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Condensed from The Mentor (July '26)
common humanity and with many judge of statesmen: “Washington traits of character and temperament
stands alone and unapproachable, which had dropped out of the legend. like a snow peak rising above its fel. In his own lifetime he was idolized low ..., with a dignity, constancy by the otficers of his army. If he had and purity which have made him the lifted his finger, he might have been ideal type of civic virtue to succeed- king. He frowned heavily on the proing generations ..."
ject. English republicans, scorning Now one cannot become acquainted their own sovereign, drank to George with an "unapproachable snow peak.”
Washington as the incarnation of After one has been assured, in various
Plutarchian virtues. forms, for 125 years that Washington Washington's formal schooling was was an “unapproachable snow peak" brief. But a big Southern plantation one comes to believe it. One's emo- employing several hundred slaves tions become cool and sublime. One
gave a very liberal “laboratory" train. thinks of him as Mt. Washingto: ing in the practical arts and crafts: Tather than as Mr. Washington. Even. agriculture, horticulture, fioriculture, toally one begins to doubt whether the breeding of stock, commercial fighthere ever was any Mr. Washington. ing, brewing, distilling, the meat
The first important step toward the business, road building, masonry, recovery of the whole truth about lumbering, dam building, surveying, Washington was the publication of architecture, spinning, weaving, dye. Ford's The Writings of George Washi. ing, bookkeeping, commerce, law and Ington in 14 volumes. Another im. all the elements of administration and portant step was the publication in government. His education was en: 1925 of The Diaries of George Wash- riched and his outlook broadened by mgton. We have had also the realist!c contact with cultivated neighbors, by studies of Washington by Lodge, Ford, his appointment as public surveyor at Hapgood, Wister, Haworth, Hender: the age of 17, by his various military son, Thayer, Prussing and others. and diplomatic missions among the
The obvious result of this historical French and Indians, by his appointstudy has been to convert Washington ment at 23 as commander in chief trom a rather chilly heroic myth into of the Virginian forces, and by his enred-blooded, eating, drinking, six- trance at 27 into the House of Bur. pot-three Virginian with abundance of gesses
Washington was neither a prude nor a prig at any time in his life. Truthfulness, square dealing and valor were indeed bred in his bones. They were part of his inheritance as a Virginian gentleman. He disapproved of slavery on economic grounds and hoped for the eventual enfranchisement of all slaves, but he was a large slaveholder and the most profitable crop on his plantation was tobacco. His &muse: ments were those of a cavalier. He was fond of shooting and fishing, and when he was at Mount Vernon he was a passionate fox hunter. Sometimes he played cards all day and lost a couple of pounds. Sometimes he danced all night. He attended the theater. He went to the horse races. He was fond of Madeira, and he served fine imported wines to his distinguished guests. He was very par. ticular about dress, and for his own garments ordered from London the best quality of broadcloth, silk, linen and cambric. At his own wedding he was attired "in blue and silver with scarlet trimmings, and gold buckles at his knees.”
The records indicate that from his youth up he was devoted to "the fair." Some halting amorous verses of his youth have been preserved. Preserved also is the tradition that he made offers of his heart and hand on sev. eral occasions before they were accepted by the vivacious and wealthy young widow Martha Custis. There is a tradition that, in the earlier stages of his courtship, the girls were disposed to find his nose of unroman. tically formidable proportions. We have a letter addressed to him on his return from soldiering with General Braddock and signed by no less than three fair ladies, “thanking Heaven" for his safe return and assuring him that if he “will not come to us to. morrow morning very early we shall be at Mount Vernon."
In 1798, a year before his death, Washington, 66 years old, wrote once again to Sally Fairfax-a letter full of tranquil satisfaction in being retired at last under his "own vine and fig tree,” but with one passage which
is tender with the passion of h youth:
During this period so many importar events have occurred.. as the compas of a letter would give you but an in adequate idea of. None of which event however, nor all of them together, har been able to eradicate from my mind th recollection of those happy moments, th happiest of my life, which I enjoyed your company.
For 40 years the flame still burne -unextinquished by Martha Washin ton, or by Valley Forge, or by th long watches on the bridge of the ne “Ship of State." We begin to surmis that our father was even more of cavalier than we had suspected.
Washington confessed to finding charm in the whistling of bullet Then and always he was a sensitiv man-highly sensitive in the point honor. To be charged, or even to b suspected, any act unbecoming gentleman kindled his rage. One othe thing invariably kindled his rage; th: was cowardice in battle.
About once a year some after dinne speaker gets half a column in the news papers for announcing that Washing ton swore. There is no evidence tha Washington was habitually a profan man. Habitually he was an extremel dignified and decorous man. He use proianity where another man migh have used the point of a pistol, as : the battle of Monmouth. His word addressed to the retreating Genera Lec, are said to have been: “What i the hell is the meaning of this ti treat? You God-damned poltroon, wil you now lead these troops against th enemy or shall I?"
In 1759, at the age of 26, Washing ton settled down at Mount Vernon li tending to be a country gentleman fo the rest of his life. He then though the life of a gentleman farmer th most "delectable" form of existence i the world. As he felt at 26 he fel also at 67. There was no year betwee 1759 and 1799 when, if he had coi sulted his own inclination, he woul not gladly have resigned his powe and his honor for the sweet refug of his own vine and fig tree. Th diaries which cover his years & Mount Vernon betoken a deep dait
(Continued on Page 206)
Condensed from The American Magazine (July "26)
Dr. Henry Van Dyke HE fact is often overlooked that This is the eaning of Charles
Lamb's retort when someone asked ance, almost as contrary to each
him if he did not hate a certain perother as cold and warmth. The first
son. “Why, no," he said. "I know kind, the easy, worthless, sometimes
him, don't I? I never can hate any. dangerous kind of tolerance, is based
one that I know." on indifference. It is easy for those who believe nothing, to be forbearing
A good motto for life is this: Don't in regard to the beliefs or misbeliefs expect too much of anybody, not even of others. The motto of this sort of yourself. But expect something of indifference should be the familiar everybody, including yourself. line of the profane song: “What the
I recall an intimate conversation h-ui do we care?"
with Theodore Roosevelt. I had asked Sometimes, however, the indifferent him how in the world he managed to attitude does not come from the ab- get along with two men-X and Y. sence of convictions, but from the "I'll tell you how it is,” said he. “Those pride and self-sufficiency with which men seldom agree with me; yet in certain opinions are held. The each of them I have discovered some. least admirable American trait is thing, a trait not generally known to self-complacency based on imperfect the public, which I can't help admirinformation. The man whose toler. ing. 'Take old X. He is a dyed-in-theance iows from an unreasonable sense wool reactionary and a clever schemer. of innate superiority to his fellow But one thing about him is fine. When men often bears on his face an out- he does make you a promise-which ward sign: a smile, a cool, lofty, su- isa't often-he will keep that promise Dercilious, tolerant, intolerable smiie. if it costs him a leg. I can't help With it he meets all objections, mocks liking that. at all reasons, and dismisses the case.
"Then take old Y. People call him The trouble with this kind of tol- a ruthless, hard-boiled Boss of the erance is that it is cold all the way ancient type. But he had a very through-cold as an iceberg. There is tender place in his heart for the welDo pulse of life in it. It never leads fare of the Indians. He brought some to a better understanding. It never of the chiefs of one tribe to Washingmakes friendships between men of dif- ton, cared for them, pleaded and ferent creeds and parties. A firm and worked for their cause in his last days. fixed believer, even a zealot, is easier I think his latest request to me, alto get along with than a cold tolerator. most from his deathbed, was that I
Real tolerance is based not on in- would take care of his redskin friends difference but on sympathy. There. after he was gone. That was some. Lore, it is not cold, but warm. It is thing to honor in the old man. It 4. recognition of something in the made you feel warm to him." other man which you cannot help liko Undoubtedly, the warm kind of tolIng and respecting. The root of it is erance is in harmony with the spirit
kind of good will, love, sense of of our Master. He hated none of the latural fellowship, mutual comprehen- real people with whom He came into lon. This is the meaning of the contact in His human life. His only Irench proverb: "To comprehend all scorn was for the unreal people, scribes $ to pardon all."
and Pharisees, hypocrites, whited se