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“HEAD-QUARTERS, March 27, 1783.
"DEAR SIR:-I take the first moment of forwarding to your Excellency the dispatches from the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, which accompany this. They contain, I presume, all the intelligence respecting Peace, on which great and glorious event permit me to congratulate you with the greatest sincerity."
Upon the envelope bearing the superscription, Washington wrote in large letters, with a broad dash under it— PEACE.
What a glorious word! What joy must have filled the heart of the commander-in-chief when he wrote that word! What dreams of repose upon the Potomac, in the quiet shades of his beautiful home must have been presented to his vision at that time! But many weary months were yet to intervene before he could see his beloved Mount Vernon.
It was not until the 1st of November following that all arrangements for the departure of the British army from our shores were completed.
The American army, by a general order of Congress, on the 3d of November, was disbanded, except a small force retained under a definite enlistment, until a peace establishment should be organized; and, on the 25th of that month, the British evacuated the city of New York-their last resting-place upon the soil of the United States-went on board their ships, and sailed for Nova Scotia and Europe, with a large number of loyalists.
On the 4th of December Washington parted with his officers at Fraunces' tavern in New York, and then proceeded
toward Annapolis, where Congress was sitting, to resign into their hands his commission as commander-in-chief of the armies of the United States, which had been given him eight years and six months before. He stopped at Philadelphia, and presented his accounts to the proper fiscal officers, and arrived at Annapolis on Friday, the 19th, where he was joined by Mrs. Washington and many warm personal friends. On Monday he was present at a dinner ordered by the Congress, at which more than two hundred persons were seated; and that evening he opened a grand ball given in his honor, with Mrs. James Macubbin, one of the most beautiful women of her time.
At twelve o'clock on the 23d Washington entered the hall of Congress in the old State House at Annapolis, according to previous arrangement, and, in the presence of a great concourse of people, presented his resignation to General Thomas Mifflin, the president of that body, accompanying the act by a brief speech. This was responded to by Mifflin. The great Leader of the Continental Armies, now a private citizen, retired, followed by the audience; and the curtain fell upon the last solemn act in the great drama of the war for independ
Washington now hastened to Mount Vernon, accompanied by many friends, as an escort of honor, among whom was Colonel Walker, one of the aides of the Baron Steuben, by whose hand he sent a letter to Governor Clinton, the first which he wrote at his home after his retirement. In it he said: "The scene is at last closed. I am now a private citizen on the banks of the Potomac. I feel myself eased of a load of public care. I hope to spend the remainder of my days in
cultivating the affections of good men, and in the practice of the domestic virtues."
It was on Christmas eve, 1783, that Washington, a private citizen, arrived at Mount Vernon, and laid aside forever the
military clothes which he had worn perhaps through more than half the campaigns of the war just ended. Around them clustered many interesting associations, and they were preserved with care during the remaining sixteen years of his life. And they are still preserved, in a condition almost as perfect as when the illustrious owner hung them in his wardrobe for the
last time. They are in a glass case, with other mementos of the FATHER OF HIS COUNTRY, in the great model hall of the Patent Office at Washington city. The coat is made of deep blue cloth, faced with a yellow called buff, with large plain gilt buttons. The waistcoat and breeches are made of the same kind of buff cloth as the facings of the coat.
On the same occasion, Washington laid aside his battlesword which he had worn throughout all the later years of the war. It, too, hung at Mount Vernon for almost twenty years, and is carefully preserved in the same glass case in the Patent Office. It is a kind of hanger, incased in a black leather scabbard, with silver mountings. The handle is ivory, colored a pale green, and wound in spiral grooves with thin silver wire. It was manufactured by J. Bailey, in Fishkill, Duchess county, New York, and has the maker's name engraved upon the blade. The belt is of white leather, mounted with silver, and was doubtless used by Washington in the old French war, for upon a silver plate attached to it is engraved "1757."
With this sword is a long, knotty, black cane, with a golden head, which was bequeathed to Washington by Doctor Franklin, in the following clause in the codicil to his will:
"My fine crab-tree walking-stick, with a gold head curiously wrought in the form of a cap of liberty, I give to my friend, and the friend of mankind, General Washington. If it were a sceptre, he has merited it, and would become it. It was a present to me from that excellent woman, Madame de Forbach, the dowager Duchess of Deuxponts, connected with some verses which should go with it."
These "verses" have been lost, and for them we will substi
tute the beautiful ode, by Morris, alluding to these precious relics, entitled
In the same glass case are other interesting relics of Washington, the most conspicuous of which is his camp-chest, an old-fashioned hair trunk, twenty-one inches in length, fifteen in width, and ten in depth, filled with the table furniture used by the commander-in-chief during the war. The compart