| February 22, 2019 marks the 287th anniversary of the birth of George Washington, who, in this writer’s opinion, was the greatest man born in America. While there are numerous biographies written about this great and good man, I recommend two short books and his “Farewell Address”
“Washington’s 110 Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior”
He wrote these 110 rules when he was 16 years old from a set of rules established by French Jesuits in 1595. Here is a sampling of those rules:
“When in Company, put not your Hands to any Part of the Body, not usually Discovered.”
|“Show Nothing to your Friend that may affright him.”|
|“In the Presence of Others Sing not to yourself with a humming Noise, nor Drum with your Fingers or Feet.”
“The Bullet Proof George Washington”:
An account of George Washington’s part in the July 9th, 1755, battle during the French and Indian War.
During the two-hour battle, the 23-year-old Colonel Washington had ridden on the battlefield, delivering the general’s orders to other officers and troops. The officers had been a special target for the Indians. Of the eighty-six British and American officers, sixty-three were casualties. Washington was the only officer on horseback not shot down.
Following the battle, Washington wrote a letter to his brother in which he readily and openly acknowledged:
“By the all-powerful dispensations of Providence, I have been protected beyond all human probability or expectation; for I had four bullets through my coat, and two horses shot under me, yet escaped unhurt, although death was leveling my companions on every side of me!”
Fifteen years later, an old, respected Indian chief sought out Washington. The chief, explaining that he had led the Indians against them in the battle fifteen years earlier, revealed to Washington what had occurred behind the scenes during the conflict:
“I called to my young men and said, mark yon tall and daring warrior. Quick, let your aim be certain, and he dies. Our rifles were leveled, rifles which, but for you, knew not how to miss–’twas all in vain, a power mightier far than we shielded you. Seeing you were under the special guardianship of the Great Spirit, we immediately ceased to fire at you…I am come to pay homage to the man who is the particular favorite of Heaven, and who can never die in battle.”
His “Farewell Address”:
Washington’s plan to retire from office would come to be known as his “Farewell Address.” In 1792, when Washington considered leaving office, he had James Madison write a draft. In 1796, Alexander Hamilton did a rewrite and Washington edited it. The “American Daily Advertiser,” a paper in Philadelphia, the seat of the nation’s capital at the time, published it on September 19, 1796. Here are a few of the points that have stood the test of time:
“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain, would man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness”
“It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution in those entrusted with its administration to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding the exercise of the power of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments into one, and thus create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism” and
“The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible.”
May this generation of Compatriots endeavor to keep George Washington’s legacy alive for generations yet unborn.
Hal Shurtleff, Member of the Boston Chapter of the MASSAR, and co-founder and director of Camp Constituti