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possible to him to remain idle even when he awaited in almost daily expectation the hour of dismissal. He saw with the instinctive glance of statesmanship that the dangerous point in the treaty of peace was in the provisions as to the western posts on the one side, and those relating to British debts on the other. A month therefore had not passed before he brought to the attention of Congress the importance of getting immediate possession of those posts, and a little later he succeeded in having Steuben sent out as a special envoy to obtain their surrender. The mission was vain, as he had feared. He was not destined to extract this thorn for many years, and then only after many trials and troubles. Soon afterward he made a journey with Governor Clinton to Ticonderoga, and along the valley of the Mohawk, “to wear away the time,” as he wrote to Congress. He wore away time to more purpose than most people, for where he travelled he observed closely, and his observations were lessons which he never forgot. On this trip he had the western posts and the Indians always in mind, and familiarized himself with the conditions of a part of the country where these matters were of great importance. On his return he went to Princeton, where Congress had been sitting since their flight from the mutiny which he had recently suppressed, and where a house had been provided for his use. He remained there two months, aiding Congress in their work. During the spring he had been engaged on the matter of a peace establishment, and he now gave Congress elaborate and well-matured advice on that question, and on those of public lands, western settlement, and the best Indian policy. In all these directions his views were clear, farsighted, and wise. He saw that in these questions was involved much of the future development and wellbeing of the country, and he treated them with a precision and an easy mastery which showed the thought he had given to the new problems which now were coming to the front. Unluckily, he was so far ahead, both in knowledge and perception, of the body with which he dealt, that he could get little or nothing done, and in September he wrote in plain but guarded terms of the incapacity of the lawmakers. The people were not yet ripe for his measures, and he was forced to bide his time, and see the injuries caused by indifference and shortsightedness work themselves out. Gradually, however, the absolutely necessary business was brought to an end. Then Washington issued a circular letter to the governors of the States, which was one of the ablest he ever wrote, and full of the profoundest statesmanship, and he also sent out a touching address of farewell to the army, eloquent with wisdom and with patriotism. From Princeton he went to West Point, where the army that still remained in service was stationed. Thence he moved to Harlem, and on November 25th the British army departed, and Washington, with his troops, accompanied by Governor Clinton and some regiments of local militia, marched in and took possession. This was the outward sign that the war was over, and that American independence had been won. Carleton feared that the entry of the American army might be the signal for confusion and violence, in which the Tory inhabitants would suffer; but everything passed off with perfect tranquillity and good order, and in the evening Clinton gave a public dinner to the commander-inchief and the officers of the army.
All was now over, and Washington prepared to go to Annapolis and lay down his commission. On December 4th his officers assembled in Fraunces' Tavern to bid him farewell. As he looked about on his faithful friends, his usual self-command deserted him, and he could not control his voice. Taking a glass of wine, he lifted it up, and said simply, “ With a heart full of love and gratitude I now take my leave of you, most devoutly wishing that your latter days may be as prosperous and happy as your former ones have been glorious and honorable.” The toast was drunk in silence, and then Washington added, “ I cannot come to each of you and take my leave, but shall be obliged if you will come and take me by the hand.” One by one they approached, and Washington grasped the hand of each man and embraced him. His eyes were full of tears, and he could not trust himself to speak. In silence he bade each and all farewell, and then, accompanied by his officers, walked to Whitehall Ferry. Entering his barge, the word
was given, and as the oars struck the water he stood up and lifted his hat. In solemn silence his officers returned the salute, and watched the noble and gracious figure of their beloved chief until the boat disappeared from sight behind the point of the Battery. At Philadelphia he stopped a few days and adjusted his accounts, which he had in characteristic fashion kept himself in the neatest and most methodical way. He had drawn no pay, and had expended considerable sums from his private fortune, which he had omitted to charge to the government. The gross amount of his expenses was about 15,000 pounds sterling, including secret service and other incidental outlays. In these days of wild moneyhunting, there is something worth pondering in this simple business settlement between a great general and his government, at the close of eight years of war. This done, he started again on his journey. From Philadelphia he proceeded to Annapolis, greeted with addresses and hailed with shouts at every town and village on his route, and having reached his destination, he addressed a letter to Congress on December 20th, asking when it would be agreeable to them to receive him. The 23d was appointed, and on that day, at noon, he appeared before Congress. The following year a French orator and “maître avocat,” in an oration delivered at Toulouse upon the American Revolution, described this scene in these words: “On the day when Washington resigned his commission in the hall of Congress, a crown decked with jewels was placed upon the Book of the Constitutions. Suddenly Washington seizes it, breaks it, and flings the pieces to the assembled people. How small ambitious Caesar seems beside the hero of America.” It is worth while to recall this contemporary French description, because its theatrical and dramatic untruth gives such point by contrast to the plain and dignified reality. The scene was the hall of Congress. The members representing the sovereign power were seated and covered, while all the space about was filled by the governor and state officers of Maryland, by military officers, and by the ladies and gentlemen of the neighborhood, who stood in respectful silence with uncovered heads. Washington was introduced by the Secretary of Congress, and took a chair which had been assigned to him. There was a brief pause, and then the president said that “the United States in Congress assembled were prepared to receive his communication.” Washington rose, and replied as follows: “MR. PRESIDENT: The great events, on which my resignation depended, having at length taken place, I have now the honor of offering my sincere congratulations to Congress, and of presenting myself before them, to surrender into their hands the trust committed to me, and to claim the indulgence of retiring from the service of my country. “Happy in the confirmation of our independence and sovereignty, and pleased with the opportunity