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George Washington and the Standing Miracle

Today is the 284th birthday of the Father of our Country, George Washington.  The above video from the musical 1776 depicts John Adams asking the Secretary of Congress, Charles Thomson, if he stands with Adams or the opponents of Independence.  Thomson responds that he stands with the General, George Washington.  Throughout 1776, Washington is an unseen presence but a powerful one.  As Congress considers the question of Independence, Washington’s messages to Congress paint a gloomy military picture.  Each member of Congress knows that if they declare Independence, only Washington and his ragtag army stand between them and a hangman’s noose.

Washington was always blunt, albeit respectful, in his messages to Congress.  It was his task to somehow hold together an army paid in worthless currency, dressed in rags, often barefoot, ill-fed and hastily trained.  For eight long years, while the American economy largely collapsed due to a blockade, he pulled endless rabbits out of his tri-corn hat to keep his army in being for yet another day.  He did this while respecting the civilian leadership of the new nation, a leadership that often seemed feckless and impotent.  He did this while confronting the mightiest empire in the world that controlled the seas and deployed a superb army.

At periods during the Revolution Washington led his army with a skill that excited the imagination of the world.  After the Trenton-Princeton campaign, Frederick the Great, King of Prussia and the foremost general of his day, wrote,  “The achievements of Washington and his little band of compatriots between the 25th of December and the 4th of January, a space of 10 days, were the most brilliant of any recorded in the annals of military achievements.”  I certainly agree with this and Washington fully earned the nicknames bestowed upon him by his British adversaries:  “the fox” and “the old fox”.  However, what excites my admiration most about Washington during the American Revolution was that he kept the Continental Army alive, and made it a formidable force.

In his farewell order to his victorious Continental Army George Washington wrote:

A contemplation of the compleat attainment (at a period earlier than could have been expected) of the object for which we contended against so formidable a power cannot but inspire us with astonishment and gratitude. The disadvantageous circumstances on our part, under which the war was undertaken, can never be forgotten. The singular interpositions of Providence in our feeble condition were such, as could scarcely escape the attention of the most unobserving; while the unparalleled perseverence of the Armies of the U States, through almost every possible suffering and discouragement for the space of eight long years, was little short of a standing miracle.

Agreed, and the essential element by which God worked this miracle was by granting America the leadership of George Washington.

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

6 Comments

  1. Washington viewed the Masons as nothing other than a social club and did not take it seriously.

    “But it is what we would expect from someone who had hardly even set foot inside a lodge for more than thirty years as Washington admitted in a letter to G. W. Snyder dated just a month and a half prior to the one cited by Mr. Dean. In that letter, Washington wrote:

    I have heard much of the nefarious and dangerous plan and doctrines of the Illuminati, but never saw the book until you were pleased to send it to me. The same causes which have prevented my acknowledging the receipt of your letter, have prevented my reading the book hitherto; namely, the multiplicity of matters which pressed upon me before, and the debilitated state in which I was left, after a severe fever had been removed, and which allows me to add little more now than thanks for your kind wishes and favorable sentiments, except to correct an error you have run into, of my presiding over the English Lodges in this country. The fact is I preside over none, nor have I been in one more than once or twice within the last thirty years. I believe, notwithstanding, that none of the Lodges in this country are contaminated with the principles ascribed to the society of the Illuminati.”

    Mr. Snyder responded by informing Washington that he was personally aware of Illuminati infiltration in Masonic lodges in America, and on October 24, 1798, just fourteen days before the letter to the Maryland lodge, Washington wrote again to Mr. Snyder to inform him that his previous statements about the Masons had been too soft. In this second letter, Washington wrote:

    “Revd Sir: I have your favor of the 17th. instant before me; and my only motive to trouble you with the receipt of this letter, is to explain, and correct a mistake which I perceive the hurry in which I am obliged, often, to write letters, have led you into.

    It was not my intention to doubt that, the Doctrines of the Illuminati, and principles of Jacobinism had not spread in the United States. On the contrary, no one is more truly satisfied of this fact than I am.

    The idea that I meant to convey, was, that I did not believe that the Lodges of Free Masons in this Country had, as Societies, endeavoured to propagate the diabolical tenets of the first, or pernicious principles of the latter (if they are susceptible of seperation). That Individuals of them may have done it, or that the founder, or instrument employed to found, the Democratic Societies in the United States, may have had these objects; and actually had a seperation of the People from their Government in view, is too evident to be questioned.”

    https://www.thefederalistpapers.org/founders/washington/was-george-washington-really-a-devout-mason

  2. @Donald R. McClarey: I say this with sensitivity, noting the love you have for your country. Your take on American politics and history strike me as that of a cuckold who is the last to realize that his wife has been cheating on him.
    *
    For Washington to “[view] the Masons as nothing other than a social club and […] not take [them] seriously“, it to further call to question his assessment and judgment, and therefore we shouldn’t be surprised the country is where it is.

  3. “Your take on American politics and history strike me as that of a cuckold who is the last to realize that his wife has been cheating on him.”

    FM, please believe whatever idiocy you wish to believe about American history, I will stick with historical facts. The idea that the Masons were some sort of sinister force in American history is paranoid nonsense, to be kind. History is important to me, and on this blog it will not be marred by commenters attempting to insert conspiratorial rubbish. When your manifest ignorance about American history is corrected by me, accept it with good grace, unless you are able to challenge me based upon historical fact.
    *

  4. A few facts jump up to me. First, Washington preferred to use the word “Providence” instead of “God” or “Lord.” Second, he used Christmas Day – December 25, 1776 – to launch a surprise attack on the Hessians. Yes, all is fair in love and war, but to take advantage of one of the holiest days in Christianity doesn’t sound too Christian to me. (Reminds me of what Israel’s enemies did during the Yom Kippur War, by the way.) Third, if this Washington biography I read is correct, he did not receive religious services at his deathbed. So no, I don’t think Washington qualifies as a Christian. Nor do I think his membership in Freemasonry was that important.

  5. “A few facts jump up to me. First, Washington preferred to use the word “Providence” instead of “God” or “Lord.”
    Washington often used Supreme Being and other synonyms for God. He was always at pains not to ignite sectarian infighting, but he also made it plain that he was a Christian.

    I now make it my earnest prayer that God would have you, and the State over which you preside, in his holy protection; that he would incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government, to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another, for their fellow-citizens of the United States at large, and particularly for brethren who have served in the field; and finally that he would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind, which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy nation.


    It was not unusual for Anglicans at that time not to mention God directly. Martha Washington did the same thing, and she was always noted for her piety.

    “Second, he used Christmas Day – December 25, 1776 – to launch a surprise attack on the Hessians.”
    The attack was actually launched on December 26. The enlistments of most of his troops ended on the last day of the year. If Washington was going to win a badly needed victory, he had to act fast.

    “Third, if this Washington biography I read is correct, he did not receive religious services at his deathbed.”

    He was buried with Anglican rites. Washington fell ill very quickly and died all in one day. There was barely time to have doctors attend him. Anglicans of course, at least at the time of Washington, did not regard the anointing of the sick as a sacrament.

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