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WASHINGTON'S ACCEPTANCE OF THE
COMMAND OF THE ARMY. .
There were not many occasions during his public career that Washington was called upon to exercise his abilities as a writer or an orator; but when such occasion did occur, he always acquitted himself with a degree of perspicuity and modesty which may be said to have been characteristic of himself alone. The addresses which follow mark, as it were, four distinct epochs in the history of this unexampled man: the first, when he accepted the command of the armies by which our national independence was achieved; the second, when he surrendered his commission, after having driven the foes of freedom from his beloved country; the third, when he assumed the responsible duties of President, in which office his high qualities for civil government were as conspicuous as had been his military talents in the field; and fourth, when he resigned his great trust and took leave of the people in his imperishable " Farewell Address," an inestimable legacy, which can not be too frequently conned by every American who values his birthright.
WASHINGTON'S ELECTION AS COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF.
On the 15th of June, 1775, Washington was unanimously elected by Congress to “command all the Continental forces raised, or to be raised, for the defense of American liberty," and when he appeared in his place the next day, the President of that body acquainted him with his election, in a welltimed address, "and requested that he should accept of that employment;" to which Washington replied as follows:
“MR. PRESIDENT: Though I am truly sensible of the high honor done me, in this appointment, yet I feel great distress, from consciousness that my abilities and military. experience may not be equal to the extensive and important trust: However, as the Congress desire it, I will enter upon the momentous duty, and exert every power I possess in their service, and for support of the glorious cause. I beg they will accept my most cordial thanks for this distinguished testimony of their approbation.
“But lest some unlucky event should happen, unfavorable to my reputation, I beg it may be remembered, by every gentleman in the room, that I, this day, declare, with the utmost sincerity, I do not think myself equal to the command I am honored with.
“ As to pay, sir, I beg leave to assure the Congress, that, as no pecuniary consideration could have tempted me to accept this arduous employment, at the expense of my domestic ease and happiness, I do not wish to make any profit from it. I will keep an exact account of my expenses. Those, I doubt not, they will discharge, and that is all I desire."
DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.
IN CONGRESS, TUESDAY, JULY 4, 1776.
Agreeably to the order of the day, the Congress resolved itself into a committee of the whole, to take into their further consideration the Declaration; and, after some time, the President resumed the chair, and Mr. Harrison reported that the Committee had agreed to a Declaration, which they desired him to report. (The committee consisted of Jefferson, Franklin, John Adams, Sherman, and R. R. Livingston.)
The Declaration, being read, was agreed to as follows:
BY THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES OF
AMERICA, IN CONGRESS ASSEMBLED.
When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect for the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed ; that, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new governnrent, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and, accordingly, all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But, when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies, and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these States. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world :
He has refused his assent to laws the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained ; and, when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature a right inestimable to them, and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly for opposing, with manly firmness, his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused, for a long time after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise, the State remaining, in the mean time, exposed to all the danger of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavored to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose, obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their emigration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.
He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.
He has made judges dependent on his will alone for the tenure of their offices and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies, without the consent of our legislature.
He has affected to render the military independent of, and superior to the civil power.
He has combined, with others, to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation :
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us;
For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment, for
any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these States ;
For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world; For imposing taxes on us without our consent;
For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury;
For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses;
For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries, so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these colonies;
For taking away our charters, abolishing our most val