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and they were soon playing upon their former masters. The efforts of the New Englanders were next directed against the fort, which well deserved its reputation for strength. Its massive walls were forty feet thick at the base and about twenty-five feet high. They were surrounded by a deep ditch, eighty feet in width, and were defended by nearly 200 cannon and a garrison of 1,600 men. After a siege of about six weeks, the French surrendered.

229. The news of this victory was received at Boston with public rejoicings. The people felt proud of having struck so important a blow without the aid of the mother country. They even proposed to follow up their success with an invasion of Canada; but the British Ministry, unwilling to en courage the military power of the colonies, would not cooperate with them, and the scheme was abandoned. The treaty of Aix la Chapelle (āx lah sha-pel'] put an end to the war in 1748. According to its provisions, Louisburg was restored to the French, and the brave men of New England were thus deprived of the fruits of their valor.

CHAPTER XXIX.

COMMENCEMENT OF WASHINGTON'S CAREER. 230. The peace of Aix la Chapelle left the opposing claims of France and England in the new world still unsettled. While the states of Europe were discussing the terms of this treaty, the boy who was to decide many of the questions it involved, and to fix the destiny of America, was surveying wild lands and running boundary lines in the woods of Virginia. This boy was George Washington.

231. Washington was born at Pope's Creek, West-more'

hold out? 229. How was the news of this victory received at Boston? What did the colonists propose to do? Why did not the British Ministry favor the scheme? What treaty put an end to the war? When ? By its provisions, what disposition was made of Louisburg ?

230. What is said of the peace of Aix la Chapelle ? 231. Where was Washing

1732]

HIS PARENTAGE AND YOUTH.

155

land County, Virginia, on the 11th of February (the 22d, according to the New Style *), 1732. He sprung from an ancient family, whose original name was Wes'-syng-ton. Several of his ancestors were prominent at different periods of English history, and his great-grandfather, who emigrated to America in 1657, had led the forces of Virginia against the Indians. His father, Augustine Washington, died when he was eleven years old; his mother lived to see him the head of a nation. She was a woman of extraordinary powers, and to her wise and high-toned instructions her distinguished son owed much of that intellectual and moral excellence which has immortalized his name.

At school, the young George was a general favorite. He is described as having an expressive face, a rich complexion, a clear blue eye, a winning smile, and an erect, athletic figure. His mind was as vigorous as his frame; and in all sports and exercises, as well as the mimic military manoeuvres which the young mountaineers made a part of their education, he was an acknowledged leader. So, in his studies he was surpassed by none. Books, containing his sums and exercises, still preserved, show that care and precision were even at this early period marked traits of his character.

At sixteen, Washington was a proficient in geometry and trigonometry. Surveying he had practically applied in the

* Washington was born on the 11th of February. His birthday is celebrated on the 22d, because the date has been reduced to the New Style of chronology. To correct an error occasioned by the imperfect calendar then prevalent, and make the months correspond with the seasons, the British Parliament, in 1752, retrenched eleven days in September, ordering that the 3d of that month should pass for the 14th. Historians, in giving the dates of events prior to that time, have in some cases, as in that of Washington's birthday, conformed them to the New Style.

ton born? When? [See Note.-What is meant by Old and New Style ?] What is said of Washington's family? What have we already learned about his greatgrandfather! How old was Washington when his father died? What is said of his mother? How was the young George regarded at school? In what terms is he described? What are still preserved? At sixteen, in what was Washington

MOUNT VERNON.

grounds about his school - house. He was familiar even with its more difficult problems, and made his calculations with ease and accuracy.

About this time, his brother Lawrence invited him to his estate on the Potomac, called “ Mount Vernon”, in memory of the English admiral of that name.

Here George became acquainted with Lord Fairfax, an extensive land-proprietor, who employed him to survey a large tract on the south branch of the Potomac. The opportunity thus afforded of perfecting himself in the art, was not neglected. In this romantic region, the luxuriance of nature yielded him abundant food for admiration, while the wild beast that crossed his path, and the wandering savage, with his proud paint and girdle of scalps, proved the depth of the solitude. A little straw, or a heap of dry leaves, by the camp-fire, was his bed at night. He was “himself his own cook, having no spit but a forked stick, no plate but a large chip”.

232. In 1749, a company, which included Lawrence and Augustine Washington among its members, obtained from the English crown a grant of 500,000 acres on the Ohio. It was called the Ohio Company, and its objects were to trade with the Indians, and settle the country west of the Alleghanies. But in this the French had a voice. The valley of the Ohio had already been visited by their agents, who had

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a proficient? Where had he practised surveying? What invitation was extended to him about this time? With whom did he become acquainted ? How did Lord Fairfax employ him ? Describe the region in which he was thus engaged. 232. In 1749, what company was formed ? For what did they obtain a

1752]

HIS MISSION TO THE FRENCH FORT.

157

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taken possession of it in the name of their country, and sought to make friends and allies of its Indian occupants. They had built a fort at Presq’ Ile ( press keel], now Erie, and in 1752 showed what course they intended to pursue by breaking up a British post on the Miami, and carrying off its occupants to Canada. The chief of the Miami confederacy, who had bravely defended the English, was taken prisoner, and inhumanly killed and eaten by the savage allies of the French.

Alarmed by these movements, the Shawnees, Delawares, and other Ohio Indians, sent the brave Half King to Erie, to remonstrate with the French commissioners. “You and the English are white,” said he, “and we live in a country between you. The land belongs to neither of you. The Great Being above allowed it to be a dwelling-place for us.” “It is my land," answered the haughty Frenchman; "and I will have it, let who will stand up against it.” On hearing that the Half King's mission had been unsuccessful, the western tribes quickly sent ambassadors to the English at Carlisle [kar-lile'], Pennsylvania. They were met by the wise Franklin, who conciliated them with gifts and promises of protection.

233. The French had now established posts at Waterford and Venango, in northwestern Pennsylvania; and Governor Din-wid'-die, of Virginia, determined to send a trusty messenger to the comm

mander, to demand the reason of his intrusion on English territory. Washington was selected, at the age of twenty-one, for this important mission. Two years before, through the influence of Fairfax, he had been appointed adjutant-general.

On the 31st of October, 1753, Washington left Williamsburg, the capital of Virginia. After twenty-four days of diligent and fatiguing travel, he reached the place where Pittsburg now stands, and was struck with the military and

grant? What were their objects? Who had a voice in this matter? Where had the French built a fort? What course did they pursue ? What was done to the Miami chief? Give an account of the interview between the Indian ambassador and the French authorities at Erie. What did the Indians next do? By whom were they met at Carlisle ? 233. Where had the Frencb established posts ? (See

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VALLEY OF THE OHIO IN 1750. (Washington's Route from Williamsburg, Va., to the French forts is denoted thus ----)

commercial advantages of the position. At Logstown he held a friendly conference with the Indians, who declared themselves firm friends of his nation; and thence, with the Half King and other chiefs, he proceeded to Venango. Here he obtained no satisfaction. The commander boastfully declared that his nation intended seizing on the whole of the

Map.-Where were these posts? On what water was Presq' Ile? Where is the Miami River? At the junction of what two rivers is Pittsburg? What place was a few miles lower down, on the Ohio ?] On what did Gov. Dinwiddie resolve? Who was selected for this mission? How old was he? What rank did he hold ? When did Washington start ? Describe his route. What took place

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