George Washington to Martha Washington
dimension of George Washington was his rich, personal life.
On June 24, almost 20 years after his marriage, George Washington wrote
the following intimate letter to his beloved wife, Martha.
His words, “there never was a moment in my life since I first knew you,
in which it (my heart) did not cleave and cling to you with the warmest
affection,” reveal a man of deep emotion and feeling.
My dearest Life and Love:
You have hurt me, I know not how much, by the insinuation
in your last, that my letters to you have lately been less frequent, because I
have felt less concern for you. The
suspicion is most unjust – may I not add, it is most unkind!
Have we lived, now almost a score of years, in the closest and dearest
conjugal intimacy to so little purpose that, on an appearance only of
inattention to you, and which you might have accounted for in a thousand ways
more natural and more probable, you should pitch upon that single motive which
alone in injurious to me? I have
not, I own, wrote so often to you as I wished, and as I ought.
But think of my frustration and then ask your heart, if I be without
excuse. We are not, my dearest, in
circumstances the most favorable to our happiness; but let us not, I beseech
you, idly make them worse, by indulging suspicions and apprehensions which minds
in distress are but too apt to give way to.
I never was, as you have often told me, even in my better and more
disengaged days, so attentive to the little punctilies of friendship, as, it may
be, became me: but, my heart tells me, there never was a moment in my life since
I first knew you, in which it did not cleave and cling to you with the warmest
affection: and it must cease to beat, ere it can cease to wish for your
happiness, above anything on earth!…the perpetual solicitude of your poor
heart about me, is certainly highly flattering to me; yet I should be happy to
be able to quiet your fears…I beg to be affectionately remembered to all our
fiends and relations; and that you will continue to believe me to be your most
faithful and tender Husband,
refreshing and touching to see the manly emotion of love expressed by an
influential national leader. While
many in powerful positions – be it politics, business or even church – fall
prey to the demands of the profession at the expense of their families,
Washington maintained his love for his wife and family, keeping them in proper
priority throughout his life….
(Excerpted from, The Rewriting of the America’s
History, © copyright 1991 by Catherine
(For more information, see The Rewriting of America's
History, by Catherine Millard.)