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Singer and Truelove, Forrester and Rockwood and the rest; we read of his riding “after the hounds," as it was called, to 3 hunt the black fox or the gray, and how, with his huntsman, “ Billy Lee,” he took the field at sunrise, dressed in a short blue hunting jacket, a scarlet waistcoat, buckskin breeches, b top-boots, velvet cap and carrying his long-thonged whip.
Mount Vernon welcomed many visitors, for one of the chief rules of a Virginia home in those days was: Welcome! and How d’ye do ! to all. This open hospitality was always part of Washington's nature, and even in his early days, the young colonel and his wife had a host of friends. In fact, to be without company was so rare an event, that Washington would write down the fact in his diary, and he said that, though he owned more than a hundred cows, he had to buy butter.
He was as strong and healthy as ever. When he was forty years old he could throw the heavy hammer farther than anyone else; no man could ride better, none could walk further, none was of a more noble and commanding presence than Colonel George Washington. He kept note of everything that was going on in the colonies and in England; he was a leader in politics and church work, in generous and helpful deeds, and in all that makes a man a good citizen, a kind neighbor and a faithful friend.
So he grew on from young manhood to middle age, and, for over fifteen years, lived as a well-to-do country gentleman at Mount Vernon.
Then came the events that made America free and made Washington famous; but, before that glorious end was reached, there were many dark and bitter days, and many a time that tried the courage, the temper and faith of this great and noble man.
HOW JOHN ADAMS OF MASSACHUSETTS SAVED THE
W HEN a boy or girl has tried to do a hard sum in
V arithmetic and has succeeded, something is obtained besides the answer; it is confidence. The French and Indian war was the hard sum set for the American colonies, and, when it was over, when Canada was conquered and the French soldiers were driven out of America, the thirteen colonies cried out: “We helped to do it; we got the answer to the sum ourselves!” They begun to see how strong they were, if they joined together to do anything, and when England attempted to make them pay out money without the right to say for what that money should be spent, the colonies said: “ See here! that is not fair. The money is ours; you have no right to take it from us nor to use it without our having anything to say about it.”
But England was just like General Braddock. She was obstinate and determined to have her own way, and she said to the colonies, as Braddock did to Washington: “You mind your own business! You haven't anything to say in this matter, but must just do as I tell you to.”
There were now two millions of people in the thirteen colonies; they were no longer separate sections, caring nothing about any colony except their own; they had sent men to the army who side by side had fought the French and Indians. Thus the people of Massachusetts and of Virginia, the men of New York and of South Carolina, had been brought to know each other better and to believe that the one way for the colonies to be prosperous and successful was to be united and friendly, to form a partnership to govern themselves, and to be, not English colonists, but Americans.
So when the British government tried to force money from them by unjust taxes, the colonies objected; then they “talked back”; then they resisted, and dared the King of England to “ come and get it.” For twelve years the quarrel went on. England said America should or—; America said she wouldn't, unless —; then she dropped the “ unless” and said she wouldn't anyhow, and, when the British government attempted to back up its threats, the men of the colonies stood up with guns in their hands; there was a sharp fight between the American Minute Men and Lord Percy's redcoats on Lexington Common and another by the old North
Bridge at Concord, and the war of the Revolution had begun.
Like a great many other thoughtful men in America, George Washington had feared trouble from the first. He saw that England would never consent to allow her American colonies to have anything to say in this matter of taxing and spending; he knew that America was growing so strong and united that she would not long be willing to be England's “good little girl," to do as she was told and ask
no questions, and he knew that it meant more than simply talking back to one another; he knew that it meant, if neither side would give in, a war between the colonies and the king; and “if that comes to pass,” he said, “ more blood will be
shed than history has ever yet furnished instances of in the annals of North America.”
In September, 1774, the thirteen colonies sent their best men to Philadelphia to meet and talk things over in the building known as Carpenters' Hall. This convention is now known as the First Continental Congress. George Washington was one of the men sent by Virginia, and although he did not make any speeches — he was always a silent man, you know — he worked quietly and left the
talking to others. The wisdom of his advice and the way in which he tried to bring all the members of the Congress into friendship and harmony were so noticeable that, when one of the members was asked whom he considered the greatest man in the Congress, he answered at once: “If you mean the man who knows the most and has the best judgment, Colonel Washington of Virginia is unquestionably the greatest man on that floor.”
The First Continental Congress told King George some plain truths. “You must not treat your American colonies so meanly,” they said. “We will not stand it. If we can have nothing to say in your parliament, then we will not do as you say. If we are to be taxed, then we must say how the money we pay shall be spent.”
But such talk only made King George and his ministers angry and they went on the same as before. So when Washington returned to his home at Mount Vernon, he told the people: “We must get ready to do something.” The man who had said: “If necessary, I will raise a thousand men, subsist them at my own expense and march to the relief of Boston,” was now ready to make good his word. He began to drill soldiers, and wrote to his brother that, if need be, he would accept the command of the soldiers from Virginia and