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river, that were to be cut down, and with compass and chain defining lines for improvements.
After dinner his hoarseness grew worse, yet he regarded it as nothing serious. He was very cheerful during the evening, and sat in the parlor with Mrs. Washington and Mr. Lear, amusing himself with the newspapers, which were brought in at seven o'clock, occasionally reading aloud something that pleased him, or asking Mr. Lear to do so, his hoarseness sometimes depriving him of his voice. Among other things, Mr. Lear read to him the report of debates in the Virginia Assembly, and Washington made comments, as well as his hoarseness would permit.
About nine o'clock Mrs. Washington left the parlor, and went to the chamber of Mrs. Lewis, who was confined, and the general and Mr. Lear continued the perusal of the papers some time afterward. When he retired, Mr. Lear suggested that he had better take something for his cold, his hoarseness appearing to increase. "No," he answered, "you know I never take any thing for a cold. Let it go as it came.
Between two and three o'clock the next morning he awoke Mrs. Washington, told her that he was very ill, and had had an ague. He was so hoarse that he could scarcely speak. He breathed with great difficulty, and Mrs. Washington proposed to get up and call a servant, but the tender husband would not permit her to do so, lest she should take cold. At daylight their chambermaid, Caroline, went into the room to make a fire, as usual, when Mrs. Washington sent her for Mr. Lear. That gentleman dressed himself quickly, and, on going to the general's room, found him breathing with great difficulty, and hardly able to utter a word intelligibly.
Washington desired Mr. Lear to send immediately for Mr. Rawlins, one of the overseers, to come and bleed him, while another servant was dispatched to Alexandria for Dr. Craik,
tures were prepared to give immediate relief, but he could not swallow a drop.
Rawlins came soon after sunrise. He was much agitated. Washington perceived it, and said, "Don't be afraid." A slight incision was made in the arm, for Mrs. Washington, doubtful whether bleeding was proper in the case, begged that not much blood might be taken. The blood ran pretty freely, but the general whispered, "The orifice is not
large enough;" and when Mr. Lear was about to loosen the bandage to stop the bleeding, at the request of Mrs. Washington, he put his hand up to prevent it, and said, "More, more." About half a pint of blood was taken from him, and external applications were made, but nothing seemed to relieve the sufferer.
DR. JAMES CRAIK.
the sufferer's life-long friend and his family physician. Some mix
At eight o'clock Washington expressed a desire to get up. His clothes were put on, and he was led to a chair by the fire. But he found no relief in that position, and at ten o'clock he lay down again.
Mrs. Washington had become much alarmed, and before Dr.
Craik arrived, she desired Mr. Lear to send for Dr. Brown, of Port Tobacco, whom Craik had recommended to be called if any alarming sickness should occur during his absence. At about nine o'clock Dr. Craik arrived. He at once took more blood from the general, put a blister on his throat, prepared a gargle of vinegar and sage tea, and ordered some vinegar and hot water for him to inhale the steam of. The gargle almost suffocated him. A little phlegm was brought up with it, and he attempted to cough, but was unable to do so.
At eleven o'clock Dr. Craik requested Dr. Dick, with whom he often consulted, to be sent for, as Dr. Brown might not come in time. He then bled the general again, but no effect was produced by it. His inability to swallow any thing continued. At three o'clock Dr. Dick arrived, and after consulta tion with him, Dr. Craik again bled the sufferer. The blood was thick, and flowed very sluggishly. Dr. Brown arrived soon afterward, and after the three physicians had held a brief consultation, Dr. Craik administered calomel and tartar emetic, which the general managed to swallow. But this too was
"About half-past four o'clock," says Mr. Lear, in a narrative which he wrote at the time, "he desired me to call Mrs. Washington to his bedside, when he requested her to go down into his room, and take from his desk two wills which she would find there, and bring them to him, which she did. Upon looking at them he gave her one, which he observed was useless, as being superseded by the other, and desired her to burn it, which she did, and took the other and put it into her closet.
“After this was done, I returned to his bedside and took his
hand. He said to me: 'I find I am going. My breath cannot last long. I believed from the first that the disorder would prove fatal. Do you arrange and record all my late military letters and papers. Arrange my accounts and settle my books, as you know more about them than any one else, and let Mr. Rawlins finish recording my other letters which he has begun.' I told him this should be done. He then asked if I recollected any thing which it was essential for him to do, as he had but a very short time to continue with us. I told him that I could recollect nothing, but that I hoped he was not so near his end. He observed, smiling, that he certainly was, and that, as it was a debt we must all pay, he looked to the event with perfect resignation.
"In the course of the afternoon he appeared to be in great pain and distress from the difficulty of breathing, and frequently changed his posture in the bed. On these occasions I lay upon the bed and endeavored to raise him, and turn him with as much ease as possible. He appeared penetrated with gratitude for my attentions, and often said, 'I am afraid I shall fatigue you too much;' and upon my assuring him that I could feel nothing but a wish to give him ease, he replied, 'Well, it is a debt we must pay to each other, and I hope when you want aid of this kind you will find it."
Washington then inquired when Mr. Lewis and Washington Custis, who were in New Kent, would return; and being told, he remained silent awhile, and then desired his servant, Christopher, who had been in the room all day, to sit down, for he had been standing most of the time. He did so. A few minutes afterward Dr. Craik came into the room, and as he approached the bedside, Washington said to him: "Doctor, I
die hard, but I am not afraid to go. I believed, from my first attack, that I should not survive it. My breath cannot last long." The doctor, overcome with emotion, pressed his hand, but could not utter a word. He left the bedside, and, in deep grief, sat by the fire for some time, while all was silent in the room, except the heavy breathing of the sufferer.
Doctors Dick and Brown came into the room between five and six o'clock, when they and Dr. Craik went to the bedside and asked Washington if he could sit up in bed. He held out his hand and Mr. Lear raised him up. "I feel myself going," he said; "I thank you for your attentions; but I pray you take no more trouble about me. Let me go off quickly. I cannot last long." Then casting a look of gratitude toward Mr. Lear, he lay down, and all left the bedside except Dr. Craik.
Mr. Lear now wrote to Mr. Law and Mr. Peter, gentlemen who had married two granddaughters of Mrs. Washington (sisters of Nelly Custis), requesting them to come immediately, with their wives, to Mount Vernon. At about eight o'clock the physicians tried other outward applications to relieve the sufferer, but in vain, and they left the room without any hope.
At about ten o'clock Washington attempted to speak to Mr. Lear, but failed several times. At length he murmured: “I am just going. Have me decently buried; and do not let my body be put into the vault in less than three days after I am dead." Mr. Lear could not speak, but bowed his assent. Washington whispered, "Do you understand?" Lear replied, "Yes." ""Tis well," he said; and these were the last words he ever spoke-“Tis well !”
"About ten minutes before he expired," says Mr. Lear ("which was between ten and eleven o'clock), his breathing