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6. If there is an individual in the morning of life who has not yet made his choice between the flowery path of indulgence and the rough ascent of honest industry — if there is one who is ashamed to get his living by any branch of honest labor let him reflect that the youth who was carrying the theodolite and surveyor's chain through the mountain passes of the Alleghanies, in the month of March, sleeping on a bundle of hay before the fire in a settler's log cabin, and not ashamed to boast that he did it for his doubloon a day, is George Washington; that the life he led trained him up to command the armies of United America; that the money he earned was the basis of that fortune which enabled him afterwards to bestow his services, without reward, on a bleeding and impoverished country.
7. For three years was the young Washington employed, the greater part of the time, and whenever the season would permit, in this laborious and healthful occupation; and I know not if it would be deemed unbecoming, were a thoughtful student of our history to say that he could almost hear the voice of Providence in the language of Milton announce its high purpose :
“ To exercise him in the wilderness ;
- EDWARD EVERETT.
A GOOD CONSCIENCE
What stronger breastplate than a heart untainted ?
XVI. WASHINGTON IN RETIREMENT
1. There is no part of Washington's career which commands more admiration than his private life after he had retired from the presidency of the United States. Having served his country as a soldier and a chief magistrate, he had yet something to do, - to set a great and noble example in the surrender of power and personal ambition. The following passages will show that in this, as in everything else, he seems to be superior to almost all other
2. Being established again at Mount Vernon, and freed from public toils and cares, Washington returned to the same habits of life and the same pursuits that he had always practiced at that place. In writing to a friend, a few weeks after his return, he said that he began his daily course with the rising of the sun, and first made preparations for the business of the day.
3. “By the time I have accomplished these matters," he adds, " breakfast is ready. This being over, I mount my horse and ride round my farms, which employs me until it is time to dress for dinner; at which I rarely miss seeing strange faces, come, as they say, out of respect for me.
4. “The usual time of sitting at table, a walk, and tea, bring me within the dawn of candlelight; previous to which, if not prevented by company, I resolve that, as soon as the glimmering taper supplies the place of the great luminary, I will retire to my writing-table, and reply to the letters I have received. This history of a day will serve for a year.”
5. And in this manner a year passed away, and with no other variety than that of the change of visitors, who came
from all parts to pay their respects or gratify their curiosity.
6. The feelings of Washington on being relieved from the solicitude and burdens of office were forcibly expressed in letters to his friends. “At length,” said he, in writing to Lafayette, “I have become a private citizen on the banks of the Potomac.
7. “ Under the shadow of my own vine and fig tree, free from the bustle of a camp, and the busy scenes of public life, I am solacing myself with those tranquil enjoyments of which the soldier, who is ever in pursuit of fame, the statesman, whose watchful days and sleepless nights are spent in devising schemes to promote the welfare of his own, perhaps the ruin of other countries — as if this globe were insufficient for us all — and the courtier, who is always watching the countenance of his prince, in hopes of catching a gracious smile, can have very little conception.
8. “I have not only retired from all public employments, but I am retiring within myself, and shall be able to view the solitary walk and tread the paths of private life with heartfelt satisfaction. Envious of none, I am determined to be pleased with all."
XVII. COUNSELS OF WASHINGTON
1. Born in a land of liberty, having early learned its value, having engaged in the perilous conflict to defend it - having, in a word, devoted the best years of my life to secure its permanent establishment in my own country -my anxious recollections, my sympathetic feelings, and my best wishes are irresistibly attracted whensoever, in any