Friday, May 14, 2010
Honored Individuals by David Barton
George Washington was also a prolific writer. In fact, there are nearly one hundred volumes of his published writings, not including the countless volumes written about him by his friends and contemporaries. In 1855, John Frederick Schroeder went through the available writings and divided washington’s pithy statements into a variety of topical categories. Schroeder compiled those sayings into a book, The Maxims of Washington, dividing Washing-ton’s maxims into four categories: political, social, moral, and religious. 64
In that book, Schroeder introduced each category of maxims with testimonials about Washington from his contemporaries. These testimonials came from noted individuals, many of whom are honored here at the Capitol, including Ben Franklin, General Marquis de Lafayette, John Paul Jones, John Hancock, Alexander Hamilton, and numerous others.
David Barton tells us that in the section on Washington’s religious maxims, those who testified included J. M. Sewell, a poet and songwriter friend of Washington who declared that Washington “was a firm believer in the Christian religion”; 65 Chief Justice John Marshall, who served on Washington’s staff during the Revolution and who declared, “He was a sincere believer in the Christian faith”; 66 Elias Boudinot, who served as a President of Congress during the Revolution and as a member of Congress under President Washington, and who declared “The General was a Christian”; 67 J. Smith, a soldier in the Revolution and a U. S. Congressman throughout Washington’s Presidency, who declared that George Washington was “no[t] ashamed of his Christian profession”; 68 and the Reverend Devereux Jarratt, a Virginia minister who declared that Washington “was a professor of Christianity.” 69 There are several additional testimonials scattered throughout the chapter, but there is no doubt that those who knew George Washington personally declared unequivocally that he was a Christian.