FEW great men are great in every thing. But in
the last testament of this extraordinary American, we
see some things altogether characteristic.
When Benedict Arnold came to die, he said--"I bequeath my soul to God."
When Henry Laurens, president of the first congress, came to die, he said, "My flesh is too good for
worms: I give it to the flames;" which was done.
But Washington makes no preamble about his soul
or body. As to his soul, having made it his great
business to re-instamp on it the image of God, he
doubted not but it would be remembered, when Christ
should come "to make up his jewels."
And as to his body, that admirable piece of divine
mechanism, so long the honoured servant of duty to
his God and his country, he trusted, that, though "sown
in dishonour, it would one day be raised in glory;"
so leaving it to rest in hope, he proceeds to the following distribution of his worldly goods:
- Ist. Though an old husband of 68, yet, with the
gallantry and warm affection of a young groom, he
gives the whole of his estate (530,ooo dollars) to his
beloved wife Martha.
- 2d. Like a pure republican, he orders all his slaves
to be liberated, at certain ages, on his wife's death--
lamenting, that from obstacles insurmountable, he could
not have done it earlier.
- 3d. He confirms his former donations, viz. 4000
dollars to a charity school in the town of Alexandria;
10, 000 dollars to Liberty Hall Academy, Rockbridge
county, Virginia; and 20,000 dollars to a national university, to be founded in Washington; with this re-
mark: " It has always been a source of serious regret
with me, to see the youth of these United States sent
to foreign countries for education, often before their
minds were formed, or they had imbibed just ideas of
the happiness of their own; contracting too frequently,
not only habits of dissipation and extravagance, but
principles unfriendly to republican government, and to
the true and genuine liberties of mankind.
- " For these reasons, it has been my ardent wish to
see a university in a central part of the union, to
which the youth of fortune and talents, from all parts
thereof, may be sent for the completion of their education in all the branches of polite and useful learning,
and especially of politics and good government; and
also that, by associating with each other, and forming
friendships in early life, they may be enabled to free
themselves from those local prejudices and state jealousies, which are never-failing sources of disquietude to the public mind, and pregnant with mischievous con-
sequences to this country."
- 4th. Having no children, he bequeaths the whole
of his estate, a few legacies excepted, to the children,
23 in number, of his brothers and sister; and, like a
generous and affectionate relative, he gave to the children of his half brother, Augustin, equally as to thoseof his own brothers. And, 'tis a most pleasing fact, he
gave to his wife's grand-children in like liberal measure
with his own nieces and nephews! the part given to
each has been computed at 20,000 dollars.
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