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Originally Published by Reverend Mason Locke Weems

George Washington has this day convinced me of my mistake


Published in 1800 by Reverend Mason Locke Weems,

a firsthand account: Father of our Country

In the winter of ’77, while Washington, with the American army lay encamped at Valley Forge, a certain good old friend, name of Potts, had occasion to pass through the woods near headquarters. Treading his way along the venerable grove, suddenly he heard the sound of a human voice, and became like the voice of one speaking much in earnest. As he approached the spot with a cautious step, whom should he behold, but the commander in chief of the American armies on his knees at prayer! Motionless with surprise, Potts stood still, till the general, having ended his devotions, arose, and with a countenance of angel serenity, retired to headquarters: friend Potts then went home, and on entering his parlour called out to his wife, “Sarah, my dear! Sarah! All’s well! All’s well! George Washington will yet prevail!”

What’s the matter, Isaac?” replied she; “thee seems moved.”

“I have this day seen what I never expected. Thee knows that I always thought the sword and the gospel utterly inconsistent; and that no man could be a soldier and a Christian at the same time. But George Washington has this day convinced me of my mistake.”

He then related what he had seen, and concluded – “If George Washington be not a man of God, I am greatly deceived – and if God, through him, work out a great salvation for America.”1

1 Mason Locke Weems, The Life of George Washington; Cambridge, Mass.; Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1809 edition.

HT : Maureen Paterson, for the timely request for this reprint.