President George Washington: Quotes from and About Him

Some quotes and quotations both from and about George Washington, the first president of the United States.

Quotes from Washington:

"I long ago despaired of any other reward for my services than the satisfaction arising from a consciousness of doing my duty, and from the esteem of my friends."

"I have heard the bullets whistle, and, believe me, there is something charming in the sound."--1754

"I am embarked on a wide ocean, boundless in its prospect and in which, perhaps, no safe harbor is to be found."--1775, shortly after his appointment as commander-in-chief.

"My movements to the chair of Government will be accompanied by feelings not unlike those of a culprit who is going to the place of his execution."--1789

"How pitiful in the eyes of reason is that false ambition which desolates the world with fire and sword for the purposes of conquest and fame, when compared to the milder virtues of making our neighbors and our fellow men as happy as their frail conditions and perishable natures permit them to be."--1794

Quotes about Him:

"He is next only to the divinity."--Lord Byron.

"As to you, sir, treacherous in private friendship and a hypocrite in public life, the world will be puzzled to decide whether you are an apostate or an imposter, whether you have abandoned good principles, or whether you ever had any."--Thomas Paine.

"Never had I beheld so superb a man!"--Lafayette.

"He is too illiterate, unread, unlearned for his station and reputation."--John Adams

"His mind was slow in operation but sure in conclusion....Hearing all suggestions, he selected whatever was best, but was slow in readjustment."--Thomas Jefferson

"He has a dignity which forbids familiarity, mixed with an easy affability which creates love and reverence."--Abigail Adams

"I have been told that he preserves in battle the character of humanity which makes him so dear to his soldiers in camp."--Marquis de Barbe-Marbois, French staff officer.

"Washington is the last person you'd ever suspect of having been a young man."--Samuel Eliot Morison

"A life without a stain, a fame without a flaw."--William Makepeace Thackeray

"He had no nakedness, but was born with clothes on, and his hair powdered, and made a stately bow on his 1st appearance in the world."--Nathaniel Hawthorne.

"Washington was the one truly 'indispensable man.' With his towering prestige, unfaltering leadership, and sterling character, he was perhaps the only man in the history of the presidency bigger than the Government itself.....Although his every move could be deemed a potential precedent binding generations unborn, his foot did not slip once. He made no major mistakes--something that cannot be said of any of his successors.....If we must rank Presidents, Washington, in my judgment, deserves the place at the very top."--Historian Thomas A. Bailey, in Presidential Greatness, 1966.

"He is the purest figure in history."--Gladstone

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