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Pennsylvanians, New Yorkers, and New Englanders, are no more; I am not a Virginian, but an American.”

It is certain that this First Congress contained a great number of able, patriotic, and moderate men, who laboured honestly and zealously to effect an arrangement of the disputes with the mothercountry, and to vindicate the rights of the colonies, without violating their allegiance to the Crown of Great Britain. “When your lordships,” said Chatham, addressing the Peers of England, “ look at the papers transmitted to us from America ; when you consider their decency, firmness, and wisdom, you cannot but respect their cause, and wish to make it your own. For myself, I must declare and avow, that, in the master-states of the world, I know not the people, or senate, who, in such a complication of difficult circumstances, can stand in preference to the delegates of America assembled in General Congress at Philadelphia.”

But, in this as in all revolutions, events travelled faster than the designs and wishes of men. Between the meetings of the First and Second Congress (an interval of only a few months) General Gage, the British Governor of Massachusetts, had ordered the seizure of the stores at Concord, the yoomanry had

resisted the soldiers, and the battle of Lexington had been fought. Then all the people of New England at once flew to arms, and Boston was invested by a volunteer force. The Congress, which met at Philadelphia on the 10th of May, 1775, found it no longer possible to confine their proceedings within the legal boundaries of petition and remonstrance. They had to put the colonies into a state of defence, to sanction the raising of a provincial army, and to appoint a commander-in-chief. On the choice they might make for this office would probably depend the only chance of standing their ground, with raw levies, and a half-trained militia, against the disciplined troops of England. It was their great good luck to select a general, whose rare qualities best fitted him for the difficult task, while his extraordinary virtue and moderation secured them from all danger at the hands of their soldier and champion.

GEORGE WASHINGTON (the commander of their choice) was a gentleman of ancient family and independent fortune. His lineage could be traced back, in the old country, to Norman knights, who had settled in the palatinate of Durham soon after the Conquest, and to Cavaliers, who had distinguished themselves in the King's cause in the Civil War; but his immediate ancestors belonged to the landed gentry of Virginia, and resided on their estates in the hospitable fashion of that country. He lost his father when only eleven years of age, and was left to the care of an excellent mother, who brought up her children with strict discipline, but warm affection, and inspired them with the highest sentiments of integrity and honour. The instruction he received in the ordinary schools of the colony appears to have been of a very limited kind, and his literary acquirements were at no time extensive; but he early adopted habits of order and exactness, which accompanied him through life, and were of the utmost value to him on many important occasions. He seems to have learned most from intercourse with his fellow-men, and he doubtless derived much general information from his elder brother Lawrence, who had been educated in England, had served with distinction in the West Indies, and had taken part in the attack on Carthagena, under Admiral Vernon and General Wentworth. In physical exercisessuch as running, leaping, wrestling, and riding—he soon became a proficient, and many tales are related of his boyish prowess. But what chiefly marked his

school-days (as it did all the rest of his career) was that inflexible sense of truth and justice, which com manded universal respect and confidence, and made him, even in his childhood, the chosen arbiter in every juvenile dispute.

One of his neighbours, and the owner of immense landed property in Virginia, was Thomas, Lord Fairfax, an amiable, but eccentric English nobleman, whom a disappointment in love had induced to abandon his country, and to bury his rank and talents in the wilds of America. He was a great foxhunter, and his attention was probably first attracted to young Washington, by the boy's skilful and daring horsemanship. Be that as it may, he took him into his special favour, and being just then in want of a bold and trustworthy agent, to whom he could confide the difficult and hazardous survey of his vast possessions beyond the Blue Ridge, he selected this youth of sixteen for the purpose. In the beautiful Valley of the Shenandoah, then a wilderness, only inhabited by wandering Indians, or lawless backwoodsmen scarcely more civilized, Washington acquired his first experience of enterprise and adventure. He accomplished his task to the perfect satisfaction of his employer, and through his influence was appointed to the office of public surveyor. He spent three or four years in expeditions of a similar character, amongst all sorts of strange scenes and people, and the knowledge he thus gained, as well as the toils and hardships he surmounted, must have tended to mature and strengthen him both in mind and body.

But a struggle with France was at hand, for the possession of the Valley of the Ohio, and Washington soon found employment in the military service of the colony. In the wild, half Indian warfare that followed, he acquitted himself with great credit, rose to the rank of colonel, and, although not always successful, received the thanks of the Virginia House of Burgesses for his conduct. In the subsequent campaign of 1755, when war had been regularly declared, and troops had arrived from England, he served as

a volunteer on the staff of General Braddock, and was present in the disastrous expedition, in which that unfortunate veteran lost his life. It is said, that, if Washington's advice had been listened to, the catastrophe would have been averted; but Braddock, though a good and brave soldier, had been trained in the usages of European war, and was too old to adapt himself to the new circumstances, in

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