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parts of his native state. He also directed much of his attention to the science of arms, in the use of which every young man was instructed, in order to repel the incursions of the Indians, who were often led on by skillful Frenchmen. At the age of nineteen he was appointed one of the adjutant-generals of Virginia, which gave him the rank of major, and soon after he was advanced to a colonelcy, and sent by Gov. Dinwiddie to the Ohio with despatches to the French commander, who was erecting fortifications from Canada to New Orleans, in violation of existing treaties. The Governor was so much pleased with the faithful discharge of this duty, that he ordered his journal, which extended to only eighty days, to be printed; but, small as it was, it afforded evidence of great sagacity, fortitude, and a sound judgment, and firmly laid the foundation of his future fame.
In the spring of 1755, Washington was persuaded to accompany General Braddock as an aid, with the rank of colonel, in his disastrous expedition against Fort Du Quesne; and had his advice been followed on that occasion, the result would have been very different.
Three years afterwards (1758) Washington commanded the Virginians in another expedition against the fort, which terminated successfully. At the close of this campaign he left the army, and was soon after married to Mrs. Martha Čustis, (the widow of Col. Daniel Parke Custis,) whose maiden name was Dandridge, and whose intelligent and patriotic conduct, as wife and widow, will ever be gratefully remembered in American annals.
In 1759 he was elected to the House of Burgesses, and continued to be returned to that body, with the exception of occasional intervals, until 1774, when he was sent to represent Virginia in the Continental Congress. His well-tempered zeal and his military skill, which enabled him to suggest the most proper means for national defence, if the country were urged to extremities, soon fixed all eyes upon him, as one well qualified to direct in the hour of peril; and accordingly, after the first scene of the revolutionary drama was opened at Lexington and Concord, and an army had concentrated at Cambridge, he was, on the 15th of June, 1775, unanimously appointed commander-in-chief of the American forces. The self-sacrificing spirit which governed his future course is too well known to require any elucidation.
After bringing the war to a successful termination, he hastened to Annapolis, where Congress were then in session, and on the 23d of December, 1783, formally resigned his commission.
In May, 1787, he was elected to the Convention which met at Philadelphia for the purpose of forming a Constitution, and was at once called upon to preside over its deliberations. After that admirable instrument was adopted by the people, he was unanimously elected the first President of the United States for four years ; at the expiration of which, he was unanimously re-elected for a second term.
On the 12th of December, 1799, he was seized with an inflammation in the throat, which grew worse the next day, and terminated his life on the 14th, in the 68th year of his age.
JOHN ADAMS, THE SECOND PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES,
And whose fame as a patriot and statesman is imperishable, was born at Braintree, Mass., October 19, 1735. He early displayed superior capacity for learning, and graduated at Cambridge college with great credit. After qualifying himself for the legal profession,
he was admitted to practice in 1761, and soon attained that distinction to which his talents were entitled. From the commencement of the troubles with Great Britain, in 1769, he was among the most active in securing the freedom of his country. Being elected to the first Continental Congress, he took a prominent part in all the war measures that were then originated ; and subsequently suggested the appoind ment of Washington as commander-in-chief of the army. He was one of the committee which reported the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and the next year visited France is commissioner to form a treaty of alliance and commerce with that country. Although the object had been accomplished before his arrival, his visit had otherwise a favorable effect on the existing position of affairs ; and he was afterwards appointed to negotiate a treaty of peace with Great Britain, which, after many laborious and fruitless efforts, was finally accomplished in 1783. In 1787, he was sent to England as the first minister from this country, and on his return was elected first VicePresident, in which office he served two terms, and was then, in 1797, elected to succeed Washington as President. Many occurrences tended to embarrass his administration, and to render it unpopular; but it is now generally admitted to have been characterized by patriotism and vigor equal to the emergencies which then existed. His political opponents, however, managed to defeat his re-election, and he was succeeded in the presidency by Mr. Jefferson, in 1801 ; after which, he retired to his farm at Quincy, where his declining years were passed in the gratification of his unabated love for reading and contemplation, and where he was constantly cheered by an interesting circle of friendship and affection. The semi-centennial anniversary of American Independence (July 4, 1826,) was remarkable, not merely for the event which it commemorated, but for the decease of two of the most active participants in the measures by which independence was achieved. On that day, Adams and Jefferson were both gathered to their fathers, within about four hours of each other, “cheered by the benediction of their country, to whom they left the inheritance of their fame, and the memory of their bright example."
As has been noticed elsewhere, Mr. Adams deemed it prudent, in the early part of his administration, when impending difficulties with France seemed to render war inevitable, to offer Washington the comnission of lieutenant-general and commander-in-chief of the army, which he accepted as a matter of duty, and held until his death, but wrtunately never found it necessary to take the field.
Was born at Shadwell, Albemarle county, Va., (near Monticello, the seat where he died,) April 13, 1743. He was educated at William and Mary's college, and graduated with distinction when quite young. He was a great lover of learning, and particularly of natural philosophy. With the celebrated George Wythe, he commenced the study of the law, and became a favorite pupil. Mr. Jefferson was never distinguished as an advocate, but was considered a good lawyer. Soon after he came to
the bar, he was elected a member of the House of Burgesses, and in that body was duly appreciated for his learning and aptitude for business He at once took fire at British oppression,
and in 1774, he employed his pen in discussing the whole course of the British ministry. The work was admired, and made a text-book by his countrymen. In June, 1775, he took his seat in the Continental Congress, from Virginia. In this body he soon became conspicuous, and was considered a firm friend to American liberty. In 1776, he was chosen chairman of the committee that drafted the Declaration of Independence. This instrument is nearly all his own, and was sanctioned by his coadjutors with few alterations. In 1778, Mr. Jefferson was appointed ambassador to France, to form a treaty with that government, but ill health prevented his accepting of this office. He succeeded Patrick Henry, in 1779, as Governor of Virginia, and continued in that station two years. In 1781, he composed his notes on Virginia. In 1783, he was sent to France, to join the ministers of our country, Mr. Adams and Dr. Franklin. In 1785, he succeeded Dr. Franklin as ambassador, and continued performing the duties of that office for two years, when he retired, and returned home. In 1789, he was made secretary of state, under Washington, in which situation he was highly distinguished for his talents. This station he resigned in 1793, and retired to private life. In 1797, he was elected Vice-President of the United States, and took his seat as President of the Senate, on the following 4th of March. In 1801, he was elected President of the United States, which office he held for eight years. After completing his second term, he retired to private life, in which he spent his days in philosophical pursuits, until the 4th of July, 1826, when he expired, jūst fifty years after penning the Declaration of Independence. His course was one of his own. Never lived there a politician, who did more than Thomas Jefferson, to bring his fellow-citizens to his own opinions.