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   Chapter 15 LIFE FULFILLED AS A VIRGINIA COUNTRY GENTLEMAN

The Wonderful Story of Washington By Charles M. Stevens Characters: 3654

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:04


Washington, after his marriage, at the close of the French and Indian war, became, as his mother had so long desired him to be, a country gentleman, not only with a large land-ownership, but also dignified with a seat in the legislative assembly of Virginia. He was rich, happily married and a hero! What more was to be desired in the heart of man!

On the day when Washington took his seat in the House of Burgesses, the speaker of the assembly arose and eloquently presented the thanks of the colony for the distinguished military services rendered by their fellow-member to his country, and especially to the welfare of Virginia.

Washington arose at the conclusion of the eulogy to express his appreciation for what had been spoken in his honor.

It is said that he "blushed-stammered-trembled, and could not utter a word."

"Sit down, Mr. Washington," said the speaker, "your modesty equals your valor, and that surpasses the power of any language I possess."

During the session of the Virginia legislature, Washington lived at the White House, as was called the home of his bride, and which was situated on her estate, near Williamsburg. That home has since been immortalized as the name of the Home of the Presidents of the United States.

Mrs. Martha Custis was one of the wealthiest women in the English colonies when she married George Washington. At her request, the General Court appointed Washington the guardian of her boy of six and her girl of four, and the manager of all her property.

His friends had long wanted him to visit England, believing, doubtless, from special information, that great honors awaited him there. No doubt there was in easy reach the usually much-coveted political preferment, such as might have made him beholden to the King through all his future career. But we are pe

rhaps entitled to believe that Washington's views of those honors were not qualified by the grateful respect that was necessary. An American of his honor and character probably cherished the good will of his countrymen as superior to any royal condescension.

To these suggestions for a visit to England, he returned a characteristic reply, "I am now, I believe, fixed in this seat, with an agreeable partner for life, and I hope to find more happiness in retirement than I ever experienced in the wide and bustling world."

At the end of the session of the Virginia legislature, Washington and his family left the "White House" and made their home at Mount Vernon. Here he fully believed he was settled in a life of happiness and peace. It was the home of his childhood which he had spent with his beloved mother and his half-brother Lawrence.

This home on the beautiful highlands of the Potomac was indeed the center of a little empire. It was a system of cultured, wealthy people, graded on down to the colored servants, in which everything needed for luxury, pleasure or enterprise was made and ready on the grounds.

The home life of the Washington family is a revelation of the aristocratic democracy of the times. Many a story is told showing the wilderness culture and luxury mingled with the common interests of the lowly life.

The treaty of peace, now including all affairs in the colonies, which was signed in 1763, between England and France, was greeted as a happy ending of all border troubles for the colonies. But, unfortunately, it seemed to let loose the savagery of the Indians, whose tribes were now going to pieces before the advancing English Settlements. The right to the wilderness was a hand-to-hand conflict, in which the pioneer frontiersmen won the great victory for modern civilization.

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