Sunday, February 13, 2011

George Washington’s humor in a letter

I found the below letter quite interesting. It was written by our first president to his brother-in-law Burwell Gassett celebrating the birth of their new child. It looks to me to be quite humorous throughout and also demonstrates some of his connection to the Christian life. I suspect he must have enjoyed Burwell as a brother-in-law.

I used an on-line Optical Character Recognition site to duplicate the letter and left the spelling as is which was likely correct for the late 18th century. Oh by the way, “animadvert” which is used in the letter means “to comment unfavorably”.

From page 319 of the book titled “George Washington’s Sacred” Fire by Peter A. Lillback. This book is a proof that George Washington was a Christian and not simply a Deist as some seem to claim.

Dear Sir: I was favoured with your Epistle wrote on a certain 25th of July when you ought to have been at Church, praying as becomes every good Christian Man who has as much to answer for as you have; strange it is that you will be so blind to truth that the enlightning sounds of the Gospel cannot reach your Ear, nor no Examples awaken you to a sense of Goodness; could you but behold with what religious zeal I hye me to Church on every Lords day, it would do your heart good, and fill it I hope with equal fervency; but Heark’ee; I am told you have lately introduced into your Family a certain production which you are lost in admiration of, and spend so much time in contemplating the just proportion of its parts, the ease, and conveniences with which it abounds, that it is thought you will have little time to animadvert upon the prospect of your crops &c; pray how will this be reconciled to that anxious care and vigilance, which is so escencially necessary at a time when our growing Property, meaning the Tobacco, is assailed by every villainous worm that has had an existence since the days of Noah (how unkind it was of Noah now l have mentioned his name to suffer such a brood of vermin to get a birth in the Ark) but perhaps you may be as well of as we are; that is, have no Tobacco for them to eat and there I think we nicked the Dogs, as I think to do you if you expect any more; but not without a full assurance of being with a very sincere regard etc.