his command. The coincidence was recalled when before representatives, among others, of patriotic societies, on May 12, 1895, the following lecture was delivered in outline at All Angels’ Church, New York. For the Rector of that church having founded the lecture course, appointed the date and place as above, entitling this lecture “A New Leaf in History.” It is needless to add that the Liturgical service, there chorally and splendidly rendered, was that in which, in the necessarily primitive rendering of his day, Washington was accustomed to participate in public worship.
The influence of books upon the character of Washington was there illustrated from his use of the Bible and Prayer Book, and his possession of the Christian graces, Faith and Hope; and also from the fact that the worthily wore their crown, “[Greek word]” not being cold-hearted or a formalist, though often so conceived. Under the four divisions followed here, illustrations of his relation to secular literature were given but briefly, as less appropriate to that time and place. Books and their influence in moulding character are attracting an ever-increasing attention. The swords of Washington have been traced. Mr. Evarts introduced a bill into the National Senate for the payment by the United States of twenty thousand dollars for one of Washington’s swords. But Washington’s pen is mightier; and his remarkable relation to books has been strangely overlooked; since his letters and literary achievements are evidently destined to become for many minds his most notable distinction.
Having incidentally stated my conviction that Washington’s relation to books was most remarkable, I was asked to make Washington and his relation to books my subject in this lecture, and to extend it beyond the limits of the lecture’s delivery. Since to secure and present the evidence I have been confined to the few intervening weeks and in the busiest part of my college year, and since confirmatory matter continues to increase, I postpone more extended excerpts and references to sources of information.
In so far as we find Washington’s Library essentially American and closely related to the Nation’s origin and evolution, is it not typical of Washington? In his Library, not only do the titles of his books, together with his marginal notes and related circumstances, suggest this, but his writings as well as his words and deeds show, in regards in which no one has or can surpass him, the true American spirit. A colonial English youth, the evolution which made him a true American of the best type was superinduced upon the best of an English gentleman. But, nevertheless, and contrary to assertions lately reiterated, he was to the core American; no less essentially and completely American than the “most American” of the leaders who has [have] followed him. What point of importance is there in the whole range of our history, what essential of public policy or national welfare on which his eye has not rested with the result of prophetic counsel, as valuable to-day as when with heart throbbing with patriotism he uttered it? His Americanism came, among other causes, from his being trained in this country instead of abroad, from his reading, and from his being country and not simply town bred. It is proved by facts such as his devotion to the cause of abolition, of internal development, and of external neutrality; as well as by his unswerving fidelity to the establishment and maintenance of the Constitution and the Union, the importance of which he was prompt to perceive and enforce. The General Convention of our Church and other religious and civil organizations may concur, as some already have concurred in the suggestion herein made, that there should be a centennial commemoration of the death of Washington, on or about December 14, 1899. As the people prepare to “ring out the old and ring in the new,” efforts are due to stamp heart-deep on coming times the character of this ideal American. For Washington both adequately represents the United States, and sets forth the nation’s best aspirations and possibilities. The backwoodsman, the rough and unsymmetrical type of a passing phase of our civilization, is not an all-around American, however justly admired and followed may be some such splendid leader of the people. In our formative and transitional age one destitute of the best heredity and culture may be deservedly first in his generation. Washington was first in his; but he was more; as the consummate flower of the past, including the best elements of the future, he became pre-eminently the American. In many regards self-made, yet with good breeding from the first; a man of the people, yet cultured and refined; a toiler and farmer, but not ashamed of honorable ancestry; honest and frank, but possessing fine manners and dignified reserve, he was no infidel vulgarian, no ruthless plutocrat—nor is such the ideal American type. He looked at practical politics from the exalted plane of patriotism. He used wealth as not abusing it: his Christian profession implied the performance of a citizen’s duty. Is he not, in his ideals and in his acts, the model of civic virtue needed to-day and for the twentieth and succeeding centuries?
THE heart of the home, the intellectual life-centre of the house, such in the literary conception of Plato, and in the usage of the Father of our Country, was the Library. In Washington’s lifetime, this room in the cherished homestead once his, now entrusted to the Nation’s guardianship, was, we are assured, “by far the most attractive at Mount Vernon.” Its light and leading were potent in his life. Its literary material and his use of it were so much more important than has been generally understood, and the list of books, pamphlets, and related matter is so long, that, compared with the book-rooms of colonial mansions and considering its associations, students of the subject may concur in calling it “the great Mount Vernon Library.” Will not the dispersion of heirlooms so closely connected with Washington more and more be seen to be a national misfortune? With devout gratitude we discern that many of its treasures and lessons, like the lessons of his life, are still within our reach.
“My Library of books and pamphlets of every kind,” is his description in his will of this precious part of his property. The list of his books made after his deceased, by his appraisers, is inaccurate on the face of it, if not seriously incomplete. In another legal document books and “cases” of them are also spoken of as in another room at Mount Vernon. But whatever the number, he diligently accumulated books, pamphlets, opinions, and information in various forms fitting him for his duties public and private. To the number of thousands of manuscript pages, his notes, comments, studies, surveys, plans, codifications, as well as his autograph journals and letters, his outlines—often improved and enlarged in his own handwriting—as drafts for communications to be written out and despatched by his secretaries—to whom he dictated at length, retaining hand or press copies—entire documents or ample extracts from books relating to matters of moment which he copied, that the needed information might be readily recalled, or more firmly fixed in his own mind: much of this may still be seen.
His care in reviewing and revising important documents is attested by manuscripts and printed proofs, such as the manuscript proof with his own corrections of the farewell address. As documentary evidence we have, then, an immense and invaluable mass of manuscripts which, coupled with the catalogue of his books and the habits of his life, indicate clearly the reader he was in his library, the writer he was in camp as well, and the cultured and complete man he consequently became. If not fully recognized as such in the nineteenth century, yet in his writings as well as in his deeds he still lives, and the work he did in his study or book-room, the pages he there or elsewhere dictated to his assistants, communicated to correspondents, subordinates or friends, or penned at the head of the army or in his Executive office, together with proclamations, messages, speeches, and formal addresses, reveal his rounded character to succeeding ages as the model citizen, fit also, both as a reader and a writer, to be the American exemplar.
The literary recognition due to Washington, unlike the fame awarded him so promptly in other regards, though late in coming, will, we believe, in proportion as his relation to his library and literary work is made know, come at last, like the interesting gift said to have been designed (but in vain) to reach him in his lifetime. Discovered afterward, this gift was recovered only in 1890, and placed in the library at Mount Vernon. The work of Provost [Prévost] (Histoire Générale de Voyage [des Voyages]), in twenty volumes, it is finely bound in leather and stamped in gold on the covers with the initials G.W. surmounted by a crown. There is written within, in an unknown handwriting, the following clue to its mysterious travels and late arrival: “Was intended for General Washington by the Marquis Rochambeau, but a British cruiser saved it for ME. London, a.d.” Many tributes to Washington, however, reached him in his library at Mount Vernon, and among them valued acquisitions to his growing collection of books. but he would have welcomed most cordially anything from a Rochambeau, having been associated with both father and son. Indeed, in 1781 Washington writes the Count de Rochambeau, “The flattering distinction paid to the anniversary of my birth is an honor for which I dare not attempt to express my gratitude.” Said to be the first public recognition of his birthday, it was, because Washington’s custom of keeping the Lord’s Day was well known, postponed from Sunday to Monday, when Rochambeau at Newport, R.I., paraded the French troops, fired a salute, and suspended the labors of the day. At Providence, Count Dumas states that the people called Washington “Father,” but the title “Father of his Country” appears earlier in the German Almanac printed at Lancaster, Pa. Rochambeau, like Lafayette, was devoted to Washington from first to last. When the war closed, conspicuous at the head of the French at Yorktown was Count Rochambeau. Washington’s letters during this period, as throughout his public career, illustrate the manner in which before the day of great journals he reached other influential men and groups, and by guiding leading minds moulded opinion. This is further shown in other instances. But the influence of his letters reflecting the light of books, was not confined to people of his own walk in life; he wrote not for his correspondents alone, but to enlighten and lead the most illiterate as well as the most learned patriots of the land.
The fact that Washington added the library wing to his mansion is emphasized here because what one adds to one’s house indicates tastes, interests, pursuits. Further, that he felt the historical importance of the literary materials he was to leave behind him, is evident from his plans for an additional building for their safe-keeping, and from his utterances, especially in his will and last words. But that his heirs hardly felt as he did, is inferred from the sales or gifts of books or papers, which soon deprived Mount Vernon of almost all of them.
Later on it is proposed to give further and fuller information to date concerning the books of his library, their subjects, the number of pamphlets, maps, manuscripts and journals, and collections of Washingtoniana, including my own, which was catalogued in part in 1889, at the New York “Centennial Celebration of the Inauguration of Washington as president.” He was, it seems, the first in this country to use a lead-pencil, and to employ in connection with his correspondence a letter-press. Among those of his letter-press copies lately purchased by the Lenox Library, I find reference to the forged letters which he denounced. Collectors may well be reminded that, as Washington had in his day to expose as false letters attributed to him, so now forgery is apparent as well as the marvellous tendency of desired relics to increase and multiply. Happy discoveries and recoveries have prevented the utter loss or alienation from this country of the contents of his library and other Washingtoniana. Much has been secured by the purchases provided for by the Congress of the United States and by collections from gifts or otherwise, existing in several of the States; and also by individual collectors, and public institutions such as libraries, bringing the priceless treasures into safe custody, and within reach of the student’s research and the patriot’s reverent observation.
Far more than a thousand titles from the library once owned by Washington are counted in one collection from it. Herewith it is proposed to publish for the first time, separately and with important related information, the complete list of the books of Washington, indicating the titles in the large collection so happily rescued by Daniel Webster, Jared Sparks, and others from transportation abroad, and preserved in the Boston Athenæum. On that ancient site whence might have been witnessed, among other scenes associated with Washington, that evacuation of the city which he caused from Dorchester Heights, it is fitting that there should be books of his related to his career as General and Statesman. When it came into his possession, the purchaser of this part of Washington’s library claimed that what he bought amounted to thousands not only of titles but of volumes. In his statement he writes, “I bought Washington’s Library of three thousand volumes for three thousand dollars, to secure eight hundred autographs for Mr. Lenox; and tracts and miscellaneous books for the British Museum.” This “was a bargain” as prices rule now, and especially when compared with prices in the appraiser’s list also, and the sum paid by the Lenox Library for those press copies of Washington’s letters to which I have just referred; many passages in which I found illegible.
Here it may be noted that Mr. H. Stevens’s statements have been controverted. As he incorrectly called the collection he purchased “Washington’s Library,” it has been so called since. A competent and accomplished authority, one of its custodians, writes: “The collection only embraces a part of Washington’s library, and on the whole I should judge it not the most important part. It contains, I believe, three hundred and eighty-four volumes.” In round numbers, Washington’s library at Mount Vernon in his day may be estimated at a thousand volumes. The official appraisal would have shown a larger number, had important pamphlets been bound and had books loaned or lost been restored; for the list of eight hundred and sixty-three books appraised, excluding pamphlets and magazines, states that some works were found incomplete because of missing volumes. The list of the library of the neighboring mansion of Belvoir includes a book of Washington’s. There, if anywhere, one would expect a considerable collection of books; they numbered, in his day and at the time of the sale then, but a few dozen, to be named before we conclude. Compared even with Greenway Court, and other Southern mansions, Washington’s library was a remarkable collection then and for that neighborhood. All things considered, it may well be called a “great” library, even for such a mansion as Washington inherited and enlarged.
The library wing or south extension of Mount Vernon, added by Washington in 1774, was also planned by him. The design of the wainscoting is not such as to attract attention, for openings were concealed there (seventeen have already been found by those inspecting it) leading to small apartments or compartments, some, one within the other, where valuables such as private papers and official records, and the iron safe containing the gold medal awarded by Congress, could be placed. These precautions were the more necessary because of the enforced absences of one who loved his home, but never failed to leave it at his country’s call.
Prized as was his library both as his study and as preserving mementoes; precious as was Mount Vernon and its associations to his loving heart; that the cause of his country was far more dear, was seen in many a critical and cruel test. For instance, during his absence in the Revolutionary War his overseer found adversaries threatening to despoil and destroy Mount Vernon. To save it he gave aid and comfort to the enemy. His own estate was not far off, and this may have influenced his course. Even before Lafayette wrote Washington of the report, he had heard of it and reproved his agent. However well meant, Washington sternly rebuked him for going on board the enemy’s vessel with refreshments, and, he indignantly adds, “to commune with a parcel of scoundrels.” His agent, though no a near relative, bore the name of Washington. In this unpatriotic course a subordinate might be regarded as Washington’s representative. The Commander-in-Chief of the American armies felt all this keenly, and also that the example was most dangerous. His consequent letter may still be seen and its conclusion in the patriotic words: “It would have been less painful to me . . . had they burnt my house and laid my plantation in ruins.”
For us and for coming times, the lesson of Washington and his library is the USE he made of it; the aid, education, and Christian culture he derived from it. His was not a library distinguished principally for its furnishings, for brilliant titles representing authors conspicuous by their absence, or for wooden blocks colored and lettered to imitate volumes; in fine it was not a library of show-cases rather than book-cases. Shelves of books, however rare or sumptuously bound, seldom used and never loaned, do not make a working library. Washington’s use of his shows him as he was to coming times. He shared what he had with others. For himself the library became his literary workshop. There he wrote and dictated to his secretaries. His books formed his intellectual armory. Even the early discourtesy of Lord Howe, he was able to check with firmness and rebuke with dignity, because of his better knowledge of military usage and the lawful amenities of warfare. Later on, from his reading, study, and even writing out of constitutions of republics and other civic records, and from like knowledge of the charters of the Colonies and of the resources of the several States, he was enabled in the supreme hour when the articles of confederation failed, to lay the foundations for the Constitution of the United States.
For Leibnitz’s library, a small shelf sufficed, and so with many another intellectual light. As it was the USE which Washington made of his library which renders it increasingly dear to him, so in boyhood it was the use he made of books which is noticeable; whether books for journals, or books of lessons, forms for business, maxims for manners, or models of literary style; it was this right use of books which led him on from crude attempts to a justly distinguished style. Do not his records, invoices, and accounts, exact and clear, show this? His voluminous correspondence too, ever growing, includes many of the greatest questions of the ages, and appreciated by the most important personages of that day, its value has continued undiminished to this hour. The wealth of this information thus indicated confirms our theory as to the Mount Vernon Library and his use of it. Thus, his pen became mightier than his sword. His literary activity and at the same time his accuracy, are the more amazing as emanating from the ever-busy head and hand of the enlightened cultivator of Mount Vernon, the helpful neighbor, the hospitable host, the incorruptible legislator, the commander-in-chief, the guide of a just democracy, the founder of our republican institutions, a master-builder of our Constitution, the fame peace-maker, our first President, for two arduous and eventual [eventful] terms, the conscientious and successful Executive of the United States.
The old saying which bids us fear the man of few books, is not inspired by contempt for large collections of books, but by a just appreciation of the power which concentration in the use of books gives to their possessor. Is not this the point of the classic suggestion, that the mind is formed not by the quantity but by the quality of its reading? To master one book, if it be great and good, is better than to skim all books. Reading for a purpose, too, makes the retentive reader. It tends to gain for him, not only practical ends, but by these very means intellectual and literary growth. This is seen in the purposeful career of Washington; as boy or youth or man he used books, not as a slave, but as a master. Meeting every emergency effectively, his literary style became such that those familiar with his papers have ranked him high among the felicitous writers of the ages.
In reviewing the list of hundreds of works once comprised in his library, a glance groups them in subjects; indeed they seem to have been arranged there to some extent on that principle. The preponderance is noticeable of works relating to matters historical, political, military, educational, agricultural, nautical. In economics there is Smith’s “Wealth of Nations,” and in history the classic work of Gibbon; but detail of this character we shall consider further on. As you would expect, many volumes of his library relate to his life at Mount Vernon, including road-making, building, horticulture, farming, cattle, shrubs, and flowers, forestry, and farm implements of which he was an inventor. He provided for the recreation, housing, and help of those who worked for him, as well as for accidents and for old age; but he required due return of service. Not only had he literature relating to horses and horsemanship, but to the care of human beings also. He was an athlete and a sportsman for health and recreation; but he knew how to work with his own hands; and in camp, to share the privations of his soldiers. His ready sympathy in view of their sufferings caused tears to flow which he could not restrain, but he sought to supplement from his own reading the ignorance of raw recruits, and from his own supplies the deficiencies of the commissariat. Through tremendous trials and marches and hardships, his men followed him, in want themselves, but knowing his noble determination to receive no pay for his services and to make every sacrifice necessary for the cause. His men, and then the nation, and ultimately the world, read his simple, straightforward nature as an open book, and understanding him, had faith in him. But it was left for coming ages to discover to how great an extent for what he was and what he achieved, we re indebted to books and his faithful use of them.
The comparative absence of light literature from his library shows us his serious tastes and tasks; yet there are volumes which remind us how well he knew, not only that “sweet are the uses of adversity,” but that helpful are the uses of amusement. His introduction to polite literature, it seems, was at Greenway Court, the seat of Lord Fairfax, his connection by marriage and his patron, who employed him to survey his vast estates. Lord Fairfax had been a student of Oxford University and had written for Addison’s “Spectator.” We find, as was to be expected, that volumes of the “Spectator” and of “History and Literature” were in the library at Mount Vernon. Other connections, and his devoted brother Lawrence, with whom he lived for years and from whom he inherited Mount Vernon, had been liberally educated abroad. Works of the imagination were included in Washington’s library, Shakespeare and some others of the first rank.
His habit was to inform himself by reading and reflection before writing or acting: his absences from his Mount Vernon library increased with his public duties: when there the claims of hospitality and other interruptions prevented his full use and enjoyment of his books and study; but from camp he sent for books to booksellers, and at home, his scheme of daily duty also included a definite time for seclusion with his pen and books, and a definite arrangement for reading. On some occasions he read to others, or listened while others read; as in his vigorous boyhood, his wise and devoted mother read to him. Described when a bride as blonde and beautiful, her admirable influence upon the boy when fatherless is proverbial. Of late there are those who hold that, comparatively, the mother of Washington was uneducated and that members of her family, to say the least, were illiterate. I do not concur in this opinion; and I write these lines in the old Ball mansion, south of Saratoga and Ballston Spa, and nearer Ballston Centre, where was the congregation of the Reverend Eliphalet Ball, the pastor who, a relative of Mary Ball, Washington’s mother, welcomed Washington’s visit to that neighborhood. Reverend Eliphalet Ball’s important place in the community and in the esteem of his parishioners, is indicated by the lines traced upon his tomb in the neighboring God’s Acre “Sic transit gloria mundi.” Possibly the determined spirit of Washington’s mother and that of her son may be traced to the family whence sprang John Ball in the fourteenth century: that follower of Wycliffe, who engrafted on his master’s doctrine, it is said, “some political theories resembling the ‘liberty, equality, fraternity’ of later ages;” so that priest John Ball was consequently hanged a.d. 1381. The Reverend Eliphalet Ball, of Ballston, though a Protestant, called also “priest Ball” to this day, had a gentler life and fate. Distinguished guests were entertained by the family, and as their descendants find, Washington himself when in that part of New York State. Colonel Young bought the Ball mansion and its beautiful furniture.
I left the library room there but a little while ago. The place was called the Rose Garden and noted for its fruits and flowers, and for the open house there kept; the gifted descendant of Colonel Young, by whom I am often entertained, has not only the Chippendale furniture once the Ball’s, but has many traditions from her grandfather, Colonel Young, showing anything but “illiteracy” in the Ballston branch of the Ball family. Judging from Virginia mansions and families of Southern friends, and from what I have learned of Washington’s mother, before I concur in applying to her or hers such a term as illiterate, I require much more than ill-spelt letters, of a date when the spelling of English, if not more unphilosophical than now, was certainly more chaotic. Without entering further on this debated ground, and holding the noble influence of his mother upon his character and life to be beyond dispute, what seems long and strangely overlooked is the pre-eminent educational and literary influence on Washington of Augustine Washington, his father.
The study of Washington’s relation to books and the growth of his literary accomplishments, the classical allusions in his writings, as well as the clear, direct style of the competent man of business, call us to recognize his honored father as the founder of his culture. We must carefully consider, therefore, Washington’s heredity on his father’s side. Avoiding again debated points, and indebted somewhat to sources not generally accessible, we postpone the extended discussion of his arms or book-plate. But in connection with his heredity,it is here noticeable that history and tradition, as well as the arms and letters and records, etc., point to certain prevailing and truly noble characteristics from the thirteenth century and earlier onward. The arms indicate not only purity and self-command, but as we are assured, the agricultural pursuits of a gentleman: knighthood, courage, truth. In 1646, when General Fairfax, besieging Worcester, England, called on its governor, Colonel Henry Washington, to surrender, the reply had a ring of direct courage about it, as though uttered by George Washington himself: “To General Fairfax. Sir: It . . . may be easy to procure his Majesty’s commands for the disposal of this garrison. Till then I shall make good the trust reposed in me. As for the conditions, if I shall be necessitated, I shall make the best I can. The worst I know, and fear not.”
Not only from the navy, but by representatives such as university scholars and teachers, well-placed clergymen and university preachers, modifications are introduced, and the arms indicate further divinity and learning, as well as naval service. The connection of his ancestors with more than one nation—important to one needing to be in touch with others besides those of English descent—is suggested not simply by the name de Wessington and by branches on the continent of Europe as well as in England and America, but by such facts as that, to a correspondent claiming connection through the German branch, one who wished to take service under him, Washington, under date of July 20, 1779, wrote: “There can be little doubt, sir, of our descending from the same stock.” Further, he wrote when President, in reply to an inquiry from the Garter King-at-arms, Sir Isaac Heard: “This is a subject to which, I confess, I have paid very little attention; my time has been so much occupied in the busy activities of life from an early period of it, that but a small portion of it could have been devoted to researches of this nature, even if my inclinations or particular circumstances should have prompted to inquiry.”
The comparatively early death of Washington’s father, and the customary tendency to attribute the greatness of great sons to the mother, has too long thrown into shadow the tender, helpful, and beautiful friendship between the large-hearted boy and his cultured, travelled, and devoted father, Happy in its influence upon Washington’s character and consequently for mankind was this friendship, prophetic of many following. Is there not a worthy field for instructive research in the friendships of Washington? By request, I am preparing the subject for publication. How attractive was the young lad to the ablest men he met? Do not your hearts burn within you, who know the high purpose and possibilities of youth, as you read that Jesus, looking on the young man in the Gospel, loved him? Certainly Washington, a well-formed, high-principled lad, loved and was loved in return, and most warmly by his father. That father was then described as a “noble-looking man of distinguished bearing, tall, athletic, fair, florid, with brown hair and fine gray eyes.”
A writer in 1836 adds: “Between George Washington and his father it would seem that a delightful intercourse always subsisted, it being a matter of regret to the latter that he was obliged to be separated from his child, even during the hours of school.” He noted thankfully “the budding virtues of his son,” who was with him in his last hours in April, 1743, and received the “parting benediction of his beloved parent.” His father having been so attentive to the education of his children, and especially to that of George, thereafter the boy’s seriousness and piety deepened under the weight of this early bereavement. He was obliged to give up school to earn an honest living and relieve his widowed mother, who, able and untiring, was entrusted with an estate yielding comparatively little, however nominally extensive. But the root of literary growth sprung from heredity had been so fostered by his “scholarly” father that its development went right onward, assured by his own fidelity. The story is well authenticated of his sticking to has tasks when others were at play, fond as he was of athletic games with one sex or an occasional romp with the other.
As a half-orphan he was sent for a time to his half-brother’s residence—Wakefield—a “fine establishment” for that day. There, as at Mount Vernon, and with the Fairfaxes at Belvoir, and when at the stone residence erected by Lord Fairfax at Greenway Court overlooking his vast estate, young Washington associated with people of culture; some of whom, like so many of the Washingtons, had been educated at schools and colleges in the mother-country. The foreign connection was kept up by correspondence, some letters being as quaintly characteristic as the following from a fellow-soldier, who writes under date of November 13, 1749, to Captain Lawrence Washington: “I am just become eldest captain; . . . perhaps my dancing days ought to be over, . . . but not yet married; I threaten the Scotch lasses very hard; Bob — is likely dead; did I know where she was I would have a stroke at my old flame, his widow, if she durst venter again after having had so bad a husband; but they all do venter, and a man might venter too, were he sure of having as good luck as you had. . . . Pay my compliments to Fitzhue who I hear has beat up the quarters of a widow—to whom I wish all happiness.”
It was not till some ten years later that Washington, after the early, ardent years of his youth and race, “beat up the quarters” in a way possibly similar, and certainly resulting in his happy marriage January 6, 1759, to Mrs. Martha Custis, who added her fortune and influence to the hospitalities of his cultured home and the progress of his public career, and usually helped him keep his reading hours sacred.
As a surveyor in a wild and dangerous country, as a visitor in the best society of Boston and New York, as an officer in the troubles which continued through the seven years’ war, Washington had not only grown in experience and culture, but had earned the right to the home-life which on his marriage he resumed at Mount Vernon. The hand of Providence will be seen by the devout in that, neither by enlistment in the British navy, nor as a regular in that army, was he separated from the career of a patriotic colonist. His letters during these years of preparation show not only the growth of a great writer, but of a great heart; with a tender pity for the suffering and oppressed, and a strong sense of justice and of the rights of the people. His reading and experience prepared him, together with his influence as a member of the House of Burgesses, to lead in the coming cause of his country.
A devoted husband, he proved a good son. He has been blamed of late by those who, misinformed, declare not that he dissuaded her, but that he declined to have his mother live at Mount Vernon. Not so. We shall find that he advised either her living with one of her sons and adding to her income the rent of her house, where she was alone, or the suitable repair of her residence and her living there, where her firm domestic reign was undisputed. They had both the same habit of command, and she was accustomed to his implicit obedience. His accounts and letters show his devoted filial care for her, and in her advanced age he could but confess that the quiet of his house was disturbed by “crowds coming and going.”
The classic and other books in such a library as his, do not encourage Utopian attempts to accomplish the impossible. Socrates could not study without interruption. Washington’s literary work was hampered by many obstacles and conflicting duties. His wife, weighted with the hospitality of his establishment, was to be considered. Two wills, each working well in its own way, often work jarringly when confined to one and the same sphere. How hardly shall those that have separate homes enter an earthly paradise by joining establishments. The Bible suggesting this difficulty asks, “Can two walk together unless they be agreed?”
Washington, who had the happiness of all at heart, understanding whom he was dealing with, knew, as usual, “what he was about.” A man too weak to say no, or as in Washington’s case, while offering welcome, failing to frankly state the difficulties, will spoil two homes by complicity in an untimely attempt to unite them in one. However “wide” the house, the result may be a “brawling” failure. So frequented was Mount Vernon that a slight family jar there would make a public scandal. Remaining in her own house, was his mother’s decided choice; and Washington looked to her comfort, and she said again and again, “George has always been a good son.”
Incidents like this, and some which follow, are only germain [germane], because back of them we see Washington’s library and the use he made of it by conscientiously avoiding undue interruptions. The increasing demands upon his time required regular hours among his books and papers. A venerable and venerated bishop, whose marvellous memory retains many interesting events in American history, recalls a visit to Mount Vernon, where a lady of the family gave him the following illustration of Washington’s determination to have some time each day undisturbed in his library. An equestrian from the capital, in hot haste to return and “catch the stage” for Philadelphia, dismounted for a passing glimpse of the great Washington. He was in vain assured that Washington in his library, or study, as in the family it was sometimes called, was denied to all when engaged there with his devotional or other books. Insistance finally prevailed and under pressure the honored wife yielded, and they were breaking in upon his study, and the door was being opened, when suddenly the grand face appeared, the deep eyes and voice; and the exclamation, “How dare you!” showed that if Washington was “not at home” to callers, the General was decidedly in evidence, with no intention that his orders should be disobeyed.
In his correspondence Washington laments, with a delicate trace of humor characteristic of him, that other things than rightful claims often keep him from his books, for he could not be inhospitable, and crowds and correspondence increased. When, in 1797, in the midst of repairs and improvements, he writes to the Secretary of War of his resumption of his life at Mount Vernon, he adds, “It may strike you that in this detail no mention is made of any portion of time allotted to reading. The remark would be just, for I have not looked into a book since I came home, nor shall I be able to do it until I shall have discharged my workmen; probably not before the nights grow long, when possibly I may be looking into Doomsday book.”
Does not this reference to his reading habits suggest a modesty also characteristic of his public achievements? Frederick the Great and others ranked high such plans, and campaigns, and sacrifices as his under such difficulties, and the thoughtful saw in them the right use of books as well as of brains. Familiar with the best European military schools and literature, De Kalb, who served so nobly, died so bravely, and the corner-stone of whose monument was laid by Lafayette, lamented “that an excessive modesty led Washington too frequently to act upon the opinion of inferior men, rather than upon his own most excellent judgment. In the army and Congress more than one rival was opposed to him. He had his full share of disaster, the operations which he conducted, if compared with great European wars, were on a very small scale. . . . It may, however, be truly said of him that his military reputation steadily rose through many successive campaigns, and before the end of the struggle he had outlived all rivalry, and almost all envy. He had a thorough knowledge of the technical part of his profession, a good eye for military combinations, an extraordinary gift of military administration. Punctual, methodical, and exact in the highest degree, he excelled in managing those minute details which are so essential to the efficiency of an army, and he possessed to an eminent degree not only the common courage of a soldier, but also that much rarer form of courage which can endure long-continued suspense, bear the weight of great responsibility, and encounter the risks of misrepresentation and unpopularity. In civil as in military life, he was pre-eminent among his contemporaries for the clearness and soundness of his judgment, for his perfect moderation and self-control, for the quiet dignity and the indomitable firmness with which he pursued every path which he had deliberately chosen. Of all the great men in history he was the most invariably judicious, and there is scarcely a rash word, or action, or judgment recorded of him. Those who knew him well noticed that he had keen sensibilities and strong passions; but his power of self-command never failed him, and no act of his public life can be traced to caprice, ambition, or resentment. In the despondency of long-continued failure, in the elevation of sudden success, at times when his soldiers were deserting by hundreds, and when malignant plots were formed against his reputation; amid the constant quarrels, rivalries, and jealousies of his subordinates; in the dark hour of national ingratitude, and in the midst of the most universal and intoxicating flattery, he was always the same calm, wise, just, and single-minded man, pursuing the course which he believed to be right without fear or fanaticism; equally free from the passions that spring from interest, and from the passions that spring from imagination. He never acted on the impulse of an absorbing or uncalculating enthusiasm, and he valued very highly fortune, position, and reputation; but at the command of duty he was ready to risk and sacrifice them all. He was in the highest sense of the word a gentleman and a man of honor, and he carried into public life the severest standards of private morals.”
Marvellously exact, methodical, business-like, to modesty that rendered him speechless in his youth when called to reply in public to formal praise, he joined the impressive dignity of conscious rectitude. Authors who aim to take him from his pedestal and claim that he was “but a man after all,” may do no harm in a day when worship of demi-gods is out of date, and when something human is needed for a human exemplar. But why should not justice at least, and at last, be done him, by a book-making and a book-loving age, in the matter of his memorable Library and his remarkable use of it? The Library at Belvoir must, one would judge as already intimated, have equalled that of any Southern Colonial mansion in Washington’s day, and he was often entertained there as a near neighbor and dear friend. The list handed down names the books in the Belvoir library, and we group them as follows. Later you can compare the showing with Washington’s comparatively great library.
“Coke’s Institutes of the Laws of England” (3 vols.); Gunnall, “Offences in the Realm of England;” “Lex Mercatoria, or Law of Merchants;” Hawkins, “Pleas of the Crown;” Chamberlain’s “State of Great Britain;” “Hobart’s Reports;” “Croope’s Reports;” “Johnson’s Excellency of Monarchical Government;” “England’s Recovery;” “Political Discourses, by Henry, Earl of Monmouth;” “Obreneter, a Political Piece;” “Laws of His Majesty’s Plantations;” “Laws of Virginia;” “Laws of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay;” Jacob’s “Law Dictionary;” Ainsworth’s “Latin and English Dictionary;” Haine’s “Dictionary of Arts and Sciences;[“] “Latin and French Dictionary;” “Spanish and English Dictionary;” “Compleat Clerk and Conveyancer;” Parkinson’s “Herball;” “The Way to Get Wealth;” Hughes’ “Natural History of Barbadoes;” Langley’s “Pomona or Gardening;” “A New Body of Geography;” Heylin’s “Cosmographie,” in four books; “London Magazine,” seven volumes; “History of the Low Country Wars;” “Collections of Voyages and Travels;” “Batavia Illustrated;” Blackmore’s “Prince Arthur;” Locke on “The Human Understanding;” “History of the Twelve Cæsars,” by Suetonius; Knoll’s “History of the Turkish Empire;” “The State of Christendom;” Calvin’s “Institute of Religion;” Fuller’s “Church History from its Rise;” “A Poem on Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell;” “Knox’s Martyrologie;” “Latin Bible.”
Washington bought articles at the Belvoir sale, but “no books,” and no wonder, when the contents of the Belvoir Library are contrasted with the long list of titles comprising the Mount Vernon Library. From Newburg, before the Revolutionary War closed, he sent to New York a comparatively large order, naming more than a dozen books, mostly historical, and adding: “If there is a good bookseller’s shop in the city I would thank you for sending me a catalogue of the books and their prices, that I may choose such as I want.” The word want indicates the hunger he always felt for books as the pabulum of reliable information; and this, in later as in earlier years. Whether founded on French or English works, Washington’s MS. rules for behavior give additional interest to that volume found in our day with the name George Washington, 1742, on the fly-leaf in a boyish hand. In connection with the late civil war, the book was brought to public notice as possibly furnishing materials for his rules for behavior in company, as the old French rules, and also Hale’s “Contemplations,” valued by his mother, may also have done. Young Washington’s valued little book by W. Mather, including legal forms, and information as to surveying, gardening, etc., thus brought to our attention, is called “The Young Man’s Companion.” Comprehensive and suggestive, it is a sound foundation-stone, if but a solitary one, for a boy’s early attempt at forming a working library.
In accounts and letters of Washington, I am informed by those best acquainted with them, are still ampler evidences than can be adduced here, that he was a book-buyer. Before me is a written memorandum of twenty-one guineas received from Washington for one useful publication. Added instances indicate his ever-growing interest in books, and the gradual but steady growth by gift and purchase of the ultimately overflowing contents of his book-room. Instances also of his judicious selection and use of books multiplying beyond our ability to record them now may be codified in some future publication; here we trust are cited enough to indicate his interest in reading and the influence of books upon his contemplative and fore-casting mind.
When the people, over-anxious perhaps, notwithstanding the triumphant close of the Revolution, re-echoed his suggestive, almost despairing assertion, “We are one nation to-day and thirteen to-morrow,” Washington prepared himself, not as a theorist, but as a student of ancient and modern confederations. There is, we are assured, as to the constitutions of republics, ancient and modern, “a paper in his handwriting which contains an abstract of each, in which are noted in methodical order their chief characteristics, the kind of authority they possessed, their modes of operation, and their defects. The confederacies analyzed in this paper are the Lycian, Amphictyonic, Achæan, Helvetic, Belgic, and Germanic. He also read the standard works on general politics, and the science of government, abridging parts of them according to his usual practice, that he might impress the essential points more deeply on his mind.”
Copying this paper at length in his “Writings of Washington” (vol. ix., App.), as showing the “minute inquiry” and “close attention” Washington devoted to momentous questions, Sparks also gives the letter dated October 31, 1786, in which Washington exclaims, “You talk, my good sir, of employing influence to appease the present tumults. I know not where that influence is to be found, or if attainable that it would be the proper remedy for the disorders. Influence is not government.” While Washington’s interest in books is further shown by his letter dated July 9, 1787, acknowledging the receipt of the volumes entitled “Letters of an American Farmer;” that he continued reading with reference to the governmental questions of the hour is evidenced in the following from his letter dated Mount Vernon, November 30, 1787.
“I have seen no publication yet, that ought in my judgment to shake the proposed constitution in mind of an impartial and candid public. In fine, I have hardly seen one, that is not addressed to the passions of the people, and obviously calculated to alarm their fears. Every attempt to amend the constitution at this time is in my opinion idle and vain. If there are characters, who prefer disunion, or separate confederacies, to the general government, which is offered to them, their opposition may, for aught I know, proceed from principle; but as nothing according to my conception of the matter is more to be deprecated than a disunion of these distinct confederacies, as far as my voice can go it shall be offered in favor of the latter. That there are some writers, and others perhaps who may not have written, that wish to see this union divided into several confederacies, is pretty evident. As an antidote to these opinions, and in order to investigate the ground of objections to the constitution which is submitted, the Federalist, under the signature of Publius, is written. The numbers, which have been published, I send you. If there is a printer in Richmond who is really well disposed to support the new constitution, he would do well to give them a place in his paper. They are, I think I may venture to say, written by able men; and before they are finished will, or I am mistaken, place matters in a true point of light. Although I am acquainted with the writers, who have a hand in this work, I am not at liberty to mention names, nor would I have it known, that they are sent by me to you for promulgation.”
The writers to whom Washington here refers are doubtless Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay. Washington’s reading, however, including passing events, extended to past history. His library was his stronghold, his arsenal whence he came to Assemblies, Congresses, and the Constitutional Convention well furnished from books he had studied, and with citations he had written out. Thus he aimed to profit by the recorded experience of the past. When Franklin in that convention proposed daily prayers, he said: “We are assured in the sacred writings that except the Lord build the house, their labor is but in vain that build it.” Familiar with the Bible and the Prayer Book, Washington, who presided, perhaps, prompted the motion. When consequently prayers were read by Bishop White, they were in terms so familiar to Washington that they not infrequently reappear in phrases of his published or familiar writings. The chair there used by Washington as the presiding officer may still be seen, and on it the half-sun of which Franklin wittily remarked that he had his doubts whether it was a rising or a setting sun. Upon the adoption of the Constitution of the United States, it was seen “to be a rising sun,” and we may add that many of its brightest beams were reflected from the library at Mount Vernon.
Mount Vernon, by its name, reminded our hero of the great Admiral Vernon, the commanding officer and friend of his brother Lawrence, and of the fact that a midshipman’s commission having been sought for him as early as 1746, he was restrained from entering the navy by his widowed mother’s unwillingness to be parted from her boy. Later, love led him in an opposite course, from land to sea, when he left profitable employment to tend one who loved him. Thus his only seafaring experience was his youthful voyage to and from the West Indies with his dying brother Lawrence. Nevertheless, naval subjects are among those of his library. And as showing his use of the opportunities he had, an able critic has said, of what he esteems the best and most remarkable of recent works on naval subjects, that when it comes down to its principles, new as is the work, the gist of it all is found in a few lines quoted from Washington. As we read correspondence expressing the ardent wish of the family that his mother could be persuaded to let Washington go to sea, we note that the Washingtons and Fairfaxes on opposite sides a century earlier, were by marriage and other ties now united.
Lord Fairfax finally returning to visit his estate, was at the neighboring mansion of Belvoir, and had crossed the water this time to stay. Washington, forced by his sense of filial duty to stay also, turned as a landsman to devour the books within his reach. Lord Fairfax and that cultured circle of Washington’s relatives and connections furthering his literary tastes and pursuits, and no veil obscuring his character and course, we conclude that even at this early period he was in a most real sense a thoughtful and intelligent reader, and one laying sound foundation for a useful and honorable career. There are those who find it, therefore, hard to forgive the novelist who, although writing as if in touch with colonial Virginians and with young Washington himself, yet from inadequate information gives what purports to be a portrait of him, but is rather a misleading sketch or a poor caricature. However, he did full justice to Washington in his maturity. For in closing his lectures on the four Georges, Thackeray contrasts with the last of them, our great George, who, well-meaning as the best of the royal Georges, and pleasing in manners and appearance as the worst of them, and surpassing in firmness the stubbornness of any of them, attained not only an eminence, but a literary style and cultured excellence which is seen happily illustrated in his resignation quoted in the course of the contrast:
The year 1784 was remarkable in the life of our friend, the First Gentleman of Europe. Do you not know that he was twenty-one in that year and opened Carlton House with a grand ball to the nobility and gentry, and doubtless wore that lovely pink coat which we have described? I was eager to read about the ball, and looked to the old magazines for information. The entertainment took place on the tenth of February. In the European Magazine of March, 1784, I came straightway upon it. . . .
In the Gentleman’s Magazine for the very same month and year—March, 1784—is an account of another festival, in which another great gentleman of English extraction is represented as taking a principal share:—
According to order, H.E., the commander-in-chief, was admitted to a public audience of Congress; and, being seated, the President, after a pause, informed him that the United States assembled were ready to receive his communications, whereupon he arose and spoke as follows:
Mr. President—The great events on which my resignation depended having at length taken place, I present myself before Congress to surrender into their hands the trust committed to me, and to claim the indulgence of retiring from the service of my country.
Happy in the confirmation of our independence and sovereignty, I resign the appointment I accepted with diffidence; which, however, was superseded by a confidence in the rectitude of our cause, the support of the supreme power of the nation, and the patronage of Heaven; I close this last act of my official life by commending the interests of our dearest country to the protection of Almighty God, and those who have the superintendence of them to His holy keeping. Having finished the work assigned me, I retire from the great theatre of action; and, bidding an affectionate farewell to this august body, under whose orders I have so long acted, I here offer my commission and take my leave of the employments of my public life.
To which the President replied:
Sir, having defended the standard of liberty in the New World, having taught a lesson useful to those who inflict and those who feel oppression, you retire with the blessings of your fellow-citizens; though the glory of your virtues will not terminate with your military command, but will descend to remotest ages.
Which was the most splendid spectacle ever witnessed—the opening feast of Prince George in London, or the resignation of Washington? Which is the noble character for after-ages to admire—yon fribble dancing in lace and spangles, or yonder hero who sheathes his sword after a life of spotless honor, a purity unreproached, a courage indomitable, and a consummate victory? Which of these is the true gentleman? What is it to be a gentleman? Is it to have lofty aims, to lead a pure life, to keep your honor virgin, to have the esteem of your fellow-citizens, and the love of your fireside; to bear good fortune meekly; to suffer evil with constancy, and through evil or good to maintain truth always? Show me the happy man whose life exhibits these qualities, and him we will salute as gentleman, whatever his rank may be; show me the prince, the leader who possesses these, and he may be sure of our love and loyalty.
The devout conviction that Washington was providentially prepared for this great leadership and enduring influence arose even in his early career. Marvellous escapes in intercourse with the Indians and French, and from dangers then attending surveying and border life, and his early campaigns, led to expressions such as that of President Davies, of New Jersey College, when a clergyman in Virginia: “As a remarkable instance of this, I may point out to the public that heroic youth, Colonel Washington, whom I cannot but hope Providence has hitherto preserved in so signal a manner for some important services to his country.”
As with Washington’s timely studies, so the surveys and legal papers drawn by him are admirable. You may have noticed that while other topics were represented, such as religion, education, medicine, surveying, and the needs of farm and border life generally, a large proportion of the books of the Belvoir list relate to law and politics or government. These subjects preponderate in the smaller collections owned by most planters, and probably also among books commonly owned at the North. In contact with Indians, with slaves, with adventurers or marauders of various nationalities, a race of rulers was being formed. The books early within reach of Washington were of a governmental and practical character, and we know, as to his acquirements, the school of arduous life in which they were put to the test and further developed. An architect and builder, he has been presented here as an able journalist. Tis is true not only of the period already referred to, when the press, as we have it, not having come into being, Washington’s letters and other writings moulded public opinion; but during his whole career his journalistic ability was shown. He was abroad among the people of his neighborhood and made his presence felt in other places.
Turn to his journals; note especially the year 1774 and the month of September, the period when the people were being prepared to undertake armed resistance against oppression. In his journal for the month of September, under the heading, “Where and how, and with whom my time is spent,” we find him, except Sundays, dining daily with different parties, and accepting other hospitalities in centres of importance, and often with men of influence. Far from being a recluse, he was alert in the midst of exciting questions and anxious efforts, and thoroughly informed himself as does a conscientious journalist before aiming to influence others. He marshalled the people by his pen, for back of his potent presence, books, reading, carefully prepared statements founded on solid information, were the grounds long overlooked of his great influence. This point is often missed in quoting the eloquent Patrick Henry’s declaration as to the first Continental Congress at Philadelphia: “If you speak of solid information and sound judgment, Colonel Washington is unquestionably the greatest man on the floor.”
More important than his practical and arduous military training, and even than his growing familiarity with the resources and possibilities of the country from travel and study, more important even than the statistics and maps which came to crowd his library, relating to the development of districts where railroads, steamers, and other means of inter-communication now crowd the scene; most memorable as a preparation for his predestined duty, was his membership for fifteen years in the Virginia House of Burgesses. Considering the ability of many of its members, and the great subjects they discussed, it remained to the verge of the Revolutionary War, to say the least, an exceptionally fine parliamentary school.
All that he does, says, writes, in these times that try men’s souls, has that true American ring, which sounds in his letter from the first Continental Congress at Philadelphia, to Captain MacKenzie, stationed at Boston, regarding any government or governments “upon this continent separately or collectively.” . . . “This you may rely upon, that none of them will ever submit to the loss of those valuable privileges, which are essential to the inhabitants of every free State; and without which life, liberty, and property are rendered totally insecure.” No leading editorial in a great journal could have been better calculated to affect public opinion than such a letter, from such a man, at such a time, direct from the Continental Congress, to Boston, and patriots there; and thence to vast numbers of links along the chain of the sea-board population. Remarkable as a reader and a writer, he might well as a speaker have been called George the Silent. His own sense that silence is golden, is seen not only in his own usage, but in his letter of counsel to his nephew on becoming a member of the House of Burgesses: “If you have a mind to command the attention of the House, the only advice I will offer is to speak seldom, but on important subjects, and such as particularly relate to your constituents; . . . make yourself perfectly master of the subject.”
The words last quoted are in point, in further showing Washington’s habits in relation to books, and sound sources of information. His weight in the Constitutional Convention, as elsewhere, was not that of a talker, but because he had conscientiously read up and thought out matters of moment; and aimed to act for the best without fear or favor. When later he urged the internal development of the United States, his book-room, as I have just indicated, showed the foundations of his knowledge in maps, charts, and statistical information relating to inter-State communication and commerce. How firm the foundation, on which from his library he looked out upon the future! He stood not as an ignorant prophet of evil, but from a well-furnished mind he pointed out dangers only to suggest sources of relief to be found in related books, both historical and constitutional. In 1789 he wrote, “It is among my first wishes to see some plan adopted by which slavery in this country may be abolished.” In 1797, in a letter which I have read in his own handwriting, he wrote to Lawrence Lewis, “I wish from my soul that the Legislature of this State could see the policy of a gradual abolition of slavery. It might prevent much future mischief.”
Education had been defective or neglected in this country. Not only was it among topics in his library and conspicuous among his subjects of research and conference, but his aid to educational institutionals and to individuals desiring education, was so discriminating and timely as to be a standing incentive to thoughtful liberality. As early as 1769 he wrote to a parent who lacked means for a youth’s collegiate course, “If you have no objections but the expense, depend on me. You must not consider it an obligation nor mention it, for be assured from me it will never be known.” Schools, and colleges, and universities were remembered in his will, also. His writings, like his library, contain important suggestions, culminating in what may well be termed the great educational statesmanship of his proposal for a unifying national university. For such educational conceptions as his (especially in one not a college man) spring from books and reading, they are not the simple offspring of “innate wisdom.” We find marked allusions to them in his letters, as well as in his will.
Regarding his wise bequest for a national university, memorable are such words as these: “Youths from all parts of the United States, instead of learning principles from abroad, unfriendly to republican government and the true liberties of mankind, may be educated in all branches of the arts, sciences, and literature, acquiring principles of politics and good government; and as a matter of infinite importance may form friendships in juvenile years, enabling them to free themselves from those local prejudices and habitual jealousies which are never-failing sources of disquietude and mischievous consequences to the country.” Had his carefully studied and philanthropic and educational purposes been carried out by his successors, slavery would sooner have been abolished, the people might have been spared the fratricidal war, and the Union have triumphed from the first. That is might remain undisturbed for all time was the purpose of Washington’s forecasting policy and of his educational foundation, at the capital of the country, which if built upon as he proposed would ere this have given the people a noble national university.
Lamenting the scattering of his library broadcast from Mount Vernon, we are at last assured that in close touch with much else which was once Washington’s, permanent, fire-proof provision is being made for a national collection, whose steady growth is already reassuring. Together with some of his books, and a valuable mass of cognate literature, including many of his letters and papers, journals and related documents, some of them autographs, some of them press copies, there are being secured there reliable transcriptions aiming to embody, for the student’s use and the guidance of legislators, every line which Washington wrote. Treasures such as these, and others of inestimable value, with means to make the collection one of the most useful as well as one of the greatest in the world—all this is to be perpetuated in the local habitation at last provided at Washington. Not only as bearing his name, but as associated with his services, the place is fitting, and no obelisk could be a nobler monument to Washington than his writings preserved for the people in the National Congressional Library.
WASHINGTON: FAVORITE BOOKS AND PRESENTATION COPIES:
A GIFTED WRITER AND READER, HAD HE GENIUS?
THE literary material once in Washington’s library, as we have learned with regret, cannot be found at Mount Vernon, whence it has been scattered beyond recall. If it were not so, historians entering the library as Washington left it and examining its contents, would find it instructive to take down book after book from the shelves: from marginal notes and other circumstances they might hope to learn more certainly there than elsewhere his taste in books, his principles as a reader, and which were his favorites. The statement herewith recites the works in his library and lays the foundation on which the desired material may be accumulated. But years must be spent in searching his writings, and noting opinions and traditions, before important points such as we consider can be cleared up, to the satisfaction of those who think nothing unimportant which displays his character.
What answer is there to the question in the light we have, “What were Washington’s favorite books?” Evidently those from which he could gain promptly information, for the duty which lay nearest to him. If we ask what book he prized most, of the true answer we have no doubt. Of others it is not difficult to see from the books catalogued in his library and from what we have learned of the use he made of them, that not excluding lighter literature, he was drawn most to such as equipped him for his public and private career. “He was a constant buyer of books treating upon subjects in which he was interested.” My thoroughly informed correspondent adds: “His cash accounts show this, but do not always give the names of the books he bought. I think it may be assumed that the greater part of his library was of his own selection and procurement.” If he did not send abroad for books, or buy rare or costly ones simply because of their scarcity and because of remarkable printing, paper, and binding, we find that the needed economy and demands of state, and practical calls, drew him in other directions. He offered the non-importation resolutions unanimously adopted by the provincial convention of Virginia. They were most aggressive. Naturally, therefore, he found what he needed while encouraging home trade, without resorting during the war to importation or unsuitable outlay.
As friend turns to friend for counsel, and the advocate to the law library for precedents to make out his case, and the statesman to books at his command for principles to support his cause, so was it with Washington. It is not yet known where or at what cost Washington obtained the works in his library relating to Civics; we know that he consulted books on the subject and wrote out the results. The statement already made that his reading regarding such topics was thorough, thoughtful, and for a patriotic purpose is sustained by his letters and biography by Sparks: “His knowledge of the institutions of his own country and of its political forms, both in their general character and minute and affiliated relations, gained by inquiry and long experience, was probably as complete as that of any other man. But he was not satisfied with this alone. He read the history and examined the principles of the ancient and modern confederacies.” While thus prepared for the meeting of the Constitutional Convention, Washington’s respect for law led him, although denouncing the defects of the Articles of Confederation, nevertheless, as they had not been abrogated, to call them in the following paragraph the constitution. “He was apprehensive that the delegates might come together fettered with instructions which would embarrass and retard, if not defeat the salutary end proposed: ‘My wish is,’ said he, ‘that the convention may adopt no temporizing expedients, but probe the defects of the constitution to the bottom and provide a radical cure.†. . . Conduct of this kind will stamp wisdom and dignity on their proceedings, and hold up a light which sooner or later will have its influence.’“
If subjects as far apart as nation-building and bees are found in his library, he could draw honey from each, not only lessons for his farm and merchandise, but for character-building, and for hiving, housing, and sustaining a busy people; and also for framing the structure of an enduring nation. There are those interested in learning how it was that such dissimilar material came to have place in his library. Those who regard it as an odd topic for that day ask how Jeffries’s “AÎrial Voyages,” named in the appraiser’s list, came to be among his books. As he became more and more famous, presentation copies, often with complimentary inscriptions, were repeatedly sent to him. Will not persons who can conveniently do so obligingly forward to me information not contained herein, and pertinent to questions such as the above, or stating the whereabouts of books claimed to have been Washington’s, and furnish any related facts of interest? In the appraiser’s list, among books which Washington could not but prize, since they relate to military matters, is a volume whose fate indicates not only that the contents of the library have been scattered but that search for the places where volumes may be found is by no means hopeless. The work referred to may be seen at the Library of the State of New York at Albany, and is called “Uniform of the Forces of Great Britain in 1742, Executed by John Pine,” the engraver, and presented by his son to Washington. Said to be very rare, its interest centres in the illustrations representing the dress of the British army.
It is principally, then, from the examination of volumes once Washington’s that he placed upon books; related information may be had from other sources. Among his favorite topics were history and its modern correlative, economics. “Smith’s Wealth of Nations,” published in 1776, the authority on economics then, and holding since a foremost place, we found in his library. From the appraiser’s list we cited also “Gibbon’s Rome, 6 vols.,” the last page and line of which was written in 1787. Additions to his library were acquired in the years immediately preceding his death. Were there booksellers instructed to send him new publications of importance, or were the above and works such as “History of Spain, 2 vols., 8vo,” and “Don Quixote, 4 vols.,” and his other copy of “Don Quixote,” presentation copies? The books which came to Washington by inheritance, if not numerous, were useful. In the “Complete View of the British Customs,” his father, Augustine Washington, not only wrote his name and address several times, but the reader finds written therein also: “His book, bought ye 4th. of May 1739 of ye book-seller under ye Royal Exchange for 7 pence.” Some “Dryasdust” may yet inform us which of his books came by inheritance, which by purchase, and which by presentation. We know that in some are his autograph, in others his book-plate, while some enjoy the distinction of having both. In his library were not only foreign but American publications, some of an early date, some political and statistical, and some with his marginal notes. In the private collection in New York of the founder of the Avery Memorial Architectural Library, as reported, is that work once owned by Washington entitled “The Contrast,” being the first American comedy; and in the celebrated collection of Mr. William H. Havemeyer are many volumes once Washington’s. The relation of the Father of our Country to religious books is considered later.
The USE he made of books has been declared of most importance. Can we estimate which of his books he used most, even if we cannot decide as to each of them as yet whether or no it was a favorite? Laws and constitutions were among topics to which he must often have turned. We have seen that he was well informed as to constitutions of republics, and such constitutions are few in number; and the books for necessary information on practical essentials are few also. If a great book comes once in a century, twenty would comprise such produced since the Christian era. The books which were the foundation for his adequate and accurate information may yet be named. But now that the materials are scattered, the inductive and deductive work, essential to the complete treatment of our topic, includes excerpts from Washington’s letters and literary material and from other quarters quite beyond our present limits. Works relating to his farms and Mount Vernon estate have been recognized from the first as among favorites often consulted. In Boston an examination of three hundred and eighty of the books in his library there, shows that between one and two hundred of the number are upon agriculture and related matters. One who has been conducting an examination of Washington’s books and pamphlets for me there may enable me to furnish, in an appended statement or later publication, correct titles, editors’ and authors’ names, size, date and place of publication, character of paper and binding, the prices in the appraiser’s list contrasted with sales of late, together with the presentations, notes and other inscriptions, and possibly a full account of pamphlets now entered as “Miscellanies,” but swelling the titles of the collection to a very much larger number than the inventory indicates.
In a letter counselling the proper education of a young friend Washington writes that in addition to mathematics, modern languages, and some other subjects, “he is unacquainted with several of the classic authors.” Had Washington favorites among such authors? Did he take volumes with him from his library to camp, Congress, and the capital, perhaps losing them by the way? Suffice it here to say that whether he was like conquerors of old who had Homer with them in the tent, among books of his missing when the appraiser’s list was made were two volumes of Homer’s Iliad. His copy was not Homer in the original. Time and opportunity allowed him knowledge of only his native language, to which, however, he gave that marked attention which is its rightful due from all. Accordingly, it is not surprising to find Washington’s autograph at seventeen written in the volume found inn his library, entitled “The Royal English Grammar, containing what is necessary to the knowledge of the English tongue for the use of young gentlemen and ladies: London, 1747.” His library also contained Johnson’s Dictionary in two volumes, 1786.
In England and on the Continent are found materials for our subject, including volumes with choice autographs of Washington, of which one was bought from Mr. Stevens “for the Bodleian, and one for the Royal Library at Berlin.” Weighty facts as to his autograph manuscripts in the possession of our Government and of several of the States and of private individuals and cognate information is [are] massed in the pamphlet of which, as well as of that relating to Washington as an inventor, Dr. J. M. Toner is the author. The collection of copies and autograph manuscripts of Washington owned by the United States is said to be the most complete in the world as well as the largest, and to be in safe custody, and further to confirm Washington’s high rank as a man of letters and of books. Of late “there has appeared in the hands of autograph-dealers in New York several hundred certified returns of surveys with plates made along about 1750, 1751, and 1752, in the handwriting of George Washington. These had doubtless been surreptitiously taken from the records of the counties in the Valley of Virginia, to which they had been returned in accordance with the law made and provided for the government of licensed surveyors. It is evident Virginia is still being despoiled of here treasures.”
The public is to be cordially congratulated when at sales of Washingtoniana the Regents of Mount Vernon are represented and make purchases for that mansion; or when any of the public collections in safe custody have income or other aid enabling them to rescue and safely place the flotsam and jetsam of the Mount Vernon library. The fine collection in the Boston Athenæum which I have seen is increased from year to year by an income for the purpose. With more than three hundred engraved portraits of Washington, four hundred books, and a thousand related pamphlets, it includes what has been called erroneously Washington’s Library. An effort in Washington City having failed, just as what has thus been called the Washington Library was about to be alienated from this country by sale abroad; it was purchased and thus placed, by distinguished subscribers. Consequently there are nearly four hundred of the books on the shelves in the Athenæum, and you may be permitted to inspect them, as one who is making examinations for me has lately done. He reports that “while there are thirteen hundred titles found in the record of the Washington Library, even that inventory is very meagre, as several hundred pamphlets are there represented by a very small number of titles.”
Presentation copies are attracting attention wherever found. We must visit Mount Vernon to see that work already referred to as having not only the initials G.W. stamped upon the cover, but a golden crown. If the binder designed the crown as a flattering bait to ambition, it was misdirected. All those who suggested a kingly crown to Washington were without equivocation or hesitation sternly rebuked. What we know of Washington’s autograph letters and the papers of Rochambeau in the Library of Congress show that nobleman to have harbored no such design. In the Athenæum collection the reply to Paine’s attack there has the fact indicated on the cover that it is a presentation copy. There, too, is the “Defence of the Constitution by John Adams.” Appropriately there, printed by T. and J. Flat, at Heart and Crown, Cornhill, Boston, New England, is the “Manual of Field Day Exercises and Reviews, as ordered by His Majesty in 1764.” There is to be seen “A plan wherein the power of steam is shown by a new constructed machine, by James Ramsey of Virginia (1788), showing how vessels can be propelled against the most rapid stream.” Presentation copies include volumes of the debates of the “House of Commons” of Great Britain, and a treatise inscribed “For General Washington from the British Board of Agriculture.” There are also treatises on the French Revolution, “pro and con,” sent to him from France. His firmness in 1793, and notwithstanding the alliance of 1783, prevented our joining France against England, and fixed our foreign policy of absolute neutrality. This has its traces and to some extent its foundation in his library.
Before quoting other inscriptions complimentary to Washington, a passage from one of his letters, referring to the request of a flattering writer for the use of papers in his possession, is here in place. “Whenever Congress shall have opened their archives to any historian for information, he shall have the examination of all the others in my possession which are subsequent thereto; but until that epoch, I do not think myself at liberty to unfold papers which contain all the occurrences and transactions of my late command. . . . I will frankly declare to you, my Dr. Doctor, that any memoirs of my life. distinct and unconnected with the general history of the war, would rather hurt my feelings than tickle my pride whilst I live. I had rather glide gently down the stream of life, leaving it to posterity to think and say what they please of me, than by any act of mine to have vanity and ostentation imputed to me.” To another he writes in the following year (1785): “This must be a very futile work . . . either from my papers, or my recollection, . . . many of the former relative to the part I had acted in the war between France and Great Britain from the year 1754, until the peace of Paris, which contained some of the most interesting occurrences of my life were lost. . . . Memory is too treacherous to be relied on to supply this defect. . . . I intended to have devoted the present expiring winter in arranging all my papers which I had left at home, and which I found a mere mass of confusion (occasioned by frequently shifting them into trunks, and suddenly removing them from the reach of the enemy)—but however strange it may seem it is nevertheless true, that, what with company, references of old matters with which I ought not to be troubled—applications for certificates, and copies of orders, in addition to the routine of letters which have multiplied greatly upon me;—I have not been able to touch a single paper, or transact any business of my own, in the way of accounts, etc., during the whole course of the winter.”
Although modesty led Washington to deprecate praise in his lifetime, among tributes worthy to be perpetuated in full are the best of those in the presentation copies in his library. That by Arthur Young is inscribed in his “Annals of Agriculture and other Useful Arts, in thirty-one volumes, London, 1784–88.” In the last five volumes is the name of “Martha Washington, 1800.” Washington had previously placed his name in twenty-one of them, “1798,” being the very year before his death. Among payments by Washington for publications in his library the following is of more than ordinary interest, as found indorsed on a letter to Lord Buchan, dated Philadelphia, June 20, 1792: “It was not till the tenth instant that I had the honor to receive your Lordship’s second favor of the 15th of September which was enclosed in a letter from Doct’r James Anderson, and accompanied with six volumes of the Bee.—These were forwarded by a Bookseller at New York, who mentioned his having received directions from Doct’r Anderson to submit them to me. I must therefore beg your Lordship’s acceptance of my warmest thanks for this additional testimony of your politeness.—Considering myself a subscriber to the Bee, I have written to Doct’r Anderson to know in what manner I shall pay the money, that it may get regularly to his hands.—With sincere prayers for the health and happiness of your Lordship—and gratefully impressed with the many marks of attention which I have received from you—I have the honor to be with great esteem,” etc. On the back page the Earl of Buchan has written and signed “B. Feb. 2, 1800,” the following: “I had presented to the General some volumes of Dr. Anderson’s bee & mentioned to him that I proposed to write some papers for that periodical work which might have a scope towards the United States. So attentive was the great and good man to the most minute circumstance that five guineas accompanied this letter for Dr. Anderson as a subscriber to his paper.”
Washington’s pleasant humor must have pardoned the inscription of one whose heart was evidently not as bay as his muse: “To George Washington, a name honored in History and immortal as memory. Loved by the muses the following poem originated by enthusiasm, is presented with Diffidence.” Whatever you may think of the Hibernian dedication to be quoted in a moment, its spirit is most praiseworthy compared with attempts to place Washington in a ludicrous light which have abounded in proportion as the current rage for money-getting has decreased popular regard for much once respected. Disraeli’s principle, true in the sense in which it was applied to the feudal system, which makes ability the measure of responsibility, seems regarded no longer by the typical plutocrat and even less by some bright writers. From Paris, where are preserved valuable materials relating to our subject, the following assertion was lately cabled: “It will take longer to de-dollarize the United States than it did to de-Christianize France.” As we hold that France has not been de-Christianized, we are confident also that the United States will be Christianized, or, as the new phrase, is, “de-dollarized.” In the coming centuries the nation, we have reason to believe, will grow in Christianity, and so slough off much which mars the fair fame of our boasted nineteenth century, and with it the impertinent readiness to speak evil of dignities, and cheap wit such as that which has already done its worst herein without lowering the altitude of Washington’s greatness one inch in public esteem.
Those who have enjoyed the brilliant conversation of Mr. Charles O’Conor know that the great Irishmen of this age, like those of the past, have been cordial admirers of Washington. On the fly-leaf of “Thoughts of an Utilist on the Interests of Mankind and particularly on those of the Irish nation, Dublin, 1785,” has been found the following: “March 12, 1796. To his Excellency Gen. Washington. The Hibernian Utilist who never appeared in print until he was past the age of sixty-five, presents two of his scribbles to ye great Washington ye most distinguished Utilist now existing on ye surface of our orb. This being an honest Hibernian’s sincere opinion of ye illustrious general; he need not describe his feelings with regard to that personage because those feelings must be intense in exact proportion to the goodness of ye Hibernian’s own heart.”
An interesting writer whose name I have been unable to learn prepared an article, giving an account of his visit to the Boston Athenæum and Washingtoniana there, which I am informed by Mr. J. C. Lane, the librarian, appeared in the evening edition of the Boston Herald of January 6, 1894. A friend on the spot finding that the article was out of print has sent me—from the files, I presume—pencil notes received as I write, and most serviceable in this connection.
In the Washington Library of the Boston Athenæum the “most frivolous bits of literature were a couple of volumes of ‘John Buncle’ published anonymously, but really by an Englishman named Thomas Amory. Readers of Lamb and Hazlitt will remember how they discussed this curious book. Amory was a Unitarian, and this Buncle roams over England, meeting constantly beautiful women who are always Unitarians, and marries them one after the other; in each case he tarries with his wife’s father a year until she dies.” Whether Washington’s interest in such a publication was inferred from his having a brother noted for his oft marryings is not stated. On turning to the appraiser’s list you will find this peculiar work under the title “Life of John Buncle, 2 vols.” If not adequate the list is suggestive, and shows as now starred herewith, where the student or collector may be certain that from three to four hundred of Washington’s books are to be found.
The following inscription is more suited to the serious aspects of our subject, as from the pen of John Marshall, first [fourth] chief justice of the Supreme Court, when transmitting a volume of plates to Mount Vernon, with this note: “Mr. Marshall has the honor of sending to the President of the United States an exemplar of a monument erected by Prince Henry of Prussia to the memory of the officers who distinguished themselves in the wars between Prussia and the House of Austria. Mr. Marshall has the honor of sending to the President of the United States an exemplar of a monument erected by Prince Henry of Prussia to the memory of the officers who distinguished themselves in the wars between Prussia and the House of Austria. Mr. Marshall is directed by his Royal Highness to request the President’s acceptance of this as a testimony of the great respect and esteem he feels for his character.”
We have reproduced above the catalogue of the Library of Belvoir, Copied in the record by “a later hand,” when adding a volume of Washington’s to the list, dated 1774, is the following: “A Compendious View of the Civil War; being the substance of a course of lectures read in the University of Dublin by Arthur Browne Esq. Professor of Civil Law in the University, and Representative in Parliament for the same, 1777. Inscription: To his Excellency, General Washington with the utmost respect this book is humbly presented by the Author, once an American; who knew in America his earliest and happiest days.” Is there not foundation here for a revolutionary romance? In the presentation copy of Young’s work above referred to is the following inscription: “To General Washington in testimony of the veneration I feel for so good and great a character.”
Conspicuous in presentation copies and public addresses in his day, tributes not only at home but abroad have continued to multiply. A leader among living statesmen and theologians adds to them from Hawarden Castle. His life has ever found its centre in books, and his work in his library continues to be potent. Respecting the reading man, as well as the man of action, he would be first to detect and disapprove a writer who, planning and building a library, and in his correspondence referring to books as the fountain of knowledge, and treating his library of book-room as the heart of his home, neglected to make such use of it as his duties permitted and demanded. But, on the contrary, Gladstone writes: “Washington is to my mind the purest figure in history.” As though echoing across the century sounds our American minister’s assertion, in 1797, that in England “all parties” admire Washington as “not only the most illustrious, but the most meritorious character that has yet appeared.” This accords with Lord Brougham in making “appreciation of Washington” the test “of the progress of mankind.”
Fontanes, directed by Napoleon to pronounce the eulogy of France upon Washington, proclaimed him “a character worthy the best days of antiquity;” and Chas. James Fox declared that “a character of virtues so happily tempered by one another, and so wholly unalloyed by any vices, is hardly to be found on the pages of history.” The author of the second Hoffman Lecture tells me, in a recent conversation, that the son of the Duke of Wellington, being his host, said that the Duke, his father, regarded Washington as the purest and greatest man of his time, and probably of all times, and therefore had declined a command against the United States. England’s laureate’s lines of Wellington may, many of them, be applied to Washington:
“Rich in saving common-sense,
And as the greatest only are,
In his simplicity sublime;
O good gray head which all men knew,
O vice from which their omens all men drew;
O iron nerve to true occasion true.
And thro’ the centuries let a people’s voice
In full acclaim,
The proof and echo of all human fame,
Attest the great Commander’s claim
With honor, honor, honor to him,
Eternal honor to his name.”
A French vessel passing Mount Vernon while Washington’s remains awaited burial sadly saluted with flag and bell. A similar sentiment of respect has invariably led all vessels since, as they pass, to “toll the bell.” In an old letter to General Braddock we read: “Is Mr. Washington among your acquaintances? If not, I must recommend you to embrace the first opportunity to form his friendship. He is about twenty-three years of age, with a countenance both mild and pleasant, promising both wit and judgment. He is of a comely and dignified demeanor, and at the same time displays much self-reliance and decision. He strikes me as being a young man of an extraordinary and exalted character, and is destined, I am of opinion, to make no inconsiderable figure in our country.” Better than “making a figure,” his career proved such as to justify Gladstone’s exalted estimate: “I look upon Washington, among great and good men, as one peculiarly good and great: he has been to me for more than forty years a light upon the path of life.”
Called great by earth’s greatest, I am asked, in view of his gifts as reader, writer, and mature man, “Had he genius?” In answering the question, appropriate under this division of our subject, and regarded by some authorities as of essential importance, excerpts of abiding value on other grounds also might well be published. Tributes to Washington should be carefully collated and distributed broadcast. The various societies of Revolutionary or colonial name and fame engaging in philanthropic efforts, such as Washington commended to the Cincinnati, might secure and disseminate tributes uttered, some before, some at the time of his death, and some since that memorable event. Jewels in our country’s crown and reflecting his attributes, they would glow as guiding lights. The following occurs in a printed sermon, recently recovered, which was delivered by my grandfather, the late President Eliphalet Nott, after the death of Washington: “The glory of furnishing protectors belongs to God; and who does not see his wisdom and goodness in raising up such a character at such a crisis? His equal has not existed for ages, and probably will not for ages to come. Like the celebrated leader of Israel, he was great in the sight of all his people and all their enemies. Great with respect to the energies of his mind, the resources of his genius, and great with respect to that divine efficacy which stamped victory on his arms, and crowned his exertion with success.” Herein Washington’s genius is lauded. But, as not understood, had he genius?
The conception which the parable of the talents seems to have made part of the consciousness of Christian races is that talent is any gift coupled with responsibility. If genius is responsible, good judgment contrasted with genius will better express the common conception than to speak of genius and talent as contrasted. Instead of saying that a man has talent but not genius, we might well, as talents include it, say he has genius but not good judgment, or, vice versa, he has judgment but not genius. However, when one is called a genius in one breath, it is but a left-handed compliment to be styled in the next a “mattoid,” a “degenerate,” a “graphomaniac,” a “border-land dweller” between the realms of the sane and the insane; Legrain holding that genius coexists with meanness and lack of balance; Guérinsen defining genius as “a disease of the nerves,” while Nordau, as though making a concession, concludes: “Science does not assert that every genius is a lunatic.”
Is, then, Nordau a striking illustration of his own theory? That judgment seems scarcely sane which sees no general growth in sanity as going along with civilization. Contrast with the present the cruelties of the past in war and peace, in instruments of torture, in usages of oppression; accepted as a matter of course then, they are denounced and disused now—doubtless a measure of hardness of heart remains. If, as Bishop Butler suggested to his chaplain, nations, like individuals, may suddenly go mad; if, as we see, misfortunes to persons and peoples come largely from unsound judgment, it goes without saying that for better results physical, mental, moral, healthful development is essential. For deliverance from the derangement of the fall, for permanent recovery from all falls, is not the spread of sanity now admitted to be essential? Doubtless the times, if stimulating, are exciting, and nervous diseases increase. Of late we hear of degeneration as going along with genius and with pretty much everything else. This is to lose sight of the fact that, in nations and individuals, increasing consciousness of defects is often a mark, not of degeneration, but of aspiration, and of the determination on “stepping-stones of their dead selves” to rise to higher things.
Conscience grows more sensitive, judgment more sound, the moral horizon clears up, the standard of conduct is more exacting, conceptions of duty rise as ideals become more Christlike. Acts are held to be infamous now which passed current in the cities of the Orient and in the Roman Empire; while conduct recognized as customary, and condoned if not approved then, now brings the perpetrator deep distrust if suspected and indignant condemnation if proved. Is it not more reasonable to conclude that better principles have been generally diffused, and a higher point of view attained, than, looking out upon the disorders and dissatisfactions of the times, to say either that all men are liars or that all men are mad, and that this planet is the Lunatic Asylum of the Solar System? This discussion, demanded by the failure to recognize his relation to books, discloses the growing greatness of Washington. Independent of stimulants, abnormality, and superficial quickness, books and the use he made of them and of his pen, these must be credited with due share of influence, when estimating his extraordinary powers of statement and of self-command. By his reading habits as well as by nature and principle, his ardent character and impulsive will and quick temper were subordinated to his regulative faculties. Yet he had also the imagination and intuitional faculties considered characteristic of genius.
The question remains, is genius responsible? Certainly not according to some self-constituted authorities, or to the readiness with which public opinion excuses the lawlessness or excesses of genius; not if we follow Morel’s reasoning to its end; not if Lombroso is right and genius is thus abnormal. He cites many instances—Napoleon and epileptic, Carlyle an insane dyspeptic, and so on—pointing to genius as a form of insanity. The misconception as to genius lies in supposing there are two separate and exclusive types of men, whereas gifts mingle. There are people of great and little genius; the latter are called original or eccentric, but the type is marked; and so there are people of restricted judgment, but what they have is good; and in almost all there re indications of both types. Even in youth a great genius reaches ends by short-cuts in flashes of illumination, acts appearing instinctive. The man of judgment plods, but arrives, and usually at the right place, at the right time. But with him habit is potent, and so his acts become apparently more and more intuitional; prompt under the pressure of necessity, and in deliberate foresight he ultimately accomplishes that which in another at an early age would be called genius.
If human life were long enough—a thousand years more or less—the evolution of experienced judgment into genius, and of genius into sound judgment, would show, as we might have inferred, that the two are one in essence, the difference being a question of degree and development. And this development in Washington had its source in his library. Informed from the lessons of history, and loving his country with more even than a mother’s love, through the throes and agony of his great burdens and supremely from experience, necessity, and his deep and devout relation to books, his intuitional faculties came to birth. If in all potentially, though often long dormant, in him they rose until he could project himself into the future for the benefit of his country and of humanity.
In recalling earlier De Kalb’s estimate I quoted from Lecky’s “England in the Eighteenth Century.” Incidentally I observe that he credits Washington with much that could only come from books; and his estimate of Washington, which is similar as to his talents to that presented above, is as follows. To this class “belong the superintending, restraining, discerning, and directing faculties which enable men to employ their several talents with sanity and wisdom, which maintain the proportion of intellect and character, and make sound judgments and well-regulated lives. It was at first the constant dread of large sections of the American people that if the old government were overthrown they would fall into the hands of military adventurers and undergo the yoke of military despotism. It was mainly the transparent integrity of the character of Washington that dispelled the fear. It was always known by his friends, and it was soon acknowledged by the whole nation, and by the English themselves, that in Washington America had found a leader who could be induced by no earthly motive to tell a falsehood, or to break an engagement, or to commit any dishonorable act. It is one of the great advantages of the long practice of free institutions that it diffuses through the community a knowledge of character and a soundness of judgment which save it from the enormous mistakes that are almost always made by enslaved nations when suddenly called upon to change their rulers. No fact shows so eminently the high intelligence of the men who managed the American Revolution as their selection of a leader whose qualities were so much more solid than brilliant, and who was so entirely free from all the characteristics of a demagogue.”
As Homer and Shakespeare were in his library, he had before him the two instances in which the imaginative or intuitional and the harmoniously blended in one person. Ultimately so it was with Washington. Happy the nation having such a character as an exemplar!
We have not space at this point for all the appropriate citations at hand. Digressions may be pardoned which, reaffirming Washington’s closer relation to books, also recall the lasting impression made on many of us in youth by the presentation of his moral character and genius. We have had enough of late of Napoleonic revivals, both in literature and in business. This study to-day, recalling Washington’s Mount Vernon library, appropriate for a library lecture, is but a neglected feature of that larger subject, which, if duly impressed now, will add to the moral wealth of coming centuries.
The assertion by President Nott of his belief in Washington’s genius recalls words spoken years later by my father, Vice-President Potter, repeated after he became Bishop of Pennsylvania, and still remembered by many: “We are proud to point to Washington as one whose fame shines with vestal purity, whose outward deeds are but the reflection of his inward principles, and who, after all the examples which the world has had of great powers coupled with great meanness or great guilt, appeared as if to reanimate expiring faith in virtue and in man. We point to him as one to whom the young can look without catching the contagion of splendid wickedness, without imbibing the perilous belief that lofty talents and endowments must needs be associated with signal frailties, and that the latter should be pardoned, and even respected, for he sake of the former. Let us never forget that there is something better than Washington’s renown. It is his worth. It is the moral greatness which belonged not so much to his deeds as to himself, and which, if it had found no theatre in the presence of the world, would have found it in the retirement of his neighborhood and home.” From other expressions of the bishop as to Washington, it is evident that he believed that he must have been a reading man, although his many engagements did not permit him to look up facts to prove it. Have not others asked, how could Washington have written this paper, done that deed, spoken such words, except as informed by books?
We have seen that the critical days of the Revolution, of constitution-building and opening administration, called for a man strongest in judgment. Erratic, impatient, unbalanced, selfish, self-conscious, egotistic genius, with its flashy successes, if it landed the people, it would have been in wreck and ruin. “Genius of the crank order” has never been able to appreciate Washington. But how shall we account for it that when critics essay to deal with our national hero the result, especially of late, is sometimes so offensive a presentation, if not an intentional misrepresentation? It arises partly from causes such as these, i.e., letters of Washington emasculated and published by devotees of dignity, or what not, but robbed by whole passages of their fire and force; characteristic words and deeds suppressed; misrepresentations of him as “priggish,” and especially of his boyhood as of the infant Hercules order, derived from Weems and others, as a gifted friend suggests. Thus, possibly, has come to birth the ridiculous notion that he was but a wooden sort of giant. But the English actor, incidentally meeting him and helping him set to rights a poor couple’s overturned heavy wagon, and then recognizing Washington, who invited him to hospitable entertainment at Mount Vernon, close at hand, ardently praises his table-talk. Bernard recalls wise words about the theatre, as though the Mount Vernon library had its Shakespeare for use rather than for ornament. For Washington’s reading included polite letters, not only when, by Lord Fairfax at Greenway Court, he was introduced to the “Spectator,” but, as we have remarked, in following years. It is in point, too, that Bernard further gives sparkling instances of his esprit, quoting his playful exclamation as to having seen him act, and being pleased, also, that on another stage and without a prompter he could play so effective a part. All of which suggests that McMaster’s conclusion was correct, that the President or the General was commonly, but not the man, Washington.
Was it not the eloquence of genius when Washington, late in life, learning that his fellows had been treacherously misled toward a course dangerous to them and to the country, appeared unexpected, unattended, in their midst, and removing his spectacles slowly and sadly, suggesting that having grown old in the service of his country, perhaps now he was growing blind, in a brief address, replete with reason and principle as well as with deep feeling, turned the tide in the right direction? If great faculties, benevolently active and working harmoniously, constitute true genius, genius was characteristic of Washington. Is genius the art of taking pains? Surely Washington had that. As his books, his writings, and his life pass under review, if we do not find marks of genius conspicuous in young Washington, we find not only the “old man eloquent,” but gifted with the foresight of genius; as when favoring the abolition of slavery, and linking the States and Territories in bonds of intercommunication, tending to develop resources and extend commerce, he warned the people against the excesses of party and the dangers of sectionalism; enforced neutrality abroad and non-intervention at home; made provision against secession by his bequest for an antisectional national university, and proclaimed the principles of “abiding union.”
Since the above was formulated I find that one, famous for his lecture which secured some fifty thousand dollars for the Mount Vernon fund, and noted for his saying that Washington “of all the men that have ever lived was the greatest of good men and the best of great men,” although not disclosing to his readers Washington’s literary excellence, yet discovered and proclaimed his “genius.” Edward Everett having spoken as above, regarded recognition of his genius as so essential to an adequate estimate of Washington, and his conclusion is so clear and cogent that we may well concur in it. “Without adopting Virgil’s magnificent but scornful contrast between scientific and literary skill, on the one hand, and those masterful arts on the other by which victories are gained and nations are governed, we must still admit that the chieftain who, in spite of obstacles the most formidable and vicissitudes the most distressing, conducts great wars to successful issues—that the statesman who harmonizes angry parties in peace, skilfully moderates the counsels of constituent assemblies, and without the resources of rhetoric, but by influence mightier than authority secures the formation and organization of governments, and in their administration establishes the model of official conduct for all following time, is endowed with a divine principle of thought and action as distinct in its kind as that of Demosthenes or Milton. It is the genius of consummate manhood.”
THE FATHER OF OUR COUNTRY AND THE BOOK OF BOOKS.
OF one book of which there were copies of note in the Mount Vernon library to say only it was a favorite would be far below the mark. World-moulding, character-shaping, the sinner’s friend, the saint’s inspiration, rulers’ Book and peoples’ Book: was it not to Washington as the man of his counsels and the guide of his steps? Bishop Wilson’s insight into character is well known; we see it in the “Sacra Privata,” and again in his gift to the Father of our Country of the noble Bible he presented him. That Washington prized it and appreciated the giver is shown by its being singled out in his will for special mention. It is there referred to just before his appropriate bequest to Lafayette: “To the Reverend, now Bryan Lord Fairfax, I give a Bible in three folio volumes with notes, presented to me by the Right Reverend Thomas Wilson, Bishop of Sodor and Man.”
This title, “Lord” Fairfax, in Washington’s will reminds us of his letter of March 18, 1798, to the Rev. Mr. Fairfax, who had sailed for England, and there claimed his title and consequently his seat in the House of Lords, where he sat once and then returned to his American home, Mount Eagle. We may add from the same volume that “the Fairfax family in America is represented by a cultivated and unpretending gentleman residing in the neighborhood of Washington City,” entitled to a seat in the House of Lords which he might take at any time. In Washington’s library was also “Wilson’s Works,” and I found at the Lenox Library, in one of his letters in his press copy, the following: “Philadelphia, July 10th, 1795.— . . . Acknowledging a copy of the works of the Bishop of Sodor and Man, which agreeably to the wish of the late Dr. Wilson, his son, you had the goodness to send me. Accept now, I pray you, my thanks, . . . and the assurance that delay in writing you did not proceed from want of respect to the memory of the author, his son, or yourself, but to mere accident.”
We need further information as to Washington’s Bibles and religious books. Mr. William Evarts Benjamin tells me that in examining some two hundred of Washington’s letters, thirty to forty were found to relate to books; an exhaustive examination of his letters may yet prove beyond question the claim that he was “built on books.” While the appraiser’s list records his ownership of Brown’s Folio Bible, one would also be glad to examine related books, such as that called in the same list a “History of the Holy Scriptures.” Others, and great orators among them, have lauded the Bible for its influence in forming a fine literary style, and he unconsciously imbibed this benefit, but his use of it was devout, and he read it not only for himself but often to others. From many instances, we recall one mentioned by one of his best and best-known aides in the French and Indian wars, that on Sunday he had “frequently known Washington, in the absence of the chaplain, to pray with the regiment and read the Scriptures.” Lay reading by leaders of eminence and men of devotion happily continues. Washington searched the Scriptures, and in mentioning other helps to individuals and nations estimated, “above all,” as he declared in 1783, “the pure and benign light of revelation.”
If the Prayer-books he used in the church services he regularly attended, whether in the parish near home or wherever his country called him, could be collected, the association would make them priceless. Not only do his public and private papers show the influence of the liturgy upon his language and his life, but the fervency and constancy of his devotions have been attested, and that he respected his mother’s early injunction never to forget his private prayers. I have examined the well-worn original, and have a copy of the volume in which are published in fac-similes of the handwriting prayers which it is claimed he originated or compiled. We see the power of heredity and home influence further in that, among his books is that work called in the appraiser’s list “Discussions upon Common Prayer,” which is now included in the collection of the Athenæum. In it are inscribed autographs of Augustine Washington, his father, and of his father’s second wife, Mary Ball, his mother, and of “George Washington.” Young Washington’s repeated here his mother’s name in his own handwriting recalls his filial fidelity.
Among countless proofs I find in a reprint of his journal of expenditures from October 24th to October 27th, 1774, items as follows: “Cloak for my mother, £10 2s.; chaise for my mother, £40.” Such facts need to be reiterated, since recently he has been misrepresented in this regard. Late in life he wrote to his brother John Augustine to make diligent inquiry and to spend the needed money to render his mother comfortable, adding that he would meet the charges. When she was eighty-one, and broken with age, Washington, who was always conscientious in visiting and caring for her, wrote her in a letter enclosing money the reason why she would not be comfortable at Mount Vernon; but that while the task might prove dangerous to her health of attempting to entertain so much company, and dressing often to receive them, and although he feared lest she might not find there the retirement she desired in her age, his home was ever at her service. her testimony was that he fulfilled the commandment, “Honor thy father and thy mother.” He repaid the fidelity with which she had early taught him to “read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest” his Bible and Book of Common Prayer and works relating to Christian conduct.
Quite near the volume of “Discussions on Common Prayer” in the list of his books, we find sermons by a former Bishop of Exeter (London, 1717), with an autograph of the boy George Washington, and on the fly-leaf a note by G. C. Washington, stating that the “autograph of George Washington’s name is believed to be the earliest specimen of his handwriting, when he was probably not more than eight or nine years old.” A volume of sermons seems an unusual place for a boy’s earliest known autograph; but the appraiser’s list shows a comparatively large proportion of books of a religious character in Washington’s library. Looking at his character from the religious point of view, there are those convinced that it was the Bible with the Prayer Book, and the use he made of them, that made him the man he was. Like all great works, the influence of the Bible lies in what it is, not in what is said about it. The most widely circulated volume in the world, called a book because so bound, it is in fact a literature, one which he absorbed and to which he conformed his life. Written by many writers, made up of many books, the Bible, time and again, apart from theories about it, has proved its inherent power.
In a familiar letter one of his family circle refers to Washington’s reverent use of the Bible. In writing further of the suitable character of his Sunday evening readings to his wife Martha, or, as she was then sometimes called, Lady Washington, he adds that on that day visitors were not received. No wonder that the Presbyterian General Assembly, in 1789, recorded their esteem of him as an avowed “friend of the Christian religion,” and one “who, in his private conduct, adorns the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” Two collects in the Prayer-book, famed from of old, that for Quinquagesima Sunday and that for the fourteenth Sunday after Trinity, reaffirm the Christian ideal of noble character comprised in three words, “faith, hope, and charity.” Long considered characteristic of him, we proceed to find therein a summary of that excellence of Washington, making him a worthy Christian model—an excellence which could hardly have been so conspicuously his but for books, and the Book of Books, and his use of them.
Amidst the stars which rise above the horizon of human life, none shine with a lovelier radiance than “these three.” Among those who illustrate this trinity of virtues, one, only, attains Divine perfection, dawning above the manger-cradle at Bethlehem, threatened with the darkness of Calvary, but rising and ascending “far above all things, that He might fill all things,” our Lord and Master. Of others who illustrate the virtues “faith, hope, and charity,” rendering as private citizens and in public life civic service to humanity, is not Washington (“primus inter pares”) most admirable? A Christian, he was connected with the English Church in the Colonies, named, after the formation of the United States, the Protestant Episcopal Church. This is noted not as a matter of pride, to those who with similar privileges fall far short of his standard, but because so many of the statesmen of our heroic age were of the same communion: the Church not being papal nor despotic, not individualistic nor revolutionary, but constitutional, their consequent influence is seen in that greatest of gifts to the people, the Constitution of the United States.
The Revolutionary war we hold to have been won, not only by patriotic soldiers of this and other lands, but because of contending parties in the British Parliament. Upon the declaration of peace, Washington declared that the people deserved contempt if they stopped at that, and pointed tot he long and arduous path of duty which opened before them. In 1786 he wrote Jay: “I do not conceive we can exist long as a nation without having lodged somewhere a power which will pervade the whole Union in as energetic a manner as the authority of the State governments extends over the several States.” Already had civil war loomed, and some demanded the dissolution of the Union; secession was threatened; submission to a foreign or a native king was proposed. Washington was sounded to see if he could be made a leader or tool of a monarchical movement. But he was too loyal and too well read to be tempted or duped. In doubt the Constitutional Convention met. Then as we have seen in proved that his library, with his use of it, was one of the pillars of his power. It was found wisest to keep the proceedings secret. his prompt and fearless reproof of carelessness as to memoranda which threatened to divulge them at the very outset, produced a profound impression and showed him well fitted to preside and guide. We know from a patriot’s diary and from patriot lips the inestimable services of one so well informed, and holding himself and others so well in hand, and by his letters and views influencing the whole country. His habits of reading and reticence helped the framing of the Constitution.
The learned prime minister pre-eminent in our day, and like Washington a reverent student of the Bible and a lay reader, writes in “Kin beyond the Sea:” “The British Constitution is the most subtle organism which has proceeded from progressive history; the American Constitution is the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and hand of man.” If you prefer the evolutionary view of constitutional law, you may nevertheless join in paying due tribute to the builders of the Constitution, and to the constitutional principles and the constitutional Church which were factors in moulding the mind of many a “maker and signer,” and especially of Washington himself.
A churchman, the question has been mooted: Was Washington a communicant? Who thought of seriously disputing it in his lifetime? His contemporaries have passed away. It is evident that, as the people had to protest against taxation without representation, churchmen had to complain that the Church was left without a bishop. They were less favored than now, with frequent sacramental and other services. Two or three witnesses suffice. He was seen “to partake of the sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ in Trinity Parish, New York.” Although Bishop White did not recall his communing, it is to be noted that a bishop’s duties tend to prevent his invariable presence at the same church; further, memory, especially in old age, is not infallible. Christ Church and St. Peter’s, Philadelphia, are honorably famed for ceasing, upon the proclamation of Independence, to use petitions of the English Church indicating allegiance to that government. Yet one prominent in said parishes, as reported, demanded the abandonment of the armed contest with Great Britain. Could Washington wisely appear by communing to condone any asserted attitude injurious to the cause?
When at Mount Vernon with Mrs. Washington, one of the family, an eyewitness, declared that he “always received the sacrament.” It is needless to go at length into these partially quoted instances, for we have Washington’s word, and that is good always and everywhere. At a distance from home, careful as he always was to show his respect publicly as well as privately both for the Church of which he was a member and for the Christian principles and the usages of others, as the communion of the neighboring Presbyterian congregation approached, he called upon the pastor, and speaking of himself as a “communicant,” declared that he was anxious to embrace opportunities of communing, but was himself a member of the Church of England. In view of what being a church “member” meant as our language was used then and there, “member” suffices, together with his reference to being a communicant, to remove doubt, and to enable anyone affirmatively to close the above question. The evidence shows his custom of receiving the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper in his own church and not elsewhere; although he declared himself free from bigotry, and in spirit at least may, with those not of his own household of faith, have partaken of the Christian agape feast of love. While sincerely and sensibly religious, he was not ostentatious, or unmindful of the duty of preserving his influence as a patriotic public man and leader, by all rightful means, among a mixed people in times of unusual bitterness, suspicion, excitement, danger, and difficulty.
One authority declares that “a full half of respectable Americans were, either openly or secretly, hostile to the revolution;” and that “two-thirds of the property-owners of New York City were loyal to the King.” So were descendants of William Penn. The American patriot, Colonel Pickering, called Philadelphia “the enemy’s country”—so was sentiment divided in other Colonies, and later in the States. It has been well remarked further, that one could be a loyalist opposed to breaking loose from the mother-country, and yet open in demanding reform in the administration; free to denounce the oppressive acts of the ministry. Revolution to such meant national destruction. What were the colonies matched against Great Britain? Further, it is said that the Whig leaders were looked upon with distrust by the old régime, which had little confidence in “office-seekers” and “upstarts,” and saw in their zeal “something more sordid than patriotism.” John Adams, in 1777, wrote: “I am wearied to death with the wrangle between military officers high and low. They quarrel like cats and dogs. The scramble for rank and pay like apes for nuts.” And Washington wrote, to cite only one instance: “Many of the surgeons are very great rascals . . . drawing medicines and stores . . . for private purposes.” Even the Quakers were accused of making their religion a cloak for “Toryism.” And the Methodists were “urged by Charles Wesley to stand by the King, and many of them did so.” Again, “the forcible silencing of prayers for the King in the service of the Episcopal Church—the free use of tar and feathers—and the last,” led many to become all the stouter Tories; and offensively it has been claimed that the clergy, “stipendiaries of the English Church, were loyalists almost to a man.”
Thus the English Church, like all things English, came in the heat of our war to be distrusted by many; and after it, our Church suffered from continued misconception. Piloting the ship of state in dangerous seas, Washington was judicious. As a statesman he rightly conciliated all influences. He obtained and held the confidence of the various religious bodies and leading ministers. From his diary it is found that, on succeeding Sundays in Philadelphia, he went three times to the Episcopal service, once to the Roman Catholic, once to the Quaker, once to the Presbyterian; and as to the conversation with the Presbyterian pastor, in which he refers to himself as a communicant of our Church, the facts are narrated in Hosack’s “Life of Clinton.” Washington was no bigot, no extremist in pietism like Philip of Spain, for instance; but while consistent as a Christian man and a churchman, was not “overmuch” given to things not in the immediate line of his public duty. His religion was eminently of the right kind for a man of affairs under his circumstances. When he opposed importations tending to intemperance, and habits tending to profanity and general immorality, he appealed to manliness and patriotism; when by official order he declared against gambling in the army as demoralizing to the soldiers and the cause of many a gallant officer’s ruin, he did not leave men in camp without occupation, but among other matters of interest, saw to it, as there was a chaplain for each regiment, that the men were encouraged to be regular in attending Divine service. For himself, he acted as one who knew that example speaks louder than words; that faith without works is dead.
The valid incidents within reach proving him a “man of faith,” are too numerous to be recalled here. The Commander-in-Chief of the American armies was observed elsewhere, as well as at Valley Force, so that it is well known that he sought “strength and guidance from the God of armies and of light. The independence of our country was laid not only in valor, and patriotism, and wisdom, but in prayer.” During the war he not infrequently rode ten or twelve miles from camp to Divine service. The rector of the Pohick Church, of which Washington was “an active vestryman,” said: “I never knew so constant an attendant on church, and his behavior in the house of God was ever so deeply reverential, that it produced the happiest effect on my congregation.” Unostentatious, Washington, “with sincere humility, discharged with regularity and fervor his religious duties.” As every school-boy used to hear, and should now know, Colonel Temple, of Virginia, after the French and Indian war, said that on sudden and unexpected visits to his marquee, he has more than once found him on his knees at his devotions. Robert Lewis, his nephew and private secretary, is time and again quoted as saying of Washington’s “daily practice,” that accidentally he witnessed “Washington’s private devotions in his library both morning and evening,” and adds, “I saw him in a kneeling posture, with a Bible open before him.”
An instance added of late, is that from the household where he is still recalled by family tradition just before the critical engagement on the battlefield of Chatterton Hill. In prayer he “wrestled” with the God of battles, as was his wont. Had he not said, “I feel everything which wounds the sensibility of a gentleman?” On this occasion, his loyal heart, stung with the epithet “rebel” hurled at patriots, was, at the family altar poured out in the language of the very “Bible hero without a flaw” he is said to resemble. His words were those of the 22d verse of chapter xxii. of the book of Joshua: “The Lord, God of Gods, He knoweth, and Israel, he shall know if it be in rebellion or if in transgression against the Lord.” In a dreadful exigencies his instinctive attitude is expressed in the words my “faith looks up to Thee.”
“Hope” with anchor fixed within the veil, rests on faith. Washington was pre-eminently a man of hope. Often it was about all he and his men had to subsist on, as when he wrote of his half-clad, unpaid, starving troops, “from my soul I pity them.” Further, he wrote, December 23, 1777, to the President of Congress, when Christmas eve was close at hand and life for his patriotic troops cold and dreary, that it was easy for critics, comfortable in the glow of their warm firesides to denounce officers and men for lack of victories in a winter campaign, with overwhelming odds against them. The fall of Ticonderoga, the winter at Valley Forge, the difficulties everywhere increasing, led him to endure misrepresentation and obloquy rather than to clear himself by stating facts of the army’s forlorn condition, which, if made known, might have ruined the cause.
In many portraits do not the lines of his face indicate the difficult suppression of passion? Strongest in his youth, in maturity and age breaking out under provocation, I am further asked if he did not use strong language. What if he did not use strong language. What if he did under the circumstances? When as a boy I was resident in South America and a guest in a monastery, I noted the expletives, exclamatory and denunciatory—profane swearing to my ears, but in their usage including the tremendous outbursts of an archbishop, sacred ejaculations. The usages of English speech in Washington’s day, too, differed widely from our own in the standard of good form and religious custom; but however prevalent in the British army, and among people of “fashion” abroad, swearing was bad form in Virginia; his own usage and published pronouncements against profanity, prove that he was no apologist for, and gave no countenance to, profane and pernicious habits then prevalent.
As Washington not only read but wrote of morality, it is evident that he practised it despite the promptings of nature. Let those who will, attribute the result solely to his all-absorbing engagements, the fact of his moral excellence can no longer be rightfully denied. Bancroft declared that he had examined such accusations as there were against Washington’s character, and found them unfounded; Lodge and others concur. Dr. Toner, one of the highest authorities, especially as to Washington’s manuscripts, defying anyone to prove base charges against Washington, declares them worthless; and adds that they have sprung from the tendency of debased natures to judge that what they would do another would have done under similar circumstances; concluding that to “prove anything against Washington’s character there is not proof,” and that “not a false line did he pen nor do a deed to destroy the reputation of a great and good man.” But if ever a man was so circumstanced as to need words explosive as dynamite to keep his heart from bursting when oppressed by outrage, want, misrepresentation, disloyalty, it was the great-hearted Washington.
Righteous rage with which he heard of defeat and death caused by disobedience of orders, was suppressed not only in public, but so that justice was tempered with mercy to the offender. Hoping all things, he worked as well as hoped for the best; and while misrepresented at home he was appreciated abroad. Not only was he a great peace-maker. Peaceful, his reading taught him, as the books in his library indicate, that the country, if at peace and united, might indulge the highest hopes for its sound and rapid development. Fortunately for his country, and in the darkest hours, his was a heart greatly hopeful. It was Christian “hope” which his beloved mother had planted there in a Christian home. And though he wrote to her as “Madame,” after the courtly manners of the day, even as to his mother Jesus said, “[Greek word]” she was always mother to him, not simply to the boy George, but to the general; as when an officer brought a requisition for her carriage horses, and she said no; and told him to tell the general so, and that it was his mother who refused; then Washington, with that boyhood smile of his which survived his youth, acquiescent, bowed his head. Later, when wants were weightiest, his hopeful spirit rose in proportion to the obstacles to be surmounted; and after the war, in all the trials of foreign or domestic affairs which followed, he “hoped against hope,” with the patience of hope, the courage of hope, and the Christian hope “which maketh not ashamed.”
“Faith, hope, charity, the greatest of these is charity;” so great that there is no word great enough for it in our language, in any language; since God is love, and charity is love. But as popularly used, one of its large meanings is tolerance; and the tolerance that comes, not from indifference, but from culture and Christianity. Like Franklin and some other great American statesmen, Washington, although not a university man, not a college man, was a reading man, a reflecting man, and so a growing man, intellectually as well as every other way. He had the common-school education of the day and some engineering and surveying, but he made mental and other notes on what he saw and heard and read. In military and other matters he early began in that most excellent school, the school of experience; and ultimately great generals of Europe praised his campaigns.
Just here note that he not only stuck to good principles, cultivated good manners, but he wrote a good hand, one easily legible. Those of us who have tried the patience of others by illegibility; those of us who constantly receive epistles (although typewriting is so accessible) undecipherable even to the signatures without the aid of a clergy list, or some other compendium; unsought communications which having thereby used valuable time, prove as to their contents an enigma, and in scrawls fit to be called nightmare hieroglyphics, and from applicants who want something and want it right away, but without due claims upon us, write in such a hurry that a commission of pundits could hardly decipher their meaning; with such time wasting, temper-trying experiences, one will put it to the credit of George Washington that, charitable enough in other things, he was conscientious enough, in using other books, not to neglect his “copy-book,” and considerate enough to write a good hand. I have seen his written regulations for copyists of government records, and the direction to employ only those “who write a fair hand, that there may be similarity and beauty in the whole execution.”
In minute and important regards, then, Washington, from the influence of books, came to be a cultured Christian. Some Christian people are strong enough in faith and hope, but weak or bigoted when it comes to true tolerance. Often their lack of large views is due to their restricted reading habits. But when foreign diplomats, during the war and after it, came to deal with Washington, they found, as the politicians of his own land found, that they were dealing not only with a clear-sighted but with a cultured man. Well for that and for all times was it, that he was a man imbued with Christian charity, that is, one tolerant to the very point where tolerance ceases to be a virtue. That he had hospitality of mind as well as a well-stocked and wisely-used library, is further shown by the number of subjects on which he possessed sound information, as seen in his correspondence with overseers and friends and men in public life, and in his state papers.
Had he not only hospitality of head and heart, but charity in the ordinary sense of the term? While others leave their homes and make little or no provision for the customary claims of charity, some acting as if they wished to escape them, he provided for them generously with money and by explicit directions to his agent, and wrote him in 1755 that the hospitality of the house must be so maintained that the poor should not suffer from his absence. “You must consider that neither myself nor my wife is now in the way to do these good offices. In all other respects I recommend to you, and have no doubt of your observing, the greatest economy and frugality, as I suppose you know that I do not get a farthing for my services here, more than my expenses. It becomes necessary, therefore, for me to be saving at home.” Among his other charities, his aid by gift and bequest to educational institutions, as already said, was remarkable for that time, and an example to all times.
In examining many of his press-copy manuscript letters (1792–89), I find not only instances of the above, as in the reference to Annapolis College, but the letter to Dr. Baysham as to the threatened blindness of his servant; allusions to the forged letters; statement of his political creed; affectionate references to the marriage of Miss Custis. These letters and others, such as those as to land projects and business, have passages suggestive of his heart as well as his head. How kindly he writes the author, who sends him the new “Columbian Alphabet;” thanking him and adding that, “while it would take time to introduce it, if introduced it might be of use.” Again, how courteous his letter to General Heath, dated Mount Vernon, March 1, 1799, thanking him—and in advance, as is sometimes judicious when an author sends us his productions—for his book entitled “Memoirs of the American War,” “which,” writes Washington, “I accept and daresay beforehand I shall read it with pleasure; . . . meantime I pray you to accept my best thanks for this testimony of your friendship and politeness in sending me the work so elegantly bound.”
Thus does the generosity of Washington’s nature irradiate his correspondence, and his love of books frequently appear. Further, in his charities he was a “cheerful giver,” and writes, “I will direct my manager to pay my annual donation for the education of orphan children, or the children of indigent parents who are unable to be at the expense of themselves. I had pleasure in appropriating this money to such uses, as I always shall have in paying it.” He wrote to Bishop White, in 1794, “I am at a loss for whose benefit to apply the little I can give, and in whose hands to place it; whether for the use of the fatherless children and widows, made so by the late calamity, who may find it difficult, whilst provisions, wood, and other necessaries are so dear, to support themselves; or to other and better purposes, if any, I know not, and therefore have taken the liberty of asking your advice.”
He ardently loved children and was demonstrative toward them; and late in life, when he found the greatness thrust upon him embarrassing, and too awe-inspiring, he was saddened by its effects, as many another Great Heart has been. Thus, when entering a merry-making of young people, at his coming mirth seemed extinguished and silence reigned; then, as he courteously retired, he showed to those in attendance his regret that his reputation had become so overshadowing. He took every suitable occasion to show the sympathy for young and old which, as many anecdotes prove, he deeply felt.
He saw the importance of administering charities so as not to create dependence; and even in dealing with near connection she showed his desire to inspire self-help, and his conviction that all should be trained to be usefully industrious. In 1796, he wrote: “Mrs. H. should do what she can for herself. This is the duty of everyone. But you must not let her suffer, as she has thrown herself upon me. Your advances on this account will be allowed always at settlement. I agree readily to furnish her with provisions; and from the good character you give of her daughter, make the latter a present, in my name, of a handsome but not costly gown, and other things which she may stand most in need of. You may charge me also with the worth of your tenement in which she is placed, and where, perhaps, it is better she should be, than at a greater distance from your attentions to her.” In 1795, he wrote: “I am sorry to hear of the death of Mrs. H.; and will very cheerfully receive her daughter, the moment I get settled at this place; sooner, it would not be possible, because this house will be, as it has been, empty, from the time we shall quit it in October, until my final establishment in the spring. Such necessaries as she needs in the meantime may, however, be furnished at my expense; and if it is inconvenient for you to retain her in your own house, let her be boarded in some respectable family, where her morals and good behaviour will be attended to; at my expense also. Let her want for nothing that is decent or proper; and if she remains in your family, I wish for the girl’s sake, as well as for the use she may be to your aunt, when she comes here, that Mrs. — would keep her industriously employed always, and instructed in the care and economy of housekeeping.” Further, he wrote again as follows: “Enclosed is a letter for S.H., left open for your perusal before it is forwarded to her; with the contents of which, respecting the payment of ten pounds, I request you to comply, and charge the same to the account of your collection of my rents.” In another connection he wrote: “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.” Further he wrote: “Mrs. Washington’s ideas coincide with my own, as to simplicity of dress, and everything which can tend to support propriety of character, without partaking of luxury and ostentation.”
Charitable in the best sense of the term, children loved him, and his family and neighbors, his soldiers and associates. When he left Mount Vernon for his public duties, high and low surrounded him with expressions of honor and love, which history will not let die. As shown in these and other instances, he united with his benefactions that personal interest on which the Gospel insists, and which Tolstoi, among other writers of genius, so vividly portrays as the essence of Christian charity. Thus was it when Washington remembered Alexandria, where his first vote was cast in 1754, and his last not long before his death in 1799, and where he had so many friendly ties. The bequest made for Alexandria reads: “To educate orphan children, with children of such poor and indigent persons as are unable to accomplish it with their own means.”
The fragrance of the loyal love he bore his mother exhales again, as the visitor in the ever-growing annual pilgrimage to Mount Vernon receives, among flowers still raised from his seedlings, the delicate tea-rose he named “the Mary Washington.” In the same loving spirit, hearing of his ward’s fatal illness, he arrived at the bedside of his wife’s son by her former marriage, solicitous as though he were his own, “just in time,” as he wrote Lafayette, “to see poor Mr. Custis breathe his last.” Turning at once to the bereaved widow, whose two younger children were little more than infants, Washington exclaimed: “From this hour I adopt your two younger children as my own.” So tender was his care that they never felt the bitterness of that early loss. When consulted, as he was by all sorts and conditions of men, and even about love affairs, he was as sympathetic as he was judicious. In relation to the engagement years before of the near connection just referred to, he wrote: “How far a union of this sort may be agreeable to you, you best can tell; but I should think myself wanting candor, were I not to confess that Miss Nelly’s amiable qualities are acknowledged on all hands, and that an alliance with your family will be pleasing to his. This acknowledgment being made, you must permit me to add, sir, that at this, or in any short time, his youth, inexperience, and unripened education are, and will be, insuperable obstacles in my opinion to the completion of the marriage. As his guardian, I conceive it my indispensable duty to endeavor to carry him through a regular course of education (many branches of which, I am sorry to say, he is totally deficient in), and to guide his youth to a more advanced age before an event, on which his own peace and the happiness of another are to depend, takes place. . . . If the affection which they have avowed for each other is fixed upon a solid basis, it will receive no diminution in the course of two or three years; in which time he may prosecute his studies, and thereby render himself more deserving of the lady, and useful to society. If, unfortunately, as they are both young, there should be an abatement of affection on either side, or both, it had better precede than follow marriage.”
Was he not a true friend? His well-known friendship with Robert Morris had its suitable expression. In converse, however, with natures of a different type his tone is demonstrative; toward Lafayette, so loving as to accord with a Frenchman’s sentiment, and the ardent manifestations of his friend’s loyal and loving heart. Guizot calls this a “truly paternal affection, the tenderest” which Washington evinced. But the modest Washington’s early flame of love (“chaste” is his own characterization of it), though full of warmth and sentiment, failed where a bolder suitor won. Victory for self was not his strong point; his was not the style of our self-seeking, over-bold nineteenth century. What a blessing that he waited and won the wife he did! What a Providence, that, a childless man, the country was not cursed (while traditions of royalty and primogeniture were still strong) with a “rabble of bloods” of his by direct descent, and ready to reintroduce “the right of kings to rule wrongly.”
Welcoming his friends to his home, Washington wrote: “It is my wish that the mutual friendships which have been planted and fostered in the tumult of public life may not wither and die in the shelter of retirement; we should rather use the evening hours of life to cultivate the tender plants and bring them to perfection, before they are transplanted to a happier clime.” He cultivated his estate for the enjoyment of his family circle and his friends and neighbors, as well as for his own occupation, health, and pleasure. Walks, drives, vistas, plantations of trees, the sowing of crops, the shrubbery, the flower garden, the conservatory, the plans for his ample domain—these also sprang not only from his head, but from his heart.
As “face answereth to face in a glass,” does not Washington’s character correspond to the inspired portrayal of charity? “Charity suffereth long and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself; is not puffed up; doth not behave itself unseemly; seeketh not her own; is not easily provoked; thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity; but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things; believeth all things; hopeth all things.” As “charity never faileth,” Washington’s included a larger area than his own immediate interests and those even of his country. “Humanity, fraternity,” these were frequent words with him, as when in 1785, he wrote of his faith and hope that the future “would see the whole world in peace and its inhabitants one band of brothers.” In 1791 he commended loving efforts, as he expressly said, to “strengthen the Fraternity of the Human race.” And as late as 1797, he declared that he was deeply solicitous “for universal harmony and brotherly love;” and also for Christian and Church unity, “believing as I do that religion and morality are the essential pillars of civil society.” The responsive echoes which came from all parts of the globe were devoutly voiced by Lord Erskine, who wrote him: “I have a large acquaintance with the most valued and exalted class of men, but you are the only human being for whom I ever felt an awful reverence. I sincerely pray God to grant a long and serene evening to a life so gloriously devoted to the universal happiness of the world.”
AT THE LAST, IN HIS LIBRARY
AS the nineteenth century dawned Washington was to be found in his library. His book-room, it was also the centre of the activities and the memories of his life. The winter came, and at last he was undisturbed by calls to a distance from home. In Washington’s old age his aim was to read in peace, review his journals, dictate, write, arrange his papers, and to give healthful and helpful attention to his residence and domain. Rising early and proceeding systematically, he had time not only for books, but also to meet the demands of the neighborhood and related duties, and the claims of hospitality, which increased with his fame. He had finished in his own clear hand an extended document, giving directions for the management of his estate. His will was made and properly placed. Its provisions, and especially those relating to his books and papers, are so drawn as to suggest that he presumed that they would remain at Mount Vernon. We have seen him planning, erecting, filling, and using his library. Since he was contemplating safe provision there, especially for war records, would that his books at least, in suitable fire-proof incasement, had been preserved sacred and intact there.
How, why, were the contents of his library scattered by his heirs? Part of them by needless gifts, seemingly promiscuous, part by well-advised sales of matter, principally manuscript, to the nation. In the general dispersion, sales to individuals also played a considerable part, and one perhaps unavoidable when the owners were in want of money, in a country which finds it wisest to avoid grants for the maintenance of collateral connections or direct descendants of the servants or saviours of the State. The will of Washington, written in his own handwriting, belongs to the Fairfax County Court. Having passed through many vicissitudes, it may now be seen there in the case in which it was deposited consequent upon the following order of the court, in 1865: “It appearing to the Court that the original will of General George Washington, of Mount Vernon, has been much worn and mutilated from frequent handling, and that it is liable to further injury from the same cause, it is ordered that the clerk of this Court purchase, at the expense of the county, a suitable case, in which he is directed to deposit the said will.”
Under the said will his library passed, with certain specified exceptions, to Judge Bushrod Washington. Thereafter, although its contents were far from intact, the Judge left part to his nephew, Hon. G. C. Washington, from whom Congress purchased a considerable portion. Further, the Judge’s will reads, “the books in the cases in the dining-room I give to my nephew, John Augustine Washington.” It was from this portion that the sale was made of the collection referred to at the outset. It was purchased by Mr. Henry Stevens, with an ultimate view, seemingly, to its being placed in the British Museum. Our gratitude is due to the public spirit which secured it for the Boston Athenæum, and so prevented its passing beyond reach. It was sad, after the great Centennial at Philadelphia, to learn that the collection of books once Washington’s, which many were interested in seeing there, was soon dispersed by sales to different parties. Some of the books thus scattered were, years before, probably bought by Washington himself in that very city and in adjoining places, one of whose noted libraries the collection might have adorned. At the sale of Washingtoniana in Philadelphia, in 1890, a number of articles were purchased by the regents of Mount Vernon, including volumes inscribed with autographs of Washington, his mother, and other members of the family, which have in this manner found their way back to the old home.
In tracing his books to places where they may now be seen, you may be interested also in knowing the whereabouts of other objects closely connected with Washington and his times. Of such places and collections I vividly remember not only Mount Vernon, but, as a boy, Independence Hall in Philadelphia and its relics, including the Liberty Bell. Among Washington’s head-quarters, that at Morristown, N.J., impresses one agreeably, not only be cause of its architecture, but from its contents; that at Cambridge, Mass., a fine old colonial mansion adds to its associations with Washington the fact that Longfellow, whose home it became, wrote of it, among other lines, the following:
Once, ah, once within these walls
One whom memory oft recalls,
The Father of his country, dwelt.
* * *
Up and down these echoing stairs,
Heavy with the weight of cares,
Sounded his majestic tread.
In Easton, Pa., where the room occupied by Washington is shown, reside members of the Wampole family. From the Wampole farm and house of Revolutionary fame, where Washington’s officers resided before occupying the head-quarters at Valley Forge, some twenty miles distant, I have in my collection articles used by him and his associates. Frederick Wampole, and his son Frederick, great grandfather and grandfather of my correspondent, Josephine Wampole, were resident there at the time when Washington’s troops encamped on their farm, appropriating part of the house. Washington used the parlor as his head-quarters. Her statements and her mother’s recollections are reliable and definite.
Of china and other articles procured from them years since, she now writes, “the fine china vases you bought of me stood on the shelf in the parlor at the time Washington occupied it; the two pieces of flint he used to kindle the fire, they were left on the deep window-sill, where he was accustomed to take his breakfast only; for rations were short. The little dark-blue cup was used by him at the time, also the square decanter and little German glass.” For years school-children were annually taken to this historic place, and the old, old story of Washington’s patriotism told them. Some twenty miles distant still stands what is known as the Washington Head-quarters at Valley Forge. I have been hospitably received also at other places with historic associations, and among Southern homes at the house, near Yorktown, where were signed the articles of capitulation at the close of the Revolutionary war.
At the Capitol and elsewhere in Washington City, as in many of the States at their capitols, and in other accessible places, and not infrequently in private ownership, are valuable collections of Washingtoniana. You may kneel in the churches where he worshipped; read his Bible and Prayer-Book and other books of his library; walk in the paths he trod; stand in the courts of law and legislation he frequented, and upon his battle-fields; and be admitted to his Executive Mansion. To keep him in honorable memory, worthy to be in every household, are books such as “Washington Day by Day,” “Maxims of Washington,” and others to which I am also indebted, such as those by Marshall, Sparks, Irving, Everett, Fiske, Lodge, and many works also to be found readily in bibliographies or libraries.
Worthy of grateful and widespread recognition is the request below of one whose attention has been given to the manuscripts of Washington and to the dispersion of his library, and especially to the present locality of his papers, as may be seen by consulting the proceedings (1892) of the American Historical Society. I have been permitted to examine Washingtoniana in his residence, before their absorption into the collection, which I have also visited, in the Congressional Library. Dr. J. M. Toner, the author, their owner, has published the following request: “To the end of forming a national depository of Washington’s writings, which aims to assemble and preserve literal copies of everything he ever wrote, to be open and accessible to all students, the writer solicits from the owners of such the favor of accurate copies of any original paper written by General Washington, to be deposited in the Toner Collection in the Library of Congress.” In a future publication I hope to give further suggestions and excerpts, with authorities in full and added facts excluded by lack of time and space from this lecture, but just here, renewing my thanks to Mr. Philip L. Smith and others, and to Dr. Toner, let me say in reply to an inquiry that Dr. Toner, by “paper written by General Washington,” intends anything written by Washington at any time. And without any prefix or title, by Washington I herein designate the one supremely celebrated by the name.
Here we recall, to refute it, the rumor sneeringly circulated not long ago, to the effect that Washington was not a reading man, nor one who cared for books, because in the invoices of his importations examined there were enumerated articles for his plantation, such as hardware and farm implements, together with useful articles for his house and family, goods of various kinds rather than volumes for his library; so that, however much of a farmer or miller (the Mount Vernon brand of flour was noted), or successful on the field of Mars by favoring circumstances, he cared little or nothing for books. The falsehood of the insinuation is seen when we recall the fact that the encouragement of home trade during the Revolution and refusal to use British goods were marks of patriotism, and that the books he sought were in the English tongue. Further, the importations of books from abroad became unnecessary when presentation copies and other literature were sent him without his intervention. The shallowness of the falsehood is shown, too, by his accounts and journals already referred to, which, without always giving the title of the book, sufficiently indicate that he frequently purchased books from dealers in this country at least, seeking information the more as his interests and duties became more manifold. As Lodge incidentally remarks: “The idea sometimes put forward that Washington cared nothing for reading or books is an idle one. He read at Greenway Court and everywhere else, when he had a chance, and he read well and to some purpose, studying men and events in books as he did in the world; and though he never talked of his reading, preserving silence on that as on other things concerning himself, no one was ever able to record an instance in which he showed himself ignorant of history or literature.”
This is the more noticeable since he had never crossed the ocean nor enjoyed the advantages of study abroad, and since, even in his day and colony, intolerance, the unmistakable offspring of defective education and dwarfed culture, prevailed. Church-going was not made attractive by being compulsory, but by pleasant picnicking in Virginia parishes under the greenwood tree, between services. In Falmouth one who denied the Bible or sacraments had, by way of argument in support of orthodoxy, to run the lashing gauntlet of one hundred men: the hot iron bored through the tongue prevented the wilfully persistent from wagging it against the faith of the so-called faithful. The parson was sometimes the school-teacher also, although in some instances distinguished chiefly for immorality and ignorance. As payments were made in tobacco, happy the parson with a “sweet tobacco” parish! Some contended that the act of toleration did not extend to Virginia. That Washington’s tolerance in later life was not dictated merely by prudence, but was characteristic, is shown by his courage as a young officer, when contributing to the success of the military matters intrusted to him, he yet abstained from fulfilling Governor Dinwiddie’s directions to “lash the Quakers until they consent to build forts.”
Education fared about as badly as toleration for a time. Governor Berkeley, during the seventeenth, wrote: “I thank God there are no free schools or printing in Virginia, and I hope we shall not have them these hundred years, for learning has brought disobedience and heresy and sects into the world, and printing has divulged them and libels on the best governments. God keep us from both.” But, strange as it seems, then and there, necessity the mother of invention brought to the fore the “gentler sex,” still so-called in the nineteenth, even if in the twentieth century the males are to be known finally as the “gentler.” Early recognized in Italy and at Bologna, whence hailed Portia feigning the familiar character of a female Doctor of the Law, in early Virginia such was the sex of many a Doctor of Medicine. Ladies, widows, and others obliged to support themselves, and having had experience in “doctoring” on the plantations, became recognized medical practitioners. Mrs. Livingston was the physician of Fredericksburg, and the only one there; the vestry of St. George’s Church paid her fees for attending the poor of the parish, and, like Mrs. Dr. Fleming, people of quality also eagerly sought her services.
In the schools co-education early appeared in the attendance of both sexes, but the gentry had instruction for their daughters at home, and sought to educate their sons abroad. A society freer from marital scandal, it is said, it would be hard to instance. Washington’s morality was inbred. There in those times, it is said that “everybody married—the men again and again.” One of Washington’s brothers married five times, and was under fifty when he died. The courtesies of social life, enforced by a strict ethical code and by the duello, had a rare freedom and a charm which still lingers. Visiting Williamsburg and the beautiful white marble tomb of a family connection, Lieutenant-Governor Nott, of colonial days, I learned interesting facts and forms of “primitive courtesie.” That first incorporated town of Virginia, from 1632 the seat of the colony until the Revolution, and thereafter the capital of the State until 1799, has, notwithstanding the battle fought there by General McClellan in his retreat, many interesting remains of its former greatness, chief among them William and Mary’s College. Following its foundation in the seventeenth century, a better day dawned for education, and better elementary schools sprang up.
In 1736 a bright newspaper “was founded in Williamsburg, and here there was also a good theatre in which Shakespeare’s plays were acted;” and in the same year was established the Eaton Free School in Elizabeth County, education being made compulsory in Virginia twelve years later. It was enacted that where children suffered from poverty or neglect, they should be taught the rudiments of learning and a trade. The Potomac was the river; but on the James, too, and elsewhere sprang up colonial mansions which the architect visits and seeks to copy to-day. Tournaments have even been maintained, and you may have seen them at the Virginia Springs, interesting, if less dangerous, than that in which “Sir Stephen de Wessington’s arms (the Washington arms) appeared at Dunstable, England,” in the famous tournament in 1327. Washington inherited good horsemanship with his fine physique. Most hospitably guests were welcomed and entertained, and the old refinement and hospitality are still evident. Passed on to be entertained from house to house in Washington’s day, guests went without a line of introduction: if the introduction were brief it was hearty, and it were well if it were as courtly in its expression as the following from Washington: “The historian and philosopher, Volney, needs no recommendation from G. Washington.” Even after the French Revolution Washington described his house, Mount Vernon, as a “well-resorted tavern,” and said that for twenty years his family never dined alone. He needed sometimes financial aid from the branch of his family to whom he was enabled to leave that mansion and estate, since entails had been cut off as the result of the American Revolution.
We take such glimpses of society as we may in passing, and note the influence as well of heredity and environment in forming Washington’s manners and culture, and in fixing his reading habits and his memorable relation to his library. Being indebted above to a work not generally accessible, we give mainly in the author’s words for those who may not otherwise meet it, the following from “The barons of the Potomack and the Rappahannock,” by Moncure Daniel Conway, New York, 1892, published by the Grolier Club: “Looking back over the pre-Revolutionary era, we can now see that the conflicting forces were chiefly represented by two families which had been pre-eminently involved in the corresponding struggle in England, the Fairfaxes and the Washingtons, and of these families two figures stand out above all others in the light of history—George Washington and Lord Fairfax. When Lord Fairfax first visited Virginia, George Washington was a child of seven years. It may have been among his earliest recollections to have seen the nobleman passing his father’s house on the way to Belvoir. The live lord, owner of all the land, must have appeared to the child the greatest man in the world. But in the summer of 1746, when Lord Fairfax again came from England, and this time to make his home in Virginia, George Washington was old enough to be reckoned with. In July Mr. Morye’s [Marye’s] school in Fredericksburg was dismissed for vacation, and his hard-working pupil, George Washington, sped to enjoy his holiday at Mount Vernon and Belvoir, homes in sight of each other, in both of which he was always welcome. At the time of Lord Fairfax’s arrival, George was a special subject of discussion in both houses. . . . They were all trying to overcome his mother’s objections” to his accepting a midshipman’s commission, but in vain. Lord Fairfax, an old bachelor of fifty-seven, “literary, philosophical, shrewd,” at once, tradition has it, took fancy “to the studious lad of fourteen, who had written out and practised so carefully the old French Rules of Courtesy and Decent Behavior.”
A scholar, an essayist, Fairfax knew, and doubtless recalled, that the “year 1746 was the centenary of the famous siege of Worcester, in which that city had been defended by its governor, Colonel Henry Washington, against the great General Fairfax. We can imagine the old lord sitting on the veranda with George, whose family his own had conquered in a war a hundred years before, telling him the story.” General Fairfax, upon investing Worcester with five thousand troops, demanding its surrender, received the following: “To General Fairfax.—Sir: It is acknowledged by your books and by report of your own quarter that the King is in some of your armies.” Then follows the passage already quoted. The writer concludes: “If I had fear, the profession of a soldier had not been begun, nor so long continued by your Excellency’s humble servant, Henry Washington.” There spoke the Washington of our day by the lips of his ancestor, one is tempted to exclaim. How marvellous a law of blessing or curse is heredity!
Ultimately and naturally the terms of capitulation accorded were creditable to Fairfax and satisfactory to Henry Washington, when the king’s order came. “In the year that General Fairfax joined Cromwell, the Rev. Lawrence Washington was evicted for loyalty to the king, his family pauperized, his two sons presently driven to repair their broken fortunes in Virginia. The evicted victor’s name had descended to the lad’s beloved brother, master of Mount Vernon, husband of a Fairfax,” a loyal soldier of the king. Thus we see “the sixth Lord Fairfax amid his six million acres and the boy whose highest ambition was to serve their common king,” and behind “the impenetrable veil waited the strange hour when his lordship’s estates should be saved from confiscation mainly by the influence of him now sitting at his feet.” Further, “there is a tradition that when the first gun of the American Revolution was reported at the home of Lord Fairfax, Greenway Court, George Washington was dining there. The two friends parted with emotion, knowing that above their affection a demon of discord must prevail.”
Fifty years before this time the families had been linked by the marriage of “Anne and Eleanor Harrison, the former to a Fairfax, the latter to a Washington.” We have seen whence came Washington’s culture. Conway concludes that his writings will make “his highest reputation.” Reinforced by the devoted services of the youthful Washington, Lord Fairfax when about “to take formal possession of the long-disputed boundaries of his great inheritance, foresaw cities springing up in it, and contemplated for himself a literary retreat and associated with it his young friend.” Thus “the English lord and the Virginia boy, seated on Belvoir veranda gazing on the Potomac, are now visible as the evening star of an old, and the morning star of a new horizon.”
This friendship continued between Washington and one who has been called the “Nimrod of Greenway Court, with whom he first learned to follow the hounds, and who lived on in a green old age at his sylvan retreat in the beautiful valley of the Shenandoah.” Lord Fairfax in his ninety-second year, his last, having lived to hear of the surrender of Yorktown and the capture of Lord Cornwallis with all his army, as the tradition is, called to his black attendant: “Come, Joe, carry me to bed, for it is high time for me to die.” Washington’s protection had never failed his patron, whose friendship furthered that culture which was closely related to the building, filling, and using of the Mount Vernon library.
Of late the celebrated book-plate of Washington has been forged, and his autograph placed on duplicates (or facsimile reprints) of volumes named in the appraiser’s list, to tempt the unwary collector. Mindful of some such possibility, one into whose hands came the original plate cut the copper into pieces and sunk them in the Schuylkill River. The forgers seem not to have noticed that, unlike their work, in the original plate “the tail of the g” runs into the scroll-work. Facts of interest to specialists on this and kindred topics may be found in the volume entitled “American Book-plates.” Much which Washington wrote and many related matters of importance as to his literary life are scattered through unnumbered manuscripts and publications, such as periodicals, pamphlets, biographies, and private letters. It may be remarked again in passing, as applicable to others, but especially to Washington, that among the greatest writers have been the authors of epistles.
The question of the authorship of the farewell address also relates to his literary career. Persons whose point of view is the pedestal of prejudice or the seat of the scorner, or who lack magnanimity like his, speak as though gathering information or adopting suggestions, adding to or subtracting from the whole, proves plagiarism. It is not true always that “no one can answer a sneer,” for the sneering insinuation herein has been answered satisfactorily. But there are related considerations which have not been sufficiently brought out. Washington had a personal, and in many cases under the constitution an official, right to the opinions he sought. His correspondence as to the farewell address was open and above-board. If you are familiar with his letters and official papers, considering not only what he modified or added because of suggestions, but what he was induced to omit, you may regret that, with reference to this address, he took counsel with any one, however distinguished.
A most satisfactory “Inquiry into the Formation of Washington’s Farewell Address” was published by one of America’s most erudite and upright lawyers, Horace Binney, Esq. In my boyhood, at the celebration of the first Atlantic cable, I was assigned to occupy until his arrival the seat reserved for the Hon. Edward Everett beside President Eliphalet Nott, and soon afterward met and conversed with the learned and affable Horace Binney. It was upon his remarkable summary relating to the farewell address that the late Mr. Everett drew, coupling with his conclusion honorable to Washington the regret that passages omitted because of suggestions made to Washington had not been retained in his farewell address. Compared with pompous periods then prevalent, Washington’s best style was simple, direct, lucid.
Do you not recall this readily when you place beside some passages in the farewell address the same noble sentiments expressed by Washington on more happy occasions? The suggestion does not apply here that this discussion is unimportant, since asserted facts of history, even of Christianity, are of little moment, whether proved or disproved, now that the principles they were designed to reveal have become embodied in State and in Church. For Washington is too near our day to make hopeless the attempt to clear up all which relates to him. His principles are not yet so essentially a part of the national life as to render the smallest facts of his career valueless. In any case, in the matter before us we have an incidental illustration of his use both of men and books.
Despite the maxim, “Study men, not books,” his habits of reading, reflecting, consulting, show his determination to study men and books. Therefore, just as a good reader with a topic in hand turns from volume to volume, or if he has a good reading memory, recalls from books what he needs for his purpose, so Washington, versed in this, knew also how to turn from man to man. Modestly, he learned views and listened to advice. When the time came for the address the material he had originated or acquired was co-ordinated in his mind with such aptitude and force that he made it one, and so made it his own.
In his career from first to last he knew, and was too true not to disclose, his natural distrust of his own powers in the presence of unnumbered difficulties and responsibilities, and his dependence upon “the Higher Power.” His attitude, even as to his greatest achievements, was that of Bible heroes, who exclaimed, “Not unto us but unto Thy name be the praise.” He knew that Providence had raised up among the nations law-givers and leaders whose light and leading were followed for ages. At the last he came to know what manner of man he was. Like prophets surprised that they were filled with a power not their own, and with a ken far beyond their ordinary vision, as he prepared the address his devout heart beat for all men; his mind’s eye rested on generations yet unborn, who for “ages of ages” were to study his words and deeds, review his principles, and renew his life. Our people and other nations were destined, in securing their own adequate national development, to follow his example, and to ascend by the path to which in words such as the following he pointed in saying “farewell:” Of dispositions and habits tending to political prosperity, “religion and morality are indispensable supports.—In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens. . . . The remembrance of your steadfast confidence I shall carry with me to the grave, as a strong incitement to unceasing vows that Heaven may continue to you the choicest tokens of its beneficence—that your union and brotherly affection may be perpetual—that the free constitution, which is the work of your hands, may be sacredly maintained—that its administration in every department may be stamped with wisdom and virtue—that, in fine, the happiness of the people of these States, under the auspices of liberty, may be made complete, by so careful a preservation and so prudent a use of this blessing as will acquire to them the glory of recommending it to the applause, the affection, and the adoption of every nation which is a stranger to it.”
Foreign writers vied with the American people in praising the farewell address. Lauding Washington’s “disinterested virtue, prophetic wisdom, and imperturbable fortitude,” in his history of Europe, Alison quotes at length from the address, including that solemn warning against party excesses which concludes as follows: “The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of a single individual; and sooner or later, the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this despotism to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.” The historian, after quoting this passage, exclaims: “What words to be spoken by the founder of the American Republic, the refuser of the American crown, at a time when the career of Napoleon had hardly commenced in Europe!” In the same connection Alison continues his splendid tribute.
Of 1796 he writes: “The end of the year witnessed the resignation of the presidency of the United States of America by General Washington, and his voluntary retirement into private life. Modern history has not so spotless a character to commemorate. Invincible in resolution, firm in conduct, incorruptible in integrity, he brought to the helm of a victorious republic the simplicity and innocence of rural life; he was forced into greatness by circumstances, rather than led into it by inclination, and prevailed over his enemies rather by the wisdom of his designs and the perseverance of his character than any extraordinary genius for the art of war. A soldier from necessity and patriotism rather than disposition, he was the first to recommend a return to pacific counsels when the independence of his country was secured, and bequeathed to his countrymen an address, on leaving their government, to which there is no composition of uninspired wisdom which can bear a comparison. He was modest without diffidence; sensible to the voice of fame without vanity; independent and dignified without either asperity or pride. He was a friend to liberty, but not licentiousness; not to the dreams of enthusiasts, but to those practical ideas which America had inherited from her English descent, and which were opposed to nothing so much as the extravagant love of power in the French democracy. Accordingly, after having signalized his life by successful resistance to English oppression, he closed it by the warmest advice to cultivate the friendship of Great Britain; and by his casting vote, shortly before his resignation, ratified a treaty of friendly and commercial intercourse between the mother-country and its emancipated offspring. He was a Cromwell without his ambition; a Sylla without his crimes; and, after having raised his country, by his exertions, to the rank of an independent state, closed his career by a voluntary relinquishment of the power which a grateful people had bestowed. It is the highest glory of England to have given birth, even amidst transatlantic wilds, to such a man; and if she cannot number him among those who have extended her provinces or augmented her dominions, she may at least feel a legitimate pride in the victories which he achieved, and the great qualities which he exhibited, in the contest with herself; and indulge with satisfaction the reflection that the vast empire, which neither the ambition of Louis the XIV. nor the power of Napoleon could dismember, received its first rude shock from the courage which she had communicated to her own offspring; and that, amid the convulsions and revolutions of other states, real liberty has arisen in that country alone.”
While such were the praises resounding at home and abroad, Washington’s thoughts modestly and gladly turned from the world to his “farm.” Whenever settled there, the record is that with a view to the management of his estates, he was accustomed to read much on agriculture. Of the change from his daily habit as General and President he wrote: “My usual custom as soon as I awaked in the morning of ruminating on the business of the following day,” was on reaching the home haven, followed on recalling the eventful past, “by devout gratitude to the all powerful Guide and dispenser of human events.”
His feelings were not all serious. His laughter, usually quiet, was at times under surprise uproarious, as on the noted occasion when he threw himself on the ground and rolled for relief. The entertainment for streams of guests was cordial and as simple as it was both dignified and acceptable. Mr. Elkanah Wilson’s [Watson’s] account of the Mount Vernon circle and hospitality, edifying as it is, is too long for our purpose. He had taken a severe cold and declined medicine during the day, but his cough troubling him after he retired, he who wrote: “I trembled with awe on first coming into the presence of Washington,” yet found to his surprise in the dead of night his door gently opened and Washington standing beside his bed with a soothing draught. Washington wrote Count Rochambeau: “In retirement on my farm I speculate upon the fate of nations, amusing myself with innocent reveries that mankind will one day grow happier and better.” The cares and honors of two terms as the President of the United States were followed by the firm declination of a suggested third term, and then finally, after his formal farewell, by his happy retirement from public life to Mount Vernon and his library.
The eighteenth century was closing, and as the winter opened Washington’s arrangement of the historical material gathered at Mount Vernon was well advanced. Having loved his library, but often by his public duties obliged to leave it, he loved it unto the end; always the heart of his home, he might well have breathed his last there among his books. He was, however, in the full tide of health and happily employed both in his library and in improving his grounds and his mansion. But “the night cometh in which no man can work”:
Pallida mors æquo pulsat pede pauperum tabemas Regumque turres.
If sudden the summons he would be found “ready” in the true spirit of that Book which, always dear to him, was nearest to him at the last. Walking at Mount Vernon, along the path since trod by myriads in his honor, he pointed to the spot he had selected for his last resting-place, and referring to changes to be made, said, “This I shall make first, for I may require it before the rest.” Yet when soon after his best-loved nephew with his companion said farewell, Washington having returned and dismounted after his early rounds in the bright and bracing air, was so vigorous and hearty and so “sprightly in manner,” that it brought the remark from both of them that “they had never seen the General look so well.” Recalling that last sight of Washington, his cheek flushed with health as after his morning ride he stood at his hospitable door to speed the parting guest with large heart and kindly hand and with commanding form, his nephew exclaimed, “I have sometimes thought him the handsomest man I ever saw.” But he was far more.
When the curtain was rung down on the last act of Washington’s career, he had worked out in his library and life much of that which his forecasting mind had designed for the public good and for the welfare of those immediately dependent upon him. By heredity and habit opposed to laziness and inefficiency, he impressed upon others the honorable claims of labor. Before me lies, in exact fac-simile of his handwriting, his letter from Mount Vernon to relatives of his own and his wife’s—a young married couple whom he loved too well not to advise frankly and wisely. He writes, under date of September 20, 1799: “My opinion is that a young man should have objects of employment. Idleness is disreputable under any circumstances—productive of no good, even when unaccompanied by vicious habits.”
Yet he recognized when overworked the claims of recreation; and he felt, too, the charms of ease. But his allegiance was to another—to duty. As he kept “holy” the day of rest, he also obeyed the no less important commandment, “Six days shalt thou labor.” Thus work became the habit of his life. The noble conception of its requirements rarely left him from his early rising until his hours of rest. That rest was troubled one memorable night in the last month of the year of grace 1799. he had with his accustomed force and lucidity finished on the 10th of December, in the sixty-seventh year of his age, the statement for his agent covering thirty folio pages. On the morning of the 12th he had written Alexander Hamilton as to founding the West Point Military Academy, recalling his own related plans and frequent recommendations. He had previously written of long winter evenings and books and of soon looking into the great Doomsday Book.
During the morning of the 13th he was still busy; in the afternoon he went from his library to attend to his plantation; in the evening he was with Mrs. Washington and others, and listened to reading, or read to them; but with difficulty, because of the cold he has taken the day before. His last writing was in his journal, and “though suffering he was cheerful and in his library until a late hour.” During the night his sufferings returned. He endured them and refused to have help called lest others should be troubled. He continued thus considerate of all about him. Line upon line, precept upon precept, by faithful practice he had made his own the letter and the spirit of that sublime Book which he read devoutly and prized supremely.
The following day, although his last, was still a working day. He gave final and clear instructions as to his affairs, especially referring to the letters and papers with which he had been so much occupied in his library. “Doctor,” he had said, “I die hard, but I am not afraid to die;” and some years before, when ill and in immediate danger of death, he exclaimed: “Whether to-night or twenty years hence makes no difference; I know that I am in the hands of a good providence.” As his labored breathing ceased, “his dearly beloved wife,” as he called her, knelt beside him, “her head bowed upon the Bible.”
“Faithful unto death;” then, as “the battles, sieges, fortunes” they had passed together flashed upon her memory, she could justly claim that she had heard the first and last gun of every campaign of the national war. In many an hour of trial and want the soldiers found her a helpful friend and honored her ever after. As wife and housewife she was a worthy helpmeet for her husband, not only on the farm and in the camp, but in the Executive Mansion and in society. But most of all she loved to be with him at Mount Vernon, and aided rather than retarded his labors in his library. And when, leaving it, he passed speedily to the timeless world and the Book of Life, she lingered behind but for a few months, and those were principally spent in her room and beside its window looking out upon his tomb.
Thither they had borne him through the gateway by which forty years before as his bride she had entered his Mount Vernon mansion, ever afterward their cherished home.
Let the long, long procession go,
And let the sorrowing crowd about it grow.
Lead out the pageant.
Ah, no! Washington would have no “pageant.” His request had been clear that all should be simple, unostentatious. Although his unfeigned modesty and Christian humility deprecated the noise and pageantry of a nation’s display of mourning, he could not prevent that universal grief, which was sorrow as for a personal bereavement, as he went down to his grave amid the lamentations of the land and of all lands. The Light from the Book of Life illumined the last darkness; his faith in immortality was strong; his hope and love were stronger than death.
As his aspiration was for the unity of Christendom, all Christians in this land at least might well unite in the centennial commemoration of his death. By all means which Providence hath put in our power should the Father of our country be brought to the attention of the people that his example may mould the patriotic life of the future. For great in public, he was, as we have seen, no less a model in private life. The ancestor of one of the noblest generals of the late Confederacy, General Henry Lee, the “Light-horse Harry” of the Revolution, pointed out this characteristic in a passage the significant conclusion of which is as seldom quoted as its opening is familiar and memorable: “First in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen, he was second to none in the humble and endearing scenes of private life.”
“Of making many books there is no end.” If this should ever prove a misfortune, is not a blessing in store for the land if it comes to pass, as seems probable, that there is to be “no end” of the making of noble libraries and associated lecture courses? Just opened are the Demarest Library and Fund at Hobart College, and the Hoffman Library and Lecture Course at St. Stephen’s. These foundations include instruction in the right use of books, and therefore this study to-day of Washington and his use of books is here presented as of importance both to us and also to coming times. All signs fail unless, in the future still more than in the past, books and libraries multiply. The right use of books, then, needs to be more and more impressed upon the people. The exemplar in this and other regards, and especially to leaders of municipal reform and civic duty, is, par excellence, Washington. Such an exemplar will have the happiest effect upon a hopeful century; and the coming century, notwithstanding fearful auguries, is dawning amidst the highest hopes of humanity.
Pre-eminently a man of action, heredity, environment, effort, his library and his use of it made Washington more of a reading man than he is generally understood to have been. This much at least it is hoped is here shown. Not only in Washington’s ordinary life, but as facts prove, in his greatest achievements also, books had a memorable part.
In conclusion we recall the fact that, at a comparatively early period, he wrote: “I conceive that a knowledge of books is the basis on which all other knowledge rests.” Pointing in this impressive way to books as the foundation of all knowledge, he made good use of them generally, and pre-eminently of the Book of Books. Religion was more than a name to him, Christianity more than an ecclesiastical system. The power not ourselves which makes for righteousness, strength, purity, in individuals and nations he felt as a transforming personality. In conformity, therefore, to his example is found the best hope for coming times. Let the nation from age to age recall his words and deeds, his books and writings, and remember that in the spirit in which he fought for the nation’s flag, and devoted life, fortune, and sacred honor to his country, he solemnly declared his civic faith, and in the following immortal words proclaimed his abiding hope and love for the United States of America: “Urged by self-preservation to exert the strength which Providence has given us to DEFEND OUR NATURAL RIGHTS, the event we leave to Him who speaks the fate of nations, in humble confidence that He will not withdraw His countenance from a people who array themselves UNDER HIS BANNER.”
THAT the collection of books in the library of Mount Vernon at the time of Washington’s death was in magnitude and character such as I have intimated is further shown by the titles given in the appraiser’s list, as first filed in the Orphans’ Curt of Fairfax County, Va. As corrected for manifest errors by the Hon. Edward Everett, it is printed below. We are enabled for the first time to indicate in print the books from that list which are now in the Boston Athenæum. The librarian writes that “a printed catalogue of the collection has been contemplated ever since the books were obtained;” he “regrets to say it has never been carried out.” He writes further: “It contains, I believe, three hundred and eight-four volumes (384).” From the general catalogue (1874–1882) of that institution we add to the appraiser’s list more complete titles of many of the books. The prices are also given as stated in the original appraisal, since those buying books once Washington’s may be interested in the contrasted values then and now. Further, any book offered for sale and claimed to be once Washington’s can be compared with titles given her, or elsewhere as belonging to other parties. Thus is furnished to the collector or book-buyer a useful if not infallible test. Collections private and public referred to in this lecture comprise valuable volumes in Washington’s library, the titles of which may be added to those which have been named herein in connection with information as to places where they may be found. By comparing publishers’ and other catalogues of Washingtoniana and consulting the owners of private collections and the catalogues of public libraries, it may be possible to announce in a future publication the whereabouts of all or almost all of the books of Washington’s Mount Vernon library. The volumes marked with a star in the following list are in the Boston Athenæum collection:
American Encyclopedia, 18 vols., 4to. $150 00
Skombrand’s Dictionary, 1 vol. 7 50
Memoir of a Map Hindostan, 1 vol., 4to. 8 00
* Young’s Travels, 1 vol. 4 00
[Young, Arthur: Travels, 1787–89, with a view of ascertaining the cultivation, wealth, etc. of France.]
* Johnson’s Dictionary, 2 vols. 10 00
[Johnson, Samuel, LL.D.: Dictionary of the English Language, London, 1756, 2 vols., 8vo.]
Guthrie’s Geography, 2 vols. 20 00
Elements of Rigging, (?) 2 vols. 20 00
Principles of Taxation, 1 vol. 2 00
* Luzac’s Oration, 1 vol. 1 00
[Luzac, Johan: Orato de Socrate cive, 21 February, 1795.]
Mawe’s Gardener, 1 vol. 4 00
Jeffries’s Aërial Voyage, 1 vol. 1 00
* Beacon hill, 1 vol. 1 00
[Morton, Mrs. S.W.A.: A local poem. Book I., Boston, 1797, 4to.]
Memoirs of the American Academy (one of which is a pamphlet), 2 vols. 3 00
Duhamel’s Husbandry, 1 vol. 2 00
Langley on Gardening, 1 vol. 2 00
* Price’s Carpenter, 1 vol. 1 00
[Price, Francis: British Carpenter; a treatise on carpentry, 5th ed., London, 1765, 4to.]
* Count de Grasse, 1 vol. 1 00
Miller’s Gardener’s Dictionary, 1 vol. 5 00
Gibbon’s Diseases of Horses, 1 vol. 3 00
Rumford’s Essays 3 00
Miller’s Tracts, 1 vol., 8vo. 2 00
Rowley’s Works, 4 vols. 12 00
* Robertson’s Charles V.,4 vols. 16 00
[Robertson, William: History of the Reign of Charles V., with the Progress of Society, etc., London, 1769, 3 vols., 4to.]
Gordon’s History of America, 4 vols. 12 00
Gibbon’s Roman Empire, 6 vols. 18 00
Stanyan’s Grecian History, 2 vols. 2 00
Adam’s Rome, 2 vols. 4 00
Anderson’s Institute, 1 vol. 2 00
Robertson’s America, 2 vols. 4 00
Ossian’s Poems, 1 vol. 2 00
* Humphreys’s Works, 1 vol. 3 00
[Humphreys, David, D.D.: Historical Account of the Society for Propagating the Gospel in Foreign Parts, London, 1730, 8vo.]
King of Prussia’s Works, 13 vols. 26 00
Gillies’s Frederick, 1 vol. 1 50
Goldsmith’s Natural History, 8 vols. 12 00
Locke on Understanding, 2 vols. 3 00
Shipley’s Works, 2 vols. 4 00
Buffon’s Natural History, abridged, 2 vols. 4 00
* Ramsay’s History, 2 vols. 2 00
[Ramsey, David: History of the American Revolution, Philadelphia, 1789, 2 vols., 8vo.]
The Bee (13th vol. missing), 18 vols. 34 00
Sully’s Memoirs, 6 vols. 9 00
Fletcher’s Appeal, 1 vols. 1 00
History of Spain, 2 vols., 8vo. 3 00
Jortin’s Sermons, 2 vols. 2 00
Chapman on Education, 1 vol. 75
Smith’s Wealth of Nations, 3 vols. 4 50
History of Louisiana, 2 vols. 2 00
* Warren’s Poems, 1 vol. 50
[Warren, Mrs. Mercy (Otis): Poems dramatic and miscellaneous, Boston, 1790, 2 vols., 12mo.]
Junius’s Letters, 1 vol. 1 00
City Addresses, 1 vol. 1 00
Conquest of Canaan, 1 vol. 1 00
Shakespeare’s Works, 1 vol. 2 00
* Antidote to Deism, 2 vols. 1 00
[Ogden, Rev. Uzal: Antidote to Deism. The Deist Unmasked: or, An Ample Refutation of all the Objections of T. Paine Against the Christian Religion, Newark, 1795, 2 vols., 16mo.]
* Memoirs of 2500, 1 vol. 75
[Mercier, Louis Sébastien: English Memoirs of the Year 2500; translated by W. Hooper, Philadelphia, 1795. 12mo.]
* Forest’s Voyage, 1 vol., 4to. 3 00
Don Quixote, 4 vols. 12 00
Ferguson’s Roman History, 3 vols. 12 00
Watson’s History of Philip II., 1 vol. 4 00
* Barclay’s Apology, 1 vol. 3 00
[Barclay, Robert: Apology for the True Christian Divinity as held forth by the Quakers, 8vo.]
Uniform of the Forces of Great Britain in 1742, 1 vol. 20 00
* Otway’s Art of War, 1 vol. 3 00
[Translated by Otway from Turkin de Cressé.]
Political States of Europe, 2 vols., 8vo. 20 00
Winchester’s Lectures, 4 vols. 6 00
* Principles of Hydraulics, 2 vols 2 00
[Dubuat, Nancay, comte Louis Gabriel: Principes d’hydraulique, Paris, 1786, 2 vols., 8vo.]
* Leigh on Opium, 1 vol., 8vo. 75
[Leigh, John, M.D.: Inquiries into the Properties of Opium, Edinburgh, 1786, 8vo.]
* Heath’s Memoirs, 1 vol. 2 00
[Heath, Wm.: Memoirs, containing Anecdotes, Details of Skirmishes, etc., during the American War; written by himself, Boston, 1798, 8vo.]
* American Museum, 10 vols. 15 00
[American Museum; or, Repository of Fugitive Pieces, vols, 1–13, January, 1787.]
Vertot’s Rome, 2 vols. 2 00
Harte’s Gustavus, 2 vols. 2 00
Moore’s Navigation, 1 vol. 2 00
Graham on Education, 1 vol. 2 00
* History of the Mission among the Indians in North America, 1 vol. 2 00
[Loskiel, George Heinrich: History of the Mission of the United Brethren among the Indians of North America; translated by C. I. Latrobe, London, 1794, 8vo.]
French Constitution, 1 vol. 1 50
Winthrop’s Journal, 1 vol. 1 50
* American Magazine, 1 vol, 8vo. 4 00
[American Magazine, vol. 1, New York, 1787–88, 8vo.]
Watt’s Views, 1 vol., 4to. 20 00
History of Marshal Turenne, 2 vols., 8vo. 2 00
Ramsay’s Revolution of South Carolina, 2 vols. 2 00
* History of Quadrupeds, 1 vol. 1 50
[Bewick, Thos.: General History of Quadrupeds, 3d edition, Newcastle-on-Tyne, 1792, 8vo.]
Carver’s Travels, 1 vol. 1 50
Moore’s Italy, 2 vols. 3 00
Moore’s France, 2 vols. 3 00
Chastellux’s Travels, 1 vol. 1 00
Chastellux’s Voyages, 1 vol. 1 00
Volney’s Travels, 2 vols. 3 00
* Volney’s Ruins, 1 vol. 1 50
[Voney, Constantin François Chassebœuf, comte de: The Ruins, or Survey of the Revolutions of Empires, N.Y., 1796, 12mo.]
* Warville’s Voyage, in French, 3 vols. 3 00
[Brissot de Warville, Jean Pierre: Nouveau Voyages dans les États Unis, 1788, Paris, 1791, 3 vols. 8vo.]
* Warville on the Relation of France to the United States. 1 00
[Claviere, Etienne, and Brissot de Warville: Considerations on the Relative Situation of France and the United States, London, 1783, 8vo.]
* Miscellanies, 1 vol., 4to. 1 00
Fulton on Small Canals and Iron Bridges, 1 vol. 3 00
* Liberty, a Poem, 1 vol. 50
* Hazard’s Collection of State Papers, 2 vols. 5 00
[Hazard, Ebenezer: Historical Collections; state papers and other authentic documents intended as material for an history of the United States, 1792–84, Philadelphia, 2 vols., 4to.]
* Young’s Travels, 2 vols. 4 00
[Young, Arthur, 2d ed., London, 1794, 2 vols., 4to.]
West’s Discourses, 1 vol. 2 00
* A Statement of Representation of England and Wales, 1 vol. 50
[Address by Friends of the People, London.]
* Miscellanies, 2 vols. 4to. 2 00
Political Pieces, 1 vol. 1 00
* Treaties, 1 vol. 50
* Annual Register for 1781, 1 vol., 8vo. 75
[A new Annual Register, 1781.]
* Masonic Constitution, 1 vol., 4to. 1 00
[Constitution of the Free Masons, 1792.]
* Smith’s Constitutions, 1 vol. 50
[Smith, William, LL.D., of South Carolina, Representative in Congress, 1797–89. Comparative view of the Constitutions of the States of the United States, Philadelphia, 1796, 4to.]
* Preston’s Poems, 2 vols. 1 00
[Preston, William: Poetical Works, Dublin, 1793, 2 vols., 8vo.]
* History of the United States, 1796, 1 vol. 50
[Winterbotham, W.: History of the United States to 1789, vol. 1, 1796, 8vo.]
* Parliamentary Debates, 12 vols. 6 00
[Parliamentary Debates on the Dissenters’ Chapel Bill.]
* Mair’s Book-keeping, 1 vol. 1 50
[Mair, John, Book-keeping Modernized, Edinburgh, 1784, 8vo.]
Miscellanies, 1 vol. 1 00
Proceedings of the East India Company, 1 vol., folio 4 00
Ladies’ Magazine, 2 vols., 8vo. 3 00
* Parliamentary Register, 7 vols. 3 50
[Almon, J.: Parliamentary Register, Proceedings and Debates, 1774–80.]
* Pryor’s (Prior) Documents, 2 vols. 2 00
* Remembrancer, 6 vols. 3 00
[Almon, J.: The Remembrancer; or, Impartial Repository of Public Events, 1775–84, London, 17 vols., 8vo. Boston Athenæum has 3 vols. only.]
* European Magazine, 2 vols. 3 00
[European Magazine and London Review, January, 1784-June, 1825.]
* Columbian Magazine, 5 vols. 10 00
[Columbian Magazine, or Monthly Miscellany, Phila., 1786–81, 5 vols., 8vo.]
American Magazine, 1 vol. 2 00
New York Magazine, 1 vol. 2 00
* Christian’s Magazine, 1 vol. 2 00
Walker on Magnetism, 1 vol. 50
Monroe’s View of the Executive, 1 vol. 75
Massachusetts Magazine, 2 vols. 4 00
* A Five Minutes’ Answer to Paine’s Letter to General Washington, 1 vol. 1 00
[Five Minutes’ Answer to Paine’s Letter to Washington, London, 1797, 8vo.]
* Political Tracts, 2 vols. 2 00
Proceedings on Parliamentary Reform, 1 vol. 2 00
* Poems on Various Subjects, 1 vol. 50
[Poems on Various Subjects, Glasgow, 1756, 8vo.]
* Plays, etc., 1 vol. 75
Annual Register, 3 vols. 4 50
Botanico-Medical Dissertation, 1 vol. 25
* Oracle of Liberty, 1 vol. 25
[Hermes, pseud.: Oracle of Liberty and Mode of Establishing a Free Government, Philadelphia, 1791, 8vo.]
Cadmus, 1 vol. 1 00
Doctrine of Projectiles, 1 vol. 50
* Patricius the Utilist, 1 vol., 8vo. 50
[Geoghigan, R.: Thoughts of Patricius, an Utilist, on the Interests of Mankind, and particularly on those of the Irish Nation, Dublin, 1785, 8vo.]
* Ahiman Rezon, 1 vol. 1 50
Sharp on the Prophecies, 1 vol. 75
Minto on Planets, 1 vol. 50
Sharp on the English Tongue, 1 vol. 50
Sharp on the Limitation of Slavery, 1 vol. 1 50
* Sharp on the People’s Rights, 1 vol. 1 00
[Sharp, Granville: Defence of the Rights of the People.]
Sharp’s Remarks, 1 vol. 50
National Defence, 1 vol. 50
Sharp’s Free Militia, 1 vol. 50
Sharp on Congressional Courts, 1 vol. 75
* Ahiman Rezon, 1 vol. 1 00
* Vision of Columbus, 1 vol. 50
[Barlow, Joel: Vision of Columbus, Hartford, 1787, 8vo.]
Wilson’s Lectures, 1 vol. 75
Miscellanies, 1 vol. 1 00
The Contrast, a Comedy, 1 vol. 75
* Sharp, an Appendix on Slavery, 1 vol. 50
Muir’s Trial, 1 vol. 75
* End of Time, 1 vol. 75
* Erskine’s View of the War, 1 vol. 1 00
* Political Magazine, 3 vols. 4 50
* The Law of Nature, 1 vol, 12mo. 75
[Sharp, G., London, 1767, 8vo.]
Washington’s Legacy, 1 vol. 1 00
* Political Tracts, 1 vol., 8vo. 1 00
* America, 1 vol. 1 00
[Five Pamphlets by J. Williams and others.]
Proofs of a Conspiracy, 1 vol. 1 50
Mackintosh’s Defence, 1 vol. 1 00
Miscellanies, 1 vol. 1 00
Mirabeau, 1 vol. 1 00
Virginia Journal, 1 vol., 4to. 1 00
* Miscellanies, 1 vol., 8vo. 1 25
* Poems, etc., 1 vol., 4to. 1 00
* Morse’s Geography, 1 vol., 8vo. 2 00
Messages, 1 vol. 1 00
* History of Ireland, 2 vols. 2 00
Harte’s Works, 1 vol. 1 25
* Political Pamphlets, 1 vol. 1 00
Burns’s Poems, 1 vol. 2 00
* Political Tracts, 1 vol. 75
* Miscellanies, 1 vol. 1 00
Higgins on Cements, 1 vol. 1 00
* Repository, 2 vols. 3 00
* Reign of George III., 1 vol. 1 00
[History of the second ten years of.]
* Political Tracts, 1 vol. 1 25
Tar Water, 1 vol. 75
Minot’s History, 1 vol. 75
Mease on the Bite of a Mad Dog, 1 vol. 1 75
* Political Tracts, 1 vol. 1 00
Reports, 1 vol. 1 50
* Revolution of France, 1 vol. 1 00
[Étienne de St. Robert.]
Essay on Property, 1 vol. 1 00
Sir Henry Clinton’s Narrative, 1 vol. 1 00
Lord North’s Administration, 1 vol. 1 50
Lloyd’s Rhapsody, 1 vol. 1 00
* Tracts, 1 vol. 1 00
Inland navigation, 1 vol. 1 00
Chesterfield’s Letters, 1 vol. 1 50
Smith’s Constitutions, 1 vol., 4to. 1 00
* Morse’s Geography, 2 vols., 8vo. 4 00
Belknap’s American Biography, 2 vols. 3 00
Belknap’s History of New Hampshire, 1 vol. 2 00
Belknap’s History of New Hampshire, 3 vols. 5 00
Minot’s History of Massachusetts, 1 vol. 2 00
Jenkinson’s Collections of Treaties, 3 vols. 6 00
* District of Maine, 1 vol., 8vo. 1 50
[Sullivan, J.: History of the District of Maine, Boston, 1795, 8vo.]
Gulliver’s Travels, 2 vols. 1 50
* Tracts on Slavery, 1 vol. 1 00
Priestley’s Evidences, 1 vol. 1 00
* Life of Buncle, 2 vols. 3 00
[Amory, T.: Life of John Buncle, London, 1766, 2 vols., 8vo.]
* Webster’s Essays, 1 vol. 1 50
[Webster, Pelatiah: Political Essays on the Nature and Operation of Money, Public Finances, etc., Philadelphia, 1791, 8vo.]
* Bartram’s Travels, 1 vol. 2 00
[Bartram, William: Travels Through North and South Carolina, Florida, the Cherokee Country, etc., Philadelphia, 1791, 8vo.]
* Bossu’s Travels, 2 vols. 3 00
[Bossu, N.: Travels Through that Part of North America Formerly Called Louisiana; translated by J. R. Foster, London, 1771, 2 vols., 8vo.]
* Situation of America, 1 vol. 1 00
[Jackson, James: Thoughts, etc.]
Jefferson’s Notes, 1 vol. 1 50
* Coxe’s view, 1 vol. 1 50
[Coxe, T.: View of the United States, Philadelphia, 1794, 8vo.]
Ossian’s Poems, 1 vol. 1 50
Adams on Globes, 1 vol. 2 00
* Pike’s Arithmetic, 1 vol. 2 00
[Pike, Nicholas: New and Complete System of Arithmetic, Newburyport, 1788, 8vo.]
* Barnaby’s Sermons and Travels, 1 vol. 1 00
* Champion on Commerce, 1 vol. 1 00
Brown’s Bible, 1 vol., fol. 15 00
[Boston Athenæum has Beza’s Latin Bible, New Testament.]
Bishop Wilson’s Bible, 3 vols. 60 00
Bishop Wilson’s Works. 15 00
Laws of New York, 2 vols. 12 00
Laws of Virginia, 2 vols. 3 00
Middleton’s Architecture, 1 vol. 3 00
Miller’s Naval Architecture, 1 vol. 4 00
The Senator’s Remembrancer, 1 vol. 3 00
* The Origin of the Tribes or Nations in America, 1 vol., 8vo, Barton. 75
[Barton, Benjamin S.: New Views of the Origin, etc., Philadelphia, 1797, 8vo.]
A Treatise on the Principles of Commerce Between Nations, 1 vol. 50
Annual Register, 1 vol. 50
* General Washington’s Letters, 2 vols. 4 00
[Washington, G.: Official Letters to Congress during the War Between the Colonies and Great Britain, London, 1795, 2 vols., 8vo.]
* Insurrection, 1 vol. 50
American Remembrancer, 3 vols. 1 50
Epistles for the Ladies, 1 vol. 50
* Discourses upon Common Prayer, 1 vol. 25
The Trial of the Seven Bishops, 1 vol., 8vo. 50
Lebroune’s Surveyor, 1 vol., folio. 1 00
Sharp’s Sermons, 1 vol., 8vo. 50
Muir’s Discourses, 1 vol. 75
Emblems, Divine and Moral, 1 vol. 1 00
* Yorick’s Sermons, 2 vols. 1 00
[Sterne, Lawrence: Sermons of Mr. Yorick, London, 1794, 2 vols., 12mo.]
D’Ivernois on Agriculture, Colonies, and Commerce, 1 vol. 75
Pocket Dictionary, 1 vol. 25
Prayer Book, 1 vol. 1 50
* Royal English Grammar, 1 vol. 25
[Greenwood, J.: The Royal English Grammar, 3d edition, London, 1747, 12mo.]
* Prinicples of Trade Compared, 1 vol. 50
[New and old principles of trade compared, London, 1788, 8vo.]
* Dr. Morse’s Sermon, 1 vol. 50
[Morse, Jed.: The Duty of Resignation under Afflictions, Boston, 1796, 4to.]
* Duche’s Sermon, 1775, 1 vol. 50
[Duché, Rev. Jacob: Duty of Standing Fast in our Liberties, July 7th, Philadelphia, 1775.]
* Sermons, 1 vol. 50
* Embassy to China, 1 vol. 1 00
[Staunton, Sir George Leonard, Bart.: Authentic Account of an Embassy to China, London, 1797, 2 vols., 4to.]
Humphrey Clinker, 1 vol. 25
* Warren’s Poems, 1 vol. 1 00
* Poems, 1 vol. 50
Swift’s Works, 1 vol. 50
Sermons, 1 vol. 25
History of a Foundling (3d vol. wanting), 3 vols. 1 50
Adventures of Telemachus, 2 vols. 2 00
Nature Displayed, 1 vol. 1 00
Solyman and Almenia, 1 vol. 50
Plays, 1 vol. 50
The High German Doctor, 1 vol. 25
Life and Death of the Earl of Rochester, 1 v. 25
* Benezet’s Discourse, 1 vol. 25
Journal of the Senate and House of Representatives, 9 vols., folio. 27 00
Laws of the United States, 7 vols. 28 00
Revised Laws of Virginia, 1 vol. 10 00
Acts of Virginia Assembly, 5 vols. 1 00
* Cruttwell’s Concordance, 1 vol. 5 00
[Crutwell, Clement: Concordance of Parallels from Bibles and Commentaries, London, 1790, 4to.]
Dallas’s Reports, 1 vol., 8vo. 3 00
Swift’s System, 2 vols. 3 00
Journals of the Senate and House of Representatives, 3 vols. 6 00
State Papers, 1 vol. 2 00
Burn’s Justice, 4 vols. 12 00
Marten’s Law of Nations, 1 vol. 1 50
* Views of the British Customs, 1 vol. 1 00
Debates of Congress, 3 vols. 4 50
Laws of the United States, 3 vols. 6 00
Kirby’s Reports, 1 vol. 2 00
Virginia Justice, 1 vol. 1 00
Virginia Laws, 1 vol. 1 00
Dogge on Criminal Law, 3 vols. 4 50
Laws of the United States, 2 vols. 4 00
* Debates of the State of Massachusetts on the Constitution, 1 vol. 50
* Sharp on the Law of Nature, 1 vol. 25
[Sharp, G.: Tract on the Law of Nature, London, 8vo.]
* Sharp on the Law of Retribution, 1 vol. 25
[Sharp, G.: The Law of Retribution; Examples of God’s Vengeance on Slaveholders, etc., London, 1776, 8vo.]
Sharp on Libels and Juries, 1 vol. 25
Acts of Congress, 1 vol. 75
Debates of the Convention of Virginia, 1 vol. 50
The Landlord’s Law, 1 vol., 12mo. 25
Attorney Pocket-Book, 2 vols., 8vo. 1 00
* President’s Messages, 1 vol. 2 00
* Jay’s Treaty, 1 vol. 50
[Jay, John: Treaty Between his Britannic Majesty and the United States, 1795.]
Debates of the Convention of Massachusetts, 1 vol. 50
Law Against Bankrupts, 1 vol. 50
* Debates in the Convention of Pennsylvania, 1 vol. 50
* Debates in the Convention of Virginia, 1 v. 50
* Debates in the House of Representatives of the United States with Respect to their Power on Treaties, 1 vol. 50
Sundry Pamphlets containing Messages from the President to Congress, etc. 1 00
Orations, 1 vol., 4to. 50
Gospel News, 1 vol., 8vo. 1 00
* Mosaical Creation, 1 vol., 8vo. 75
[Berington, Simon, Dissertations on Mosaic Creation, Deluge, etc., London, 1750, 8vo.]
* Original and Present State of Man, 1 vol. 50
[Phipps, Joseph: Original and Present State of Man as Held by the Quakers.]
Sermons, 2 vols. 1 50
* Political Sermons, 3 vols. 2 25
* Miscellanies, 1 vol. 75
* Ray on the Wisdom of God in Creation, 1 v. 1 00
Backus’s History, 1 vol. 1 00
* Orations, 1 vol., 8vo. 75
Sick Man Visited, 1 vol. 50
* Medical Tracts, 2 vols. 1 50
[1 vol. in Boston Athenæum.]
* State of Man, 1 vol. 75
* Masonic Sermons. 50
Churchill’s Sermons, 1 vol. 75
* Miscellanies, 1 vol.
* Account of the Protestant Church, 1 vol. 75
* Exposition of the Thirty-nine Articles, 1 vol. 1 00
[Burnet, Gilbert: Exposition of the Thirty-nine Articles, London, 1705, folio.]
Dodington’s Diary, 1 vol. 1 00
Davels’s Cavalry, 1 vol. 1 00
Simm’s Military Course, 1 vol. 1 00
Gentleman’s Magazine, 3 vols. 4 00
* Library Catalogue, 1 vol. 1 50
[Library Company of Philadelphia.]
Transactions of the Royal Humane Society, 1 vol. 3 00
Zimmerman’s Survey, 1 vol. 75
* History of Barbary, 1 vol. 75
[Walter, R.: Complete History, etc., London, 1750.]
* Anson’s Voyage Around the World, 1 vol. 1 00
[Anson, George, Lord: Voyage Around the World, 1740–44, Lond., 1794, 4to.]
Horseman and Farrier, 1 vol. 1 00
* Gordon’s Geography, 1 vol. 1 00
[Gordon, Pat.: Geography Anatomized; or, The Geographical Grammar, with maps by Senex.]
* Kentucky, 1 vol. 75
[Filson, J.: Discovery, Settlement, and Present State of Kentucky, 1784, 8vo.]
* History of Virginia, 1 vol. 1 00
[Beverly, Robert: History of Virginia, by a Native Inhabitant, London, 1705, 8vo.]
* American Revolution, 1 vol. 1 00
[Boucher, J.: View of the Causes and Consequences of the American Revolution, London, 1797, 8vo.]
* Cincinnati, 1 vol. 1 00
[Society of the.]
* Political Tracts, 1 vol. 75
Remarks on the Encroachments of the River Thames, 1 vol. 50
Sharp on Crown Law, 1 vol., 8vo. 50
* Common Sense, etc., 1 vol. 75
[Paine, Thomas: Address to the Inhabitants of America, second edition, Philadelphia, 1776, 8vo.]
Hardy’s Tables, 1 vol. 75
Beauties of Sterne, 1 vol. 75
* Peregrine Pickle, 3 vols. 1 50
[Smollett, T.: Adventures of, etc. (In his Miscellanies, vols. 2, 3.)]
McFingal, 1 vol. 50
Memoirs of a Noted Buckhorse, 2 vols. 1 00
Odyssey (Pope’s Translation of Homer), 5 vols. 3 00
Miscellanies, 3 vols. 1 50
Fitz Osborne’s Letters, 1 vol. 50
Voltaire’s Letters, 1 vol. 50
* Guardian, 2 vols. 1 00
[The Guardian, in Harrison’s British Classics.]
Beauties of Swift, 1 vol. 50
The Gleaner, 3 vols. 3 00
Miscellanies, 2 vols. 1 50
Lee’s Memoirs, 1 vol. 1 00
* The Universalist, 1 vol. 1 00
[Smith, W. P.: The Universalist, New York, 1788, 8vo.]
* Chersterfield’s Letters, 4 vols. 2 00
[Stanhope, Philip Dormer, Fourth Earl of Chesterfield: Letters to His Son, Boston, 1769, 2 vols., 8vo.]
Louis XV., 4 vols. 3 00
* Bentham’s Panopticon, 3 vols. 2 00
[Bentham, Jeremy: Panopticon vs. New South Wales.]
* Reason, etc., 1 vol. 50
[Reason and Faith; or, The Necessity of Revelation, by a Son of Abraham, Philadelphia, 1791, 12mo.]
* Tour Through Great Britain, 4 vols. 3 00
Female Fortune-hunter, 3 vols. 1 00
The Supposed Daughter, 3 vols. 1 50
Gil Blas, 4 vols. 3 00
* Columbian Grammar, 1 vol. 50
[Dearborn, Benjamin: Columbian Grammar, Boston, 1795, 16mo.]
Frazier’s Assistant, 1 vol. 50
Review of Cromwell’s Life, 1 vol. 75
* Seneca’s Morals, 1 vol. 75
* Travels of Cyrus, 1 vol. 75
[Ramsay, André Michel: Travels of Cyrus, with a Discussion upon the Theology and the Mythology of the Pagans, London, 1745, 16mo.]
* Miscellanies, 1 vol. 75
Charles XII., 1 vol. 50
Emma Corbett (the second volume wanting), 2 vols. 1 00
Pope’s Works, 6 vols., 12mo. 2 00
Foresters, 1 vol. 50
* Adams’s Defence, 1 vol. 75
[Adams, John: Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States, London, 1787–88, 3 vols., 8vo.]
Butler’s Hudibras, 1 vol. 1 00
Spectator, 6 vols. 3 00
New Crusoe, 1 vol. 75
Philadelphia Gazette, 1 vol., folio. 10 00
Pennsylvania Packet, 2 vols. 12 00
Gazette of the United States, 10 vols. 40 00
Atlas to Guthrie’s Geography, 1 vol. 40 00
Moll’s Atlas, 1 vol. 10 00
West India Atlas, 1 vol. 20 00
General Geographer, 1 vol. 30 00
Manœuvres, 1 vol., 8vo. 1 00
* Atlas of North America, 1 vol., 8vo. 10 00
[American Pocket Atlas.]
* Military Instructions, 1 vol. 50
[Stevenson, Roger: Military Instructions for Officers Detached in the Field, Philadelphia, 1775, 12mo.]
* Count Saxe’s Plan for New-modelling the French Army, 1 vol. 50
[Saxe, Hermann Maurice, Comte de: Plan for New-modelling the French Army, vol. 3, London, 1753, 12mo.]
* Military Discipline, 1 vol., 4to. 2 00
[A New System of Military Discipline.]
* Prussian Evolutions, 1 vol., 8vo. 1 50
* Code of Military Standing Resolutions, 2vs. 4 00
* Field Engineer, 1 vol., 8vo. 1 50
* Army List, 1 vol. 75
[List of the Generals and Field Officers, etc.]
* Prussian Evolutions, 1 vol., 4to. 2 00
[Hanson, Thomas: Prussian Evolutions in Actual Engagements, Philadelphia (17—), 4to.]
* Leblond’s Engineer, 2 vols., 8vo. 3 00
Müller on Fortification, 1 vol. 2 00
Essays on Field Artillery, by Anderson, 1 v. 75
[Anderson, John, M.D.: Essays on Field Artillery, n.p. (1791), 8vo.]
A System of Camp Discipline, 1 vol. 2 00
* Essays on the Art of War, 1 vol. 1 00
[One volume, London, 1761.]
Treatise on Military Discipline, 1 vol. 1 50
List of Military Officers, British and Irish, in 1777, 1 vol. 50
Vallancey on Fortification, 1 vol. 1 50
Müller on Artillery, 1 vol. 1 50
Müller on Fortification, 1 vol. 2 00
* Militia, 1 vol., 8vo. 1 00
[Pickering, T. J.]
American Atlas, 1 vol., folio. 4 00
* Steuben’s Regulations, 1 vol., 8vo. 75
[Steuben, Friedrich Wilhelm, Baron: Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States, Boston, 1794, 12mo.]
Traite de Cavalerie, 1 vol., folio. 6 00
* Truxtun on Latitude and Longitude, 1 vol. 1 50
[Truxtun, Thomas: Remarks, etc., Relative to Latitude and Longitude, Variations of the Compass, etc., Philadelphia, 1794, folio.]
Ordinances of the King, 1 vol. 2 00
* Magnetic Atlas, 1 vol. 1 00
[Churchman, John: The Magnetic Atlas, London, 1794, folio.]
Roads Through England, 1 vol., 8vo. 1 00
Carey’s War Atlas, 1 vol., folio. 75
Caller’s Survey of Roads, 1 vol., 8vo. 50
Military Institutions for Officers, 1 vol. 50
Norfolk Exercise, 1 vol. 25
Advice of the Officers of the British Army, 1 v. 25
* Webb’s Treatise on the Appointments of the Army, 1 vol. 25
[Webb. Lieutenant Thomas: Military Treatise on the Appointments of the Army, Philadelphia, 1759, 12mo.]
Acts of the Parliament Respecting Militia, 1 vol. 25
* The Partisan, 1 vol. 50
[Jeney, de: The Partisan; or, The Art of Making War in Detachment, London, 1760, 8vo.]
* Anderson on Artillery (in French), 1 vol., 25
[Anderson, John, M.D.]
List of Officers Under Sir William Howe in America, 1 vol. 25
The Military Guide, 1 vol. 50
The Duties of Soldiers in General, 3 vols. 1 50
* Young’s Tour, 2 vols. 3 00
[Young, Arthur: A Tour in Ireland, 1776–79, Dublin, 1780, 2 vols., 8vo.]
Young on Agriculture, 17 vols., full bond, the others in boards, 4 vols. 50 00
[Boston Athenæum has Annals of Agriculture, by A. Young, in 31 vols.]
* Anderson on Agriculture. 8 00
[Anderson, James, LL.D., 1 vol. full bound, the others in boards, 4 vols.]
* Lisle’s Observations on Husbandry, 2 vols. 3 00
* Museum Rusticum, 6 vols. 10 00
[Museum Rusticum et Commercial; papers on Agriculture, etc.]
* Marshall’s Rural Ornament, 2 vols. 4 00
[Marshall, Wm.: Planting and Rural Ornament, London, 1796, 2 vols., 8vo.]
Barlow’s Husbandry, 2 vols. 3 00
* Kennedy on Gardening, 2 vols. 2 00
[Kennedy, John: Treatise upon Planting, Gardening, etc., London, 1777, 2 vols., 8vo.]
* Hale on Husbandry, 4 vols. 6 00
[Hale, Thos.: A Compleat Body of Husbandry, London, 1758–59, 4 vols., 8vo.]
Sentimental Magazine, 5 vols. 10 00
Price on the Picturesque, 2 vols. 4 00
* Agriculture, 2 vols. 2 00
* Miller’s Gardener’s Calendar, 1 vol. 2 00
[Miller, Philip: The Gardener’s Kalendar, London, 1762, 8vo.]
* Rural Economy, 1 vol., 8vo. 1 00
[Young, Arthur: Rural Economy; Essays on the Practical Parts of Husbandry, 1792, 8vo.]
Agricultural Inquiries, 1 vol. 1 00
Maxwell’s Practical Husbandry, 1 vol. 2 00
* Boswell on Meadows, 1 vol. 1 00
[Boswell, George: Treatise on Watering Meadows, 3d edition, Lond., 1792, 8vo.]
* Gentleman Farmer, 1 vol. 1 50
* Practical Farmer, 1 vol. 1 50
[Spurrier, John: The Practical Farmer, Wilmington, 1793, 8vo.]
* Millwright and Miller’s Guide, 1 vol. 2 00
[Evans, Oliver: The Young Millwright and Miller’s Guide, Philadelphia, 1795, 8vo.]
Bordley on Husbandry, 1 vol. 2 25
* Sketches and Inquiries, 1 vol. 2 00
[Peters, R., and others.]
* Farmer’s Complete Guide, 1 vol. 1 00
[Farmer’s Complete Guide, London, 1760, 8vo.]
The Solitary or Carthusian Gardener, 1 vol. 1 00
Homer’s Iliad by Pope (first two vols. wanting), 4 vols. 2 00
Don Quixote, 4 vols. 3 00
Federalist, 2 vols. 3 00
The World Displayed (13th vol. wanting), 19 vols., 12mo. 9 50
* Search’s Essays, 2 vols., 8vo. 2 00
[Brutus, pseud., and Search, Humphrey, pseud. Essays, historical, political, and moral; a proper supplement to Baratariana, Dublin [177-]. 2 vols. 12mo.]
Freneau’s Poems, 1 vol. 1 00
* Cattle Doctor, 1 vol. 75
[Swaine, John: Every Farmer his own Cattle Doctor, 3d edition, London, 1786, 12mo.]
Stephen’s Directory, 1 vol. 50
* New System of Agriculture, 1 vol. 50
Columbus’s Discovery, 1 vol. 25
Moore’s Travels, 5 vols. 4 00
* Agricultural Society of New York, 1 vol., 4to. 2 00
[Society for the Promotion of Agriculture.]
* Transactions of the Agricultural Society of New York, 1 vol. 1 00
* Annals of Agriculture, 1 vol. 2 00
* Dundonald’s Connection Between Agriculture and Chemistry, 1 vol. 1 00
[Cochrane, A., Earl of Dundonald: Treatise on Agriculture and Chemistry, London, 1795.]
* Labors in Husbandry, 1 vol. 1 00
* Account of Different Kinds of Sheep, 1 vol., 8vo. 50
[Pallas, P.S.: Account of Sheep in Russia and Tartary, etc.]
* The Hothouse Gardener, 1 vol. 1 50
[Abercrobie, John: Hothouse Gardener, on Pineapple, etc., London, 1789, 8vo.]
Historical Memoirs of Frederick II., 3 vols. 1 00
* Treatise of Peat Moss, 1 vol. 50
[Anderson, James, LL.D.: Practical Treatise on Peat Moss as Fuel, Edinburgh, 1794, 8vo.]
* Treatise on Bogs and Swampy Grounds, 1 vol. 75
[Anderson, James, LL.D.: Practical Treatise on Draining Bogs and Swampy Grounds, London, 1797, 8vo.]
Complete Farmer, 1 vol., folio. 6 00
* Reports of the National Agricultural Society, 100 vols., 4to. 25 00
* Massachusetts Magazine, 41 vols., 8vo. 6 00
[Boston Athenæum has vol. 3d bound.]
New York Magazine, 38 vols. 6 00
London Magazine, 18 vols. 3 00
Political Magazine, 8 vols. 1 00
Universal Asylum, 9 vols. 1 50
Universal Magazine, 11 vols. 1 50
Country Magazine, 15 vols. 2 00
Monthly and Critical Reviews, 11 vols. 2 00
Gentleman’s Magazine, 8 vols. 1 00
* Congressional Register, 9 vols. 1 00
[Boston Athenæum has 3 vols., 1789–80]
Miscellaneous Magazine, 27 vols. 3 00
Tom Paine’s Rights of Man, 43 vols. 15 00
Miscellaneous Magazine, 27 vols. 4 00
* Hazard’s Collection of State Papers, 2 vols., 4to. 5 00
[Hazard, Ebenezer: Historical Collection of State Papers, etc.]
Morse’s American Gazetteer, 1 vol., 8vo. 2 00
[Morse, J.: The American Gazette, Boston, 1797, 8vo.]
Annals of Agriculture (20 and 21), 2 vols. 3 00
* On the American Revolution, 1 vol. 1 50
[Price, Richard, and others.]
* Fifteen Pamphlets, Annals of Agriculture. 2 50
* Judge Peters on Plaster of Paris, 1 vol. 1 50
[Boston Athenæum has this in a volume with other pamphlets.]
Belknap’s Biography, 1 vol. 1 50
* American Remembrancer, 1 vol. 50
[Hart, Rev. Oliver.: America’s Remembrancer.]
Federalist, 2 vols. 1 50
A Pamphlet, The Debate of Parliament on the Articles of Peace, 1 vol. 25
History of the American War in 17 Pamphlets. 1 50
Miscellaneous Pamphlets, 26 Nos. 2 00
Washington, a Poem. 2 00
* Alfieri, Bruto Primo, Italian Tragedy. 1 00
[Alfieri, Vittorio, Comte.: Bruto Primo.]
* Fragment of Politics and Literature, by Mandrillon (in French), 1 vol., 8vo. 75
[Mandrillon, Joseph: Fragments of Politics and Literature After a Journey to Berlin, 1784.]
* Revolution of France and Geneva (in French), 2 vols., 8vo. 2 00
[D’Ivernois, François, London, 1795, 8vo.]
* History of the Administration of the Finances of the French Republic. 50
[D’Ivernois, François, (in French, 1746), 4 vols.]
* History of the French Administration, 1 vol. 75
The Social Compact (in French), 1 vol. 25
Chastellux’s Travels in North America (in French), 2 vols., 8vo. 1 50
* One Pamphlet of the French Revolution at Geneva. 25
* America Deliverd, a Poem (in French), 2 vols., 8vo. 1 50
* Sinclair’s Statistics (in French), 1 vol. 1 00
[Sinclair, Sir John, London, 1795.]
The Works of Monsieur Chamousset (in French), 2 vols. 4 00
Letters of American Farmer (in French), 3 vols. 4 50
* Germanicus (in French), 1 vol. 25
[Winter, L. W.]
* Triumph of the New World (in French), 2 vols. 1 50
[Brun, J. A.]
* United States of America (in German), 1 v. 1 50
* Chastellux’s Discourse on the Advantage of the Discovery of America, 1 vol. 1 00
[Chastellux, F.J.: Discourse on the Advantages to Europe of the Discovery of America, London, 1787, 8vo.]
* A German Book, 1 vol. 25
* The French Mercury (in French), 4 vols. 3 00
[Mercure de France.]
* Essays on Weights, Measures, etc., 2 vols. 75
[One vol. on Weights and Measures in French.]
History of England, 2 vols. 25
* Political Journal, 1 vol. 50
[Politisches Journal, 1790.]
Letters in French and English, 1 vol. 25
History of the Holy Scriptures, 1 vol. 25
History of Gil Blas, 2 vols. 1 00
Telemachus, 2 vols. 1 00
Poems of M. Grecourt, 2 vols. 25
* Court Register, 6 vols., 12mo. 1 50
[Boston Athenæum has 1 vol., 1783.]
Six Pamphlets, Political Journal (in German). 50
Description of a Monument, 1 vol. 50
* Beacon Hill, 1 vol. 25
* Letters in the English and German Languages, 1 vol. 25
[Croft, Herbert, Hamburg, 1797.]
* A Family Housekeeper, 1 vol. 25
Pamphlets of Different Descriptions. 15 00
MAPS, CHARTS, ETC.
Chart of Navigation from the Gulf of Honda to Philadelphia, by Hamilton Moore. Chart of Navigation from the Gulf of Honda to Bay of Funda, do. 40 00
Griffith’s Map of Pennsylvania and Sketch of Delaware. 8 00
Howell’s Large Map of Pennsylvania. 10 00
Henry’s Map of Virginia. 8 00
Bradley’s Map of the United States. 5 00
Holland’s Map of New Hampshire. 3 00
Ellicott’s Map of the West End of Lake Ontario. 4 00
Hutchins’s Map of the Western Part of Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and North Carolina. 3 00
Adlum and Williams’s Map of Pennsylvania. 2 00
Map of Kennebec River, etc. 1 00
Andrews’s Military Map of the Seat of War in the Netherlands. 1 00
Howell’s Small Map of Pennsylvania. 2 00
Great Canal Between Forth and Clyde. 2 00
Plan of the Line Between North Carolina and Virginia. 2 00
M’Murray’s Map of United States. 3 00
Military Plans of the American Revolution. 8 00
Evans’s Map of Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Delaware. 1 00
Plan of the Mississippi, from the River Iberville to the River Yazoo. 2 00
Map of India. 5 00
Chart of France. 1 00
Map of the World. 50
Map of the State of Connecticut. 2 00
Spanish Maps. 50
Table of Commerce and Population of France. 50
Battle of the Nile, etc. 1 00
Routes and Order of Battle of Generals St. Clair and Harmer. 1 00
Truxtun on the Rigging of a Frigate. 1 00
View of the Encampment of West Point. 50
Emblematic Prints. 4 00
Plan of the Government House of New York 50
Chase and Action Between the Constellation and Insurgent (2 prints). 4 00
General Wilkinson’s Map of Part of the Western Territory. 1 00
Plan of Mount Vernon, by John Vaughan. 1 00
Specimen of Penmanship. 50
Five Plans of the Federal City and District. 5 00
One Large Draught. 3 00
Plan of the City of New York Panopticon. 80
Hoop’s Map of the State of New York. 1 00
Howell’s Pocket Map of the State of Pennsylvania. 2 00
A French Map of the Carolinas. 2 00
Fry and Jefferson’s Map of Virginia. 2 00
Howell’s Small Map of Pennsylvania. 2 00
A Map of New England. 2 00
Nine Maps of Different Parts of Virginia and Carolina, and also a Number of Loose Maps. 52 00
Carleton’s Map (2 sets) of the Coasts of North America. 8 00
Treatise on Cavalry, with Large Cuts. 50 00
Walker’s View in Scotland. 3 00
A Large Portfolio, with Sundry Engravings. 40 00
Alexander’s Victories (26 prints). 100 00
Dictionary of Arts and Sciences, 4 vols., 8vo. 20 00
* Smollett’s History of England, 1 vol. 11 00
[Boston Athenæum has 11 vols.]
* Handmaid to the Arts. 2 00
[2d edition, London, 1764, 2 vols., 8vo.]
* Bancroft on Permanent Colors, 1 vol. 1 00
[Bancroft, Edward, M.D.: Experimental Researches Concerning the Philosophy of Permanent Colors.]
We are informed that one of the two copies of “Don Quixote,” mentioned in the appraiser’s list, was sold to G. M. Williams, Esq., of New York, by Mr. William Evarts Benjamin, who sold also some of the volumes of Goldsmith’s “Animated Nature” to Oscar Straus, Esq., of the same city, and one of the volumes of that set to Mrs. Wells, of New York, and still another to R. B. Coutant, Esq., of Tarrytown, N.Y. A more extended list, showing the present ownership of books, once Washington’s, if not completed in time for this appendix will be available for future publication.
The founder of the Avery Memorial Architectural Library, New York, has, it is said, that work once owned by Washington entitled “The Contrast,” being the first American comedy.
At the library of the State of New York in Albany is the work entitled “Uniform of the Forces of Great Britain in 1742, executed by John Pine.”
Mr. William H. Havemeyer, of New York, kindly furnishes titles of some of the works once Washington’s, now in his collection (some volumes being “packed away”) as follows:
8 Vols. Political State of Europe; 4 Vols. Winchester’s Lectures; 1 Vol. Laws of Congress; 1 Vol. Priestley’s Evidences; 1 Vol. Camp Discipline; 1 Vol. Epistles for the Ladies; 1 Vol. Miles’s Tracts.
High authority in New York denies, after careful examination, the published gossip, that in a well-known collection there is somewhat of importance incriminating Washington, either in MSS. or print. The Historical Society has among interesting Washingtoniana the declaration from his Virginia parish, signed by Washington among others as follows: “I, A.B., do declare that I will be conformable to the Doctrine and Discipline of the Church of England as by law established.—Geo. Washington.”
At the Educational Institution in Virginia which bears his name may be found the following, in the letter dated Mount Vernon, 17th June, 1798: “To promote literature in this rising Empire, and to encourage the Arts has ever been amongst the most cherished wishes of my heart.”
The Rev. Dr. Chas. F. Hoffman has lately purchased “Washington’s Prayers,” the MSS. containing morning and evening prayers for various days of the week. He has under consideration, for the benefit of young men and others, a division of this very valuable manuscript, forming a sermon every page, for deposit in the fire-proof libraries of St. Stephen’s College, Hobart College, Trinity College, and the University of the South, each institution to have also a complete free circulation of the whole work.
[Editor’s note: In this electronic edition, the corrections listed below are inserted in square brackets following the erroneous words at the places in the text intended by the author.]
Preface page xi, line 12, for has read have.
Page 6, line 19, for Provost read Prévost.
Page 6, line 20, for de Voyage read des Voyages.
Page 17, line 5, for eventual read eventful.
Page 32, line 4, for germain read germane.
Page 73, line 15, for is read are.
Page 84, line 17, for first read fourth.
Page 162, line 2 from bottom, for Morye’s read Marye’s.
Page 176, line 5 from bottom, for Wilson read Watson.