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manner in which you have been pleased to make the com munication; at the fame time, I must not conceal from you my earnest with, that the choice had fallen upon a man lefs declined in years, and better qualified to encoun ter the ufual viciffitudes of war.

3. You know, Sir, what calculation I had made rela tive to the probable courfe of events on my retiring from office, and the determination I had confoled myself with, of closing the remnant of my days in my prefent peaceful abode; you will, therefore, be at no lofs to conceive and appreciate the fenfations I must have experienced, to bring my mind to any conclufion that would pledge me, at so late a period of life, to leave fcenes I fincerely love, to enter upon the boundless field of public action, inceffant trouble, and high refpenfibility.

4. It was not poffible for me to remain ignorant of, or indifferent to, recent tranfactions. The conduct of the Directory of France, towards our country; their infidious hostility to its government; their various practices to withdraw the affections of the people from it; the evident tendency of their acts, and those of their agents, to countenance and invigorate oppofition; their difregard of solemn treaties, and the laws of nations; their war upon our defencelefs commerce; their treatment of our minifters of peace; and their demands amounting to tribute; could not fail to excite in me correfponding fentiments with those my countrymen have fo generally expreffed in their affectionate addrefles to you

5. Believe me, Sir, no one can more cordially approve of the wife and prudent measures of your adminiftration.

hey ought to infpire univerfal confidence, and will, no doubt, combined with the ftate of things, call from Congrefs fuch laws and means as will enable you to meet the full force and extent of the crifis. Satisfied, therefore, that you have fincerely wifhed and endeavoured to avert war, and exhausted to the last drop, the cup of reconciliation, we can, with pure hearts, appeal to heaven for the juftice of our caufe; and may confidently truft the final refult to that kind Providence who has heretofore, and so often, fignally-favoured the people of thefe United States.

6. Thinking in this manner, and feeling how incumbeat it is upon every perfon, of every defcription, to cen

tribute at all times to his country's welfare, and especially in a moment like the prefent, when every thing we hold dear and facred, is fo ferioufly threatened'; 1 have finally determined to accept the commiffion of Commander in Chief of the Armies of the United States; with the referve only, that I fhall not be called into the field until the army is in a fituation to require my prefence, or it becomes in difpenfable by the urgency of circumstances.

7. In making this reservation, I beg it to be understood, that I do not mean to withhold any affiftance to arrange and organize the army, which you may think I can afford. I take the liberty alfo to mention, that I must decline having my acceptance confidered as drawing after it any immediate charge upon the public; or that I can receive any emoluments annexed to the appointment, before entering into a fituation to incur expenfe.

8. The Secretary of War being anxious to return to the feat of government, I have detained him no longer than was neceffary to a full communication upon the fer eral points he had in charge.

CHAPTER LXXI.

I.

CHARACTER OF KING ALFRED.

THE

HE merit of this prince, both in private and public life, may with advantage be set in oppofition to that of any monarch or citizen, which the annals of any nation, or any age, can present to us. He feems in. deed to be that complete model of that perfect character, which, under the denomination of a fage or wife man, the philofophers have been fond of delineating, rather as a fiction of their imagination, than in hopes of ever feeing it reduced to practice; fo happily were all his virtues tempered together, fo juftly were they blended, and fo powerfully did each prevent the other from exceeding its proper bounds!

2. He knew how to conciliate the boldeft enterprise with the cooleft moderation; the moft obftinate perfeverance, with the eafieft flexibility; the most severe juftice with the greatest lenity; the most vigorous command with the greatest affability of deportment; the highest ca

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pacity and inclination for fcience, with the most fhining talents for action. The civil and military virtues are almoft equally the objects of our admiration, excepting only that the former, being more rare among princes, as well as more useful, feem chiefly to challenge our applause.

3. Nature, alfo, as if defirous that a bright production of her skill should be set in the fairest light, had bestowed on him all bodily accomplishments; vigour of limbs, dignity of fhape and air, and a pleasant, engaging, and open Countenance. Fortune alone, by throwing him into that. barbarous age, deprived him of hiftorians worthy to transmit his fame to pofterity; and we wish to see him delineated in more lively colours, that we may at least. perceive fome of those small specks and blemishes, from which, as a man, it is impoffible he could be entirely exempted.

CHAPTER LXXI.

AN EASTERN STORY.

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HERE was among the Caliphs one renowned than all the reft for the goodness and fingularity of his temper, whofe name was Ha Toun Abrashid. It was his cuftom to walk unknown among his fubjects, and hear from their own mouths their grievances, and their opinion of their rulers. He advan. ced and degraded according to thefe reports; perhaps fometimes too haftily, tho' always with an upright purpofe; and used to fay he was the only fovereign that heard the thoughts of his people.

2. One morning about fun rife, as he was walking along the fide of a river, he saw an old man and his grandfon earnest in difcourfe. The boy in wantonness, had taken a water-worm out of the flags; and having thrown it on the ground, had lifted up his foot to crush it. The old man pulled him back, and just as the Caliph came up, was faying to him, "Boy, don't take away that which is not in thy power to give. He, who gave life to that infect, gave life alfo to thee; how dareft thou deftroy what he bestowed? Shew mercy, and thou will find mercy."

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3. The Caliph ftopped, and hearing rags and beggary fo eloquent, ftood aftonished, "What is your name

and where is your habitation?" faid he. The old man told him he was called Atelmoule, and pointed to his cottage. In an hour a robe of ftate was fent to the cottage, officers attended, and Atelmoule was told he was appoint. ed Vifier. They conducted him full of wonder and confufion to the Caliph, when he fell upon his face before the throne, and without daring to look up, kiffed the verge of the royal robe. “Rise, Atelmoule, faid the Caliph, you are now next the throne, forget not your own leffon, "Shew mercy, and you shall find it."

4. The man with aftonishment and furprise recollected in the Caliph, the person whom he had spoken with in the morning. Mean time the fun was warm; the worm whofe life this new Vifier had faved, opened his fhelly back, and gave birth to a fly that buzzed about and enjoyed his newborn wings with rapture; he fettled on the mule that carried back the Vifier, and ftung the creature. The mule pranced and threw his unaccustomed rider. The Vifier hung by part of his robe, and was killed by a blow from the creature's heel.

5. The account was brought to the palace, and even those who had murmured at the exaltation of the man, pitied the death he owed to his virtue. Even Providence was cenfured, fo daring and ignorant is man; but the Caliph, fuperior to the reft in virtue as in office, lifting up his hands to heaven, cried, " Bleffed be thy facred name, O Prophet, I had decreed honours to Atalmoule, but thou haft fnatched him to thy paradife, to enjoy greater honours."

CHAPTER LXXIII.

DEVOTION.

I.

IT

Tis of the greatest importance to feafon the paffions of a child with devotion, which feldom dies in a mind that has received an early impreffion of it. Though it may feem extinguished for a while by the cares of the world, the heats of youth, or the allurements of vice, it generally breaks out and discovers itfelf again as foon as difcretion, confideration, age, or misfortunes, have brought the man to himself. The fire may be covered and over laid, but cannot be entirely quenched and Smothered.

2 A ftate of temperance, fobriety, and juftice, without devotion is a cold, lifelefs, infipid condition of virtue, and is rather to be stiled philofophy than religion. Devotion opens the mind to great conceptions, and fills it with more fublime ideas than any that are to be met with in the most exalted science; and at the fame time warms and agitates. the foul more than fenfual pleasure.

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3. Man is more diftinguifhed from the animal world by devotion than by reafon, as feveral brute creatures discover in their actions fomething like a faint glimmer. ing of reafon, though they betray in no fingle circumftance of their behaviour any thing that bears the leaft affinity to devotion. It is certain the propenfity of the mind to religious worship, the natural tendency of the foul to fly to fome fuperior Being for fuccour in dangers and diftreffes, the acts of love and admiration with which the thoughts of men are fo wonderfully tranfported, in meditating upon the divine perfections, and the univerfal concurrence of all the nations under heaven in the great. article of adoration, plainly fhew that devotion, or relig ious worship must be the effect of tradition from fome first founder of mankind, or that it is conformable to the nat ural light of reafon, or that it proceeds from an inftinct implanted in the foul itself.

4. But which ever of them fhall be affigned as the principle of divine worship, it manifeftly points to a fupreme Being as the first author of it, and in the exercife of fuch a principle the mind is raised to the contemplation of the amiable and infinite perfections of the fupreme Governor of the universe.

5. Nothing is fo glorious in the eyes of mankind, and fo ornamental to human nature, fetting afide the infinite advantages which arife from it, as a strong and steady piety; but enthusiasm and fuperftition are the weakneffes of human reafon, that expofe us to the fcorn and derifion of infidels, and fink us below even the beafts that perish.

6. The most illiterate man who is touched with devotion and ufes frequent exercises of it, contracts à certain greatnefs of mind, mingled with a noble fimplicity, that raifes him above thofe of the fame condition; and there is an indelible mark of goodness in those who fincerely poffefs it; for the fervors of a pious mind will contrac

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