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and, in a defeat almost as bad as was that of Braddock's, his army was so whipped that nearly one half of his soldiers were killed or taken prisoners.
Washington felt dreadfully. Had his directions been followed the war would have been brought to an end. But now he had to do it all over again. This time he sent a brave soldier who had fought well and successfully in the
Revolution, General Anthony Wayne. He could not be surprised and he soon whipped the Indians, made them sue for peace and got from them, forever, the present great State of Ohio.
Then there were troubles about taxes among the settlers of Western Pennsylvania, which
led to what is known as the “ Whiskey Rebellion ;” there were worrying disputes with England as to forts and bounderies in the western country and the stealing of American sailors by English seacaptains; these were only settled by sending an American to England to try to make things right, but as this settlement, known as Jay's Treaty (from Judge Jay who was sent to England about the matter), gave up some things to England, many of the people who had not yet got over their hatred for the “ mother country,” as England was called,
grumbled and talked about it and found fault with the President. There were troubles in the Cabinet because the members did not all believe alike and were continually disputing or seeking to get the better of one another.
Through all these troubles, Washington moved straight on, doing his duty, saying little, but acting at just the right moment, and so bringing the young nation safely through its years of babyhood and making it ready for a vigorous youth and a sturdy manhood.
But all the worries and anxieties of the time told on Washington's strong nature and made him determined, when his time was up, not to serve again as President.
Election time came around once more, but, though implored to act a third time as President of the United States, and though assured that those who were against him were but a few, a very few, as compared with the whole people, and though it was told him that to put in another man as President while the revolution in France and the wars in Europe were going on would be bad for America, Washington declared that he could not and would not serve again ; he said he believed that the people were united and that a new President, if a wise choice were made, would be able to carry on the government satisfactorily and well. And then, on the seventeenth of September, 1796, he issued his remarkable Farewell Address to the American People.
I wish you boys and girls who read this story of George Washington would turn to your histories and read this wonderful letter to the people of the United States; or, if it is too long, read a part of it. The Address was meant for the people of that day, to be sure, but it seems to have been written, just as surely, for you and for me.
It was, of course, his announcement to the people that he would not serve again as President. But it was more than this; it was his good-bye to public life after forty-five years of noble service; it was a solemn appeal to his countrymen to be true to the country they themselves had freed and the nation they themselves had made; it was a word in warning, a word in advice and a word in love. It implored them to be patriotic, to be united, to be brothers, to be Americans !
And yet, though the loving and helpful words of this noble man were written to his countrymen in affection, in faith, in hope, and in the desire to strengthen and benefit them, the Farewell Address was laughed at and criticised and pulled to pieces and called all sorts of names by some of those very Americans who needed, more than all others, to read and heed it. Today their memories are unhonored, their words are lost, their names are forgotten; and, though they may have been honest men and really meant all the mean and spiteful things they said, it is for us to reinember that the life of a really good man can be made unhappy by those who should think before they speak, but do not; and that the tongue of the slanderer is sometimes as sharp and hurtful as the dagger of the assassin. But, more than all