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His confidential ministers were seduced to betray him, and the deluded populace were so inflamed by the arts of their enemies that they broke out into insurrection. No vexation, however galling, could disturb the tranquillity of his mind, or make him deviate froin the policy which his situation prescribed. With a more confirmed authority, and at the head of a longer established government, he might perhaps have thought greater vigour justifiable. But in his circumstances, he was sensible that the nerves of authority were not strong enough to bear being strained. Persuasion, always the most desirable instrument of government, was in his case the safest; yet he never overpassed the line which separates concession from meanuess. He reached the utmost limits of moderation, without being betrayed into pusillanimity. He preserved external and internal peace by a system of mildness, without any of those virtual confessions of weakness, which so much dishonour and enfeeble supreme authority. During the whole of that arduous struggle, his personal character gave that strength to a new magistracy which in other countries arises from ancient habits of obedience and respect. The authority of bis virtue was more efficacious for the preser. vation of America, than the legal powers of his office..
During this turbulent period he was re-elected to the office of president of the United States, which he held from April 1789 till September 1796. Probably no magistrate of any commonwealth, ancient or modern, ever occupied a place so painful and perilous. Certainly no man was ever called upon so often to sacrifice his virtuous feelings (he had no other sacrifices to make) to his public duty. Two circumstances of this sort deserve to be particalarly noticed. In the spring of 1794 he sent an ambassador to Paris with credentials, addressed to his “ dear friends, the citizens composing the committee of public safety of the French republic," whom he prays God “to take under his holy protection.” Fortunately the American ambassador was spared the humiliation of presenting his credentials to those bloody tyrants. Their power was subverted, and a few of them had suffered the punishment of their crimes, which no punishment could expiate, before his arrival at Paris.
Washington had another struggle of feeling and duty to encounter when he was compelled to suppress the insurrection in the western counties of Pennsylvania by force of arms. But here he had a consolation in the exercise of met: cy, for the necessity of having recourse to arms. Never was there a revolt quelled with so little blood. Scarcely ever was the basest dastard so tender of his own life, as this virtuous man was of the lives of his fellow citizens. The value of his clemency is enhanced by recollecting that he was neither without provocations to severity, nor without pretexts, for it. His character and his office had been reviled in a manner almost unexampled among civilized na. tions. His authority had been insulted. His safety had been threatened. Of his personal and political enemies some might, perhaps, have been suspected of having instigated the insurrection; a greater number were thought to wish well to it; and very few shewed much zeal to suppress it. But neither resentment, nor fear, nor even policy itself, could extinguish the humanity. of Washington. This seems to bave been the only sacrifice which he was incapable of making to the interest of his country. · Throughout the whole course of his second presidency, the danger of America was great and imminent almost beyond example. The spirit of change indeed, at that period, shook all nations. But in other countries it had to encounter ancient and .solidly established power. It had to tear up by the roots long habits of attachment in some nations for their government, of awe in others, of acquiescence and submission in all. But in America the goveroment was new and weak. The people had scarce time to recover from the ideas and feelings of a recent civil war. In other countries the volcanic force must be of power to blow up the mountains, and to convulse the continents that held it down, before it could escape from the deep cayerns in which it was imprisoned :-in America it was covered only by the ashes of a late convulsion, or at most by a little thin soil, the produce of a few years' quiet.
The government of America had none of those salutary prejudices to employ which in every other country were used with success to open the eyes of the people to the enormities of the French revolution. It had, on the contrary, to contend with the prejudices of the people in the most moderate precautions against internal confusion, in the most measured and guarded resistance to the unparalleled insults and enormous encroachments of France. Without zealous support from the people, the American gorernment was impotent. It required a considerable time,
and it cost an arduous and dubious struggle, to direct the popular spirit against a sister republic, established among a people to whose aid the Americans ascribed the establishment of their independence. It is probable, indeed, that no policy could have produced this effect, unless it had been powerfully aided by the crimes of the French government, which have proved the strongest allies of all established governments; which have produced such a general disposition to submit to any known tyranny, 'rather than rush into all the uoknown and undefinable evils of civil confusion, with the horrible train of new and monstrous tyrannies of which it is usually the forerunner. Of these circunstances Washington availed himself with uncommon address. He employed the horror excited by the atrocities of the French revolution for the most honest and praiseworthy purposes; to preserve the internal quiet of his country; to assert the dignity, and to maintain the rights, of the commonwealth which he governed, against foreign enemies. He avoided war without incurring the imputation of pusillanimity. He cherished the detestation of Americans for anarchy, without weakening the spirit of civil liberty, and he maintained, and even consolidated, the authority of government, without abridging the privileges of the people.
The resignation of Washington in 1796 was certainly a measure of prudence, but it may be doubted whether it was beneficial for his country, in the then unsettled state of public affairs. When he retired, he published a valedictory address to his countrymen, as he had before done when he quitted the command of the army in 1783. In these compositions the whole heart and soul of Washington are laid open. Other state papers have, perhaps, shewn more spirit and dignity, more eloquence, greater force of genius, and a more enlarged comprehension of mind. But none ever displayed more simplicity and ingenuousness, more moderation and sobriety, more good sense, more prudence, more honesty, more earnest affection for his country and for mankind, more profound reverence for virtue and religion ; more ardent wishes for the happiness of his fellow-creatures, and more just and rational views of the means which alone can effectually promote that happiness.
From his resignation till the month of July 1798, he lived in retirement at Mount Vernon. At this latter pe, riod it became necessary for the United States to arm.
They had endured with a patience of which there is no example in the history of states, all the contunely and wrong which successive administrations in France had heaped upon them. Their ships were every where captured, their ministers were detained in a sort of imprisonment at Paris; while incendiaries, cloathed in the sacred character of ambassadors, scattered over their peaceful provinces the firebrands of sedition and civil war. An offer was made to terminate this long course of injustice, by a bribe to the French ministers. This offer was made by persons who appeared to be in the confidence of M. Talleyrand, who professed to act by his authority, but who have been since disavowed by him. In the mean time the United States resolved to arm by land and sea. The command of the army was bestowed on general Washington, which he. accepted because he was convinced that “every thing we hold dear and sacred was seriously threatened ;” though he had flattered himself “ that he had quitted for ever the boundless field of public action, incessant trouble and high responsibility, in which he had long acted so conspicuous a part.” In this office he continued during the short period of his life which still remained. On Thursday the 12th December 1799, he was seized with an inflammation in his throat, which became considerably worse the next day; and of which, notwithstanding the efforts of his physicians, he died on Saturday the 14th of December 1799, in the sixty-eighth year of his age, and in the twenty-third year of the independence of the United States, of which he may be considered as the founder. The same calmness, simplicity, and regularity, which had uniformly marked his demeanour, did not forsake him in his dying moments. Even the perfectly well-ordered state of the most minute particulars of his private business, bore the stamp of that constant authority of prudence and practical reason over his actions, which was a distinguishing feature of his character. He died with those sentiments of piety, which had given vigour and consistency to his virtue, and adorned every part of his blameless and illustrious life.'
WASSE (JOSEPH), a very learned scholar, was born in York, shire in 1672, and educated at Queen's college, Cambridge, where he took his bachelor's degree in 1694, that of master in 1698, and that of bachelor of divinity in 1707. Before this 1 Encycl. Brit. Supplement, by Dr. Gleig.-Life of Washington, by Marshall.
be had assisted Kuster in his edition of Suidas, as appears by a letter of bis, giving an account of that eminent critic. (See Kuster.) ID 1710 Wasse became more generally known to the literary world by his edition of " Sallust, is 4to, the merits of which have been long acknowledged. He amended the text by a careful examination of nearly eighty manuscripts, as well as some very ancient editions. In Dec. 1711 he was presented to the rectory of Aynhoe in Northamptonshire, by Thomas Cartwright, esq. where John Whiston (the bookseller) says “he lived a very agree. able and Christian life, much esteemed by that worthy family and his parishioners.” He had an equal regard for them, and never sought any other preferment. He had a very learned and choice library, in which he passed most of his time, and assisted many of the learned in their publications. He became at length a proselyte to Dr. Clarke's Ariapism, and corresponded much with him and with Will. Whiston, as appears by Whiston's Life of Dr. Clarke, and his own life. According to Whiston he was the cause of Mr. Wasse's embracing the Arian sentiments, which he did with such zeal, as to omit the Athanasian creed in the service of the church, and other passages which militated against his opinions. Whiston calls him “more learned than any bishop in England since bishop Lloyd,” and informs us of the singular compliment Beutley paid to him, “When I am dead, Wasse will be the most learned man in England.” · That he was a good scholar and critic, his essays in the “ Bibliotheca Literaria” afford sufficient evidence; but he was not the editor of that work, as some have reported. Dr. Jebb was the editor, but Wasse contributed several pieces, as many others did, and at length destroyed the sale of the work by making his essays too long, particularly his life of Justinian, who filled two whole numbers, and was not then finished. This displeased the readers of the work, and after it had reached ten numbers (at Is. each) it was discontinued for want of encouragement. What were published make a 4to volumę, finished in 1724. Mr. Wasse was the author of three articles in the Philosophical Transactions; 1. “On the difference of the height of a human body between morning and night.” 2. “On the effects of Lightning, July 3, 1725, in Northamptonshire.” 3. “An account of an earthquake in Oct. 1731, in Northamptonshire.” He was also a considerable con