The Father of the Country
Two hundred and five years ago, the Father of Our Country died. He was just 67 years old.
His death is reported here in the 1877 Household History for All Readers by Benson J Lossing:
On the 13th of December, 1799, Washington was exposed to a storm of sleet, and took cold. At three o'clock in the morning of the 14th he awoke, and found himself the victim of a severe attack of membranous croup. At daybreak, himself and Mrs. Washington being alarmed, the family physician, Dr. Craik, was sent for. In the course of the day, two other physicians were called and came. All that medical skill and affectionate devotion could do to relieve the sufferer was done, but without effect. The malady increased in intensity, and before midnight the spirit of the Beloved Patriot took its flight.
So departed the spirit of this great and good man whose body, thirty hours before, was in robust health, and which gave promise of a vigorous and serene old age. His attendants at that solemn hour were his wife, with whom he had lived forty-one years; his secretary, Mr. Lear; the three physicians, and his faithful colored body-servant Christopher, and equally faithful old colored woman, who was the nurse of the family.
The news of Washington's death reached President Adams at Philadelphia by a special courier, on the following morning. John Marshall announced it to the assembled Congress that day, when a public funeral was decreed; and as the tidings went over the land, bells tolled funeral knells in solemn monotones. When, forty days afterward, the news reached England, the flags of the great English fleet of sixty vessels lying in Torbay were lowered to half-mast; and Bonaparte, just made First Consul, ordered a funeral oration to be pronounced before himself and the civil and military authorities of France.
On an appointed day, Congress went in procession to the Lutheran Church in Philadelphia, where an eloquent funeral oration was delivered by General Henry Lee, a son of the "Lowland Beauty," who was the object of 'Washington's first love in his youth.
Congress also decreed the erection of a monument to his memory at the site of the new national capital on the banks of the Potomac, and asked the privilege (which was granted) of depositing his remains at the seat of the national government. That monument has not been erected, and the remains are in a vault at Mount Vernon.
A cenotaph, constructed upon a plan unworthy of the subject, the nation, and the principles of taste, has been a-building many years; and Congress at its session in 1875-'76, made an appropriation for the purpose of completing it. It is in the form of a huge obelisk of white marble; and the original design called for an unsightly, structure to surround its base.
The obelisk has been carried up many feet already. It stands near the shore of the Potomac River within the limits of Washington city, and when completed will be conspicuous at a great distance; but it is simply a following of the barbarian custom of perpetuating the memory of their patriots and heroes by a pile of stones.
How much more appropriate, artistic and useful, would have been the erection of a building at the National Capital, in the simple Doric style of architecture, into which might be gathered for all time the portraits, by painting or sculpture, of the men and women of the nation whom the whole people delight to honor for their great, and generous, and patriotic deeds.
Somehow it is good to know that architectural critics have been wrong for a long time.
The Washington Monument is probably the most powerful monument in the World.
It is certainly the most prominent landmark in the Capital, standing as the centerpeice of the National Mall. Although authorized in 1833, the original plans to build some kind of something started in 1783. Construction actually began in 1848 under the design guidance of architect Robert Mills. As the civil war began to ferment, construction was stopped in 1854.
In 1876, the Grant administration negotiated the donation of the project to the people of the United States (from the private organization that had commenced the project) allowing Congress to appropriate public funding for the Monument's completion. Construction was resumed in 1878 under the auspices of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The exterior of the obelisk was completed in 1884. It was dedicated in 1885 by President Chester A. Arthur and opened to the public in 1888, more than 100 years after it was first conceived.
It is 555 feet tall and it was, at the time, the tallest man made structure in the world.
It is full of Masonic numbers and geometry.
George Washington was a Mason, as were most of the Founding Fathers.
I'm not going to get into that.
However, in the interest of full disclosure, I should also say that, according to my aunt, George Washington is my great, great, great, great, great, great uncle.
Uncle George's Monument, the National Mall, the Capitol, the White House, the round Jefferson Monument, and the great Lincoln Monument make for a truly impressive Capital complex.
A day walking to all of these sites in Washington is kind of like a trip to "Nationland". You can even go to the National Archive Building and walk in front and view the weird green dimly lit Constitution as if you are passing in front of Lenin's Tomb.
It makes for a powerful home court advantage for our leaders. When you fly into Washington, somehow you know you are in the Capital of the most powerful nation state in the World.
You can feel it. I don't know if its those Masonic Voodoo numbers or what, but it is unquestionably there.
These are very powerful symbols.
Symbols of Power.
Symbols are not just something you study in College,
They are operating myth makers that control the way we think,
And the way we are able to understand our World.