George Washington: “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge God”
Comment by Julio Severo: My feeling by reading this article about George Washington was sheer joy! The nations need men like him. His America was much better and different than modern America.
Washington was unanimously chosen as the Army’s commander-in-chief, unanimously chosen as president of the Constitutional Convention and unanimously chosen as the first U.S. president.
As general, Washington acknowledged God after victories throughout the Revolution and as president thanked God for the Constitution, Oct. 3, 1789: “Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the Providence of Almighty God … I do recommend … rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks, for … the favorable interpositions of His Providence … we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war … for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government.”
Washington was Anglican, and after the Revolution, Episcopalian. George Washington’s great-great-grandfather, Rev. Lawrence Washington, was an Anglican minister in Essex, England, who lost his position when the Puritans won the Civil War.
George Washington’s great-grandfather, John Washington, immigrated to Virginia and became a planter, politician and militia leader.
A local Anglican church was renamed “Washington” in honor of John Washington.
When he died, John Washington left to the church a tablet with the Ten Commandments, on which he inscribed: “Being heartily sorry from the bottome of my hart for my sins past, most humbly desiring forgiveness of the same from the Almighty God (my Saviour) and Redeemer, in whom and by the merits of Jesus Christ, I trust and believe assuredly to be saved, and to have full remission and forgiveness of all my sins.”
George Washington’s grandfather, Lawrence, was Anglican, as was his father, Augustine, who served as a vestryman at the Anglican Truro Parish.
George Washington became vestryman in Truro Parish and was godfather in baptism to a niece and several nephews.
As general, George Washington had the Declaration of Independence read to his troops, then ordered chaplains placed in each regiment, stating July 9, 1776: “The General hopes and trusts, that every officer and man, will endeavour so to live, and act, as becomes a Christian Soldier, defending the dearest Rights and Liberties of his country.”
General Washington wrote at Valley Forge, May 2, 1778: “To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest Glory to laud the more distinguished Character of Christian.”
To the Delaware Indian Chiefs who brought three youths to be trained in American schools, General Washington stated, May 12, 1779: “You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ.”
On Oct. 2, 1775, General George Washington issued the order: “Any … soldier who shall hereafter be detected playing at toss-up, pitch, and hustle, or any other games of chance … shall without delay be confined and punished. … The General does not mean by the above to discourage sports of exercise or recreation, he only means to discountenance and punish gaming.”
On Feb. 26, 1776, General Washington issued the orders: “All … soldiers are positively forbid playing at cards and other games of chance. At this time of public distress men may find enough to do in the service of their God and their country, without abandoning themselves to vice and immorality.”
On July 4, 1775, General Washington ordered: “The General … requires … observance of those articles of war … which forbid profane cursing, swearing and drunkenness; And … requires … punctual attendance of Divine Services.”
As recorded in “The Writings of George Washington” (March 10, 1778, 11:83-84, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1934), George Washington ordered: “At a General Court Marshall … Lieutt. Enslin of Colo. Malcom’s Regiment tried for attempting to commit sodomy, with John Monhort a soldier … and do sentence him to be dismiss’d the service with Infamy. His Excellency the Commander-in-Chief approves the sentence and with Abhorrence and Detestation of such Infamous Crimes orders Liett. Enslin to be drummed out of Camp tomorrow morning by all the Drummers and Fifers in the Army never to return.”
In his Farewell Address, 1796, Washington stated: “Disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an Individual … (who) turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty. … The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism. … Let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.”
Washington added in his Farewell Address, 1796: “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness.”