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The Washington herald. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1906-1939, February 18, 1912, Magazine Section, Image 26

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045433/1912-02-18/ed-1/seq-26/

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The Gharles "Wilson PIe' portrait -'Siowshe'FatEei t)T Our Country" in his everyday character lb. sonic rare anecdotes and ,
correspondences & new light Is. shed, on the .real man.
rv IABOLIC denture -and Gilbert
I Stuart gave to posterity Wash'
I m ington the austere; bathos and
I ' Weems transmitted for the view
of helpless childhood the Wash
ington of humdrum homily.
The stress which attended the forming
f a State created for generations to come
a Washington with honors almost divine
a Cindnnatus of Virginia, a Father of
His Country to whom were ascribed the
attributes of statesmen who had lived not
by the Potomac but by the yellow Tiber.
Busts and images of the great leader of
the American Revolution there ere which
portray him in toga and classic robe and
invest him with the nimbus of majesty.
Practically everything which Washing
ton was sot baa been exploited, and it
has remained for the present generation
to obtain the proper perspective and to
know Washington the debonair, the genial
and the well beloved.
Facts and incidents were not wasting
which revealed George Washington as the
alert, masterful, strong tempered and yet
lovable man, and they have been known
for many years by the historians, preserved
in family traditions and represented in
contemporary portraits. Perhaps there Is
none in this city who by reason of ancestry
and environment and long familiarity with
the facts through patient investigation
knows the true Washington better than
does Miss. J. J. Boudinot. She is the
jrrandniece of Elias Boudinot, commissary
general of prisoners in the Revolution, the
granddaughter of Elisha Boudinot,
leader of the New Jersey Bar end a figure
of note in the days of the colonies. Her
grandfather and her granduncle were in
the confidence of this founder of the
American Republic and leader of its
armies. Had ehe not oral tradition and
letters to guide her as lamps of the past
she would still have a precious heritage
of art, a portrait painted from life by
Charles Wilson Peale, who had set up hit
easel in circling camps.
Owned by Miss Boudinot.
This work was painted for Elias Boudi
not and bequeathed to Elisha, to whose
granddaughter it came by inheritance. It
is the image of Washington as known to
his officers and intimates Washington the
alert commander, yet Washington of the
mouth which could smile, the eyes which
sparkled and the face so often illumined
by humor and human sympathy. Dwell
ing in a house in New Jersey which echoed
once with the light tread of the commander
of the partiot armies, amid walls which
had given back his vibrant voice and in the
presence of this painted transcript of hit
life gave to Miss Boudinot the continual
inspiration of the Washington who lived
his life as a mas among men in stirring
days of old.
It was a labor of love which caused Miss
Boudinot to delve into dusty records and
to explore the family papers to present for
all the idea of the Washington of the Peale
portrait which hangs in the parlor of her
apartment, on Morningside Heights, New
York city. Not far from where ehe sits
at her desk British and Colonial forces
met in battle, and the house in which she I
dwells stands on storied ground.
Portrait painting was an incident in the
lives of the artists of the period when
crown and colony were at war. Charles
Wilson Peale was an officer with General
Washington. It is believed that the por
trait owned by Miss Boudinot, which is
reproduced herewith, was posed for
by the distinguished subject at Valley
Forge. There is one like.it, and undoubt
edly from the same hand, in the Patent
Office in Washington. Rembrandt Peale,
the son, was also known for his portrayals
of Washington, and it is said that another
relative also tried bis hand at representing
the features o& the Father of His Coun
try. The story goes that the trio once set
up their easels at once and painted indus
triously while the General posed for them.
"I perceive., gentlemen," he remarked
with an amused smile, "that -I am being
Pealed from three sides at once."
of the War of Independence to thorough
ly Identify officers for the benefit of the
troops which they commanded.
The chief point of interest in this por
trait is, however,- that it presents the
genial, almost smiling, face of 'the Gen
eral. This Is the Washington as known
to his officers, the Washington who called
Alexander Hamilton "my boy," the
Washington who was the companion and
There are chroniclers who declare that (intimate of Lafayette, the Washlnrtnn h.
mis was me only pun which Washington loved as brother by young French officers
ever uttered-a record which, if supported, and idolised by a devoted soldiery.
rrauor'Ined hy ia that ,w nd"sen "I ETa wi ttc a ueu wudi fa c-
0D" , . , , , . jstantiy being turned. upon the life, and
General Va.hlngton revealed in this characterof Washington, it seems difficult
portrait with one hand resting on the'lo realise that he who was exalted by
breech of a cannon. In the background' m itm to anstere &aaa
may be seen Princeton College, and It is"Mylear George" to a wide circle of
oeuevea mar, oitnouga tne picture was friends.
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painted, or at least sketched, at Valley
Forge, the background was filled is after
the engagement at Old Nassau. Wash
ington is is the uniform of buff , and blue
and his rank is designated by a blue silk
scarf which was used in the earlier days
The mouth of Washington was an ex
pressive feature which was changed and
hardened in 'later life through the
insertion of ft ponderous set of artificial
teeth, for the dentistry of his time was
crude compared with what Americans.
bare since attained.- This buccal forma
tion occurs in the portrait by the gifted
artist Gilbert Stuart, who reproduced
many likenesses from the unfinished one,
which is commonly known as the Athe
naeum portrait, which first came:from his
Among the effects of the Marquis La
fayette recently brought to this chy Is a
bust by a French sculptor which reveals
the Washington type in a transitional
stage, for the pioneer dentist had not as
yet supplied tho lotss which had bees sus
tained ia later years. The Index of the
character of the -real Washington for
those who would know him is to be found
in the attractively moulded mouth of those
earlier years. De Broglie has described
him as "tall, nobly, framed, well propor
tioned and 'much more agreeable than his
portraits represenfhiml"
Washington Letters.
The "Letters to Washington," in" which
Miss Boudinot ,'bu been nuking rc-
costact is. the French and Indian wars
and In later conflicts.
Washington and General Braddock, un
der whom he served, were on terms of In
timate f ritndshlpalthongh as both were
hot tempered they -also Jiad enlivening
The aids under Braddock were evident
ly especially fond of the young- Virginia
officer One of them, Captain Morris,
writes to him undetdate of June 19, 175J,
as follows:
"Dejui Washixgtcw: I am desired-by
the General to let yon know that he
marches 'to-jnorrow and next "day,' but
that he shall halt at the meadows' for two
or three 'days. It Is: the desire of every
particular in this family and the General's
positive commands to yon not, to stir but
by the advice tif-the'person tinder -whose
care yoa. are -till you 'are better, which'
we all. hope wjll.be very son.
Geoeml.Washbgton. In spite .of il!e.
had. joined General Braddock and two
searches recently, were penned by offl- horses were shot under him. Hewasre-
cers with whom. the General had come in turning from the battle of, Jlononsaiels,
when' he received a letter from William
Fairfax to which was appended e post
script from women friends, which read:
"After thanking Heaven for your safe
return I must accuse you of great unklnd
ness in refusing us the pleasure of seeing
you this eight. I do assure you that noth
ing but our being satisfied that our company-would
be disagreeable would prevent
us from trying If our legs would not carry
us to Mount Vernon this night, but if you
will not come to us to-morrow morning
very early we shall" be at Mount Vernon.
" How strongly Washington was in
trenched in the regard of the young- of
ficers of .the .Braddock command Ts shown
in a missive .from Captain Onne, which
"Mr DeXb-Geobqe: Tourjletter gave
me an Infinite pleasure as every mark; of
your friendship - and- remembrance ever
will do, for, Relieve me, I shall ever, how
ever separated, cultivate as dose an inter-1
Virginia tho respect which she has before
experienced from the Continent in twiH
him Generalissimo.'
"Again It is written by the Committee
ot tho General Court of Massachusetts
that it was-visited by the much beloved
m and admired General Washington."
1 One of the warmest friends of Wash
ington was Tight Horse Harry Lee, and
there was mnch,in common between these
' right hearted young Virginians, for, de
spite the heavy, responsibilities borne by
Washington, he found keen enjoyment in
all the activities of life.
Friendship for Lafayette.
Between Washington and Lafayette
jthe deepest affection existed. They were
congenial In every respect, and It would
be difficult Indeed to conceive that one
who is represented by some historians as
cold and austere should hare so Influenced
the romantic young French -nobleman.
After the battle of Monmouth, In which
the Marquis had distinguished himself, it
is recorded that Washington and Lafay
ette were lying under the aame blanket
talking together through the watches of
the night.
Washington also appealed to Alexander
Hamilton in. much the same way, at least
in the earlier stages of their acquaintance
ship. Hamilton was early recognized by
Washington, who wrote of him as "my
boy," and even addressed him in that off
hand manner. Their friendship was
broken off for a time by a quarrel which
arose over Hamilton keeping General
Washington waiting on the stairs. Ham
ilton was too stubborn to accept over
tures' for a reconciliation, and so they
remained apart until later, when they
were brought together again when he en
tered-the Cabinet of the first President.
The amiable side of Washington is
again manifested In the touching farewell
between him and the officers of his army
which took place htre at -Fraunees' -Tav
ern is this city just before his departure
for Virginia, there to take tip, as he sup
posed, the life of the simple country gentleman.
Not a hall fellow well met, but the
friend of all, was George Washington.
IHe was beloved by the Indians of the
colonies, as is shown by references in let
ters in which he sends messages to them.
He commends himself with affectionate
oncern to his "friend and brother" Mo
oncatoocha. In another missive he
speaks of himself as writing in a room
surrounded by his Indian friends, whose
talk did so "tease and perplex him" that
he scarce knew what words he penned.
It has fallen to few men to have a na
tion and would lose sight so much of
the personal and the private character is
contemplation of public duties and activi
Among those who have done much to
bring the fine human qualities of Wash
ington to the forefront was the late Paul
Leicester Ford, whose The True" Wash
ington" represents as earnest devotion to
the study of the life and character of the
American Cincinnati!. From this -volume-
and from others which are more or less
obscure may be obtained an insight into
the life of General Washington, the smil
ing and the genial, the life loving Ameri
cas, which reveal that the Washington
portrayed by Charles Wilson Peale was
the one which his contemporaries knew.
This was the Washington to whom John
Robinson thought it sot presumptuous to
writes "Our hopes, dear George, are
fixed on you." Such was the Washing
ton who, writing to Gouverneur Morris,
subscribed himself as rours affection
ately." This was the Washington who
course as onr distance win permit. Just """"" Hrule u ""' "" "7
before I left Boston I received your very nsnlCE oe an " ue vam m ",ww
friendly and affectionate letter. Be as- - D r-aM " "0Derl
sured that It met with return in , ra-ana 01 now wej a oeo x-keu.es.
mind, whici ever attends the acknowl- A deT0,ee anIiD ' pttIn f radn-'
edgmentofawUbedforfrIendlhip.Touron9 wbo fenlT enjored folIowil
amiable character made me desirous oflIwua&' mlaag dUdpIe ot rioahf' ,
man wbo appreciated now gooa it was to
wear fashionable and well fitting clothes,
your acquaintance, and jour acquaintance
confirmed the regard and opinion your
character had imprinted in my mind, my
dear George,"
Much in the same trend is the letter
wmen was wnnen-to uoionel washing-
ton when he relinquished, tho eommasd
of the -Virginia forces after the reduction
of Fort Duquesse.
James Warren, -writing to. John Adams,
on June A, 1775, gives a good index of the
manner In which Washington was re
garded before the biographers became too
"I shall- heartily- rejoice," writes Mr.
Warren, "to see this way the beloved
Colonel Washington, and I do not doubt
that the New England generals would
open hearted and generous, he lent money
freely and expressed no resentment when
it was not paid. '
A friend of children he .was always wel
comed, by them instinctively, and although
he had no sons of his own he educated nine
boys, the children ot friends whom pros
perity had not attended. He danced, hi
delighted In music; he played cards and
excelled at billiards, enjoyed the theatre
and bought circus tickets for himself and
friends. Washington smiled' when the na
tion saw the sun of success as he had ac
cepted disaster with fortitude. A states
man, a soldier,, a patriot, a friend of all
who meant well, his qualities as ft man will
as the years pass by keep first place in the
hearts of his countrymen for George Wash-
acquiesce la showing ouriister Colony Ington, the genial and the well beloved,
I -r..?

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