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apprehension of this induce me to offer my sentiments
in future with the more reluctance 2 In a word under
whatever pretence, and however customary these gra
tuities may be in other countries, should I not thence
forward be considered as a dependant One moment's
thought of which would give me more pain than I
should receive pleasure from the product of all the
tolls, was every farthing of them vested in me.”
After great deliberation, he determined to appro-
priate the shares to such publick uses as the Legisla-
ture should approve. In communicating this determi-
nation through the Governour, to the General As
semblv, he begged him to assure them that he was
“filled on the occasion with every sentiment which can
flow from a heart, warm w” h love to his country
sensible to every token of its approbation and affection,
and solicitous to testify in every instance a respectful
attention to its wishes.” According to his desire, the
shares were appropriated to the support of a college in
the vicinity of each of those rivers.
The Cincinnati had in their original constitution
secured perpetuity of existence to their society. The
eldest male posterity of the officers were to succeed to
the places of their fathers, and in the failure of them,
a collateral branch might be introduced. Individuals
also of the respective states, distinguished for their
talents and patriotism, might be admitted as honora-
ry members for life. In this part of the institution,
some American patriots thought they perceived the
seeds of an order of robility, and publick jealousy was
excited against the society. General WASHINGTon,
their President, conceived that if popular prejudices
could not be removed, the society ought “to yield to
them in a degree, and not suffer that which was in-
tended for the best of purposes to produce a bad one."
On full inquiry, he found that objections to the insti-
tution were general throughout the United States,
under the apprehension that it would prove dangerous

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to publick liberty, he therefore exerted his influence among the officers to induce them to drop the offensive part of the institution, and at the annual meeting in May 1787, the hereditary principle, and the power to adopt honorary members, were expunged from the constitution. This modification fully removed the publick apprehension. Experience proved the articles under which the United States originally confederated to be inadequate to the purposes of national government; and wise and good men in every part of the union anxiously looked forward to a crisis in publick affairs. Many of General WAghingtoN's friends intimated to him that tho occasion would call for his personal influence. Mr. Jay, in letters written in the spring and summer of 1786, with feeling described the state of the country, “You have wisely retired from publick employments, and calmly view from the temple of fame, the various exertions of that sovereignty and independence, which Providence has enabled you to be so greatly and gloriously instrumental in securing to your country, yet I am persuaded that you cannot view them with the eye of an unconcerned spectator. “Experience has pointed out errours in our national government which call for correction, and which threaten to blast the fruit we expected from the tree of liberty. An opinion begins to prevail that a general convention for revising the articles of confederation would be expedient. Whether the people are yet ripe for such a measure, or whether the system proposed to be obtained by it is only to be expected from calamity and commotion is difficult to ascertain “I think we are in a delicate situation, and a varie ty of considerations and circumstances give me uneasiness. It is in contemplation to take measures for forming a general convention. The plan is not matured. If it should be well connected and take effect, I am servent in my wishes that it may comport with the line of life you have marked out for yourself, to favour your country with your counsels on such an important and single occasion. “Our affairs seem to lead to some crisis, something that I cannot foresee or conjecture. I am uneasy and apprehensive, more so than during the war. Then we had a fixed object, and though the means and time of obtaining it were problematical, yet I did firmly believe that we should ultimately succeed, because I did firmly believe that justice was with us. The case is now altered. We are going and doing wrong, and therefore I look forward to evils and calamities, but without being able to guess at the instrument, nature, or measure of them. “That we shall again recover, and things again go well, I have no doubt. Such a variety of circumstances would not, almost miraculously, have combined to liberate and make us a nation, for transient and unimportant purposes. I therefore believe that we are yet to become a great and respectable people; but when or how, only the spirit of prophecy can discern. “What I most fear is, that the better kind of people (by which I mean the people who are orderly and industrious, who are content with their situations, and not uneasy in their circumstances) will be led by the insecurity of property, the loss of confidence in their r ilers, and the want of publick faith and rectitude, to consider the charms of liberty as imaginary and delusive. A state of uncertainty and fluctuation must disgust and alarm such men, and prepare their minds for almost any change that may promise them quiet and security.” To these weighty communications General Wash INgtoN replied. “Your sentiments that our affairs are drawing rapidly to a crisis, accord with my own. What the event will be, is also beyond the reach of my foresight. We have errours to correct; we have probably had too good an opinion of human nature, in forming our confederation. Experience has taught us that men will not adopt and carry into execution, measures the best calculated for their own good, without the inter vention of coercive power. I do not conceive we can exist long as a nation, without lodging, somewhere, a power which will pervade the whole Union in as energetick a manner, as the authority of the state govern ments extends over the several states. To be fearful of investing Congress, constituted as that body is, with ample authorities for national purposes, appears to me the very climax of popular absurdity and madness. Could Congress exert them for the detriment of the people, without injuring themselves in an equal or greater proportion? Are not their interests inseparably connected with those of their constituents By the rotation of appointments, must they not mingle frequently with the mass of citizens? Is it not rather to be apprehended, if they were not possessed of the powers before described, that the individual members would be induced to use them, on many occasions, very timidly and inefficaciously, for fear of losing their popularity and future election ? We must take hunian nature as we find it; perfection falls not to the share of mortals. “What then is to be done * Things cannot go on in the same strain for ever. It is much to be feared, as you observe, that the better kind of people, being disgusted with these circumstances, will have their minds pre:ared for any revolution whatever. We are apt to run from one extreme to another. To anticipate and prevent disastrous contingencies, would be the part of wisdom and patriotism. “What astonishing changes a few years are capable of producing ! I am told that even respectable characters speak of a monarchical form of government without horrour. From thinking proceeds speaking, thence to acting is often but a single step. But how irrevocable and tremendous ! what a triumph for our enemies to verify their predictions ! what a triumph for the advocates of despotism to find that we are incapable of governing ourselves, and that systems, founded on the basis of equal liberty, are merely ideal and fallacious ! Would to God that wise measures may be taken in time to avert the consequences we have but too much reason to apprehend. “Retired as I am from the world, 1 frankly acknowledge I cannot feel myself an unconcerned spectator. Yet having happily assisted in bringing the ship into port, and having been fairly discharged, it is not my business to embark again on the sea of troubles. “Nor could it be expected that my sentiments and opinions would have much weight on the minds of my countrymen. They have been neglected, though given as a last legacy in a most solemn manner. I then perhaps had some claims to publick attention. I consider myself as having none at present.”

When the plan of a Convention was ripened, and its

meeting appointed to be at Philadelphia in May, 1787, a respectable character in Virginia, communicated to General WASHINGToN the intention of that state to elect him one of her representatives, on this important occasion. He explicitly declined being a candidate, yet the Legislature placed him at the head of her delegation, in the hope that mature reflection would induce him to attend upon the service. The Governour of the state, Mr. Randolph, informed him of his appointment, by the following letter. “By the enclosed act you will readily discover that the Assembly are alarmed at the storms which threaten the United States. What our enemies have foretold seems to be hastening to its accomplishment, and cannot be frustrated but by an instantaneous, zealous, and steady union among the friends of the federal government. To you I need not press our present dangers. The inefficacy of Congress vou have often felt in your offi

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