* * * * *
BY CHARLES WENTWORTH UPHAM
Among the mountain passes of the Blue Ridge and the Alleghanies, a youth is seen employed in the manly and invigorating occupation of a surveyor, and awakening the admiration of the backwoodsmen and savage chieftains by the strength and endurance of his frame and the resolution and energy of his character. In his stature and conformation he is a noble specimen of a man. In the various exercises of muscular power, on foot, or in the saddle, he excels all competitors. His admirable physical traits are in perfect accordance with the properties of his mind and heart; and over all, crowning all, is a beautiful, and, in one so strong, a strange dignity of manner, and of mien—a calm seriousness, a sublime self-control, which at once compels the veneration, attracts the confidence, and secures the favor of all who behold him. That youth is the Leader whom Heaven is preparing to conduct America through her approaching trial.
As we see him voluntarily relinquishing the enjoyments, luxuries, and ease of the opulent refinement in which he was born and bred, and choosing the perils and hardships of the wilderness; as we follow him fording swollen streams, climbing rugged mountains, breasting the forest storms, wading through snowdrifts, sleeping in the open air, living upon the coarse food of hunters and of Indians, we trace with devout admiration the divinely appointed education he was receiving to enable him to meet and endure the fatigues, exposures, and privations of the War of Independence.
Soon he was called to a more public sphere of action; and we again, follow him in his romantic adventures as he travels the far-off wilderness, a special messenger to the French commander on the Ohio, and afterwards, when he led forth the troops of Virginia in the same direction, or accompanied the ill-starred Braddock to the blood-stained banks of the Monongahela. Everywhere we see the hand of God conducting him into danger, that he might extract from it the wisdom of an experience not otherwise to be obtained, and develop those heroic qualities by which alone danger and difficulty can be surmounted; but all the while covering him with a shield.