Last night I was on night patrol and running late, so I didn’t post yesterday’s blog ‘I’m Obsolete’ until this morning.
I just finished reading The Real George Washington. I have read other books on Washington, but none told the human side of the man like this book. The thing that impressed me the most was the fact he didn’t return to Mount Vernon for six long years. During the depressing and extremely cold winters Washington remained with the army, otherwise they would have disbanded and gone home. Valley Forge was the worst winter, 2,000 soldiers died of starvation or froze to death. 2,200 deserted to the British so they could get food and warm clothes. Bodies piled up because the ground was frozen solid. What leader today would endure such horrors? Have we ever had a leader who would sacrifice what Washington did? None that I know of. No other man gave so much for his country. He was not a great military mind, but he had what is lacking today, common sense.
Washington tried to get the Continental Congress to appoint another leader, but to a man they all wanted him to build the army and lead us to freedom. Winter after winter he saw his men freezing for the lack of blankets or shoes, starving because there was no food. Think about that, sub-zero weather in your bare feet. The soldiers were paid with a worthless script that none of the merchants would accept. Months on top of months the men didn’t get paid. Washington continued to plea his case, but the new Union had no funds.
When he was appointed Commanding General the Congress set his pay at $500 a month. Washington refused the pay, but did allow them to cover what expenses he might encounter. He served his country for 9 years without a salary. Even after Cornwallis surrendered and in essence the war was over Washington remained with his men three more years, waiting for the last British soldier to leave. All the while Mount Vernon was falling into shambles. He was slowly going bankrupt at home while he stood firm to insure freedom for what we today call America.
Washington was a slave owner. It’s estimated he owned over 200 slaves. He didn’t feel it moral to sell or trade slaves, therefore his retinue grew. The prudent thing would have been to sell some of his prime slaves and pay Mount Vernon’s debt, but he couldn’t. Washington was both a moral man and a Christian. Everyday he found time to pray and read the bible. In his will he left Mount Vernon to Martha, his loyal wife, with the stipulation that when she died the slaves would be set free. The old slaves were to be cared for and the children sent to school. Martha only lived two and a half years longer than George. The slaves were freed and the estate divided up among a host of relatives. The elderly blacks drew a pension until their death and the children who wanted schooling had their tuitions paid. It can be said, Washington cared for others.
All historians agree Washington was faithful to Martha. Rumors were he had his way with the black slaves, but that has no merit. He was duty bound to Martha.
When the presidency was forced on him, George said he would serve without pay. Congress met and voted him a salary of $25,000 a year. This in no way covered the losses Mount Vernon would suffer with him absent. He was the 100% choice of the people for both terms. He was begged to stay for a third. He felt the country was formed and he could go back to farming, his first love.
I think I can say without any arguments, George Washington was our greatest leader. I may still get some argument that Obama will go down as the worst president. But time will prove me right. As good as Washington was is how bad Obama has become. In memory of George Washington we need to elect conservative people who care this November.