These George Washington Quotes are listed chronologically and cover the years 1780-1783, which is the very end of the Revolutionary War and the first years of the new republic. These George Washington Quotes come from his letters, orders and addresses. They are written to such people as General Nathaniel Greene, Thomas McKean and Washington's young nephew, Bushrod Washington, who would one day become a justice of the Supreme Court. The letter written to Bushrod Washington is particularly interesting because Washington is giving the young man advice about how to live his life with character and integrity. Our George Washington Quotes are listed in chronological order so there are links to more quotes both before and after this period at the bottom.
"Treason of the blackest dye was yesterday discovered! General Arnold who commanded at Westpoint, lost to every sentiment of honor, of public and private obligation, was about to deliver up that important Post into the hands of the enemy. Such an event must have given the American cause a deadly wound if not fatal stab. Happily the treason had been timely discovered to prevent the fatal misfortune. The providential train of circumstances which led to it affords the most convincing proof that the Liberties of America are the object of divine Protection.
At the same time that the Treason is to be regretted the General cannot help congratulating the Army on the happy discovery. Our Enemies despairing of carrying the point by force are practising every base art to effect by bribery and Corruption what they cannot accomplish in a manly way.
Great honor is due to the American Army that this is the first instance of Treason of the kind where many were to be expected from the nature of the dispute, and nothing is so bright an ornament in the Character of the American soldiers as their having been proof against all the arts and seduction of an insidious enemy.
Arnold has made his escape to the Enemy but Mr. Andre the Adjutant General to the British Army who came out as a spy to negotiate the Business is our Prisoner. His Excellency the commander in Chief has arrived at West-point from Hartford and is no doubt taking the proper measures to unravel fully, so hellish a plot." - General Orders, September 26, 1780
"In no instance since the commencement of the war, has the interposition of
Providence appeared more remarkably conspicuous than in the rescue of the post
and garrison of West point from Arnold's villainous perfidy." - Letter to
John Laurens, October 13, 1780
"We have, as you very justly observe, abundant reason to thank Providence for its many favorable interpositions in our behalf. It has at times been my only dependence, for all other resources seemed to have failed us." - Letter to William Gordon, March, 1781
"We ought not to look back, unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors, and for the purpose of profiting by dear bought experience. To enveigh against things that are past and irremediable, is unpleasing; but to steer clear of the shelves and rocks we have struck upon, is the part of wisdom, equally as incumbent on political as other men, who have their own little bark, or that of others, to navigate through the intricate paths of life, or the trackless ocean, to the haven of security and rest." - Letter to Major General Armstrong, March 26, 1781
"I bore much for the sake of peace and the public good. My conscience tells me I acted rightly in these transactions, and should they ever come to the knowledge of the world I trust I shall stand acquitted by it." - Letter to General Nathaniel Greene, October, 1781
"The commander-in-chief earnestly recommends that the troops not on duty should universally attend with that seriousness of deportment and gratitude of heart which the recognition of such reiterated and astonishing interposition of Providence demands of us." - General Orders, after British surrender at Yorktown, October 19, 1781
"Without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive. And with it, everything honorable and glorious." - Letter to Gilbert du Motier, November 15, 1781
"I take a particular pleasure in acknowledging that the interposing Hand of Heaven, in the various instances of our extensive Preparation for this Operation (Yorktown), has been most conspicuous and remarkable." - Letter to Thomas McKean, November 15, 1781
"I can truly say, that the first wish of my Soul is to return speedily into the bosom of that country, which gave me birth, and, in the sweet enjoyment of domestic happiness and the company of a few friends, to end my days in quiet, when I shall be called from this stage." - Letter to Archibald Cary, June 15, 1782
"Conscience... seldom comes to a man's aid while he is in the zenith of health and revelling in pomp and luxury upon illgotten spoils. It is generally the last act of his life, and it comes too late to be of much service to others here, or to himself hereafter." - Letter to John P. Posey, August 7, 1782
"Painful as the task is to describe the dark side of our affairs, it sometimes becomes a matter of indispensable necessity." - Letter to the Secretary of War, October 2, 1782
"I have accustomed myself to judge of human actions very differently, and to appreciate them, by the manner in which they are conducted, more than by the Events; which, it is not in the power of human foresight or prudence to command." - Letter to Benjamin Tallmadge, December 10, 1782
"It is yet to be decided whether the Revolution must ultimately be considered as a blessing or a curse: a blessing or a curse, not to the present age alone, for with our fate will the destiny of unborn millions be involved." - Circular to the States, 1783
"And you will, by the dignity of your Conduct, afford occasion for Posterity to say, when speaking of the glorious example you have exhibited to Mankind, had this day been wanting, the World had never seen the last stage of perfection to which human nature is capable of attaining." - The Newburgh Address, January 2, 1783
"The last thing I shall mention, is first of importance and that is, to avoid gaming. This is a vice which is productive of every possible evil, equally injurious to the morals and health of its votaries. It is the child of avarice, the brother of inequity, and father of mischief. It has been the ruin of many worthy families; the loss of many a man's honor; and the cause of suicide. To all those who enter the list, it is equally fascinating; the successful gamester pushes his good fortune till it is overtaken by a reverse; the losing gamester, in hopes of retrieving past misfortunes, goes on from bad to worse; till grown desperate, he pushes at everything; and loses his all. In a word, few gain by this abominable practice (the profit, if any, being diffused) while thousands are injured." - Letter to Lawrence Lewis, January 15, 1783
"It is not the mere study of the Law, but to become eminent in the profession of it, which is to yield honor and profit." - Letter to Bushrod Washington, January 15, 1783
"It is easy to make acquaintances, but very difficult to shake them off, however irksome and unprofitable they are found, after we have once committed ourselves to them." - Letter to Bushrod Washington, January 15, 1783
"Let your heart feel for the afflictions and distresses of every one, and let your hand give in proportion to your purse; remembering always the estimation of the widow's mite, but, that it is not every one who asketh that deserveth charity; all, however, are worthy of the inquiry, or the deserving may suffer." - Letter to Bushrod Washington, January 15, 1783
make fine birds." - Letter to Bushrod Washington, January 15, 1783
"Avoid gaming. This is a vice which is productive of every possible evil; equally injurious to the morals and health of its votaries. It is the child of avarice, the brother of iniquity, and father of mischief. It has been the ruin of many worthy families, the loss of many a man's honor, and the cause of Suicide. To all those who enter the lists, it is equally fascinating. The successful gamester pushes his good fortune, till it is overtaken by a reverse. The losing gamester, in hopes of retrieving past misfortunes, goes on from bad to worse, till grown desperate he pushes at everything and loses his all. In a word, few gain by this abominable practice, (the profit if any being diffused) while thousands are injured." - Letter to Bushrod Washington, January 15, 1783
"Merit rarely goes unrewarded." - Letter to Bushrod Washington, January 15, 1783
"Be courteous to all, but intimate with few; and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence. True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation." - Letter to Bushrod Washington, January 15, 1783
"Imaginary wants are indefinite; and oftentimes insatiable; because they sometimes are boundless, and always changing." - Letter to John Augustine Washington, January 16, 1783
"The true distinction... between what is called a fine Regiment, and an indifferent one will ever, upon investigation, be found to originate in, and depend upon the care, or the inattention, of the Officers belonging to them." - Letter to Major Thomas Lansdale, January 25, 1783
"If Historiographers should be hardy enough to fill the page of History with the advantages that have been gained with unequal numbers, on the part of America, in the course of this contest, and attempt to relate the distressing circumstances under which they have been obtained it is more than probable that Posterity will bestow on their labors the epithet and marks of fiction; for it will not be believed that such a force as Great Britain has employed for eight years in this Country could be baffled in their plan of Subjugating it by numbers infinitely less, composed of Men oftentimes half starved; always in Rags, without pay, and experiencing, at times, every species of distress which human nature is capable of undergoing." - Letter to Major General Nathaniel Greene, February 6, 1783
If you enjoyed the George Washington Quote page, check out these inspirational quotes from some other Founding Fathers