George Washington Sat Here … And Here …

James Fenimore Cooper told him; Charles Sumner and Ralph Waldo Emerson told him; even Charles Bulfinch, one of the architects of the Capitol, told him; but Horatio Greenough knew his own mind. The gigantic monument to George Washington taking shape in Greenough’s Florentine studio was to be “the birth of my thought.Read more »

Addressee Unknown

In the spring and summer of 1776 there were many Englishmen who earnestly hoped that the mutual abrasions of the colonies and the mother country might be healed without further violence. Among them were the famous Howe brothers—Sir William, commander m chief of the British army m America, and Lord Richard, topadmiral of the corresponding naval forces. When Lord Howe reached America in June, 1776, he brought with him a royal commission to grant pardons, and thereby to attempt a reconciliation.Read more »

Gentleman Johnny’s Wandering Army

Defeated at Saratoga, Burgoyne’s troops faced nearly five years of enforced exile in a hostile countryside

On October 17, 1777, Elijah Fisher confided the following information to his diary: … Gen. Burgoin and his howl army surrendered themselves Prisoners of Ware and Come to Captelate with our army and Gen. Gates. … Then at one of the Clock five Brigades was sent for Albeny (for there come nuse that Gen. Clinton was a comin up the North river). … Gen. Clinton having nuse that Gen. Birgoyne had capetlated and had surrendered his army prisoners of war he Returned back to New York. … Read more »

England’s Vietnam: The American Revolution

A domino theory, distant wilderness warfare, the notion of “defensive enclaves,” hawks, doves, hired mercenaries, possible intervention by hostile powers, a Little trouble telling friendly natives from unfriendly—George III went through the whole routine

If it is true that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it, America’s last three Presidents might have profited by examining the ghostly footsteps of America’s last king before pursuing their adventure in Vietnam. As the United States concludes a decade of war in Southeast Asia, it is worth recalling the time, two centuries ago, when Britain faced the same agonizing problems in America that we have met in Vietnam.Read more »

The Paper Trust

To begin with, the Presidential libraries do not look like what they are. Each one is, in fact, a miniature Office of Public Records. And scholars who frequent such offices know that they are found in capital cities, in buildings that are heavy, ornamented, slowly discoloring monuments to bureaucrats dead and gone. The National Archives of the United States—America’s public records—are, to give one example, housed in an oversized Greek temple near the intersection of Constitution and Pennsylvania avenues in Washington, D.C. Read more »

“A Melancholy Case”

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In reprisal for a Tory atrocity, Washington ordered the hanging of a captive British officer chosen by lot. He was nineteen.

From One Humble Servant To Another

For all its wars and difficulties the eighteenth century was a delightful time, as this charming exchange of letters attests. The English gentleman who wrote the first one was Jacob Bouvene, 2nd Earl of Radnor, seen next to his massive country house, Longford Castle, in Salisbury, Wiltshire. He had been a pro-American Whig member of the Commons until he inherited his title and moved to the Lords in 1776.Read more »

The Jay Papers III: The Trials Of Chief Justice Jay

In the public mind there has always clung to the person and the office of a justice of the United States Supreme Court an aura as close to priestliness as our secular political system admits of. It seems fitting, somehow, that the white marble building in which the Court deliberates strongly resembles a classical temple.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The Trumpet Sounds Again

WASHINGTON AFTER THE REVOLUTION: II

Washington had, during 1775, attended the Second Continental Congress as a delegate from what he then regarded as “my country,” Virginia. Virginia was considering a military alliance with the other twelve colonies, but to achieve this was no easy matter. During their long histories the colonies had been jealous of each other, with practically no political connection other than that which was now dissolving: their allegiance to the crown.

 
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The Death Of A Hero

Mortally ill as his century dwindled to its close, Washington was helped to his grave by physicians who clung to typical eighteenth-century remedies. But he died as nobly as he had lived

The man who had been most jealous of George Washington for the longest time was John Adams. Adams was like the fisherman who had let the genie out of a bottle and not been able to get him back in again. He was convinced that he had created Washington in 1775 when, in his desire to get the South to join with New England against the British army, he had suggested that the Virginia colonel be made Commander in Chief. No sooner had Washington been elected than envy began.

 
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