John Chuckman



Washington had a reputation as a sharp dealer.

He was in the business of surveying land – often Indian land he had no right to – and selling lots to newcomers at the highest possible prices.

When the continental congress couldn’t pay the troops salaries, they issued some future-claims scripts. Washington bought up some of these at very heavy discounts from men desperate for a little cash.

His wife, Martha Custis, a widow, was the richest woman in the colonies when he married her.

He was not a sympathetic figure at all

A real would-be aristocrat.

Cold and aloof.

He hated even being slightly touched by anyone, as at a gathering.

Yes, the French regarded him as a murderer for his ambush leading up to the Seven Years War (aka The French and Indian War).

By the way, his great young dream was to acquire a British officer’s commission. He tried quite hard to get one.

But they didn’t offer them to colonists.

It was a serious disappointment for him, and it likely colored his views later.

When he attended the continental congress, he did so wearing an officer’s uniform of his own design he had tailored. Pretty silly. But he was signalling the job he wanted.

When he became the first president, he wore a sash and sword, like European noblemen of the time, as part of his official dress.

Later, he treated some people who had helped the cause badly.

Thomas Paine – author of the very influential tracts like “Common Sense” – was for a while in prison during The French Terror, and Washington didn’t lift a finger to help.

America under Washington did not pay back the generous loans France had extended owing to the influence of Ambassador Ben Franklin.

To top it all off, he was a pretty poor general. Really only one minor victory. Others are responsible for the decisive victories at Saratoga, General Benedict Arnold in that case, and the most important battle at Yorktown, French General comte de Rochambeau in that case.

Washington hadn’t even wanted to go to Yorktown. He wanted to attack New York. It would have a terrible blunder and lost opportunity. Yorktown ended the war, but it was almost completely the work of the French. Even French ships on the water, blocking any British escape.

Posted April 19, 2020 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized


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