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The best we can do is, to submit to the decrees of Providence.
Reason, Religion, and Philosophy teach us to submit; but it is time alone, that can ameliorate the pangs of humanity, and soften its woes.
HIS MOTHER'S DEATH.
Awful and affecting as the death of a parent is, there is consolation in knowing, that Heaven has spared ours, to an aget beyond which few attain, and favored her with the full enjoyment of her mental faculties, and as much bodily strength as usually falls to the lot of fourscore.
Under these circumstances, and the hope that she is translated to a happier place, it is the duty of her relations, to yield due submission to the decrees of the Creator.
CARES OF LIFE.
Life and the concerns of this world, one would think, are so uncertain, and so full of disappointments, that nothing is to be counted upon from human actions.
* He is addressing himself to his only sister, Mrs. Lewis.
She died, August 25th, 1789, in her 83d year, when he was at New York.
It is in vain, I perceive, to look for ease and happiness in a world of troubles.
In looking forward to that awful moment when I must bid adieu to sublunary things, I anticipate the consolation, of leaving our country in a prosperous condition.
And while the curtain of separation shall be drawing, my last breath will, I trust, expire in a prayer for the temporal and eternal felicity of those, who have not only endeavored to gild the evening of my days with unclouded serenity, but extended their desires to my happiness hereafter, in a brighter world.
COMPOSURE, IN SICKNESS.
Do not flatter me with vain hopes.* I am not afraid to die, and therefore can hear the worst.
Whether to-night, or twenty years hence, makes no difference. I know, that I am in the hands of a good Providence.
He was dangerously ill, at New York, and he addressed these words to his attending physician, Doctor Bard.
CALM VIEWS OF DEATH.
The want of regular exercise, and the cares of office, will, I have no doubt, hasten my departure for that country from which no traveller returns.
But a faithful discharge of whatever trust I accept, as it ever has been, so it always will be, the primary consideration, in every transaction of my life, be the consequences what they may.
THE FAMILY VAULT.
I intend to place it there. [Pointing to the spot where the new vault now stands.]
First of all, I shall make this change; for, after all, It may require it before the rest.
"During my last visit to the General," [in December 1799,] says one of his nephews, "we walked together about the grounds, and talked of various improvements he had in contemplation. The lawn was to be extended to the river, in the direction of the old vault, which was to be removed, on account of the inroads made by the roots of the trees with which it was crowned, which caused it to break." He then pointed out the spot where the new vault now stands.
These words were uttered, when he appeared to be in perfect health, a few days only before his death. Some of his guests remarked, at the time, "We never saw the General look so well." "A few days afterwards," says his nephew, "being on my way home in company with others, while we were conversing about Washington, I saw a servant rapidly riding towards me. On his near ap
The family vault at Mount Vernon requiring repairs, and being improperly situated besides, I desire that a new one of brick, and upon a larger scale, may be built at the foot of what is commonly called the Vineyard Enclosure, on the ground which is marked out; in which my remains, with those of my deceased relations, (now in the old vault,) and such others of my family as may choose to be entombed there, may be deposited.
And it is my express desire, that my corpse may be interred in a private manner, without parade or funeral oration.
2. HIS LAST MOMENTS.
His death was sudden, but he was ready. . . . We have seen his end, and it was JEDIDIAH MORSE, D. D., 1800.
We will watch with pious care the laurels which shade thy urn, and wear thy name engraven on our hearts. Oh, yet protect thy country! Save her! She is an orphan. Her father is mingled with the dust. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS, 1800.
You would have thought, the Americans were speaking of their father.
Mr. Lear, in his description of the closing scene, has these words: "Dr. Craik placed his hands over his eyes, and he expired without a struggle or a sigh." This statement is no doubt true, but it does not contain the whole truth. It was said and believed, at the time, that General Washington closed his own eyes; and the writer is assured, that such was the fact, since he heard it asserted by one who had the best opportunity of knowing the certainty of it
proach, I recognized him as belonging to Mount Vernon. He rode up, his countenance told the story,-he handed me a letter. ington was dead.”
The matter, indeed, is one of no great importance; but serves to show, that some things escaped the notice of Mr. Lear, or were thought too trivial for record by him. This circumstance, however, is not without interest, as indicating a perfect self-possession and composure of mind. E. C. M'GUIRE, D. D.
See him on his dying couch, calm and dignified in his distress. He has fought the good fight, and death has to him no terrors. With his own firm hand he closes his eyes, and is gone. J. DUNHAM, A. M., Capt. 16th U. S. Regiment, 1800.
The illness was short and severe. Mrs. Washington left not the chamber of the sufferer, but was seen kneeling at the bedside, her head resting upon her Bible, which had been her solace in the many and heavy afflictions she had undergone. Dr. Craik, the early friend and companion in arms of the Chief, replaced the hand, which was almost pulseless, upon the pillow, while he turned away to conceal the tears that fast chased each other down his furrowed cheeks.
The last effort of the expiring Washington was worthy of the Roman fame of his life and character. He raised himself up, and casting a look of benignity on all around him, as if to thank them for their kindly attentions, he composed his limbs, closed his eyes, and folding his arms upon his bosom, the Father of his country expired, gently as though an infant died! GEORGE W. P. CUSTIS, grandson of Mrs. Washington.
Feeling, that the silver cord of life is loosing, and that his spirit is ready to quit her old companion the body, he extends himself on his bed, closes his eyes for the last time with his own hands, folds his arms decently on his breast; then, breathing out, "Father of mercies, take me to thyself," he fell asleep.
REV. M. L. WEEMS, 1808, Rector of Mount Vernon Parish. "He was at much pains to ascertain the most interesting events of Washington's life and death."-M'Guire.
HIS DYING WORDS.
I find I am going. My breath cannot last long. I believed from the first, that the disorder prove fatal.
Do you arrange and record all my late military
* A cold, a sore throat, difficulty of breathing and of swallowing, on Friday, December 13th, 1799.
Tobias Lear, his private secretary.