BY THOMAS WENTWORTH HIGGINSON
On the last day in office Washington wrote to Knox comparing himself to “the weary traveler who sees a resting-place, and is bending his body to lean thereon. To be suffered to do this in peace,” he added, “is too much to be endured by some.” Accordingly on that very day a Philadelphia newspaper dismissed him with a final tirade, worth remembering by all who think that political virulence is on the increase:
“Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation” was the exclamation of a man who saw a flood of blessedness breaking in upon mankind. If ever there was a time that allowed this exclamation to be repeated, that time is the present. The man who is the source of all our country’s misery is this day reduced to the rank of his fellow-citizens, and has no longer the power to multiply the woes of these United States. Now more than ever is the time to rejoice. Every heart which feels for the liberty, and the happiness of the people must now beat with rapture at the thought that this day the name of Washington ceases to give currency to injustice and to legalize corruption.... When we look back upon the eight years of Washington’s administration, it strikes us with astonishment that one man could thus poison the principles of republicanism among our enlightened people, and carry his designs against the public liberty so far as to endanger its very existence. Yet such is the fact, and if this is apparent to all, this day they should form a jubilee in the United States.
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BY IRVING ALLEN
From The Independent
At this season of the anniversary of Washington’s birth, it seems especially appropriate to recall certain singular circumstances in the life of the greatest of Americans—events remarkable in themselves in whatever light they may be viewed; whether, in accordance with the tenets of modern Spiritism and, to a certain extent, in harmony with the doctrines of Swedenborg and his followers in human affairs of departed spirits; or if, on the other hand, we adopt the simple teachings of the Sacred Scriptures, and acknowledge the truth with men and their affairs.
Authentic history records no less than six marvelous instances in which the life of Washington was saved under circumstances seemingly little less than miraculous. The first of these wonderful escapes from impending peril occurred during the period of Washington’s sole recorded absence from the American continent—when he accompanied his brother Lawrence, then fatally ill with consumption, to the Barbadoes.
They sailed in September of 1751, George being then in the twentieth year of his age. Before the brothers had been a fortnight in the island the younger, the future hero of the Revolution, was attacked with smallpox in its “natural” and virulent form. This disease was not then the fangless monster with which we are familiar, but was terrific in its assaults and almost invariably fatal; yet Washington recovered in something less than three weeks, and retained through his life but slight marks of the malady.