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even a handful of troops to protect the frontier. There were practically no laws, because there was no post-office to convey intelligence of what congress was doing. There were no jails, and the punishment of criminals had to be left to heaven or to Judge Lynch. “We are at the lowest round of the ladder,” wrote the Austin City Gazette in 1840.
In their wish for annexation the Texans were almost unanimous, but on this question the voice of congress and of the country at large was divided. The north opposed annexation because it would increase the area and political strength of the slave power, and because it would eventually lead to a war with Mexico. For the former reason, the south and the southern members of congress were anxious hat Texas should be made a state as soon as possible.
In 1844 the Presidential election turned on the question of annexation or no annexation, Henry Clay being the candidate of the Whig party and James K. Polk of the Democratic. It was this question also which lost Van Buren a second nomination at this time. Van Buren's friends had made strong demonstrations in favor of his renomination, and the chances are that he might have won it if he had not so openly avowed his opposition to the annexation of Texas.
So positive and unmistakable a verdict had thus been given in favor of annexation in the election of Polk, that congress could hesitate no longer. Before President Polk took his seat, a resolution which had come up at the previous session, and had then been rejected, was adopted by congress, and on the last day of his term of office, President Tyler sent a message to the Texan government, with a copy of the joint resolution of congress in favor of annexation. These were considered by a Texan convention called for the purpose of forming a state constitution, who approved the measure on July 4, 1845, "hus constituting Texas one of the states of the Union.
WASHINGTON, THE CINCINNATUS OF
N all the pages of ancient history there is no character that stands
out in so simple and dignified lines as that of Cincinnatus. The story is a familiar one. In one of the numerous wars between the Romans and the Aequians, the Roman general, Minucius, by a series of rash exploits, put his army into such a position that they were completely hemmed in by the enemy. Five horsemen who managed to escape carried the news of their disaster to Rome, and the senate in alarm sent messengers to Cincinnatus, a noble patriot and former consul, who had retired from affairs of state to his little farm on the banks of the Tiber, begging him to come and save the state, as its dictator. When the messengers reached Cincinnatus, they found him engaged in plowing his fields. Breathless, they told him that the supreme comniand of the imperiled state had been put into his hands. Without a word, the noble old Roman reached out his hand for his toga, put it about his shoulders and followed his messengers to Rome.. In three days he had collected an army with which he went out against the enemy, and "hewed them hip and thigh.” The battle was short, and in twenty-four hours after leaving Rome, he reëntered with a conquered army in chains at his side. He had saved his country, and turning aside with his hand the crown they would have placed upon his head, “I must needs see after my plowing,” he said, and withdrew to his little farm on the Tiber.
Between the character of Cincinnatus and that of Washington there is more than a fanciful parallel. And not alone in the characters, but in the careers of these two simply great men, is there a striking likeness. Cincinnatus had been a successful general and was made
consul. Washington led his country through the darkest and most perilous hours of its existence, and was given the highest honors it was in the power of the country to offer. But Cincinnatus was glad to lay aside the power of the consulate, and retire to the simple freedom of his country home. And perhaps in all Washington's strongly marked character, no trait is more prominent than his love for his country life and his longing to get back to it. In all the hardships of his army life, borne so unflinchingly that one forgets the heroism such fortitude involved, there is nothing so touching and so pathetic as the tired man's outburst, near the close of his Presidential life, in the stress of that opposition and insult engendered by the despicable Genet. “I have never repented but once," he cried out, “the having slipped the moment of resigning my office, and that has been every moment since. I would rather be in my grave than be President; 1 would rather be on my farm than be emperor of the world. And yet they are charging me with wanting to be a king!'
During these last trying months of his second term as President, he thought of nothing so much, cared so much for nothing, as to get back to his dear home at Mt. Vernon. “It is almost impossible for me,” he wrote, “to support the time until I may turn my back on all this strife and enter the quiet of my own home again.” It would seem as though some presentiment were continually present with him, whispering that the years of his life were very few, and urging him to spend them in the peaceful life he had so earned. And when the time for his withdrawal came, and he found himself once more under the shelter of his own roof, his delight was as keenly felt and as simply expressed as that of a little child.
Yet once more did he prove that the fires of patriotism in his breast were inextinguishable. During the year following his retirement. war-clouds began to threaten again, this time coming from the direction of France. War seemed inevitable. A provisional army was raised and Washington was made its commander-in-chief. "It was with a heavy heart that he found his dream of repose once more interrupted; but his strong fidelity to duty would not permit him to hesitate. He accepted the commission, however, with the condition that he should not be called into the field until the army was in a situation to require his presence, or it should become indispensable by the urgency of circumstances." When it was arranged to raise the army, he went to Philadelphia, and spent there five laborious wecks in consulting and arranging as to its organization, equipment and
disposition. War with France was averted, though not without serious compromise to the dignity of the United States, and Washington was saved from so severe a physical tax as the conduct of another campaign would have provon. But the loyalty was there none the less, and the very spirit of unspotted patriotism that flared up in the breast of the first Cincinnatus, as he took his hand from the plow and followed his summoners to Rome.
As in the history of the old world there has never shone a loftier example of pure patriotism and simple dignity than was Cincinnatus, so in all the history of the great new world, when its eventful record shall be complete, there will never be found a more perfect type of the patriot and of the man than was George Washington.
PRESIDENTS PRIOR TO WASHINGTON.
*HE highest American office prior to the adoption of the Consti
tution and the election of Washington as President of the United States, was that of president of the Continental congress, which first met in 1774. The holders of that office, with the date of their election by the various congresses over which they presided, were as follows:
Peyton Randolph .........
....May 19, 1775 .. November 1, 1777 December 10, 1778 ..September 28, 1779
July 10, 1781 .November 5, 1781 .November 5, 1782
.. October 3, 1783 .November 30, 1784
... January 6, 1786
February 2, 1787 ......January 22, 1788