2.22.2022 – encourage the arts

encourage the arts
duty that good citizens
owe to their country

I like George Washington.

I like George Washington a lot.

I hope I am never in a situation where I might have to choose between the General and Mr. Lincoln because I couldn’t so I would break the rules and take both.

I had a Professor in college who complained about the General that the more you read these incredible stories about the General, the more you dug into his past and history, the more you have to admit, that the stories are true.

The man and the legend are more true together than not.

I don’t mean the legend legends – the cherry tree and throwing a silver dollar over the Rappahannock (or was it the Rapidan) and those stories.

Though I did hear of a version of the Cherry Tree that stated it took place in Texas, where the supposedly the Washington family first settled (not true BTW) and when the General’s Dad asked who cut down the cherry tree and young George said, “I cannot tell a lie, I did it.” The General’s Dad said that if he couldn’t tell a lie, he would never make in Texas and the family moved to Virginia.

But I digress.

The stories of his personal bravery in battle.

His concepts of leadership.

His realization that he was the revolution would last as long as the army would last and the army would last and long as he would last so he lasted them all out.

He realization that the United States was going to be around for some time and that he had a part to play as the First President that would set the bar for all other Presidents.

He really did say, “To encourage Literature & the Arts, is a duty which every good Citizen owes to his Country, & if I could be instrumental in promoting these, and in aiding your endeavours to do the like, it would give me pleasure.

If he had said it a speech that would be one thing.

But you know where he said this?

In a private letter.

It gets better.

In a private letter to a bookstore in Phildelphia.

It gets better.

In a private letter to a bookstore in Philadelphia, Boinod & Gaillard, who were two DUTCH guys who opened up a new shop.

And in the letter, the General is requesting a copy (among other books) of The Histy of the Ud Provinces of the Netherlands by Wm Lothian.

This was in 1784.

The same year the General wrote to his friend, Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de La Fayette, I am not only retired from all public employments but I am retiring within myself, and shall be able to view the solitary walk and tread the paths of private life with heartfelt satisfaction.

The General has retired and looks forward to tread the paths of private life with heartfelt satisfaction and what does he do?

He orders a book of Dutch History.


Then to read the note he sent, “Your Books being chiefly in a foreign Language (which I do not understand) & my Library containing the most valuable of those which are named in the English catalogue, my demand will be small, but if those mentioned below are yet in your Store, they may be laid by, or sent to me as occasion offers, & the cost shall be paid to your Order.

I find it hard to imagine anyone today who could admit so graciously their inability to speak a foreign language and maintain a level of dignity and thoughtfulness.

I have to believe that when he said, “To encourage Literature & the Arts, is a duty which every good Citizen owes to his Country” he really meant it and meant it say to encourage literature and the arts for NO OTHER REASON but that literature and arts NEED to be encouraged for a country, any country, to succeed.

I like George Washington a lot.

By the way, these are the other titles the General ordered:

An Accot of the New Northn Archipelago by M.J. Von Stræhlin 8Vos.
The Histy of the Ud Provinces of the Netherlands by Wm Lothian 4to
A review of the characters of the principal Nations in Europe—2 Vols. 8vo.
Hermes, or a phlol enquiry, concerning Languages &ca by J.H. 8vo.
The true French master, or rules for the Fh tongue by Mr Cheneau of Paris, 8vo.
The New pocket Dicty of the Fh & Eng: langs. by Thos Nugent 2 vols. 8vo.
A course of Gallantries, translated from the Freh of Mr Duclos.2 parts—8vo.
The rise, progress & prest state of the Northn Govts by J. Williams Esqr. 2 Vols—4to.

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