When we think of him, at midnight and in midwinter, thrown from a frail raft into the deep and angry waters of a wide and rushing Western river, thus separated from his only companion through the wilderness with no aid for miles and leagues about him, buffeting the rapid current and struggling through driving cakes of ice; when we behold the stealthy savage, whose aim against all other marks is unerring, pointing his rifle deliberately at him, and firing over and over again; when we see him riding through showers of bullets on Braddock’s fatal field, and reflect that never, during his whole life, was he ever wounded, or even touched by a hostile force—do we not feel that he was guarded by an unseen hand, warding off every danger? No peril by flood or field was permitted to extinguish a life consecrated to the hopes of humanity and to the purposes of Heaven.
For more than sixteen years he rested from his warfare, amid the shades of Mount Vernon; ripening his mind by reading and reflection, increasing his knowledge of practical affairs, entering into the whole experience of a citizen at home and on his farm, and as a delegate to the Colonial Assembly. When, at last, the war broke out, and the unanimous voice of the Continental Congress invested him, as the exigency required, with almost unbounded authority, as their Commander-in-Chief, he blended, although still in the prime of his life, in the mature bloom of his manhood, the attributes of a sage with those of a hero. A more perfectly fitted and furnished character has never appeared on the theater of human action than when, reining up his war-horse beneath the majestic and venerable elm, still standing at the entrance of the Watertown road to Cambridge, George Washington unsheathed his sword and assumed the command of the gathered armies of American Liberty.
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WASHINGTON AS HE LOOKED
From The Christian Endeavor World
According to Captain Mercer, the following describes Washington when he took his seat in the House of Burgesses in 1759:
He is as straight as an Indian, measuring six feet two inches in his stockings, and weighing one hundred and seventy-five pounds. His head is well shaped, though not large, and is gracefully poised on a superb neck, with a large, and straight rather than prominent nose; blue-gray penetrating eyes, which are widely separated and overhung by heavy brows. A pleasing, benevolent, though commanding countenance, dark-brown hair, features regular and placid, with all the muscles under control, with a large mouth, generally firmly closed.
Houdon’s bust accords with this description.