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George Washington Quotes

These George Washington Quotes are listed chronologically and cover the years just after the American Revolution. The quotes are taken from his own letters so they provide a good view into his mindset on many issues of the day. These letters are written to such people as the Marquis de Lafayette, John Jay and Robert Morris. The letters especially cover his ideas about the new government, the importance of virtue in public officials and his disdain for war. Many of these George Washington Quotes also reveal his hatred of slavery and wish to have it abolished. These George Washington Quotes are listed in chronological order and there are links to more before and after this time period below.

George Washington

George
Washington

George Washington Quotes

"I have always considered marriage as the most interesting event of one's life, the foundation of happiness or misery." - Letter to Burwell Bassett, May 23, 1785

"Altho, no man's sentiments are more opposed to any kind of restraint upon religious principles than mine are; yet I must confess, that I am not amongst the number of those who are so much alarmed at the thoughts of making people pay towards the support of that which they profess, if of the denomination of Christians; or declare themselves Jews, Mahomitans or otherwise, and thereby obtain proper relief. As the matter now stands, I wish an assessment had never been agitated, and as it has gone so far, that the Bill could die an easy death; because I think it will be productive of more quiet to the State, than by enacting it into a Law; which, in my opinion, would be impolitic, admitting there is a decided majority for it, to the disquiet of a respectable minority. In the first case the matter will soon subside; in the latter, it will rankle and perhaps convulse, the State." - Letter to George Mason, October 3, 1785

"Jealousy, and local policy mix too much in all our public councils for the good government of the Union. In a words, the confederation appears to me to be little more than a shadow without the substance..." - Letter to James Warren, October 7, 1785

"We are either a United people, or we are not. If the former, let us, in all maters of general concern act as a nation, which have national objects to promote, and a national character to support. If we are not, let us no longer act a farce by pretending to it." - Letter to James Madison, November 30, 1785

"It is an old adage, that honesty is the best policy. This applies to public as well as private life, to States as well as individuals." - Letter to James Madison, November 30, 1785

"I can only say that there is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do to see a plan adopted for the abolition of it (slavery); but there is only one proper and effectual mode by which it can be accomplished, and that is by Legislative authority; and this, as far as my suffrage (vote and support) will go, shall never be wanting." - Letter to Robert Morris, April 12, 1786

"Your late purchase of an estate in the colony of Cayenne, with a view of emancipating the slaves on it, is a generous and noble proof of your humanity. Would to God a like spirit would diffuse itself generally into the minds of the people of this country, but I despair of seeing it. Some petitions were presented to the Assembly at its last session for the abolition of slavery, but they could scarcely obtain a reading." - Letter to the Marquis de Lafayette, May 10, 1786

Here are Some More
George Washington Quotes

General George Washington

George
Washington

"Your reception at the Courts of Berlin, Vienna, and elsewhere must have been pleasing to you: to have been received by the King of Prussia, and Prince Henry his brother, (who as soldiers and politicians can yield the palm to none) with such marks of attention and distinction, was as indicative of their discernment, as it is of your merit, and will encrease my opinion of them. It is to be lamented however that great characters are seldom without a blot. That one man should tyranise over millions, will always be a shade in that of the former; whilst it is pleasing to hear that a due regard to the rights of mankind, is characteristic of the latter: I shall revere and love him for this trait of his character. To have viewed the several fields of Battle over which you passed, could not, among other sensations, have failed to excite this thought, here have fallen thousands of gallant spirits to satisfy the ambition of, or to support their sovereigns perhaps in acts of oppression or injustice! melancholy reflection! For what wise purposes does Providence permit this? Is it as a scourge for mankind, or is it to prevent them from becoming too populous? If the latter, would not the fertile plains of the Western world receive the redundancy of the old." - Letter to the Marquis de Lafayette, May 10, 1786

"The benevolence of your heart my Dr. Marqs. is so conspicuous upon all occasions, that I never wonder at any fresh proofs of it; but your late purchase of an estate in the colony of Cayenne, with a view of emancipating the slaves on it, is a generous and noble proof of your humanity. Would to God a like spirit would diffuse itself generally into the minds of the people of this country; but I despair of seeing it. Some petitions were presented to the Assembly, at its last Session, for the abolition of slavery, but they could scarcely obtain a reading. To set them afloat at once would, I really believe, be productive of much inconvenience and mischief; but by degrees it certainly might, and assuredly ought to be effected; and that too by Legislative authority." - Letter to the Marquis de Lafayette, May 10, 1786

"I coincide perfectly in sentiment with you, my Dr. Sir, that there are errors in our national Government which call for correction, loudly I would add; but I shall find myself happily mistaken if the remedies are at hand. We are certainly in a delicate situation, but my fear is that the people are not yet sufficiently misled to retract from error. To be plainer, I think there is more wickedness than ignorance mixed in our Councils. Under this impression, I scarcely know what opinion to entertain of a general convention. That it is necessary to revise and amend the articles of confederation, I entertain no doubt; but what may be the consequences of such an attempt is doubtful. Yet something must be done, or the fabrick must fall, for it certainly is tottering. Ignorance and design are difficult to combat. Out of these proceed illiberal sentiments, improper jealousies, and a train of evils which oftentimes, in republican governments, must be sorely felt before they can be removed. The former, that is ignorance, being a fit soil for the latter to work in, tools are employed by them which a generous mind would disdain to use; and which nothing but time, and their own puerile or wicked productions can show the inefficacy and dangerous tendency of. I think often of our situation and view it with concern. From the high ground we stood upon, from the plain path which invited our footsteps, to be so fallen! so lost! it is really mortifying; but virtue, I fear has, in a great degree, taken its departure from us; and the want of disposition to do justice is the source of the national embarrassments; for whatever guise or colorings are given to them, this I apprehend is the origin of the evils we now feel, and probably shall labour under for some time yet." - Letter to John Jay, May 18, 1786

"Ignorance and design are difficult to combat. Out of these proceed illiberal sentiments, improper jealousies, and a train of evils which oftentimes in republican governments must be sorely felt before they can be renewed." - Letter to John Jay, May 18, 1786

"Democratical States must always feel before they can see: it is this that makes their Governments slow, but the people will be right at last." - Letter to the Marquis de Lafayette, July 25, 1785

"Let the poor the needy and oppressed of the Earth, and those who want Land, resort to the fertile plains of our western country, the second land of Promise, and there dwell in peace, fulfilling the first and great commandment." - Letter to David Humphreys, July 25, 1785

A few more
George Washington Quotes

"My first wish is to see this plague to mankind banished from off the earth, and the sons and daughters of this world employed in more pleasing and innocent amusements, than in preparing implements and exercising them for the destruction of mankind." - Letter to David Humphreys, July 25, 1785

"Rather than quarrel about territory, let the poor, the needy, and oppressed of the earth, and those who want land, resort to the fertile plains of our western country, the second land of promise, and there dwell in peace, fulfilling the first and great commandment." - Letter to David Humphreys, July 25, 1785

"In my opinion, every effort of genius, and all attempts towards improving useful knowledge ought to meet with encouragement in this country." - Letter to Nicholas Pike, June 20, 1786

"The foundation of a great Empire is laid, and I please myself with a persuasion, that Providence will not leave its work imperfect." - Letter to Chevalier de la Luzerne, August 1, 1786

"Experience has taught us that men will not adopt and carry into execution measures the best calculated for their own good without the intervention of a coercive power." - Letter to John Jay, August 1, 1786

"Perfection falls not to the share of mortals." - Letter to John Jay, August 1, 1786

"From thinking proceeds speaking; thence to acting is often but a single step. But how irrevocable and tremendous!" - Letter to John Jay, August 1, 1786

"More permanent and genuine happiness is to be found in the sequestered walks of connubial life than in the giddy rounds of promiscuous pleasure." - Letter to the Marquis de Lafayette, August 10, 1786

"In my estimation, more permanent and genuine happiness is to be found in the sequestered walks of connubial (married) life than in the giddy rounds of promiscuous pleasure or the more tumultuous and imposing scenes of successful ambition." - Letter to Charles Armand-Tuffin, August 10, 1786

"We must take human nature as we find it, perfection falls not to the share of mortals." - Letter to John Jay, August 15, 1786

"If you tell the Legislatures they have violated the treaty of peace and invaded the prerogatives of the confederacy they will laugh in your face. What then is to be done? Things cannot go on in the same train forever. It is much to be feared, as you observe, that the better kind of people being disgusted with the circumstances will have their minds prepared for any revolution whatever. We are apt to run from one extreme into another. To anticipate & prevent disastrous contingencies would be the part of wisdom & patriotism. What astonishing changes a few years are capable of producing! I am told that even respectable characters speak of a monarchical form of government without horror. From thinking proceeds speaking, thence to acting is often but a single step. But how irrevocable & tremendous! What a triumph for the advocates of despotism to find that we are incapable of governing ourselves, and that systems founded on the basis of equal liberty are m rely ideal & fallacious! Would to God that wise measures may be taken in time to avert the consequences we have but too much reason to apprehend. Retired as I am from the world, I frankly acknowledge I cannot feel myself an unconcerned spectator. Yet having happily assisted in bringing the ship into port & having been fairly discharged; it is not my business to embark again on a sea of troubles. Nor could it be expected that my sentiments and opinions would have much weight on the minds of my Countrymen - they have been neglected, tho' given as a last legacy in the most solemn manner. I had then perhaps some claims to public attention. I consider myself as having none at present." - Letter to John Jay, August 15, 1786


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