George Washington and the Hebrew Congregation in Savannah… 1790…

October 7, 2022 by · Leave a Comment 

At times, when I sit down to write a blog post, I feel woefully inadequate to add anything to what has been said within the issue I’m seeking to highlight.  Such is the case with one of my favorite issues we have ever held here at Rare Newspapers.  On July 1, 1790, the MASSACHUSETTS SPY OR THE WORCESTER GAZETTE published a letter:  “Address from the Hebrew Congregation of the city of Savannah, in Georgia, to the President of the United States”, signed in type by: Levi Sheftall, President, on behalf of the Hebrew Congregation. This letter is so beautifully written and expresses a sentiment which must have been a balm to the anxious souls of Jews throughout the United States of America. Rather than quote a piece or paraphrase, please indulge me with a reading of the letter in its entirety. Hopefully, you will also breathe a calming sigh of relief as you visualize the readers from over 200 years ago.

Gentlemen,

I thank you with great sincerity for your congratulations on my appointment to the office, which I have the honor to hold by the unanimous choice of my fellow-citizens: and especially for the expressions which you are pleased to use in testifying the confidence that is reposed in me by your congregation.

As the delay which has naturally intervened between my election and your address has afforded an opportunity for appreciating the merits of the federal-government, and for communicating your sentiments of its administration—I have rather to express my satisfaction than regret at a circumstance, which demonstrates (upon experiment) your attachment to the former as well as approbation of the latter.

I rejoice that a spirit of liberality and philanthropy is much more prevalent than it formerly was among the enlightened nations of the earth; and that your brethren will benefit thereby in proportion as it shall become still more extensive. Happily, the people of the United States of America have, in many instances, exhibited examples worthy of imitation—The salutary influence of which will doubtless extend much farther, if gratefully enjoying those blessings of peace which (under favor of Heaven) have been obtained by fortitude in war, they shall conduct themselves with reverence to the Deity, and charity towards their fellow-creatures.

May the same wonder-working Deity, who long since delivering the Hebrews from their Egyptian Oppressors planted them in the promised land—whose providential agency has lately been conspicuous in establishing these United States as an independent nation—still continue to water them with the dews of Heaven and to make the inhabitants of every denomination participate in the temporal and spiritual blessings of that people whose God is Jehovah.

G. Washington

All I can say is, “Wow!”

President George Washington: “Et tu, John Adams?”…

March 14, 2022 by · 1 Comment 

Living in the twenty-first century we have seen our share of division… in politics, in culture, sometimes in families. While the era in which we live is not the only time in American history when great division was prevalent, living through it can certainly make person-to-person interactions extremely stressful. With this as the backdrop…

While looking through a NATIONAL GAZETTE for Feb. 20, 1793, I was struck by the following: “On Wednesday last [the 13th] both houses of Congress met in Convention in the senate chamber, when the certificates from the executives of the several states were read containing lists of the Electors’ votes for President and Vice President—The aggregate of the votes for George Washington was 132 for President of the United States–77 for John Adams as Vice President–50–for George Clinton, ditto–4 for T. Jefferson–and 1 for Aaron Burr–George Washington was then declared President of the United States by a unanimous vote, for 4 years from the 4th of March 1793; and John Adams, Vice President for the same period, by a majority of votes.” Perhaps you would agree with me that a snowball would have a better chance of surviving during a heat wave than a President of today with a VP who was the losing Presidential candidate from an opposing party.

Best Christmas gifts ever – 1776 edition…

December 24, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

I’m sure we have all received Christmas gifts we will never forget.  For Mary and Joseph, many can guess what theirs would have been.  I know, Christ didn’t really come on Christmas (that is, on December 25th), however, for many of us, since that sacred night, we do think of Him as the best Christmas gift of all. Ironically my only son was born on Christmas day, and coincidently (or perhaps not), although his name (Joshua) was chosen months before his birth, his name is the Hebrew version of Jesus. What an amazing Christmas gift he was (and continues to be) for those who know him.

Today, as I was scanning through Christmas-themed newspapers, an event caught my eye which I would also classify as one of the top 5 Christmas gifts of all time – at least for those residing in America.  On March 27, 1777, THE LONDON CHRONICLE printed a report of Washington’s crossing of the Delaware on Christmas Day, 1776, and the ensuing surprise attack upon the British & Hessian garrison on the banks of Trenton, New Jersey. Washington took almost 1000 prisoners while suffering only 6 casualties. This victory was a major morale booster for the revolutionary cause and began a string of American successes against the British which would culminate with the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown and the signing of a treaty of peace shortly thereafter.  Truth, Justice and the American Way…  Merry Christmas to all!!!

 

 

They put it in print… Fairfax County, Virginia reacts to The Intolerable Acts…

October 11, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

How did Fairfax County, Virginia, the home of George Washington, react to The Intolerable Acts? Thanks to The Virginia Gazette dated August 4, 1774, we don’t need to guess – after all, they put it in print:

Thanks to the Virginia Gazette dated May 5, 1774 for putting the following in print in print.

Snapshot 1864… Washington and Lincoln for President…

August 20, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

The following snapshot comes from the New York Tribune, November 11, 1864…

 

The Traveler… time to build…

August 6, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

I journeyed today to London, England, by the way of The London Gazette of August 6, 1668. I found an article “Yesterday arrived the Concord of this place in 6 weeks from Barbado’s [sic], from whence the came in company of about 20 sail of Merchant Ships under the Convoy of the Dover and Assurance Fregates. They tell us that the Inhabitants of Bridgetown are busily employing themselves for materials for the rebuilding of that place, and have emploied many ships for the transpiration of timer from New England.”

In reading about Bridgetown on Wikipedia, I found that Bridgetown is the only place outside the present United States that George Washington visited (he did so in 1751). He was 19 at the time and his half-brother Lawrence Washington went along with him. The George Washington House still stands and is on their historic registry.

~The Traveler

A simple reflection on Memorial Day…

May 26, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Memorial Day – a day/weekend set aside in the United States to remember and give thanks for those who gave life and limb so we might have the freedom to enjoy what our Founding Fathers called “self evident inalienable rights” which had been bestowed on us by The Creator. In times of peace and abundance it is easy to forget the great cost that was paid by so many – that others might be free. It is with thin in mind I was struck by a March 20, 1861 issue of the Western Christian Advocate from Cincinnati, Ohio which provided details of General George Washington’s famous “Prayer at Valley Forge” (see below). The link above provides access to the full text of the article. Please enjoy (and appreciate) a blessed Memorial Day Weekend.Blog-5-26-2016-Washington's-Valley-Forge-Prayer

They put it in print… George Washington called a quack…

February 10, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Newspaper reports from the “other side” always provide some fascinating reading, such as Confederate vs. Yankee accounts of Civil War battles, or Allied vs. Nazi reports of World War II battles.

The same is true of the Revolutionary War. The “Pennsylvania Ledger” was a Loyalist newspaper and they spared little in criticizing the American, or “rebel”cause as they called it, for freedom. The January 21, 1778 issue has a fascinating letter which heavily criticizes Washington’s letter to Congress of October 5, 1777 (see below or go to this issue for full details). In the letter Washington puts an admittedly positive spin on his tragic loss at the battle of Germantown, which gives this writer a cause to respond.

He begins: “Mr. Washington’s letter to Congress…is perhaps the most extravagant piece of Jesuitical quackery that has been exhibited during the present rebellion. This heroic epistle abounds in deception, and incongruous contradiction in the extremely; it is calculated to mislead…”. His treatment of Washington doesn’t get any nicer. “This military quack…” is his next reference to the American leader, and he takes on one of the more famous quotes from Washington’s letter: ” ‘Upon the whole, it may be said the day was rather unfortunate than injurious.’ what a delicate and nice distinction here is held forth!…Who can help laughing at such an heterogeneous jumble of inconsistencies. Mr. Washington & his confederates have gained immortal honour by being suddenly put to flight by his Majesty’s troops…”.

Reading from the Loyalist side offers a perspective not to be found in newspapers supporting of the cause of Independence. What a fascinating hobby!Blog-2-11-2015-Washington-Letter

They put it in print…

January 12, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Blog-1-12-2015Tabloid journalism was alive and well in 18th century America. If you thought “sleazy” reports were a concoction of the 20th century, you would be wrong, as newspaper editors had, for hundreds of years, few concerns about slandering those they found offensive or who were on the other side of the political fence.

The “Pennsylvania Ledger And Weekly Advertiser” of December 24, 1777” was a Tory newspaper (loyal to the King, not the American cause of independence) and on page 2 the editor printed portions of a letter from George Washington to his wife, intercepted on its route. Obviously no friend of Washington’s, he even publishes the letter as a separate piece and offers for sale in his shop: ” “The printer has received from New York a few copies of an intercepted letter from General Washington to his Lady, dated June 24, 1776, which he is now selling at his shop in Market Street. The following is an extract.”

The peaceful transfer of power…

March 10, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

As we approach President’s Day, there is a part of me which is somewhat sentimental about my childhood memories surrounding Washington’s Birthday. I sure do miss it as a stand alone national celebration. I fondly remember my father bringing home a cardboard version of an ax (with a chocolate-covered cherry hidden within) to present to each of us to commemorate the holiday, and without fail, reminding us to be just like George Washington – that is, to never tell a lie. Was there a bit of lore surrounding this sacred event? Sure. Did it teach us a valuable lesson? Absolutely. Somehow we’ve lost the innocence and value of oral tradition, and I wonder if we are the better for it.

Perhaps Washington never chopped down a cherry tree… and my guess is he probably told a lie at some point, but I challenge anyone to name another political leader who, in the face of such power, tradition, and popularity, was willing to hand over the reigns of power with such humility and grace.  The Massachusetts Spy, Or Worcester Gazette for March 15, 1797 records much of the proceedings of this momentous event. The link provides access to considerable details. Of particular note is his response to the Massachusetts’ Representatives of Congress who basically asked him, “What now?”  His response is precious (see below). Please enjoy!

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