George Washington Quotes

Our George Washington Quotes are in chronological order. The quotes on this page are from the years 1779 and 1780, just prior to the end of the Revoutionary War. These George Washigton Quotes come mostly from personal letters and General Orders to the Continental Army. The letters are written to such figures as George Mason, Generals Nathaniel Greene and John Sullivan, the Marquis de Lafayette and James Warren. Topics covered include such things as the necessity of a prepared army to create peace, the importance of teaching the Indians Christianity and the importance of justice, patriotism and setting a good example. These George Washington Quotes are listed chronologically and there are links to more before and after this period at the bottom of the page.

Red, white & blue bar

"To me, it appears no unjust simile to compare the affairs of this great Continent to the mechanism of a clock, each state representing some one or other of the smaller parts of it which they are endeavoring to put in fine order without considering how useless & unavailing their labor is unless the great Wheel or Spring which is to set the whole in motion is also well attended to & kept in good order." - Letter to George Mason, March 27, 1779

"Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!" - Letter to James Warren, March 31, 1779

"It is most devoutly to be wished that the several States would adopt some vigorous measures for the purpose of giving credit to the paper currency and punishment of speculators, forestallers and others who are preying upon the vitals of this great Country and putting every thing to the utmost hazard. Alas! what is virtue come to; what a miserable change has four years produced in the temper and dispositions of the Sons of America! It really shocks me to think of it!" - Letter to Burwell Bassett, April 22, 1779

"What students would learn in American schools above all is the religion of Jesus Christ." - Speech to the Delaware Indian Chiefs, May 12, 1779

"I am glad you have brought three of the Children of your principal Chiefs to be educated with us. I am sure Congress will open the Arms of love to them, and will look upon them, and will look upon them as their own Children, and will have them educated accordingly. This is a great mark of your confidence and of your desire to preserve friendship between the Two Nations to the end of time, and to become One People with your Brethren of the United States. My ears hear with pleasure the other matters you mention. Congress will be glad to hear them too. You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are. Congress will do everything they can to assist you in this wise intention; and to tie the knot of friendship and union so fast, that nothing shall ever be able to loose it." - To the Chiefs of the Delaware Indian tribe, who had brought three youths to be trained in American schools, May 12, 1779

"To please every body is impossible; were I to undertake it I should probably please no body. If I know myself I have no partialities. I have from the beginning, and I will to the end pursue to the best of my judgment and abilities one steady line of conduct for the good of the great whole. This will, under all circumstances administer consolation to myself however short I may fall of the expectations of others." - Letter to John Armstrong, May 18, 1779

"To stand well in the estimation of one's country is a happiness that no rational creature can be insensible of." - Letter to Joseph Reed, July 29, 1779

Red, white & blue bar

"Many and pointed orders have been issued against that unmeaning and abominable custom of Swearing, not withstanding which, with much regret the General observes that it prevails, if possible, more than ever; His feelings are continually wounded by the Oaths and Imprecations of the soldiers whenever he is in hearing of them. The Name of That Being, from whose bountiful goodness we are permitted to exist and enjoy the comforts of life is incessantly imprecated and prophaned in a manner as wanton as it is shocking. For the sake therefore of religion, decency and order, the General hopes and trusts that officers of every rank will use their influence and authority to check a vice, which is as unprofitable as it is wicked and shameful. If officers would make it an invariable rule to reprimand, and if that does not do punish soldiers for offences of this kind it could not fail of having the desired effect." - General Orders, July 29, 1779

"I hate deception, even where the imagination only is concerned." - Letter to Dr. John Cochran, August 16, 1779

"The best and only safe road to honor, glory, and true dignity is justice." - Letter to the Marquis de Lafayette, September 30, 1779

"No distance can keep anxious lovers long asunder." - Letter to the Marquis de Lafayette, September 30, 1779

"Amidst all the wonders recorded in holy writ no instance can be produced where a young woman from real inclination has preferred an old man." - Letter to the Marquis de Lafayette, September 30, 1779

"And above all... He hath diffused the glorious light of the gospel, whereby, through the merits of our gracious Redeemer; we may become the heirs of His eternal glory." - General Orders, quoting a congressional proclamation, November 27, 1779

"A slender acquaintance with the world must convince every man, that actions, not words, are the true criterion of the attachment of his friends, and that the most liberal professions of good will are very far from being the surest marks of it." - Letter to Major General John Sullivan, December 15, 1779

"Facts may speak for themselves." - Letter to Major General Nathaniel Greene, January 22, 1780

Red, white & blue bar

"There is nothing so likely to produce peace as to be well prepared to meet an enemy." - Letter to Elbridge Gerry, January 29, 1780

"Orders, unless they are followed by close attention to the performance of them, are of little avail." - Letter to Lord Stirling, March 5, 1780

"Example, whether it be good or bad, has a powerful influence, and the higher in Rank the officer is, who sets it, the more striking it is." - Letter to Lord Stirling, March 5, 1780

"The best way to preserve the confidence of the people durably is to promote their true interests." - Letter to Joseph Reed, July 4, 1780

"When any great object is in view, the popular mind is roused into expectation, and prepared to make sacrifices both of ease and property. If those, to whom they confide the management of their affairs, do not call them to make these sacrifices, and the object is not attained, or they are involved in the reproach of not having contributed as much as they ought to have done towards it, they will be mortified at the disappointment, they will feel the censure, and their resentment will rise against those, who, with sufficient authority, have omitted to do what their interest and their honor required." - Letter to Joseph Reed, July 4, 1780

"Extensive powers not exercised as far as was necessary have, I believe, scarcely ever failed to ruin the possessor." - Letter to Joseph Reed, July 4, 1780

"Unless the States will content themselves with a full and well-chosen representation in Congress and vest that body with absolute powers in all matters relative to the great purposes of war, and of general concern... we are attempting an impossibility, and very soon shall become (if it is not already the case) a many-headed monster--a heterogenious mass--that never will or can steer to the same point." - Letter to Fielding Lewis, July 6, 1780

"To rectify past blunders is impossible, but we might profit by the experience of them." - Letter to Fielding Lewis, July 6, 1780

"We shall never have Peace till the enemy are convinced that we are in a condition to carry on the War. It is no new maxim in politics that for a nation to obtain Peace, or insure it, It must be prepared for War." - Letter to Fielding Lewis, July 6, 1780

"Had we formed a permanent army in the beginning, which, by the continuance of the same men in service, had been capable of discipline, we never should have had to retreat with a handful of men across the Delaware in '76, trembling for the fate of America, which nothing but the infatuation of the enemy could have saved; we should not have remained all the succeeding winter at their mercy, with sometimes scarcely a sufficient body of men to mount the ordinary guards, liable at every moment to be dissipated, if they had only thought proper to march against us; we should not have been under the necessity of fighting at Brandywine, with an unequal number of raw troops, and afterwards of seeing Philadelphia fall a prey to a victorious army; we should not have been at Valley Forge with less than half the force of the enemy, destitute of every thing, in a situation neither to resist nor to retire; we should not have seen New York left with a handful of men, yet an overmatch for the main army of these States, while the principal part of their force was detached for the reduction of two of them; we should not have found ourselves this spring so weak, as to be insulted by five thousand men, unable to protect our baggage and Magazines, their security depending on a good countenance, and a want of enterprise in the enemy; we should not have been the greatest part of the war inferior to the enemy, indebted for our safety to their inactivity, enduring frequently the mortification of seeing inviting opportunities to ruin them pass unimproved for want of a force, which the country was completely able to afford; to see the Country ravaged, our towns burnt, the inhabitants plundered, abused, murdered with impunity from the same cause. There is every reason to believe, the War has been protracted on this account. Our opposition being less, made the successes of the enemy greater. The fluctuation of the army kept alive their hopes, and at every period of the dissolution of a considerable part of it, they have flattered themselves with some decisive advantages. Had we kept a permanent army on foot, the enemy could have had nothing to hope for, and would in all probability have listened to terms long since." - Letter to the President of Congress, August 20, 1780

If you liked these George Washington Quotes, there is lots more to learn about George Washington at our George Washington Facts page.

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If you enjoyed the George Washington Quote page, check out these inspirational quotes from some other Founding Fathers

Ben Franklin Quotes

Thomas Jefferson Quotes

Thomas Paine Quotes

John Adams Quotes

James Madison Quotes

Patrick Henry Quotes

Samuel Adams Quotes

Revolutionary War and Beyond Home

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