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It is the purpose of these pages to exhibit the character of Washington as understood and portrayed by some of the best writers and thinkers; as well by contemporaries, whose personal knowledge and convictions lend additional value, as by those of a later day, whose careful study and critical analysis render their testimony of equal weight and importance. These tributes, scattered throughout many publications, have been brought together, so that all may become familiar with the details of a character, which, in its gradual development, reached the highest degree of excellence humanity can attain.

The character of Washington is a national possession. To its courage and perseverance we owe the successful issue of our war for independence; to its integrity and judgment, the permanence of our constitutional experiment; and, to its firmness and patriotism, our position as a nation. All Americans should study and venerate it. At all times and places, in peace and in war, in tumult and in quiet, its contemplation will be a benefit, its example an influence, and its imitation an assistance. “God be praised, that character is ours forever!”


Philadelphia, Nov. Ist, 1886.



The personal appearance of our Commander in Chief, is that of the perfect gentleman and accomplished warrior. He is remarkably tall, full six feet, erect and well proportioned. The strength and proportion of his joints and muscles, appear to be commensurate with the preeminent powers of his mind. The serenity of his countenance, and majestic gracefulness of his deportment, impart a strong impression of that dignity and grandeur, which are his peculiar characteristics, and no one can stand in his presence without feeling the ascendancy of his mind, and associating with his countenance the idea of wisdom, philanthrophy, magnanimity, and patriotism. There is a fine symmetry in the features of his face, indicative of a benign and dignified spirit. His nose is straight, and his eyes inclined to blue. He wears his hair in a becoming cue, and from his forehead it is turned back and powdered in a manner which adds to the military air of his appearance. He displays a native gravity, but devoid of all appearance of ostentation. His uniform dress is a blue coat, with two brilliant epaulettes, buff coloured under clothes, and a three cornered hat, with a black cockade. He is constantly equipped with an elegant small sword, boots, and spurs, in readiness to mount his noble charger. There is not in the present age, perhaps, another man so eminently qualified to discharge the arduous duties of the exalted station he is called to

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