George Washington, Volume I eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 383 pages of information about George Washington, Volume I.
would be absurd; but that a series of rules which most lads would have regarded as simply dull should have been written out and pondered by this boy indicates a soberness and thoughtfulness of mind which certainly are not usual at that age.  The chief thought that runs through all the sayings is to practice self-control, and no man ever displayed that most difficult of virtues to such a degree as George Washington.  It was no ordinary boy who took such a lesson as this to heart before he was fifteen, and carried it into his daily life, never to be forgotten.  It may also be said that very few boys ever needed it more; but those persons who know what they chiefly need, and pursue it, are by no means common.

[Footnote 1:  An account of this volume was given in the New York Tribune in 1866, and also in the Historical Magazine (x. 47).]

[Footnote 2:  The most important are given in Sparks’ Writings of Washington, ii. 412, and they may be found complete in the little pamphlet concerning them, excellently edited by Dr. J.M.  Toner, of Washington.]



While Washington was working his way through the learning purveyed by Mr. Williams, he was also receiving another education, of a much broader and better sort, from the men and women among whom he found himself, and with whom he made friends.  Chief among them was his eldest brother, Lawrence, fourteen years his senior, who had been educated in England, had fought with Vernon at Carthagena, and had then returned to Virginia, to be to him a generous father and a loving friend.  As the head of the family, Lawrence Washington had received the lion’s share of the property, including the estate at Hunting Creek, on the Potomac, which he christened Mount Vernon, after his admiral, and where he settled down and built him a goodly house.  To this pleasant spot George Washington journeyed often in vacation time, and there he came to live and further pursue his studies, after leaving school in the autumn of 1747.

Lawrence Washington had married the daughter of William Fairfax, the proprietor of Belvoir, a neighboring plantation, and the agent for the vast estates held by his family in Virginia.  George Fairfax, Mrs. Washington’s brother, had married a Miss Gary, and thus two large and agreeable family connections were thrown open to the young surveyor when he emerged from school.  The chief figure, however, in that pleasant winter of 1747-48, so far as an influence upon the character of Washington is concerned, was the head of the family into which Lawrence Washington had married.  Thomas, Lord Fairfax, then sixty years of age, had come to Virginia to live upon and look after the kingdom which he had inherited in the wilderness.  He came of a noble and distinguished race.  Graduating at Oxford with credit, he served in the army, dabbled in literature, had his fling

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