• KG III, "If he does that, he will be the greatest man in the world."

    From a425couple@21:1/5 to All on Wed Jun 16 07:59:01 2021
    XPost: or.politics, seattle.politics, soc.history.war.us-revolution


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    George Washington's Resignation
    Grand Staircase
    Washington Resigning His Commission, by Edwin White, 1858. MSA SC 1545-1112

    At the end of the Revolutionary War, many people in America and Europe
    thought Washington would retain the reins of power to become the leader
    of the new nation, or even king. When told by the American artist
    Benjamin West that Washington was going to resign, King George III of
    England said "If he does that, he will be the greatest man in the world."

    However, Washington had an abiding faith in the young nation and a deep
    desire to return to his beloved Mt. Vernon and private life as a farmer. Congress had assembled in Annapolis in late November and awaited the
    general's arrival to resign his commission. He arrived on December 19
    and immediately wrote to Congress to inquire as to how they actually
    wanted him to resign. A committee of Congress devised a ceremony that
    took place at noon on December 23. In the intervening days, Washington
    was feted with parties, balls and huzzas, including a gala ball on the
    night before the ceremony in the hall of the State House, where he
    danced with all the ladies.

    On the day of the ceremony, Washington arrived at the State House where Congress was meeting in the Old Senate Chamber. When he entered the
    Chamber, the members remained seated, covered (with their hats on). In a
    short, emotional speech, Washington resigned his commission and then
    bowed to Congress. Only then did the members rise and remove their hats
    in a gesture of respect. As he left the Chamber to ride to Mt. Vernon in
    time to have his Christmas dinner at home, Washington handed his
    personal copy of his speech to a member of the committee. It is this
    copy that the state of Maryland has now acquired from a descendent of
    the member, in whose family it has remained since that day. The speech
    will be on display when the State House reopens in January 2009.

    Online Historical Exhibits

    Washington's ResignationWashington's Speech
    Transcription of Washington's Resignation Speech
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