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THE following work was commenced several years ago, but the prosecution of it has been repeatedly interrupted by other occupations, by a long absence in Europe, and by occasional derangement of health. It is only within the last two or three years that I have been able to apply myself to it steadily. This is stated to account for the delay in its publication.

The present volume treats of the earlier part of Washington's life previous to the war of the Revolution, giving his expeditions into the wilderness, his campaigns on the frontier in the old French war; and the other "experiences," by which his character was formed, and he was gradually trained up and prepared for his great destiny.

Though a biography, and of course admitting of familiar anecdote, excursive digressions, and a flexible texture of narrative, yet, for the most part, it is essentially historic. Washington, in fact, had very little private life, but was eminently a public character. All his actions and concerns almost from boyhood were connected with the history of his country. In writing his biography, therefore, I am obliged to take glances over collateral history, as seen from his point of view and influencing his plans, and to narrate distant transactions apparently disconnected with his concerns, but eventually bearing upon the great drama in which he was the principal actor.


I have endeavored to execute my task with candor and fidelity; stating facts on what appeared to be good authority, and avoiding as much as possible all false coloring and exaggeration. My work is founded on the correspondenco of Washington, which, in fact, affords the amplest and surest groundwork for his biography. This I have consulted as it exists in manuscript in the archives of the Department of State, to which I have had full and frequent access. have also made frequent use of "Washington's Writings," as published by Mr. Sparks; a careful collation of many of them with the originals having convinced me of the general correctness of the collection, and the safety with which it may be relied upon for historical purposes; and I am happy to bear this testimony to the essential accuracy of one whom I consider among the greatest benefactors to our national literature; and to whose writings and researches I acknowledge myself largely indebted throughout my work.


W. I.


THE present volume completes a work to which the author had long looked forward as the crowning effort of his literary career.

The idea of writing a life of Washington entered at an early day into his mind. It was especially pressed upon his attention nearly thirty years ago while he was in Europe, by a proposition of the late Mr. Archibald Constable, the eminent publisher of Edinburgh, and he resolved to undertake it as soon as he should return to the United States, and be within reach of the necessary documents. Various circumstances occurred to prevent him from carrying this resolution into prompt effect. It remained, however, a cherished purpose of his heart, which he has at length, though somewhat tardily, accomplished.

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The manuscript for the present volume was nearly ready for the press some months since, but the author, by applying himself too closely in his eagerness to finish it, brought on a nervous indisposition, which unfitted him for a time for the irksome but indispensable task of revision. In this he has been kindly assisted by his nephew, Pierre Munro Irving, who had previously aided him in the course of his necessary researches, and who now carefully collated the manuscript with the works, letters, and inedited documents from which the facts had been derived. He has likewise had the kindness to superintend the printing of the volume, and the correction of the proof sheets. Thus aided, the author is enabled to lay the volume before the public.

How far this, the last labor of his pen, may meet with general acceptation is with him a matter of hope rather than of confidence. He is conscious of his own short-comings and of the splendid achievements of oratory of which the character of Washington has recently been made the theme. Grateful, however, for the kindly disposition which has greeted each successive volume, and with a profound sense of the indulgence he has experienced from the public through a long literary career, now extending through more than half a century, he resigns his last volume to its fate, with a feeling of satisfaction that he has at length reached the close of his task, and with the comforting assurance that it has been with him a labor of love, and as such has to a certain degree carried with it its own reward.


SUNNYSIDE, April, 1859.


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CHAP. VII. Council of the Ohio Tribes at Logstown-
Treaty with the English-Gist's Settlement-Speeches
of the Half-king and the French Commandant-
French Aggressions-The Ruins of Piqua-Washington
sent on a Mission to the French Commander-Jacob
Van Braam, his Interpreter-Christopher Gist, his Guide
-Halt at the Confluence of the Monongahela and Alle-
gany-Projected Fort-Shingiss, a Delaware Sachem-
Logstown-The Half-king-Indian Councils-Indian

Diplomacy-Rumors concerning Joncaire-Indian Es-

corts-The Half-king, Jeskakake, and White Thun-


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CHAP. XI. March to the Little Meadows-Rumors from
the Ohio-Correspondence from the banks of the Youghi.
ogeny-Attempt to descend that River-Alarming Re-
ports-Scouting Parties-Perilous situation of the Camp
Gist and La Force-Message from the Half-king-

French Tracks-The Jumonville Skirmish-Treatment

of La Force-Position at the Great Meadows-Belligerent

feelings of a young Soldier,

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CHAP. XIV. Return to quiet Life-French and English
prepare for Hostilities-Plan of a Campaign-General
Braddock-His Character-Sir John St. Clair Quarter-
master-general-His Tour of Inspection-Projected
Roade-Arrival of Braddock-Military Consultations
and Plans-Commodore Keppel and his Seamen-Ships
and Troops at Alexandria-Excitement of Washington
-Invited to join the Staff of Braddock-A Mother's
Objections Washington at Alexandria-Grand Council
of Governors-Military Arrangements-Colonel William
Johnson-Sir John St. Clair at Fort Cumberland-His
Explosions of Wrath-Their Effects-Indians to be en-
listed-Captain Jack and his Band of Bush-beaters, 52

CHAP. XV. Washington proclaimed Aide-de-camp-Dis

appointments at Fredericktown-Benjamin Franklin and

Braddock- Contracts-Departure for Wills' Creek-

Rough Roads-The General in his Chariot-Camp at

Fort Cumberland-Hugh Mercer-Dr. Craik-Military

Tactics-Camp Rules-Secretary Peters-Indians in

Camp-Indian Beauties-The Princess Bright Light-

ning-Errand to Williamsburg--Braddock's Opinion of

Contractors and Indians-Arrival of Conveyances,

CHAP. XVI. March from Fort Cumberland-The Great
Savage Mountain-Camp at the Little Meadows--Divi-

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CHAP. XXII. Washington vindicates his conduct to Lord
Loudoun His reception by his Lordship-Military Plans
-Lord Loudoun at Halifax-Montcalm on Lake George
-His Triumphs-Lord Koudoun's Failures-Washing-
ton at Winchester-Continued Misunderstandings with
Dinwiddie-Return to Mount Vernon,
CHAP. XXIII. Washington recovers his Health-Again
in Command at Fort Loudoun-Administration of Pitt
-Loudoun succeeded by General Abercrombie-Mili-
tary Arrangements-Washington Commander-in-chief
of the Virginia Forces-Amherst against Louisburg-
General Wolfe-Montgomery-Capture of Louisburg-
Abercrombie on Lake George-Death of Lord Howe-
Repulse of Abercrombie-Success of Bradstreet at Os-

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CHAP. XXXIII. Lord North's Bill favoring the Exporta-

tion of Teas-Ships freighted with Tea to the Colonies-

Sent back from some of the Ports-Tea_destroyed at

Boston-Passage of the Boston Port Bill-Session of the

House of Burgesses-Splendid Opening-Burst of In-

dignation at the Port Bill-House Dissolved-Resolu

tions at the Raleigh Tavern-Project of a General Con-

gress-Washington and Lord Dunmore-The Port Bill

goes into Effect-General Gage at Boston-League and



CHAP. XXXIV. Washington Chairman of a Political
Meeting-Correspondence with Bryan Fairfax-Patri-
otic Resolutions-Washington's Opinions on Public Af
faire-Non-importation Scheme-Convention at Wil-
liamsburg-Washington appointed a Delegate to the
General Congress-Letter from Bryan Fairfax-Perplex-
ities of General Gage at Boston,

CHAP. XXXV. Meeting of the First Congress-Opening

Ceremonies-Eloquence of Patrick Henry and Henry

Lee-Declaratory Resolution-Bill of Rights-State Pa

pers-Chatham's Opinions of Congress-Washington's

Correspondence with Capt. Mackenzie-Views with re-

spect to Independence-Departure of Fairfax for Eng-



CHAP. XXXVI. Gage's Military Measures-Removal of

Gunpowder from the Arsenal Public Agitation-

Alarms in the Country-Civil Government obstructed-

Belligerent Symptoms-Israel Putnam and General

Charles Lee, their Characters and Stories-General Elec-

tion-Self-constituted Congress-Hancock President-

Adjourns to Concord-Remonstrance to Gage-His Per-

plexities-Generals Artemas Ward and Seth Pomeroy-

Committee of Safety-Committee of Supplies-Restless-

ness throughout the Land-Independent Companies in

Virginia-Military Tone at Mount Vernon-Washing-

ton's Military Guests-Major Horatio Gates-Anecdotes

concerning him-General Charles Lee-His Peculiarities

and Dogs-Washington at the Richmond Convention-

War Speech of Patrick Henry-Washington's Military


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CHAP. IV. Dangers in the Interior-Machinations of the
Johnson Family-Rivalry of Ethan Allen and Benedict
Arnold-Government Perplexities about the Ticonde-
roga Capture-Measures to secure the Prize--Allen and
Arnold ambitious of further Laurels-Projects for the
Invasion of Canada-Ethan Allen and Seth Warner
honored by Congress Arnold displaced by a Committee
of Inquiry-His Indignation-News from Canada-The
Revolution to be extended into that Province-Enlist-
ment of Green Mountain Boye-Schuyler at Ticonderoga
-State of Affairs there-Election for Officers of the
Green Mountain Boys-Ethan Allen dismounted-Joins
the Army as a Volunteer-Preparations for the Invasion
of Canada-General Montgomery-Indian_Chiefs at
Cambridge-Council Fire-Plan for an Expedition
against Quebec-Departure of Troops from Ticonde-
roga-Arrival at Isle aux Noix,
CHAP. V. A Challenge declined-A Blow meditated-A
cautious Council of War-Preparations for the Quebec
Expedition-Benedict Arnold the Leader-Advice and
Instructions-Departure-General Schuyler on the Sorel
-Reconnoitres St. Johns-Camp at Isle aux Noix-Ill-
Dess of Schuyler-Returns to Ticonderoga-Expedition
of Montgomery against St. Johns-Letter of Ethan Al-
len-His Dash against Montreal-Its Catastrophe-A
Hero in Irons-Correspondence of Washington with
Schuyler and Arnold-His Anxiety about them, . 180

CHAP. VI. British in Boston send out Cruisers-Depro-

dations of Captain Wallace along the Coast-Treason in

the Camp-Arrest of Dr. Church-His Trial and Fate-

Conflagration of Falmouth-Irritation throughout the

Country-Fitting out of Vessels of War-Embarkation

of General Gage for England-Committee from Con-

gress-Conferences with Washington-Resolutions of

Congress to carry on the War-Return of Secretary

Reed to Philadelphia,

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CHAP. IX. Washington's Anticipations of Success at Que-
bec-His Eulogium of Arnold-Schuyler and Montgom-
ery talk of resigning-Expostulations of Washington-
Their Effect-Schuyler's Conduct to a Captive Foe, 195
CHAP. X. Difficulties in filling up the Army-The Con-
necticut Troops persist in going Home-Their reception
there-Timely Arrival of Spoils in the Camp-Puinam
and the Prize Mortar-A Maraud by Americans-Re-
buked by Washington-Correspondence of Washington
with General Howe about the treatment of Ethan Allen
-Fraternal Zeal of Levi Allen-Treatment of General
Prescott-Preparations to bombard Boston-Battery at
Lechmere's Point-Prayer of Putnam for Powder,

CHAP. XI. Mount Vernon in Danger-Mrs. Washington

invited to the Camp-Lund Washington, the General's

Agent-Terms on which he serves-Instructed to keep

up the Hospitality of the House-Journey of Mrs. Wash-

ington to Camp-Her Equipage and Liverice-Arrival

at Camp-Domestic Affairs at Head Quarters-Gayelles

in Camp-A Brawl between Round-Jackets and Rifle-



CHAP. XII. Affairs in Canada-Arnold at Point Levi-

Quebec reinforced-Crossing of the St. Lawrence-Land-

ing in Wolfe's Cove-Arnold on the Heights of Abra-

ham-Cautious Counsel-Quebec aroused-The Invaders

baffled-Withdraw to Point aux Trembles-Booming

of Cannon-Carleton at Quebec-Letter of Washington

to Arnold,

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