Presidents Day Talking Points:
George Washington: Father of our Country

“The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.”
– Proverbs 21:1 ESV

Today, we celebrate Presidents' Day, and on the 22nd of this month, we celebrate George Washington’s Birthday. Americans in past centuries celebrated Washington’s Birthday as a winter version of the Fourth of July. Now we just use it as an excuse to indulge in sales or take a long weekend vacation. But I want to commend George Washington’s character to you, and most refer to him as the Father of our Country. President Abraham Lincoln said:  

Washington is the mightiest name of earth… On that name, an eulogy is expected. It cannot be. To add brightness to the sun, or glory to the name of Washington, is alike impossible. Let none attempt it. In solemn awe pronounce the name, and in its naked deathless splendor, leave it shining on.[i]

  That is high praise, but what made him so great? Well, he led the Continental Army to victory during the War for Independence as Commander-in-Chief. He presided over the proposals, debates, and the vote for our matchless Constitution. He was unanimously elected the first President of the United States and served with distinction.

  What was the secret to his greatness? I would answer his acknowledgment of God and his godly character. But what gave rise to that amazing character that was the wonder of the world? If we trace back the river to its source, he was born in a godly home. On both sides, there was a long line of believers, his mother and father were both dedicated Christians.[ii] Born February 22, 1732 on a modest plantation in Virginia, George was the son of Augustine and Mary Washington, and baptized into the Episcopal church, the church he attended all his life.[iii]

Neither parent was perfect, but his father spent a lot of time and took great pains to teach George to be honest, to be unselfish, and to worship God. George’s formal schooling went only through the elementary grades, and tragically, his father died when he was 11. Then the religious instruction fell to his mother, who was a remarkable woman. One who had lived in the home said that, for at least the 50 years that she had known her, every day without exception she retired to her bedroom after breakfast and spent an hour in prayer and in the reading and study of the word of God.

Much is made of her prickly personality in the history books, but those same history books fail to tell us that she taught George the Bible, she taught him to pray, and she taught him The Anglican Book of Prayers of which they were faithful members. She also taught him from various devout and godly books, such as Contemplations: Moral and Divine by Sir Matthew Hale, who was a leading jurist in England. In fact, Washington kept that book with him all of his life, and it was found among his possessions when he died, copiously underlined. When he left home to begin a lifetime of service to his country, his mother said: “Remember that God is our only sure trust. To Him I commend you.” Then she added: “My son, neglect not the duty of secret prayer.”[iv] And history shows that he followed the wise and godly counsel of his mother.

  Washington was not a perfect man. He owned slaves throughout his entire life but had them freed at his death. He was a man of his times. The only perfect man who ever lived was Jesus Christ. But overall, did he live out his profession of faith?

  I. His Private Devotional Life

  First, let’s look at his devotional life. His whole life through, whether he was a young man, an officer, a general, or the President of the United States, unless there was some absolute emergency that claimed his attention, he spent time in the Bible and in prayer. In his later years, he would rise from the living room at 9:00 PM sharp, take his candle into the library, and there, from 9:00-10:00 PM he was not seen. Then at 10:00 PM he would emerge from the library and go to his bedroom.
  On several occasions, different people who happened to be in the home, because of certain emergencies that arose, were forced to interrupt Washington in his library, to seek his attention. And they found him, invariably, on his knees, in front of a chair with a candle on the stand next to the chair, and the Bible open before him, praying. Washington prayed aloud in private, as was the custom of many people in that day.

  After retiring for the night, he would arise before dawn, spending another hour in the same room, kneeling before the same chair, with the same book open before him, then after his devotions, he would attend to letters. He spent at least two hours a day in prayer and Bible study. But each day of his life, Washington was faithful to walk with His God.[v]
  On the Lord’s Day, he spent it the Lord’s way. He attended church as regularly as could be expected, in his later years traveling over 10 miles on rough and muddy roads and through all kinds of weather. Then on Sunday afternoons, he and his family would often host preachers or he would often read a printed sermon to his family.

  II. His Public Life

  Washington’s Christianity carried over not only from his private profession and his private devotions, but into his public life. After his father’s death, the farm became run down, and George had to take on many of his father’s duties. His older half-brother, Lawrence, was a regular in the British Army and became a role model for our future hero. Unfortunately, Lawrence died of tuberculosis in 1752, but left George most of the estate. George was industrious. By age 17 he worked as a surveyor of the Blue Ridge Mountains. By age 18, he made his first land purchases in the Shenandoah. During these early years, he gained knowledge of the ways of the wilderness and of how to get along with the Indians. He also became an excellent horseman.

  A. Officer in Virginia Militia: George Washington joined Virginia’s volunteer militia as a young man, and by age 20 achieved the rank of major. It became clear to those who knew him that Washington was a born leader of men. He first came to the public’s notice for his exploits during the French and Indian War. However, his first command resulted in a defeat, something he would experience more than once in his career. Nevertheless, Washington had gained valuable experience in the field of battle and it suited him perfectly. In fact, he wrote in a letter to his brother after his first fire-fight with the French: “I heard the bullets whistle, and believe me, there is something charming in the sound.”[vi]

  With this valuable battle experience, and knowledge of the territory, Washington was appointed as a Colonel in 1755. His orders were to serve alongside British General Braddock who commanded two regiments of British Regulars. Braddock’s mission was to take the French Fort Duquesne, located at the fork of the Ohio River, which is now Pittsburgh. Before George left, his mother called him in and tried to talk him out of going. He respectfully reminded her: “The God to whom you commended me, madam, when I set out upon a more perilous errand, defended me from all harm, and I trust he will do so now. Do not you?”[vii]

Now British Gen. Braddock had nothing but contempt for the colonial militia, and did not want any part of them in his professional army. He had heard, however, that young Colonel Washington knew more than anyone about the wilderness in the Virginia region, and decided his expertise might be of use. Braddock’s men were part of an elite corps, some of the finest members of the British army. Superbly equipped and supplied, they could move and wheel with perfect precision in any direction on the parade ground. They were a sight to see.

Gen. Braddock led this superior British force of 1,300 cross-country to engage the French. Washington tried to persuade Braddock to use his Indian scouts, as the French did, but he was even more prejudiced against them than he was toward the Colonials assigned to his crack British regiments. Washington also tried to coach Braddock on Indian war strategy of hit and run, hiding behind rocks and trees, but Braddock believed in the old fashioned, civilized way of conducting war: drag along heavy artillery, line up in formation, and attack in waves. That strategy might have worked for the wide-open battlefields of Europe, but the strategy was doomed in the American wilderness. However, Braddock paid no attention to Washington, seeing him as an upstart colonial who had no cultivated understanding of the finer art of European warfare. Consequently, Washington’s warnings that the British would be cut to ribbons in an Indian ambush fell on deaf ears.

Braddock had a four-mile-long column of soldiers and artillery trekking through the wilderness, looking like they were in a big parade, until they walked right into an ambush laid by the French and Indians. The result on July 9, 1755, would prove to be one of the bloodiest days in Anglo-American history. A hail of bullets tore into the British ranks, their Red Coats were a perfect target for the French and the Indians who were hiding in the forest on either side, with the British column caught in the crossfire. The whole British army was thrown into confusion while their unseen attackers picked them off.

All the British soldiers could do is shoot randomly into the woods. But the French and Indians were deadly in their aim, and British soldiers fell by the scores. The ground was quickly littered with the dead and dying, horses panicked and tore off with their wagons, trampling the living and the dead. Despite their total disarray, the British tried to huddle in groups and fire into the woods, while the French and Indians picked their targets. It was an absolute massacre—and young George Washington was right in the middle of it.
Yet somehow, while carrying the General’s orders to the field commanders in the heat of that battle, Washington survived. At the end of the day, two horses had been shot from under him; four times his coat had been shot through or torn by musket balls; but he escaped without injury. In fact, 80 years after the battle, a gold seal of Washington, contain­ing his initials, was found on the battlefield. It had been shot off of him by a musket ball.

He was indeed shielded by God’s hand, untouched by bullet or bayonet, arrow or tomahawk, even though scores of victims fell all around him. In fact, over half of the British and Colonials (714) were killed or wounded. Only 30 men survived out of the Virginia regiment. Nearly one third of the officers were killed, including General Braddock—who was mortally wounded and died some three days later.

Who would do the funeral? Colonel Washington, the Officer in charge, pulled out his copy of The Anglican Book of Prayers, and conducted a Christian funeral in the middle of a road, during their retreat.[viii] In fact, during the French and Indian War, he tried desperately to get a Chaplain for the Army. After one wasn’t granted, he became not only the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed forces of Virginia, but their Chaplain as well. For two years he conducted worship services on Sunday for his men.[ix]

Meanwhile, rumors had gotten back to Mount Vernon that he had been killed, so Washington wrote his brother:

As I have heard since my arrival at this place [Fort Cumber­land] a circumstantial account of my death and dying speech, I take this early opportunity of contradicting the first and of assuring you that I have not as yet composed the latter. But 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 levelling my com­panions on every side of me![x]

After the battle, several testimonies came back from the enemy about the supernatural way that Washington was protected in that massacre. For example, one famous Indian warrior who was a leader in the attack was often heard to testify, “Washington was never born to be killed by a bullet! I had 17 fair fires at him with my rifle, and after all could not bring him to the ground!” Mary Draper Ingels was kidnapped from her farm in Virginia by a band of Shawnees, which had participated in this battle, and she heard the French and Indians talking about Washington. A Shawnee chief named Red Hawk told of shoot­ing 11 different times at Washington without killing him. Because his gun had never missed its mark before, he ceased firing at him because he was convinced that the Great Spirit protected Washington.[xi]

Then 15 years after the battle, Washington and Army Doctor James Craik, a close friend of the General’s from his boyhood to his death, were exploring territory that is now Ohio and West Virginia. A company of Indians, led by an old, respected chief, approached them. A coun­cil fire was kindled and the chief addressed Washington through an interpreter. The chief first explained that he had heard about Washington’s approach to that part of the country, so he set out on his long journey to meet him in person to talk about the battle 15 years earlier. Through the interpreter he said:

I am a chief and ruler over my tribes. My influence extends to the waters of the great lakes and to the far blue mountains. I have traveled a long and weary path that I might see the Young warrior of the great battle. It was on the day when the white man’s blood mixed with the streams of our forest that I first beheld this chief [Wash­ington].
I called to my young men and said, mark yon tall and daring warrior? He is not of the Red‑Coat tribe—he hath an Indian’s wisdom, and his warriors fight as we do—himself is alone exposed. 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 old and soon shall be gathered to the great council fire of my fathers in the land of shades; but ere I go, there is something bids me speak in the voice of prophecy. Listen! The Great Spirit protects that man [pointing at Washington], and guides his destinies—he will become the chief of nations, and a people yet unborn will hail him as the founder of a mighty empire. I am come to pay homage to the man who is the par­ticular favorite of Heaven and who can never die in battle.[xii]

Because God Providentially protected him, Washington not only did not die in that battle, he was not even wounded in any of the numerous battles in which he fought. As the old Chief predicted, Washington did indeed become the chief of a nation, hailed by subsequent generations as a founder of a mighty nation.

B. Commander-In-Chief: When he assumed the position of Commander in Chief of the American forces in the Revolution, the very next day he issued this order:

“The General most earnestly requires and expects the observances of those articles of war established by the government of this army, which forbid: profane swearing, cursing, and drunkenness. And in like manner, he requires and expects of all the officers and soldiers not engaged in actual duty, a punctual attendance upon divine service (be in church), to implore the blessings of heaven upon the means used for our safety and defense.” And Washington added his own words: “To the distinguished character of a patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of a Christian.”[xiii]
  In fact, Washington dealt swiftly with even the hint of homosexuality in his ranks, as is evidenced in his general orders in Valley Forge for March 14, 1778:

  At a General Court Martial whereof Colo. Tupper was President (10th March 1778), Lieutt. Enslin of Colo. Malcom’s Regiment [was] tried for attempting to commit sodomy, with John Monhort a soldier; Secondly, For Perjury in swearing to false accounts, [he was] found guilty of the charges exhibited against him, being breaches of 5th Article, 18th. Section of the Articles of War and [we] do sentence him to be dismiss’d [from] the service with infamy.
 His Excellency the Commander in Chief approves the sentence and with abhorrence and detestation of such infamous crimes orders Lieutt. Enslin to be drummed out of camp tomorrow morning by all the drummers and fifers in the Army never to return; The drummers and fifers [are] to attend on the Grand Parade at Guard mounting for that Purpose.[xiv]

General Washington not only forbade homosexual behavior, but punished it by having the guilty parties “drummed out” of the military. Things have changed since Washington’s day. Also, General Washington was concerned about how their current actions would have an impact on the unborn:

The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and conduct of this army. Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us no choice but a brave resistance, or the most abject submission. We have, therefore to resolve to conquer or die. Our own country’s honor calls upon us for a vigorous and manly exertion, and if we now shamefully fail, we shall become infamous to the whole world. Let us rely upon the goodness of the cause, and the aid of the Supreme Being in whose hands victory is, to animate and encourage us to great and noble actions.[xv]
  While Washington was at Valley Forge, he made an impression on some of the local residents with his humility. A Quaker named Isaac Potts spied him on more than one occasion kneeling in the snow in prayer. Founder of the Lutheran Church in America, Henry Muhlenberg, observed: “General Washington rode among his army yesterday and admonished each and every one to fear God, to put away the wickedness that has set in and become so general, and to practice the Christian virtues. From all appearances, this gentleman doesn’t belong to the so-called world of society, for he respects God’s word, believes in atonement thru Christ, and bears himself in humility and gentleness.”[xvi] I wonder what that Quaker and Lutheran pastor would say about our more recent Commander-in-Chiefs.

  In 1783, Washington resigned his commission from the army, but before he did, he sent a letter to the governors of the 13 states that concluded with a prayer to God: “I now make it my prayer that God would have you . . . in His holy protection . . . and that He would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy [Micah 6:8] … and to conduct ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific mind, which were the characteristics of the Divine author of our blessed religion [Hebrews 12:2]; And without an humble imitation of His example in these things [1 Peter 1:21], we can never hope to be a happy nation [Psalm 33:12].”[xvii] Can you imagine any modern residents of the White House ever saying that America cannot hope to be a happy nation without following the example of Jesus?

  Though the war, in official terms, would drag on for another couple of years, everyone knew that the American victory at Yorktown signaled the end. A preliminary peace treaty was signed on November 30, 1782. As an ambassador of the United States who negotiated the treaty, Benjamin Franklin was at a dinner of foreign dignitaries in Versailles. The minister of Great Britain proposed a toast to King George III, likening him to the sun. The French minister, in like kind, proposed a toast to King Louis XVI, comparing him with the moon. Legend has it that Benjamin Franklin stood up and toasted: “George Washington, Commander of the American armies, who, like Joshua of old, commanded the sun and the moon to stand still, and they obeyed him.”[xviii] The final treaty, known as the Peace of Paris, was signed on September 3, 1783. That Treaty begins: “In the name of the most Holy and undivided Trinity.”[xix]

C. President: Washington was elected president in 1789 by a unanimous vote. On April 30, 1789, George Washington was inaugurated as the first President under the new Constitution. The event took place at Federal Hall in New York City, which served as the Nation’s Capital. Washington had made his way there from Mount Vernon with great fanfare and celebration along the way.

A time of prayer for the new government had been planned to precede the inauguration, with the people of New York City being called to a time of prayer. A newspaper in the Capital City reported on that scheduled activity:

[O]n the morning of the day on which our illustrious President will be invested with his office, the bells will ring at nine o’clock, when the people may go up to the house of God and in a solemn manner commit the new government, with its important train of consequences, to the holy protection and blessing of the Most high. An early hour is prudently fixed for this peculiar act of devotion and . . . is designed wholly for prayer.[xx]
  The preparations for the inauguration had been extensive. Yet as the parade carrying George Washington by horse-drawn carriage to the swearing-in was nearing Federal Hall, someone realized that no Bible had been brought for administering the oath of office. Parade Marshal Jacob Morton hurried to the nearby Masonic Lodge and borrowed its large 1767 King James Bible, a Bible that is still in use for inaugurations today upon request.

  With a huge crowd gathered below watching the ceremony on the balcony, New York Chancellor Robert Livingston, the highest judicial official in that state, administered the oath of office. (Robert Livingston had been one of the five tasked with drafting the Declaration of Independence and would later negotiate the Louisiana Purchase.) Beside Livingston and Washington stood several distinguished officials, including Vice President John Adams, original Supreme Court Chief Justice John Jay, Generals Henry Knox and Philip Schuyler, and a number of others. The Bible was laid atop a crimson velvet cushion held by Samuel Otis, Secretary of the Senate, and was fittingly opened to the book of Genesis, the Book of Beginnings.  

  Washington placed his left hand upon the open Bible, raised his right, and then took the oath of office prescribed by the Constitution. But then George Washington bent over and kissed the Bible, reverently closed his eyes, and said, “So help me God!” Chancellor Livingston then proclaimed, “It is done!” Turning to the crowd assembled below, he shouted, “Long live George Washington—the first President of the United States!” That shout was echoed and re-echoed by the crowd below.
  Then he gave his incredible first inaugural address.[xxi]                 
  Here’s an excerpt:

 It would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act, my fervent supplication to that Almighty Being who rules over the Universe, who presides in the councils of nations, and whose providential aid can supply every human defect…
 No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the people of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of Providential agency...(God’s hand is evident through out) We ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained…
 I shall take my present leave, but not without resorting once more to the Benign Parent of the human race in humble supplication... so that His divine blessing may be equally conspicuous in the enlarged views, the temperate consultations, and the wise measures on which the success of this government may depend.

  So his first official act was to publicly acknowledge God.

  The service at St. Paul’s was conducted by The Right Reverend Samuel Provoost, the Episcopal Bishop of New York, who had been chosen Chaplain of the Senate the week preceding the inauguration.[xxii] The service was performed according to the Book of Common Prayer, and included a number of prayers taken from Psalms 144-150 as well as Scripture readings and lessons from the book of Acts, I Kings, and the Third Epistle of John.[xxiii]

It should be noted that the inauguration of George Washington as President was conducted with the approval and active involvement of leaders who had framed our Constitution and who months later framed the First Amendment. No one objected that the inauguration included numerous religious expressions and activities or claimed that they were unconstitutional or crossed the line of “Separation of Church and State.” No, the greatest gathering of constitutional experts ever assembled heartily participated, and that first inauguration set the precedent for future inaugurations. In fact, many of the activities from that original inauguration have been repeated in whole or part in nearly every subsequent inauguration, including:

1) Use of the Bible to administer the Oath;
2) Addition of “So help me God” to the Oath;
3) Inaugural prayers or reference to personal prayers by the President;
4) President calling the people to pray or acknowledge God;
5) Religious content in the Inaugural Addresses;
6) Inaugural worship services; and
7) Clergy-led inaugural prayers.

After his first Inaugural Address, Washington led the members of Congress to church for a worship service. In his presidency, Washington supported the appointment of chaplains, and five months later on October 3, 1789, he declared the first National Day of Prayer, in which he called upon the American people to give thanks to God.

After two terms, he decided to step down. He could have easily been elected for a third term, but he felt two was enough. And in his Farewell Address, which by the way used to be a textbook that every history student had to study, he talked about government debt, which is a big topic of conversation in our day. In fact, George Washington considered public debt as generational theft: “avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt, not only by shunning occasions of expense, but by vigorous exertions in times of peace to discharge the debts which unavoidable wars have occasioned, not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burden which we ourselves ought to bear.”[xxiv] He was saying: “Don’t burden future generations with debt.”

  Yet our government is running up debt at a record rate. We now owe $30 trillion and counting. That is over $90K for every man, woman, boy, and girl in America.[xxv] We are at the place of not being able to sustain this debt, and something has got to give. He also warned of the divisiveness of partisanship and against being overly influenced by foreign powers, which are very much current problems in American politics.

  Washington also declared: “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to good government, religion and morality are the inseparable and necessary pillars in support. And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion...reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”[xxvi]
  In other words, the twin pillars that hold up the American government are the two tables of the Ten Commandments: “religion”—duty to God, and “morality”—duty to others. What he was saying was this: If you want good government, religion and morality—the Ten Commandments—have to be the twin pillars of support, the foundation. And he said: “Let not that man claim the name of Patriot who seeks to undermine those pillars.” He is no patriot who seeks to undermine biblical beliefs and morals, said George Washington. Indeed, he asks a compelling question: “Can it be that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a nation with its virtue?”

  That Washington stepped down as president and returned to private life when he could have been coronated as the American King is a testimony to his great character. King George III reportedly remarked to American portrait artist Benjamin West upon hearing that Washington, after winning the Revolutionary War, served two terms as president, had resigned and went home to Mount Vernon: “that act closing and finishing what had gone before and viewed in connection with it, placed him in a light the most distinguished of any man living, and that he [King George] thought him [George Washington] the greatest character of the age.”[xxvii]
   III. His Death

  Unfortunately, George Washington was not to enjoy his retirement for long. Suffering from a severe sore throat resulting from exposure during a cold, wet ride, he lay on his death bed at Mount Vernon on Saturday, December 14, 1799. When he had been informed of the death of his brother Charles just 11 weeks earlier, Washington stated in a letter to Colonel Burgess Ball:

  The death of relations always produces awful and affecting emotions under whatever circumstances it may happen…I was the first, and am, now, the last of my father’s children, by the second marriage, who remain…When I shall be called upon to follow them is known only to the Giver of Life. When the summons comes I shall endeavor to obey it with a good grace.[xxviii]

  At about five o’clock on Saturday afternoon, George Washington spoke to Dr. James Craik from his bed: “Doctor, I die hard, but I am not afraid to go.” At about ten o’clock, he told his private secretary Tobias Lear with great difficulty in speaking: “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. Do you understand me?” Lear replied: “Yes.” His last words were: “Tis well.”[xxix]

Inscribed on Washington’s tomb are the words of Jesus from John 11:25-26: “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” In the moment of death, George Washington trusted himself to the Giver of Life.

President Calvin Coolidge summed up Washington’s contribution to mankind, under the Providence of God, in a speech to Congress:

Washington was the directing spirit without which there would have been no independence, no Union, no Constitution and no Republic. His ways were the ways of truth. His influence grows. In wisdom of action, in purity of character he stands alone. We cannot yet estimate him. We can only indicate our reverence for him and thank the Divine Providence which sent him to serve and inspire his fellow men.[xxx]

  Washington himself had a sense of how God used him providentially to advance the cause of liberty to mankind as well as an understanding of the providential purpose of America, writing in March 1785:

  At best I have only been an instrument in the hands of Providence, to effect, with the aid of France and many virtuous fellow Citizens of America, a revolution which is interesting to the general liberties of mankind, and to the emancipation of a country which may afford an Asylum, if we are wise enough to pursue the paths wch. lead to virtue and happiness, to the oppressed and needy of the Earth.[xxxi]

  As we remember Washington’s life on President’s Day, may God challenge each of us through his words and deeds, may we return to the values that he held privately and espoused publicly, and may we choose future leaders worthy of his example.

  Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for President’s Day, a day to honor leaders of the past and pray for those of the present. Thank you for George Washington, the Father of our Country, who acknowledged you frequently and whose life and character seemed to have been shaped by his relationship with you. His heart was in your hands, and you guided him. We pray the same for the current president and all our leaders. May they submit to your will, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
[i] Temperance Address in Springfield, Illinois 22 Feb 1842 as found in Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1953), 1:279.
   [ii] George Washington’s father, Augustine Washington, who was an active vestryman in Truro Parish, Virginia, recorded the baptism of George in his own handwriting in the old family Bible, April of 1732. See William J. Johnson, George Washington the Christian (Arlington Heights, IL: Christian Liberty Press, 1919/1992), 18.
   [iii] George Washington’s father, Augustine Washington, who was an active vestryman in Truro Parish, Virginia, recorded the baptism of George in his own handwriting in the old family Bible, April of 1732. See William J. Johnson, George Washington the Christian (Arlington Heights, IL: Christian Liberty Press, 1919/1992), 18.
   [iv] Ibid., 36.
   [v] Jared Sparks, ed., The Writings of George Washington: Being His Correspondence, Addresses, Messages, and Other Papers, Official and Private, Selected and Published from the Original Manuscripts, with a Life of the Author, 12 vols. (Boston: American Stationer’s Company, 1837), 12:405-407.
   [vii] Johnson, Washington the Christian, 39.
   [viii] E.C. M’guire, The Religious Opinions and Character of Washington, 2d ed., (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1847), 137. E.C. M’Guire was the son-in-law of Mr. Robert Lewis, Washington’s nephew and private secretary.
   [ix] Johnson, Washington the Christian, 45-47.
   [x] George Washington, in a letter to his brother on July 18, 1755 as found in Sparks, Writings of George Washington,, 2:89.
   [xi] David Barton, The Bulletproof George Washington (Aledo, TX: WallBuilders, 1990/2003), 53.
   [xii] As told by Dr. Craik to Mr. George Washington Parke Custis, first published in 1828 and reprinted in George Washington Parke Custis, Recollections and Private Memoirs of Washington, Benson J. Lossing, ed., (New York: Derby & Jackson, 1860), 303.
   [xiii] “General Orders, 2 May 1778,” Founders Online, National Archives, [Original source: The Papers of George Washington, Revolutionary War Series, vol. 15, May–June 1778, ed. Edward G. Lengel. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2006, p. 13.]
   [xiv]John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799, 39 vols., (Washington: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1934), 9:83-84, from General Orders at Valley Forge on March 14, 1778.
   [xv] July 2, 1776, from his Head Quarters in New York the General Orders were issued to his troops. Jared Sparks, ed., The Writings of George Washington 12 vols. (Boston: American Stationer’s Company, 1837, NY: F. Andrew’s, 1834-1847), Vol. III, p. 449.
   [xvi] “Muhlenberg, Henry Melchior - Sermons and Biblical Studies,”
[xvii] June 6 circular letter from Newburgh in Fitzpatrick, Writings of George Washington, 26:496.
   [xviii] Benjamin Franklin at Versailles, France as recorded in John Bartlett, Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1855, 1980), 348.
   [xix] Signed in Paris on September 3, 1783, by D. Hartley, John Adams, B. Franklin, and John Jay, thereby officially ending the Revolutionary War. William M. Malloy, compiler, Treaties, Conventions, International Acts, Protocols and Agreements between the United States of America and Other Powers, 1776-1909, 4 vols. (New York: Greenwood Press, 1910, 1968), 2:1786.
   [xx] Francis Childs, ed., The Daily Advertiser, New York, New York, Thursday, April 23, 1789, 2. Microfilm held by American Antiquarian Society, Newspaper Project, Worcester, MA.
[xxii] Clarence W. Bowen, The History of the Centennial Celebration of the Inauguration of George Washington (New York, D. Appleton & Co., 1892), 54; See also “Chaplain’s Office,” United States Senate (at:
[xxiii] Book of Common Prayer (Oxford: W. Jackson & A. Hamilton, 1784), s.v., April 30th.
   [xxiv] “Farewell Address,” George Washington’s Mount Vernon,
[xxv] See
   [xxvi] “Washington’s Farewell Address 1796,” Yale Law School,
   [xxviii] “From George Washington to Burgess Ball, 22 September 1799,” National Archives,
[xxix] See Tobias Lear’s account at
[xxx] Osborn, p. iv. A facsimile of the peroration of President Coolidge’s Address to the Sixty-ninth Congress, Second Session, on Washington’s Birthday, February 22, 1927.
   [xxxi] Letter to Lucretia Wilhemina Van Winter, March 30, 1785, Fitzpatrick, The Writings of George Washington, 28:120.