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The Early Life of Washington Designed for the Instruction and Amusement of the Young

The Early Life of Washington
Designed for the Instruction and Amusement of the Young
Author: Anonymous
Title: The Early Life of Washington Designed for the Instruction and Amusement of the Young
Release Date: 2019-02-04
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
Count views: 41
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Transcriber's Note: The cover image was created from thetitle page by the transcriber and is placed in the public domain.







By a Friend of Youth.


Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1838,by Knowles, Vose & Co., in the Clerk’s Office of theDistrict Court for the District of Rhode-Island.




Washington’s birth—his ancestors—the first school heattended—family anecdotes—death of his father.


Family anecdote—George lives with his half-brotherAugustine about three years, and attends Mr. Williams’sschool—his manuscript book of forms—hisrules of behavior.


Came very near entering the British Navy at the ageof fourteen—attends school at Fredericksburg—becomesa practical surveyor at the age of sixteen—theIndian war dance—continues surveying three years—isappointed Adjutant General of the Militia, withthe rank of Major, at the age of nineteen—accompanieshis half-brother Lawrence to Barbadoes—Lawrencedies and leaves George the Mount Vernonestate.


Washington’s mission from the Governor of Virginia tothe French commandant, at the age of twenty-one—narrowlyescapes being killed by an Indian—camenear being drowned in the Allegany river—visitsQueen Aliquippa.


Major Washington, at the age of twenty-two, is appointedto command the regular Virginia forces,consisting of two companies—being increased to six[vi]companies, he is raised to the rank of LieutenantColonel, and made second in command—his modesty—thefort, just begun at the fork of the Ohio, surrendersto the French—Washington attacks and defeatsa party of French.


Battle of the Great Meadows—vote of thanks to ColonelWashington and his officers—disapproving of thearrangement of the Virginia troops, he retires fromthe service.


Is invited by General Braddock to join his expeditionas a volunteer—accepts the invitation—Battle of Monongahela—Washingtonconducts the retreat withability, and retains the confidence of the public.


Anecdote—Washington is appointed to command theVirginia forces—his visit to Boston—commands theadvance division at the taking of Fort Du Quesne—resignshis military commission—marries—devoteshimself chiefly to agricultural pursuits till called totake command of the American armies in the war ofIndependence.



The following is a narrative of him, who has beenjustly styled “The Father of his Country.” It comprisesthe first twenty-seven years of his life. Thoughthis is the least brilliant portion of Washington’s life,it is a valuable portion of it; because it exhibits thosetraits of character which laid the foundation of his futuregreatness, and are worthy the attention and imitationof youth.

The author, in remarking that he has drawn his informationfrom the most authentic sources, acknowledgeshis obligations to the works of Weems, Ramsay, Marshall,and M’Guire, and especially to the valuable notesand observations of Sparks.





Washington’s birth—his ancestors—the first school heattended—family anecdotes—death of his father.

George Washington was born in Virginia,on the 22d of February, 1732. The particularplace of his birth was Pope’s Creek,Washington parish, in the county of Westmoreland.The name of his great grandfatherwas John Washington, who camefrom the north of England and settled onPope’s Creek, in Virginia, in the year 1655.He afterwards married Miss Pope, the daughterof the gentleman from whom the Creektook its name. John Washington is believedto have been a military man in earlylife. His will, now at Mount Vernon, is endorsedthus: “The will of LieutenantColonel Washington.” This will containsa small bequest to the church, and affordsevidence that he was a pious man. As theparish in which he lived has always bornehis name, he was probably very instrumentalin establishing it.


John Washington had three children, Lawrence,John and Ann. Lawrence Washington,the oldest son and the grandfather ofGeorge, inherited the Pope’s Creek farm.—AugustinWashington, the son of Lawrenceand the father of George, was born in theyear 1694. He was probably the eldest sonof Lawrence, as he inherited the patrimonialestate at Pope’s Creek.

Augustin Washington was married twice.His first wife was Jane Butler, by whom hehad four children, viz. Butler, Lawrence,Augustin, jun. and Jane. Butler and Janedied young. Lawrence and Augustin livedto be men. The second wife was MaryBall, a young lady of highly respectablefamily in the northern part of Virginia.—Georgewas the first fruit of this union. Hewas the oldest of six children, viz. George,Elizabeth, Samuel, John Augustin, Charlesand Mildred. Mildred died very young.—Georgewas baptized April the 5th, 1732.

The church of England was then almostthe only denomination of Christians in thecolony of Virginia. The parents of GeorgeWashington were members of this church,and brought up their family in the habit ofregular attendance on public worship.


The first school that George attended,was kept by Mr. Hobby, an elderly man,who was both the school master and thesexton of the parish. By this old man, thefather of his country was first taught to read.Although George’s father sent him to thisschool, he took upon himself the oversightof his education, and the pleasing duty ofearly instilling into his mind the principlesof piety and virtue. His manner of doingthis appears by the following anecdotes,which were related to the Rector of MountVernon Parish, by a venerable lady now deceased,who, as a friend and relative, spentmany of her youthful days in the family.

One fine morning in the autumn of 1737,Mr. Washington, having George, then fiveyears old, by the hand, came to the doorand invited cousin Washington and myselfto walk with them to the orchard, promisingto show us a fine sight. On arriving at theorchard, we were presented with a fine sightindeed. The ground, as far as we could see,was covered with mellow apples, and yetthe trees were bending under the weight oftheir fruit. “George,” said his father,“don’t you remember, my son, when thisgood cousin of yours brought you that finelarge apple, last spring, that I could hardly[12]prevail upon you to divide it with yourbrothers and sisters? And don’t you rememberI then told you we ought to begenerous to each other because the Almightyis so bountiful to us?” Poor George couldnot say a word, but hanging down his head,looked quite confused. “Now look around,my son,” continued his father, “and seehow kindly the Almighty has treated us,and learn from this how we ought to treatour fellow creatures.” George looked awhile in silence on the abundance of fruitbefore him, then lifting his eyes to his father,he said, with emotion, “Well, father, onlyforgive me this time, and see if I am ever sostingy any more.”

Mr. Augustine Washington took greatpains early to inspire his son George withthe love of truth. The following anecdoteshows that his endeavors were not withoutsuccess.

When George was about six years old, hebecame the owner of a hatchet, with which,like most other little boys, he was verymuch delighted. He went about choppingevery thing that came in his way. Oneday, in the garden, he unluckily tried theedge of his hatchet upon the body of abeautiful young English cherry tree, which[13]he cut so badly that the tree never recoveredfrom the injury. The next morning hisfather seeing what had befallen the tree,which, by the by, was a great favorite withhim, came into the house, and with muchwarmth, asked who had done the mischief,declaring at the same time, that he wouldnot have taken five guineas for the tree.—Nobodycould tell him any thing about it.Presently George and his hatchet made theirappearance. “George,” said his father, “doyou know who cut that beautiful cherrytree yonder in the garden?” George wastaken by surprise. He hesitated for a moment;but he soon recovered himself.—Lookingat his father, he said, “I will nottell a lie, father, I cut it with my hatchet.”The delighted father, embracing his child,said, “No matter about the tree, George;you have frankly told me the truth. Thoughyou saw I was offended, you were not afraidto do right. The pleasure I enjoy to witnessthis noble conduct in my son is of morevalue to me than a thousand such trees.”

Mr. Washington took the following methodto impress upon his son the existence andwisdom of God from the evidence of designin his works.


On a bed in the garden, well prepared forthe purpose, he traced with a stick the lettersof his son’s name. He then very carefullysowed seed in the small furrows made bythe stick, covered it over and smoothed theground nicely with a roller. In a few daysthe seed came up, and exhibited in largeletters, the words George Washington.—Theysoon caught the eye for which theywere intended. Again and again the astonishedboy read his name, springing upfrom the earth, fresh and green. He ran tohis father and exclaimed, “O father! comehere! come with me and I will show yousuch a sight as you never saw in all yourlife.” Eagerly seizing his father’s hand, hetugged him along through the garden to thespot. “Look there, father,” said he, “didyou ever see such a sight before?” “It isa curious affair, indeed, George.” “But, father,who made my name there?” “It grewthere, my son.” “I know it grew there,but who made the letters so as to spell myname?” “Did they not grow so by chance,my son?” “O no, sir, they never grew soby chance.” “Why not, my son?” “Nobody,”said George, “ever saw a single lettergrow up by chance; and how could a wholename grow up so even and be spelled so[15]exactly right by chance? Somebody plantedit so.” “That is true, George. I plantedit so,” said Mr. Washington, and showedhim how he did it. “Now, George, if letterscould not grow so as to spell your name bychance, how could the world and all thethings and creatures in it be made so exactlysuited to each other and to some useful purpose,by chance?”

Thus happily and profitably to youngWashington passed the days of his earliestyears. Mr. Washington’s family governmentwas steady and reasonable; his treatmentof his children was kind and affectionate.George was an intelligent boy anda dutiful son. Never were parent and childmore strongly attached. But, in the providenceof God, only a few years more wereto be allowed them for the enjoyment ofeach other’s society, on earth.

About the year 1739, when George wasabout seven years old, his father removedfrom his estate on Pope’s Creek to a farmwhich he owned in Stafford county, on theRappahannock river, directly opposite toFredericksburg.

Lawrence Washington, the elder ofGeorge’s two half-brothers, became of agein 1739, and soon afterwards received a[16]Captain’s commission in a regiment raisedin America, and served with the Britishforces in the unsuccessful siege of Carthagena,conducted by Admiral Vernon andGeneral Wentworth. Having been absentin the army about two years, Captain Washingtonreturned to Virginia. A few monthsafter his return, his father was taken ill.—Georgewas then on a visit to some of hisacquaintances, living in Chotanct, in KingGeorge county, about twenty miles from hisfather’s residence. Mr. Washington was atfirst unwilling to interrupt George in theenjoyment of his visit; but after his sicknessbecame alarming, George was sent for, andreached home but just in time to receive theparting blessing of his beloved father. Hedied on the 12th of April, 1743, at the age offorty-nine years. George was then elevenyears old.

Family anecdote—George lives with his half-brotherAugustine about three years, and attends Mr. Williams’sschool—his manuscript book of forms—hisrules of behavior.

About this time, Captain Lawrence Washingtonmarried Ann, the daughter of Mr.William Fairfax, a relation of Lord ThomasFairfax.


Mr. Augustine Washington left his estateon the river Potomac, in Fairfax county, tohis eldest son, Lawrence, who called itMount Vernon, in honor of Admiral Vernon.He left his estate at Pope’s Creek to hissecond son, Augustine. Mrs. AugustineWashington and her family continued toreside on the farm near Fredericksburg.—Uponher now devolved the care of theplantation. Her first born son, George, continuedto live with her some months afterhis father’s death. During this period, acircumstance happened which

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