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  • 1907
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are unpleasant things, but they must be met with firmness.” Eventually the people always came back to their leader, and Jefferson sighed over the fact that “such is the popularity of the President that the people will support him in whatever he will do or will not do, without appealing to their own reason or to anything but their feelings towards him.”


It is not to be supposed from this that Washington was above considering the popular bent, or was lacking in political astuteness. John Adams asserted that “General Washington, one of the most attentive men in the world to the manner of doing things, owed a great proportion of his celebrity to this circumstance,” and frequently he is to be found considering the popularity or expediency of courses. In 1776 he said, “I have found it of importance and highly expedient to yield to many points in fact, without seeming to have done it, and this to avoid bringing on a too frequent discussion of matters which in a political view ought to be kept a little behind the curtain, and not to be made too much the subjects of disquisition. Time only can eradicate and overcome customs and prejudices of long standing–they must be got the better of by slow and gradual advances.”

Elsewhere he wrote, “In a word, if a man cannot act in all respects as he would wish, he must do what appears best, under the circumstances he is in. This I aim at, however short I may fall of the end;” of a certain measure he thought, “it has, however, like many other things in which I have been involved, two edges, neither of which can be avoided without falling on the other;” and that even in small things he tried to be politic is shown in his journey through New England, when he accepted an invitation to a large public dinner at Portsmouth, and the next day, being at Exeter, he wrote in his diary, “a jealousy subsists between this town (where the Legislature alternately sits) and Portsmouth; which, had I known it in time, would have made it necessary to have accepted an invitation to a public dinner, but my arrangements having been otherwise made, I could not.”

Nor was Washington entirely lacking in finesse. He offered Patrick Henry a position after having first ascertained in a roundabout manner that it would be refused, and in many other ways showed that he understood good politics. Perhaps the neatest of his dodges was made when the French revolutionist Volney asked him for a general letter of introduction to the American people. This was not, for political and personal reasons, a thing Washington cared to give, yet he did not choose to refuse, so he wrote on a sheet of paper,–

“C. Volney
needs no recommendation from
Geo. Washington.”

There is a very general belief that success in politics and truthfulness are incompatible, yet, as already shown, Washington prospered in politics, and the Rev. Mason L. Weems is authority for the popular statement that at six years of age George could not tell a lie. Whether this was so, or whether Mr. Weems was drawing on his imagination for his facts, it seems probable that Washington partially outgrew the disability in his more mature years.

When trying to win the Indians to the English cause in 1754, Washington in his journal states that he “let the young Indians who were in our camp know that the French wanted to kill the Half King,” a diplomatic statement he hardly believed, which the writer says “had its desired effect,” and which the French editor declared to be an “imposture.” In this same campaign he was forced to sign a capitulation which acknowledged that he had been guilty of assassination, and this raised such a storm in Virginia when it became known that Washington hastened to deny all knowledge of the charge having been contained among the articles, and alleged that it had not been made clear to him when the paper had been translated and read. On the contrary, another officer present at the reading states that he refused to “sign the Capitulation because they charged us with Assasination in it.”

In writing to an Indian agent in 1755, Washington was “greatly enraptured” at hearing of his approach, dwelt upon the man’s “hearty attachment to our glorious Cause” and his “Courage of which I have had very great proofs.” Inclosing a copy of the letter to the governor, Washington said, “the letter savors a little of flattery &c., &c., but this, I hope is justifiable on such an occasion.”

With his London agent there was a little difficulty in 1771, and Washington objected to a letter received “because there is one paragraph in particular in it … which appears to me to contain an implication of my having deviated from the truth.” A more general charge was Charles Lee’s: “I aver that his Excellencies letter was from beginning to the end a most abominable lie.”

As a _ruse de guerre_ Washington drew up for a spy in 1779 a series of false statements as to the position and number of his army for him to report to the British. And in preparation for the campaign of 1781 “much trouble was taken and finesse used to misguide and bewilder Sir Henry Clinton by making a deceptive provision of ovens, forage and boats in his neighborhood.” “Nor were less pains taken to deceive our own army,” and even “the highest military as well as civil officers” were deceived at this time, not merely that the secret should not leak out, but also “for the important purpose of inducing the eastern and middle states to make greater exertions.”

When travelling through the South in 1791, Washington entered in his diary, “Having suffered very much by the dust yesterday–and finding that parties of Horse, & a number of other Gentlemen were intending to attend me part of the way to-day, I caused their enquiries respecting the time of my setting out, to be answered that, I should endeavor to do it before eight o’clock; but I did it a little after five, by which means I avoided the inconveniences above mentioned.”

Weld, in his “Travels in America,” published that “General Washington told me that he never was so much annoyed by the mosquitos in any part of America as in Skenesborough, for that they used to bite through the thickest boot.” When this anecdote appeared in print, good old Dr. Dwight, shocked at the taradiddle, and fearing its evil influence on Washington’s fame, spoiled the joke by explaining in a book that “a gentleman of great respectability, who was present when General Washington made the observation referred to, told me that he said, when describing those mosquitoes to Mr. Weld, that they ‘bit through his stockings above the boots.'” Whoever invented the explanation should also have evolved a type of boots other than those worn by Washington, for unfortunately for the story Washington’s military boots went above his “small clothes,” giving not even an inch of stocking for either mosquito or explanation. In 1786, Washington declared that “I do not recollect that in the course of my life, I ever forfeited my word, or broke a promise made to any one,” and at another time he wrote, “I never say any thing of a Man that I have the smallest scruple of saying _to him_.”

From 1749 till 1784, and from 1789 till 1797, or a period of forty years, Washington filled offices of one kind or another, and when he died he still held a commission. Thus, excluding his boyhood, there were but seven years of his life in which he was not engaged in the public service. Even after his retirement from the Presidency he served on a grand jury, and before this he had several times acted as petit juror. In another way he was a good citizen, for when at Mount Vernon he invariably attended the election, rain or shine, though it was a ride of ten miles to the polling town.

Both his enemies and his friends bore evidence to his honesty. Jefferson said, “his integrity was most pure, his justice the most inflexible I have ever known, no motives of interest or consanguinity or friendship or hatred, being able to bias his decision. He was indeed in every sense of the words, a wise, a good, and a great man.” Pickering wrote that “to the excellency of his _virtues_ I am not disposed to set any limits. All his views were upright, all his actions just” Hamilton asserted that “the General is a very honest Man;” and Tilghman spoke of him as “the honestest man that I believe ever adorned human nature.”


ADAMS, John, opinion of Washington,
use of appointing power,
deal arranged by,
dislike of Washington,

—-, Samuel, opposed to Washington,

Agriculture, Washington’s fondness for, Ague, Washington’s attacks of,


Alexandria, assemblies at,
Washington builds in,
lots in,


Alton, John,

Ames, Fisher, quoted,

Appleby school,

ARMSTRONG, John, quoted,


Asses, breeding of,


BACHE, B.F., writes against Washington,

BALLS, maternal ancestors of Washington,


Bank-stock, holdings of,

Barbadoes, Washington’s visit to,

BARD, Dr., quoted,

BASSETT, Burwell,

—-, Frances,

Bath, Virginia, lots in,

_Battle of Brooklyn_, a farce,


BISHOP, Thomas,

BLAND, Mary,

—-, T., criticises Washington’s bow,



Boston, siege of,

BOUCHER, Rev. J., quoted,


BRADDOCK, Edward, Washington and,
defeat of,
march of,

Brasenose College, Lawrence Washington a fellow of,

BRISSOT de Warville, quoted,

British forgeries,

Brixted Parva, Lawrence Washington rector of,

BROGLIE, Prince de, quoted,

Brooklyn, battle of,

CALLENDER, James Thomson, publications of,

CALVERT, Eleanor, marriage with Jack Custis, visit to Cambridge,

Cambridge, head-quarters at,

CAMPBELL, A., portrait of Washington by,

Cancer, George Washington’s,
Mary Washington’s,

Capital. _See_ Washington City.


CARLYLE, Washington’s friendship for,

—-, Major,

—-, Sally,

CARROLL, Charles,

CARY, Mary,



Charity, Washington’s,

Charleston, ladies of, visit Washington, jackass at,

CHASTELLUX, Marquis de, quoted,
marriage of,

Children and Washington,

Christ Church,

Christianity, Washington’s view of,

CLARK, Abraham, opinion of Washington,

CLINTON, George, Washington’s investment with,

—-, Sir H.,
Washington’s relations with,

Clothes, Washington’s taste in,

Clubs, Washington’s share in,

COBB, David, quoted,
at Yorktown,

COBBETT, William, quoted,

Colds, Washington’s treatment of,


Congress, Continental, Washington’s relations with, jealousy of Washington and the army,
endeavors to insult Washington,
part in the Conway cabal,
Washington’s election to,
Washington in,

Connecticut troops, misconduct of,

“Conotocarius,” Indian name for Washington,

Continental army,
sickness of,
farewell to,
small-pox in,
threatened mutiny of,

Conway Cabal,

CONWAY, Thomas, Washington’s relations with,

CORBIN, Richard,

CORNWALLIS, Lord, Washington’s relations with,

Craigie house,

CRAIK, Dr. James, Washington’s friendship for, bleeds Washington,


Culpeper County,

CUSTIS, Eleanor P.,
marriage to L. Lewis,

—-, G.W.P., education,

—-, John Parke, relations with Washington, education,

—-, Martha. _See_ Washington, Martha.

—-, Martha (“Patsy”), relations of Washington with, death,
treatment of,

—- property,

Dancing, Washington’s fondness of,

DANDRIDGE, Bartholomew,

—-, Martha. _See_ Washington, Martha.

—-, Mrs.

DEANE, Silas, quoted,

DE BUTTS, Lawrence,

Democratic criticism of Washington,

DENT, Elizabeth,

DICK, Dr., quoted,

Dismal Swamp Company,

Distillery at Mount Vernon,

District of Columbia,


DUANE, William, writes against Washington,

Duelling, Washington’s views on,

DUER, W.A., quoted,

DUMAS, M., quoted,

DUNLAP, W., quoted,

Duquesne, Fort,


Exeter, Bishop of, Sermons,


—-, Bryan, Lord,

—-, George William,

—-, Sally, 90-1,

—-, Thomas, Lord,

—-, William,

Fairfax County,

Fairfax Parish,

Farewell Address,
drafting of,

Fauntleroy, Betsy,

Federal city. _See_ Washington City.

Fees, Washington’s gifts of,

Fertilization, Washington’s value of,

Fish, Washington’s fondness of,

Fishery at Mount Vernon,


Flour, Washington’s pride in his,

Forged letters,
authorship of,
Bache reprints,

Fort Necessity,

Fox hunting,

FRANKLIN, B., quoted,

Frederick County, Washington stands for,

residence of Mary Washington,

French and Indian War,

French language, Washington on,

FRENEAU, P., writes against Washington,

GAGE, Thomas, relations with Washington,

GATES, Horatio, Washington’s relations with, mentioned,

General orders, quotations from,

Genet episode,

GENN, James, Washington learns surveying from,

Germantown, battle of,

GERRY, Elbridge, attitude towards Washington,

GIBBONS, Mary, scandal concerning,

GORDON, Rev. W., quoted,

Great Britain, Washington’s attitude towards,

GREEN, Rev. Charles,

GREENE, N., friendship with Washington, quoted,



HAMILTON, A., mentioned,
Washington’s relations with,

HARRISON, Benjamin,
letter of,
asks office,

—-, R.H.,

HENRY Eighth grants lands to Washingtons,

HENRY, Patrick, quoted,
offered office,

Herring, sales of,

Hickey plot,

Horses, stud at Mount Vernon,

Houdon bust,

HOWE, Lord, and Sir William, Washington’s relations with,

Humphreys, D., quoted,
relations with Washington,

HUNTER, J., quoted,


Independence, Washington on,

Washington’s diplomacy with,

James River Land Company, Washington’s interest in,

Jay treaty,

JEFFERSON, Thomas, Washington’s relations with, opinion of Washington,
helps Freneau,

JONES, Gabriel,

Kenmore House,

KNOX, Henry,
relations with Washington,

LAFAYETTE, Marquis de,
Washington’s relations with,

—-, G.W.,

—-, Virginia,

Land bounties,

—- companies,

Latin, Washington’s knowledge of,

LAURENS, John, Washington’s relations with, quoted,

LAWRENCE, Nathaniel, quoted,

Lawsuits, Washington’s dislike of,

LEAR, T., friendship for,

LEE, Charles, Washington’s relations with, libels Washington,

—-, Henry, friendship for Washington, anecdote of,
warns Washington of Jefferson’s conduct,

—-, R.H., opinion of Washington,
re-election of,

—-, William, Washington’s body-servant,

LEWIS, Elizabeth,

—-, Fielding,

—-, —-. Jr.,

—-, Howell,

—-, Lewis,

—-, Robert,

Lexington, battle of,

Liveried servants,

Lotteries, Washington’s liking for,

LOVELL, John, opinion of Washington,
quoted, 288.

“Lowland Beauty,”

LYNCH, Thomas, quoted,

McHENRY, James,

McKNIGHT, Dr. C., quoted,

MACLAY, W., quoted,

MADISON, James, relations with Washington, quoted,
drafts papers,


MARSHALL, J., quoted,

MARYE, Rev. T., Washington’s teacher,

MASON, George, quoted,

Massachusetts, difficulties of,
“slam” at officers of,

MASSEY, Rev. Lee, quoted,

Mather’s _Young Man’s Companion_,

Matrimony, Washington’s views on,

Medical knowledge of Washington,
treatment of last illness,

Medicine, Washington’s aversion to,

MERCER, George, quoted,

MIFFLIN, Thomas, Washington’s relations with, mentioned,

Military Company of Adventurers,

—- science, books on,
Washington’s knowledge of,

Militia, evils of,

“Minutes of the Trial,”
authority of,

Mississippi Company,

Monmouth, battle of,
allusions to,

MORRIS, Gouverneur, quoted,
friendship with,

—-, Robert,

—-, Roger,

Mount Vernon, boyhood home of Washington, division of estate by will,
invitation to visit,
history of,
house at,
additions to land,
management of,
absence of Washington from,
system at,
work at,
fishery of,
distillery at,
stud stable of,
live stock of,
profits of,
desire to rent farms of,
Washington’s superintendence of,
Washington’s life at,
slaves at,
overseers of,
British visit to,
hunting at,
shooting at,


MUSE, George, relations with Washington,

Music, Washington’s fondness of,


Nepotism, Washington’s views on,

Newburg, threatened revolt of army at, New England, opposition to Washington,
jealousy of,
arranges deal,
journey in,
conduct of troops,

New Jersey troops, desertion of,

New York, Washington’s visit to,
borrows money for journey to,
head-quarters at,
warfare at,
_Minutes of the Trial in_,
proposed attack on,
farewell to army at,
presidential house at,


Nuts, Washington’s fondness for,

Oaths, Washington’s use of,


Ohio, march to,
journey to,

Ohio Company,

_Old Soldier_,

PAINE, Thomas, relations with Washington,

Paper money, depreciation of,

Pension of Mary Washington,

PEYRONEY, Chevalier,

Philadelphia, visit to,
fever at,
proposed attack on,
capture of,
Presidential house in,
Washington’s attempted purchase near,


PICKERING, Timothy, quoted,

Pohick Church,

Potomac Canal Company,

Presidency, Washington in the,
duties of,
hospitality of,

Privateer, Washington tries to secure share in,

Purleigh, Lawrence Washington, rector of,

Raffles, Washington’s liking for,


RANDOLPH, Edmund, Washington’s relations with, quoted,

—-, John, forges letters,

REED, Joseph, sends print to Washington, relations with Washington,

Revolution, Washington’s service in,

ROBIN, Abbe, quoted,

ROBINSON, Beverly,

—-, John,


Ross, James, quoted,

“Royal Gift,” jackass,

Rules of civility,

RUSH, Benjamin, anonymous letter of,
Washington’s relations with,


St. Clair’s defeat,

St. Paul’s Church,

SARGENT, J.D., opinion of Washington,

SCOTT, Charles, quoted,

Servants, Washington’s,

Shad, sales of,

Sharpless portrait,

Sheep at Mount Vernon,


Skenesborough, mosquitoes at,

Slavery, Washington’s views on,

Slaves, Washington’s,
carried off by British,
rations of,
thieving by,

Small-pox, Washington’s attack of,

SMITH, Rev. W., quoted,

Southern tour,

Spain, king of, gift of jackass to Washington,


STEARN, Samuel, quoted,


STUART, Gilbert, opinion on Washington’s face, quoted,

Stuart portrait,

Stud stable at Mount Vernon,

SULLIVAN, John, quoted,

—-, W., quoted,

Sunday, Washington’s observance of,


Taverns, Washington’s view of,

Tea, Washington’s fondness for,

THACHER, Dr. James, quoted,


THORNTON, Edward, quoted,

TILGHMAN, Tench, Washington’s relations with, quoted,

Tobacco, Washington’s crop of,

Trenton, battle of,

TRUMBULL, Jonathan, wishes Washington removed,

Truro Parish,

University, National, Washington’s wish for,

Valley Forge,


VARICK, Richard,

VERNON, Admiral E., Mount Vernon named after,

Virginia, social life of,
British invasion of,
land bounties,
agricultural system of,
deal with New England,
Washington’s office-holding in,
estates, Washington’s opinion of,

—- Regiment, drunkenness of,

VOLNEY, C., Washington’s diplomacy with,

WADSWORTH, J., quoted,


Walpole grant,

WANSEY, H., quoted,

Warm Springs, visit to,

WASHINGTON, Augustine,

—-, Augustine (Jr.),

—-, Bushrod,
letter to,

—-, Charles,

—-, Elizabeth (Betty). _See_ Fielding.

—-, Frances,

—-, George, ancestors of,
birth of,
his resemblance to the Balls,
relations with his mother,
his dislike of public recompense,
views on public office,
financial help to relatives,
will of,
views on drinking,
care of Custis property,
adoption of Custis children,
portraits of,
illnesses of,
his last,
medicine, his dislike of,
fall of,
secretaries of,
journal to the Ohio,
farewell address,
church attendance,
Sunday conduct,
love affairs,
Barbadoes, visit to,
Ohio, mission to,
Boston, visit to, (1756)
New York, visit to, (1773)
appointed commander-in-chief,
matrimony, his views on,
forged letters,
agriculture, fondness for,
[agriculture] system,
[agriculture] study of,
coat-of-arms of,
as farmer,
land purchases of,
invents a plow,
property of,
bounty lands of,
investments in land companies,
speculation, liking for,
lotteries, liking for,
raffles, liking for,
interest in Potomac Canal Company, wealth of,
slaves of,
[slaves] care of,
slavery, views on,
social life,
headquarters life,
ceremony, hatred of,
tea, liking for,
dancing, fondness of,
simple habits,
dress of,
Rules of Civility,
neatness of,
fishing, fondness for,
theatre, fondness for,
library of,
abuse, sensitiveness to,
friendships of,
Indian friends,
[Indian] name,
quarrel of Hamilton with,
children, relations with,
[enemies] duelling and,
drinks toasts,
intrigues against,
attacks on,
liveried servants of,
courage of,
Fabian policy,
rashness of,
indecision of,
lack of military knowledge,
severity to soldiers,
relations with Continental Congress, New England, dislike of,
farewell to army,
adjutant of Virginia,
stands for Frederick County,
election expenses of,
drafts law,
inability to make speeches,
stage fright,
in the Continental Congress,
attitude towards Great Britain,
popularity of,
diplomacy of,
serves on jury,
attends elections,

—-, George Augustine,

—-, Harriot,

—-, John,

—-, John Augustine,

—-, Lawrence, Rev. (1st),

—-, Lawrence (2d),

—-, Lawrence, Major (3d),

—-, Lawrence, of Chotanck (4th),

—-, Lund,

—-, Martha, sickness of,
meets Washington,
Washington’s letters to,
Washington’s fondness for,
housekeeper for,
orthography, 93,
visits to head-quarters,
social life,
dower slaves,
drafts of letters for,

—-, Mary (Ball),

—-, Mildred,

—-, Robert,

—-, Samuel,

—-, Thornton,

Washington City,

WATSON, Elkanah, quoted,

WAYNE, Anthony, quoted,

Weaving at Mount Vernon,

WEEMS, M.L., quoted,

WELD, Isaac, quoted,

Wheat, Washington’s production of,

Whiskey, distilling of, at Mount Vernon,

WHITE, Rev. W., quoted,

William and Mary College,

lots in,
Washington goes to, for medical advice,

WILLIAMS, William, wishes Washington removed,

WILLING, Ann, quoted,

Winchester, lots in,
election at, 295,

WOLCOTT, Oliver,

WOOD, John,

Yorktown, siege of,