Front Matter Our Country Long Ago The Barbarous Indians The Mounds Where the Northmen Went The Northmen in America Queer Ideas Prince Henry the Navigator Youth of Columbus Columbus and the Queen "Land! Land!" Columbus and the Savages Home Again Columbus Ill-treated Death of Columbus How America Got its Name The Fountain of Youth "The Father of Waters" The French in Canada French and Spanish Quarrels The Sky City Around the World Nothing but Smoke Smith's Adventures The Jamestown Men Smith Wounded Pocahontas Visits England Hudson and the Indians The Mayflower Plymouth Rock The First Thanksgiving Snake Skin and Bullets The Beginning of Boston Stories of Two Ministers Williams and the Indians The Quakers The King-Killers King Phillip's War The Beginning of New York Penn and the Indians The Catholics in Maryland The Old Dominion Bacon's Rebellion A Journey Inland The Carolina Pirates Charter Oak Salem Witches Down the Mississippi La Salle's Adventures Indians on the Warpath Two Wars with the French Washington's Boyhood Washington's Journey Washington's First Battle Stories of Franklin Braddock's Defeat Wolfe at Quebec England and her Colonies The Stamp Tax The Anger of the Colonies The Boston Tea Party The Minutemen The Battle of Lexington Bunker Hill The Boston Boys The British leave Boston Declaration of Independence A Lady's Way of Helping Christmas Eve The Fight at Bennington Burgoyne's Surrender Winter at Valley Forge The Quaker Woman Putnam's Adventures Indian Cruelty Boone in Kentucky Famous Sea Fights The "Swamp Fox" The Poor Soldiers The Spy A Traitor's Death Two Unselfish Women Surrender of Cornwallis British Flag hauled down Washington's Farewell

Story of the Thirteen Colonies - Helene Guerber

Washington's Farewell

Washington had already disbanded his army in Newburgh, when, on the eighth anniversary of the battle of Lexington, the war was formally declared to be over. Now, the British having gone, it remained only to bid farewell to his officers. On this occasion he said: "With a heart full of love and gratitude I now take leave of you. I most devoutly wish that your latter days may be as prosperous as your former have been glorious and honorable. I cannot come to each of you to take my leave, but I shall be obliged to you if each of you will come and take me by the hand."

General Knox was the first to advance, and Washington drew him toward him and kissed him. He also embraced all the rest—in dead silence, for all hearts were too full for speech. The officers then followed him to the boat and silently watched him out of sight. From New York, where this parting took place, Washington went direct to Annapolis, where, on the 23d of December, 1783, he received the formal message: "The United States, in Congress assembled, is prepared to receive the communications of the commander in chief." Washington then appeared before that body to lay down the heavy charge which he had borne so bravely for nearly eight years. He again refused to accept any reward for his services, but handed over the exact account of his expenses, proving that he had spent more than sixty-three thousand dollars of his own money for the good of his country.

Then he went back to his farm at Mount Vernon, to take up again his usual work. He had been longing to do this for some time, for farming was his chief pleasure. Knowing this, his officers formed a society of which they made him head. They called themselves the Cincinnati, in honor of a Roman patriot, Cincinnatus, who left his plow to save his country from danger, but hurried back to it as soon as the war was over.

Instead of other pay, many of these officers and of the continental soldiers now received grants of land in what was then called the Northwest Territory. There they soon settled, working hard, and serving their country just as nobly by being good farmers, good citizens, good husbands, and good fathers as they had done by being good soldiers in the Revolutionary War. Before long, towns sprang up in the wilderness, and one of them was named Cincinnati, in honor of the society of which Washington was the first president.

The Mount Vernon House, South Front


But there were others besides the soldiers who were anxious to get back to their families. Foremost among these was the worthy Franklin, who had spent nearly nine years in France, looking after the interests of his country. He had seen the Peace of Paris signed; and when he reached Philadelphia, just sixty-two years after his first visit, he was welcomed with loud cheers and great rejoicings. He deserved all the cheering and honors he received, for he had been second only to Washington in the services he had rendered his beloved country.

As it was now decided beyond doubt that the former colonies were to be free states, independent of Great Britain, the Story of the Thirteen Colonies is ended. There is still to be told the Story of the Great Republic which was formed from these colonies, and which has grown to be one of the foremost nations in the world.