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If Washington had imagined that his fame was known only to Virginia the greetings that he met on his long ride from Philadelphia to Boston opened his eyes to quite the opposite. He was the commander-in-chief; upon him all the hopes of the people rested; and, as he rode from town to town, men and women, boys and girls came out to meet and welcome him and bid him God speed. At New Haven the boys from Yale College met him with a band of music, and who do you suppose led the band? Why, a boy named Noah Webster, who afterwards made the two books that we use in our schools to-day — Webster's spelling. book and Webster's dictionary.
So he rode on to his duty, the foremost man in America. And, on the morning of Monday, the third day of July, 1775, General George Washington rode into the broad pastures known as Cambridge common, and, beneath the spreading branches of an elm tree, which still stands — an old tree now, carefully preserved and famous through all the land — he drew his sword and in presence of the assembled army and a crowd of curious and enthusiastic people, he took command of the Continental Army as General.
He was forty-three years old — just as old as Julius Cæsar when he took command of the army in Gaul and made himself great. Just as old as Napoleon when he made the great mistake of his life and declared war against Russia. But how different from these two conquerors was George Washington. What they did for love of power he did for love of liberty — sacrificing comfort, ease, the pleasures of home and the quiet life he loved, because he felt it to be his duty.
As he sat his horse, like the gallant soldier he was, under the Cambridge elm that warm July morning, he was what we call an imposing figure. He was tall, stalwart and erect, with thick brown hair drawn back into a queue, as all gentlemen then wore it, with a rosy face and a clear, bright eye — a strong, a healthy, a splendid-looking man in his uniform of blue and buff, an epaulet on each shoulder, and, in his three-cornered hat, the cockade of liberty. And the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army looked upon the army of which he had assumed command and determined to make soldiers of them and lead them on to final victory.
MEDAL PRESENTED BY CONGRESS TO WASHINGTON AFTER THE EVACUATION OF
BOSTON BY THE BRITISH.
HOW GEORGE WASHINGTON LOST AND WON.
ALTHOUGH General Washington may have felt what is
called a pardonable pride as he sat upon his horse, under the spreading branches of the Cambridge elm, and drew his sword as “General and Commander-in-Chief of the Forces of the Thirteen United Colonies,” he knew that he had no easy task before him. But he went to work at once, as he always did when he had anything to do, and tried to make real soldiers of the farmers and fishermen and store keepers and working-men who made up the Continental Army. So well did he work, and so closely did he keep the British