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the country, on which so much depended. He always was striving to do the best with existing conditions, but the hopelessness of every effort soon satisfied him that it was a waste of time and energy. So he turned again in the midst of his canal schemes to renew his exhortations to leading men in the various States on the need of union as the only true solution of existing troubles-.

To James McHenry, of Maryland, he wrote in August, 1785: "I confess to you candidly that I can foresee no evil greater than disunion; than those unreasonable jealousies which are continually poisoning our minds and filling them with imaginary evils for the prevention of real ones." To William Grayson of Virginia, then a member of Congress, he wrote at the same time: "I have ever been a friend to adequate congressional powers; consequently I wish to see the ninth article of the confederation amended and extended. Without these powers we cannot support a national character, and must appear contemptible in the eyes of Europe. But to you, my dear Sir, I will candidly confess that in my opinion it is of little avail to give them to Congress." He was already clearly of opinion that the existing system was hopeless, and the following spring he wrote still more sharply as to the state of public affairs to Henry Lee, in Congress. "My sentiments," he said, "with respect to the federal government are well known. Publicly and privately have they been communicated without reserve; but my opinion is that there is more wickedness than ignorance in the conduct of the States, or, in other words, in the conduct of those who have too much influence in the government of them; and until the curtain is withdrawn, and the private views and selfish principles upon which these men act are exposed to public notice, I have little hope of amendment without another convulsion."

He did not confine himself, however, to letters, important as the work done in this way was, but used all his influence toward practical measures outside of Congress, of whose action he quite despaired. The plan for a commercial agreement between Maryland and Virginia was concerted at Mount Vernon, and led to a call to all the States to meet at Annapolis for the same object. This, of course, received Washington's hearty approval and encouragement, but he evidently regarded it, although important, as merely a preliminary step to something wider and better. He wrote to Lafayette describing the proposed gathering at Annapolis, and added: "A general convention is talked of by many for the purpose of revising and correcting the defects of the federal government; but whilst this is the wish of some, it is the dread of others, from an opinion that matters are not yet sufficiently ripe for such an event." This expressed his own feeling, for although he was entirely convinced that only a radical reform would do, he questioned whether the time had yet arrived, and whether things had become bad enough, to make such a reform either possible or lasting. He was chiefly disturbed because he felt that there was "more wickedness than ignorance mixed in our councils," and he grew more and more anxious as public affairs declined without apparently producing a reaction. The growing contempt shown by foreign nations and the arrogant conduct of Great Britain especially alarmed him, while the rapid sinking of the national reputation stung him to the quick. "I do not conceive," he wrote to Jay, in August, 1786, "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." Thus with unerring judgment he put his finger on the vital point in the whole question, which was the need of a national government that should deal with the individual citizens of the whole country and not with the States. "To be fearful," he continued, "of investing Congress, constituted as that body is, with ample authorities for national purposes, appears to me the very climax of popular absurdity and madness. . . . Requisitions are actually little better than a jest and a byword throughout the land. If you tell the legislatures they have violated the treaty of peace, and invaded the prerogatives of the confederacy, they will laugh in your face. ... It is much to be feared. as you observe, that the better kind of people, being disgusted with the circumstances, will have their minds prepared for any revolution whatever. . . . I am told that even respectable characters speak of a monarchical government without horror. From thinking proceeds speaking; thence to acting is often but a single step. But how irrevocable and tremendous! What a triumph for our enemies to verify their predictions! ... It is not my business to embark again upon a sea of troubles. Nor could it be expected that my sentiments and opinions would have much weight on the minds of my countrymen. They have been neglected, though given as a last legacy in the most solemn manner. I had then perhaps some claims to public attention. I consider myself as having none at present."

It is interesting to observe the ease and certainty with which, in dealing with the central question, he grasped all phases of the subject and judged of the effect of the existing weakness with regard to every relation of the country and to the politics of each State. He pointed out again and again the manner in which we were exposed to foreign hostility, and analyzed the designs of England, rightly detecting a settled policy on her part to injure and divide where she had failed to conquer. Others were blind to the meaning of the English attitude as to the western posts, commerce, and international relations. Washington brought it to the attention of our leading men, educating them on this as on other points, and showing, too, the stupidity of Great Britain in her attempt to belittle the trade of a country which, as he wrote Lafayette in prophetic vein, would one day "have weight in the scale of empires."

He followed with the same care the course of events in the several States. In them all he resisted the craze for issuing irredeemable paper money, writing to his various correspondents, and urging energetic opposition to this specious and pernicious form of public dishonesty. It was to Massachusetts, however, that his attention was most strongly attracted by the social disorders which culminated in the Shays rebellion. There the miserable condition of public affairs was bearing bitter fruit, and Washington watched the progress of the troubles with profound anxiety. He wrote to Lee: "You talk, my good sir, of employing influence to appease the present tumults in Massachusetts. I know not where that influence is to be found, or, if attainable, that it would be a proper remedy for the disorders. Influence is not government. Let us have a government by which our lives, liberties, and properties will be secured, or let us know the worst at once." Through "all this mist of intoxication and folly," however, Washington saw that the Shays insurrection would probably be the means of frightening the indifferent, and of driving those who seemed impervious to every appeal to reason into an active support of some better form of government. He rightly thought that riot and bloodshed would prove convincing arguments.

In order to understand the utter demoralization of society, politics, and public opinion at that time, the offspring of a wasting civil war and of

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