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Random Observations by Pat Ostrye

George Washington, His Character and Benevolence


    Since today, February 22nd, is the official birth date of our Founding Father, George Washington, I decided to search out some facts about the real person and discovered that 500 words will never fully describe this admirable, courageous and heroic countryman.  Before being elected as the First President of the United States in 1789, he had already played a major role in the adoption of the United States Constitution.  He then created a Federal Judiciary and a National Bank, putting through other far-reaching financial measures, against the "better judgment" of Thomas Jefferson andd Alexander Hamilton.

    The facts are easily accessible in my trusty desk encyclopedia, but on the internet, The History of the Life and Death, Virtues and Exploits of General Washington by Mason Locke Weems, published in Philadelphia by J.B. Lippincott in 1918, tells it all in numerous chapters, all of which can be printed out.  I am going to point a thought or two about the character of this great man and his unusual benevolence.

    "What was it that raised Washington to such a height of glory? . . . It was His Great Talents, Constantly Guided and Guarded by Religion. . . there never was a truly great man without religion."

     "There have been courageous generals and cunning statesmen, without religion, but mere courage or cunning, however transcendent, never made a great man."  "There exists", says Washington, "in the economy of nature an inseparable connection between duty and advantage".  "The whole life of this great man bears glorious witness to the truth of this, his favorite aphorism.  At the age of 14, with a midshipman's commission in his pocket and a strong desire to go to sea, his honour for his mother who declared she could not bear to part with him, kept him from accepting the commission".

     Washington's benevolence shown forth at the age of 22 when he and Thomas Payne came to blows over the loyalty to a particular friend, at which time Payne really knocked Washington to the ground with a sturdy hickory, raising the ire of Washington's entire regiment who were determined to get revenge.  Realizing that he had been wrong, goading Payne to that action, Washington stopped his men and ultimately invited Payne for a glass of wine and asked his pardon for being so aggressive.

     There are eight pages devoted to Washington's benevolence.  Perhaps this one statement could sum it up somewhat: "A good tree. . . bringeth forth good fruit.  No wonder then that we meet with so many fruits of charity in Washington, whose soul was so rich in benevolence."

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