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his opinions and habits. He says expressly, that "without making ostentatious professions of religion, he (Washington) was a sincere believer in the Christian faith and a truly devout man. (Marshall's life of Washington, vol. II. p. 445, abridged edition.) Such, we believe, was the general impression among all those who had the best means of judging and whose convictions have most weight. It was expressed too, all over the land, in the public addresses which were delivered immediately after his death; and we have never seen good reason to doubt its correctness. We will give two or three extracts from these discourses. The first is from an oration pronounced at Portsmouth, N. H., by J. M. Sewall, Esq.:

"To crown all these moral virtues, he had the deepest sense of religion impressed on his heart; the true foundation-stone of all the moral virtues. This he constantly manifested on all proper occasions. He was a firm believer in the Christian religion; and, at his first entrance on his civil administration, he made it known, and adhered to his purpose, that no secular business could be transacted with him on the day set apart by Christians for the worship of the Deity.

"Though he was, from principle, a member of the Episcopal church, he was candid and liberal in the highest degree, not only to all sects and denominations of Christians, but to all religions, where the professors were sincere, throughout the world.

"He constantly attended the public worship of God on the Lord's day, was a communicant at His table, and by his devout and solemn deportment, inspired every beholder with some portion of that awe and reverence for the Supreme Being, of which he felt so large a portion." p. 358, 59.

The following is from an address at Exeter N. H., by J. Smith, Esq.:

"In our country there are few who will hesitate to acknowledge the obligations we are under to make the concerns of another world the governing principle of our lives in this; and that Christianity is the highest ornament of human nature. WASHINGTON practised upon this belief. He publicly professed the religion in which he was educated; and his life affords the best evidence of the purity of his principles, and the sincerity of his faith.

"He had all the genuine mildness of Christianity with all its force. He was neither ostentatious nor ashamed of his Christian profession. He pursued in this, as in every thing else, the happy mean between the extremes of levity and gloominess, indifference and austerity. His religion became him. He brought it with him. into office, and he did not lose it there." p. 379, 80.

The following is from the Rev. Devereux Jarratt, and was delivered in Dinwiddie county, Virginia:

"He was a professor of Christianity, and a member of the Pro

VOL. I.-NO. I.


testant Episcopal Church. He always acknowledged the superintendence of Divine Providence; and from his inimitable writings, we find him a warm advocate for a sound morality, founded on the principles of religion, the only basis on which it can stand. Nor did I ever meet with the most distant insinuation, that his private life was not a comment on his own admired page." p. 393.

Mr. M'Guire has brought together a great variety of evidence illustrating the consistency of Washington's practice with his religious profession-in his habits of regular and devout attendance at church, and his regard for the institutions of religion. Early in the course of his military career, while occupying Fort Necessity, it was his custom to have prayers in the camp. The following year, according to the testimony of an old soldier, adduced by Mr. M'Guire, Washington read the funeral service over the remains of General Braddock, by the light of a torch. The author remarks, that "it was very common at that day, and long afterward, with gentlemen in Virginia to perform such offices in the absence of a clergyman."


"After this period, he was engaged in the French and Indian war for some years. Of his habits, during the vicissitudes of that trying contest, one of his aids, Colonel B. Temple, of King William county, Virginia, has been often heard to say, that, frequently on the Sabbath, he has known Colonel Washington to perform divine service with his regiment, reading the scriptures and praying with them, when no chaplain could be had.' For a considerable part of the time during that border war, his regiment was without a chaplain, of which he often complained in his communications with the governor. In all these he manifested his high sense of the propriety and importance of public worship. In a subsequent letter to the President of the Council, he says:

"The last Assembly, in their Supply Bill, provided for a chaplain to our regiment. On this subject I had often, without any success, applied to Governor Dinwiddie. I now flatter myself that your Honor will be pleased to appoint a sober, serious man, for this duty. Common decency, sir, in a camp, calls for the services of a divine; which ought not to be dispensed with, although the world should be so uncharitable as to think us void of religion and incapable of good instructions.'" p. 138.

After the close of the French and Indian war, he married and settled at Mt. Vernon. From his private diary of the year 1760, Mr. M'Guire gives several passages, showing his habit of regular attendance at Church. At a period something later than this, we find him a vestry man of his parish church, and actively exerting himself for the rebuilding of the edifice which had become dilapidated :

"It was here," says our author, "at the new or Pohick church, that

Washington habitually attended, from the period of its erection till the commencement of the revolutionary war. Here he offered his adorations to the God and Father of all, and here received the symbols of a Saviour's love at the hands of the consecrated servant of the altar.

"The Rev. Lee Massey was the rector of the parish at the time here referred to. He was a highly respectable man, and shared much of the esteem of Washington. In regard to the religious deportment of his distinguished friend, especially in the house of God, he has often been heard to express himself in the following strain: "I never knew so constant an attendant on church as Washington. And his behavior in the house of God, was ever so deeply reverential, that it produced the happiest effects on my congregation; and greatly assisted me in my pulpit labors. No company ever withheld him from church. I have often been at Mount Vernon, on the Sabbath morning, when his breakfast table was filled with guests; but to him they furnished no pretext for neglecting his God, and losing the satisfaction of setting a good example. For instead of staying at home, out of false complaisance to them, he used constantly to invite them to accompany him." p. 141, 42.

In regard to Washington's being a communicant-a point about which a good deal of doubt has been expressed—we will give the substance of what is to be found in this book. We may remark, by the way, that the personal opinion of Mr. M'Guire is entitled to more than ordinary weight, from the fact of his being connected by marriage with the family of Washington, and having some special advantages for forming a correct judgment. Besides the statement quoted above, Mr. M'Guire elsewhere says that he "considers it certain that Washington did partake of the Lord's Supper." He then goes on to say:


Among the aged persons residing in the neighborhood of Mount Vernon, and the descendants of such others as have recently gone down to the grave, there is but one opinion in regard to the fact of his having been a communicant in Pohick Church, previous to the revolutionary war. The writer himself had it from a respectable lady, that she once heard her mother unqualifiedly declare, that General Washington was a communicant in that church, in the vicinity of which she had her residence, and on the services of which she attend

d. A living grand-daughter of the Rev. Lee Massey, rector of Mount Vernon Parish, for some years after Washington's marriage-says, her grandfather on a special occasion, told her the same thing in answer to a particular inquiry on the subject." p. 411.

The Rev. Dr. Richards, of Auburn, in a letter to the author, referring to a report of Washington's having partaken of the communion at Morristown, in New-Jersey, while the army was encamped there in 1780, thus writes: "I became a resi

The report

dent in that town in the summer of 1794. that Washington did actually receive the communion from the hands of Dr. Johnes was universally current during that period, and so far as I know, never contradicted. I have often heard it from the members of Dr. Johnes family. *** It is scarcely possible that they should have been deceived, and their characters are too well known to suppose them willing to deceive others."

We shall only add, on this point, the following from a volume of sermons recently published by the Rev. Dr. Chapman, of Portland:

"He (George Washington) lived at a period when there were less verbal pretensions on the subject of religion, than have become exceeding fashionable in modern times, and the consequence is, that in his life, we have more of the substance than the parade of piety. Still he was an open and avowed follower of the Lord of glory. From the lips of a lady of undoubted veracity, yet living, and a worthy com. municant of the church, I received the interesting fact, that soon after the close of the revolutionary war, she saw him partake of the consecrated symbols of the body and blood of Christ, in Trinity Church, in the city of New-York." p. 414.

In 1774, Washington was a member of the Virginia house of burgesses, at Williamsburg. Information having been received of the Boston Port Bill, passed by the British Parliament, to take effect on the 1st of June, the house appointed that day "to be set apart as a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer." The following entry is found in a diary kept by Washington at that time:


June 1st, Wednesday.-Went to church, and fasted all


In the year 1775, he was appointed commander-in-chief of the American army.

"The day after he took command of the army an order was issued, in which we find the following injunction:

"The General requires and expects of all officers and soldiers, not engaged on actual duty, a punctual attendance on divine service, to implore the blessing of heaven upon the means used for our safety and defence.'

"A few days after this order was published, the Rev. William Emerson, a chaplain in the army, writes to a friend :

"There is great overturning in the camp as to order and regu larity. New lords, new laws. The Generals Washington and Lee are upon the lines every day. New orders from his Excellency are read to the respective regiments every morning, after prayers,' &c.

"The subjoined extracts, from orders issued from time to time

will serve to witness the great care of the commander to encourage this duty:

"From the Orderly Book, May 15th, 1776 :-The continental congress have ordered Friday, the 17th instant, to be observed as a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer, humbly to supplicate the mercy of Almighty God, that it would please him to pardon our manifold sins and transgressions, and to prosper the arms of the United Colonies, and finally establish the peace and freedom of America upon a solid and lasting foundation; the General commands all officers and soldiers to pay strict obedience to the orders of the continental congress; that, by their unfeigned and pious observance of their religious duties, they may incline the Lord and Giver of victory to prosper our arms.'

"From the Orderly Book, Aug. 3d.-That the troops may have an opportunity of attending public worship, as well as to take some rest after the great fatigue they have gone through, the General, in future, excuses them from fatigue duty on Sunday, except at the shipyards, or on special occasions, till further orders.'

"In a Circular from the Commander-in-chief to the brigadier generals, dated the 26th of May, 1777, are the following instructions :'Let vice and immorality, of every kind, be discouraged as much as possible in your brigade; and as a chaplain is allowed to each regiment, see that the men regularly attend divine worship.'

"From the Orderly Book, October 7th. The situation of the army frequently not admitting of the regular performance of divine service, on Sundays, the chaplains of the army are forthwith to meet together, and agree on some method of performing it at other times, which method they will make known to the Commander-in-chief.'

"From the Orderly Book, Dec. 17th, 1777, near Valley Forge. 'To-morrow being the day set apart by the honorable Congress for public thanksgiving and praise; and duty calling us devoutly to express our grateful acknowledgments to God for the manifold bless. ings he has granted us, the General directs that the army remain in its present quarters, and that the chaplains perform divine service with their several corps and brigades; and earnestly exhorts all officers and soldiers, whose absence is not indispensably necessary, to attend with reverence the solemnities of the day.'

"The interruptions which sometimes occurred, preventing divine service being performed in camp, did not interfere with attention to the duty on the part of the Commander-in-chief. For one of his secretaries, Judge Harrison, has often been heard to say, that "whenever the General could be spared from camp, on the Sabbath, he never failed riding out to some neighboring church, to join those who were publicly worshipping the Great Creator. This was done by him, we presume, when there was no public worship in camp." p. 144, 146.

Speaking of him after he became president of the United States, Mr. M'Guire says:

"In this exalted station his conduct continued to be distinguished

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