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We are fortunate in having the account of a disinterested and acute observer of the manner in which Washington impressed a casual acquaintance in conversation. The actor Bernard, whom we have already quoted, and whom we left with Washington at the gates of Mount Vernon, gives us the following vivid picture of what ensued:— “In conversation his face had not much variety of expression. A look of thoughtfulness was given by the compression of the mouth and the indentations of the brow (suggesting an habitual conflict with, and mastery over, passion), which did not seem so much to disdain a sympathy with trivialities as to be incapable of denoting them. Nor had his voice, so far as I could discover in our quiet talk, much change or richness of intonation, but he always spoke with earnestness, and his eyes (glorious conductors of the light within) burned with a steady fire which no one could mistake for mere affability; they were one grand expression of the well-known line: “I am a man, and interested in all that concerns humanity.” In one hour and a half's conversation he touched on every topic that I brought before him with an even current of good sense, if he embellished it with little wit or verbal elegance. He spoke like a man who had felt as much as he had reflected, and reflected more than he had spoken; like one who had looked upon society rather in the mass than in detail, and who regarded the happiness of America but as the first link in a series of universal victories; for his full faith in the power

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of those results of civil liberty which he saw all
around him led him to foresee that it would, ere-
long, prevail in other countries, and that the social
millennium of Europe would usher in the political.
When I mentioned to him the difference I per-
ceived between the inhabitants of New England
and of the Southern States, he remarked : “I es-
teem those people greatly; they are the stamina of
the Union and its greatest benefactors. They are
continually spreading themselves too, to settle and
enlighten less favored quarters. Dr. Franklin is
a New Englander.” When I remarked that his
observations were flattering to my country, he re-
plied, with great good-humor, ‘Yes, yes, Mr. Ber-
nard, but I consider your country the cradle of
free principles, not their armchair. Liberty in
England is a sort of idol; people are bred up in
the belief and love of it, but see little of its doings.
They walk about freely, but then it is between
high walls; and the error of its government was in
supposing that after a portion of their subjects had
crossed the sea to live upon a common, they would
permit their friends at home to build up those
walls about them.’ A black coming in at this
moment with a jug of spring water, I could not
repress a smile, which the general at once inter-
preted. “This may seem a contradiction,’ he con-"
tinued, “but I think you must perceive that it is
neither a crime nor an absurdity. When we pro-
fess, as our fundamental principle, that liberty is
the inalienable right of every man, we do not

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include madmen or idiots; liberty in their hands would become a scourge. Till the mind of the slave has been educated to perceive what are the obligations of a state of freedom, and not confound a man's with a brute's, the gift would insure its abuse. We might as well be asked to pull down our old warehouses before trade has increased to demand enlarged new ones. Both houses and slaves were bequeathed to us by Europeans, and time alone can change them; an event, sir, which, you may believe me, no man desires more heartily than I do. Not only do I pray for it, on the score of human dignity, but I can already foresee that nothing but the rooting out of slavery can perpetuate the existence of our Union, by consolidating it in a common bond of principle.’ “I now referred to the pleasant hours I had passed in Philadelphia, and my agreeable surprise at finding there so many men of talent, at which his face lit up vividly. “I am glad to hear you, sir, who are an Englishman, say so, because you must now perceive how ungenerous are the assertions people are always making on your side of the water. One gentleman, of high literary standing, — I allude to the Abbé Raynal, - has demanded whether America has yet produced one great poet, statesman, or philosopher. The question shows anything but observation, because it is easy to perceive the causes which have combined to render the genius of this country scientific rather than imaginative. And, in this respect, America has surely furnished her quota. Franklin, Rittenhouse, and Rush are no mean names, to which, without shame, I may append those of Jefferson and Adams, as politicians; while I am told that the works of President Edwards of Rhode Island are a text-book in polemics in many European colleges.” “Of the replies which I made to his inquiries respecting England, he listened to none with so much interest as to those which described the character of my royal patron, the Prince of Wales. ‘He holds out every promise, remarked the general, * of a brilliant career. He has been well educated by events, and I doubt not that, in his time, England will receive the benefit of her child's emancipation. She is at present bent double, and has to walk with crutches; but her offspring may teach her the secret of regaining strength, erectness, and independence.” In reference to my own pursuits he repeated the sentiments of Franklin. He feared the country was too poor to be a patron of the drama, and that only arts of a practical nature would for some time be esteemed. The stage he considered to be an indispensable resource for settled society, and a chief refiner; not merely interesting as a comment on the history of social happiness by its exhibition of manners, but an agent of good as a school for poetry, in holding up to honor the noblest principles. “I am too old and too far removed,” he added, “to seek for or require this pleasure myself, but the cause is not to droop on my account. There's my friend Mr. Jefferson has time and taste; he goes always to the play, and I’ll introduce you to him,' a promise which he kept, and which proved to me the source of the greatest benefit and pleasure.” This is by far the best account of Washington in the ordinary converse of daily life that has come down to us. The narrator belonged to the race who live by amusing their fellow-beings, and are in consequence quick to notice peculiarities and highly susceptible to being bored. Bernard, after the first interest of seeing a very eminent man had worn off, would never have lingered for an hour and a half of chat and then gone away reluctantly if his host had been either dull of speech or cold and forbidding of manner. It is evident that Washington talked well, easily, and simply, ranging widely over varied topics with a sure touch, and that he drew from the ample resources of a well-stored and reflective mind. The scraps of conversation which Bernard preserves are interesting and above the average of ordinary talk, without manifesting any attempt to be either brilliant or striking, and it is also apparent that Washington had the art of putting his guest entirely at his ease by his own pleasant and friendly manner. He had picked up the English actor on the road, liked his readiness to be helpful (always an attraction to him in any one), found him well mannered and intelligent, and brought him home to rest and chat in the pleasant summer afternoon. To Bernard he was simply the plain Virginia gentleman, with a liberal and culti

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