It was on this date, February 22, 1732, that George Washington, first American President under the Constitution, was born. Nowhere in Washington’s extant writings does he make direct reference to Jesus Christ. When he died on 14 December 1799 at age 67, he sent for no clergyman, only asking all to leave the room so that he might “spend his last hour with his Maker.” Those tempted to make more of this request are reminded that no one disputes that Washington was a Deist. It should be mentioned that Washington was never hostile to religion. Indeed, in 1790 he wrote that he envisioned America as a country “which gives bigotry no sanction… persecution no assistance…. May the Children of the Stock of Abraham [i.e., the Jews], who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants.”
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Originally published February 2003 by Ronald Bruce Meyer.
Théophile Gautier (1811) On this date, August 31, 1811, French poet and journalist Pierre Jules Théophile Gautier was born in Tarbes, in the southwestern region of France. Although he was inclined to paint, he was influenced by Victor Hugo to write poetry and got a job at the Chronique de Paris with help from Honoré […]