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AFFAIRS AT MOUNT VERNON.
your wages shall be standing and certain at the highest amount that any one year's crop has produced you yet. I do not offer this as any temptation to induce you to go on more cheerfully in prosecuting those schemes of mine. I should do injustice to you were I not to acknowledge, that your conduct has ever appeared to me above everything sordid; but I offer it in consideration of the great charge you have upon your hands, and my entire dependence upon your fidelity and industry.
"It is the greatest, indeed it is the only comfortable reflection I enjoy on this score, that my business is in the hands of a person concerning whose integrity I have not a doubt, and on whose care I can rely. Were it not for this, I should feel very unhappy on account of the situation of my affairs. But I am persuaded you will do for me as you would for yourself."
The following were his noble directions concerning Mount Vernon :—
"Let the hospitality of the house with respect to the poor be kept up. Let no one go hungry away. If any of this kind of people should be in want of corn, supply their necessaries, provided it does not encourage them to idleness; and I have no objection to your giving my money in charity to the amount of forty or fifty pounds a year, when you think it well bestowed. What I mean by having no objection is, that it is my desire it should be done. You are to consider that neither myself nor wife is now in the way to do those good offices."
Mrs. Washington came on with her own carriage and horses, accompanied by her son, Mr. Custis, and his wife. She travelled by very easy stages, partly on account of the badness of the roads, partly out of regard to the horses, of which Washington was always very careful, and which were generally remarkable for beauty and excellence. Escorts and guards of honor attended her from place to place, and she was detained some time at Philadelphia, by the devoted attention of the inhabitants.
Her arrival at Cambridge was a glad event in the army. Incidental mention is made of the equipage in which she appeared there. A chariot and four, with black postilions in scarlet and white liveries. It has been suggested that this was an English style of equipage, derived from the Fairfaxes; but in truth it was a style still prevalent at that day in Virginia.
It would appear that dinner invitations to head-quarters were becoming matters of pride and solicitude. “I am much obliged to you," writes Washington to Reed, "for the hints respecting the jealousies which you say are gone abroad. I cannot charge myself with incivility, or what in my opinion is tantamount, ceremonious civility to gentlemen of this colony; but if such my conduct appears, I will endeavor at a reformation; as I can assure you, my dear Reed, that I wish to walk in such a line as will give most general satisfaction. You know that it was my wish at first to invite a certain number to dinner, but unintentionally we somehow or other missed of it.
If this has given rise to the jealousy, I can only say that I am very sorry for it; at the same time I add, that it was rather owing to inattention, or, more properly, too much attention to other matters, which caused me to neglect it." And in another letter:
"My constant attention to the great and perplexing objects which continually arise to my view, absorbs all lesser considerations; and, indeed, scarcely allows me to reflect that there is such a body as the General Court of this colony, but when I am reminded of it by a committee; nor can I, upon recollection, discover in what instance I have been inattentive to, or slighted them. They could not surely conceive that there was a propri ety in unbosoming the secrets of the army to them; that it was necessary to ask their opinion in throwing up an intrenchment or forming a battalion. It must be, therefore, what I before hinted to you; and how to remedy it I hardly know, as I am acquainted with few of the members, never go out of my own lines, nor see any of them in them."
The presence of Mrs. Washington soon relieved the general from this kind of perplexity. She presided at head-quarters, with mingled dignity and affability. We have an anecdote or two of the internal affairs of headquarters, furnished by the descendant of one who was an occasional inmate there.
Washington had prayers morning and evening, and was regular in his attendance at the church in which he was
a communicant. On one occasion, for want of a clergyman, the Episcopal service was read by Colonel William Palfrey, one of Washington's aides-de-camp; who substituted a prayer of his own composition in place of the one formerly offered up for the king.
Not long after her arrival in camp, Mrs. Washington claimed to keep Twelfth-night in due style, as the anniversary of her wedding. "The general," says the same informant, "was somewhat thoughtful, and said he was afraid he must refuse it." His objections were overcome, and Twelfth-night and the wedding anniversary were duly celebrated.
There seems to have been more conviviality at the quarters of some of the other generals; their time and minds were less intensely engrossed by anxious cares, having only their individual departments to attend to. Adjutant-general Mifflin's house appears to have been a gay one. "He was a man of education, ready apprehension, and brilliancy," says Graydon; "had spent some time in Europe, particularly in France, and was very easy of access, with the manners of genteel life, though occasionally evolving those of the Quaker."*
Mrs. Adams gives an account of an evening party at his house. "I was very politely entertained and noticed by the generals," writes she, "more especially General Lee, who was very urgent for me to tarry in town, and
* Graydon's Memoirs, p. 154.
FESTIVITIES AT HEAD-QUARTERS.
dine with him and the ladies present at Hobgoblin Hall; but I excused myself. The general was determined that I should not only be acquainted with him, but with his companions too; and therefore placed a chair before me, into which he ordered Mr. Spada (his dog) to mount, and present his paw to me for a better acquaintance. I could not do otherwise than accept it." *
John Adams, likewise, gives us a picture of festivities at head-quarters, where he was a visitant on the recess of Congress.
"I dined at Colonel Mifflin's with the general (Washington) and lady, and a vast collection of other company, among whom were six or seven sachems and warriors of the French Caughnawaga Indians, with their wives and children. A savage feast they made of it; yet were very polite in the Indian style. I was introduced to them by the general as one of the grand council at Philadelphia, which made them prick up their ears. They came and shook hands with me." +
While giving these familiar scenes and occurrences at the camp, we are tempted to subjoin one furnished from the manuscript memoir of an eye-witness. A large party of Virginia riflemen, who had recently arrived in camp, were strolling about Cambridge, and viewing the colle
* Letters of Mr. Adams, vol. i. p. 85.
+ Adams' Letters, vol. ii. p. 80. Adams adds, that they made him "low bows and scrapes "'-a kind of homage never paid by an Indian