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Listen to the land the profile of a nation in terms of its living language. This week George Washington the man behind the statue. By sharing aloud the writings of our country past and present. We can come to a fuller appreciation of those things which are meaningful to us as Americans and perhaps of the nature of our role in the contemporary world. Listen to the land is produced by station w h y y Philadelphia under a grant from the National Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. Now here is your host and director Richard S. Burdick. He rode across his snowy fields the day before he died. He watched the river in the trees embrace on either side. He saw the place he loved so wild trying to live even tied. This soldier who had seen the
snow at Valley Forge stained red. Who drank a bitter cup of grief who ate a bitter bread. Drew peace about him like a cloak. And slept with the great dead. For us to have a watch to keep. There is no sleep. There is no sleep. Oh ya. Ya ya. That's son not by Joseph Ellis langar the man of Mount Vernon. Very obviously is the clue to the theme of this week's program which is Jim Keeler told you is subtitled George Washington the man behind the statue. We're going to listen to the land in the words of Washington words written by him and words written about him. Many hundreds of volumes have been written about the father of our country and there are many versions as to the
man's character and his place in history. But there is no doubt as to his place in the hearts of all Americans and in whatever part of the country indeed in whatever part of the world where a citizen of this land lives there is a special feeling of reverence and respect reserved for the man with a grim mouth and a cocked hat who was the inspiration and the strength of our fight for independence. Of all the poems written about Washington that is Washington the man the one by Robert Haven Schauffler seems to present the most to evoke a Venn concise portrait. Off with the ruffle away with the weight no more shall they muffle the soul of our big father of man stockings of silk all of that ilk strip them away fast as we may joyously then burn the faults Reams of the Reverend Weems myth of the action and others to match it. Now I see a man young for his age with a hearty laugh lips that could quaff lips that could
rage an eye for the stage or a fishing rod a close run race or a charming face. No statue he look and we see note carefully shod grey demagogue carved by smug preachers and treacherous teachers. Down with the weight in the mask of the prig. Do what they can to smooth and conceal it. They're forced to reveal it. He was a man. His was the kind of young man's mind that never said die as the ice crunched by and shattered his raft in the frontier stream. It sputtered and laughed and closed with his friend by the moon's pale green to the long swims and no other boy around not bloody shore by dread Duquesne heart so cool head so high. The battered sore and spent with pain as Braddock's fool prayed. What kind but a sportsman's mind could so often rebound it no matter what cost from shock and disaster and swiftly remaster more than was lost to the
heartening sound of the fifes gay round. Or was it some nice powdered prig in a wig pulled the Delawares ice to the jubilant photo to bring him not shocking torn Christmas stocking that ready the snow. When he was chief and they called him thief in great trader would be king people hater. Everything that could cause him grief. How the serpent's tooth devoured his youth. How the man aged agonized raged swore for relief he had rather be pent safe in the womb of the wordless tune than be president. When came such a groan from a statue of St.. Yet his rudder hand was never shaken until it had taken our vessel to land. Here then he stands the true Washington sire of the lions of the north and south. Love He commands as no second one under our sun mind not the mouth so prim so stern and old age
heroic but made it seems like Mark the good eye that glimmer and burn wistful and wide brimmed with concern the brotherly hands that beckon and yearn on no less brotherly hands could have welded these western lines eyes of no cooler light could have held these states by the might of their loving passionate will in a courting of common binds full well we know whence came those spirits of thunder and flame that met at Chancellorsville. Yes and we know full well whence after that four years hell came the soul of a later day when sad Mississippi mothers and girls were slain sweethearts and brothers bore lilies and roses to lay on the mountains. Both of blue and of gray. No he was no statuesque sire that left us in Lincoln his son. A great heart too with malice toward none. A great hand that never could tire off with a ruffle. Away with the wig.
No more so they muffle the soul of our big father of man. Well they do what they can to smooth and conceal it candidly than let us reveal it. He was a man. And thus a portrait of George Washington by Robert Haven Schauffler a portrait of character. And yet what did Washington look like. According to Captain Mercer the following describes Washington as he took his seat in the House of Burgesses in 1759. He is a straight as an Indian measuring six feet two and a stockings and weighing one hundred and seventy five pounds. His head is well shaped though not large and as gracefully poised on a superb neck with a large straight rather than prominent nose blue gray penetrating eyes which are widely separated and overhung by heavy broads. A
pleasing benevolent though commanding countenance dark brown hair features regular and placid with all the muscles under control with a large mouth generally firmly closed. Odin's bust of Washington accords with this description. Actually we're accustomed to the grim mouth but the description of Washington as having brown hair thanks is a bit off guard me at least where so I just dusted to the traditional white wig of his later years children especially can usually conjure up a picture of Washington only with white hair. Here's a quickie in twenty six words. As a schoolboy tells us how he feels about George Washington. Napoleon was great I know. And Julius Caesar and all the rest. But they didn't belong to us. And so I like George Washington the best. You know.
There's a letter written. To a niece of George Washington's who had written to him informing them of an infatuation and that she hoped would lead to marriage. This shows the considerate side of a man sometimes accused of being reticent and disinclined to outward giving. Men and women feel the same inclination toward each other nod that they have always felt and which they will continue to feel until there is a new order of things and you as others have done may find that the passions of our sex are easier raised than allayed. Do not therefore boast too soon or too strongly of your insensibility. Love is said to be an involuntary passion and it is therefore contended that it cannot be resisted. As is true in part only. For Like all things else when nourished and supplied plentifully with element it is rapid in its progresses. But let these be withdrawn and it may
be stifled in its birth or much stunted in its growth. Although we cannot avoid first impressions we may assuredly place them under guard. When the fire is beginning to kindle and your heart growing warm propound. These questions to it. Who is this invader. Have I a competent knowledge of him. Is he a man of good character or amount of sense. But be assured a sensible woman can never be happy with a fool. What has been his walk in life is his fortune sufficient to maintain me in the manner I have been accustomed to live and which my sisters live. And is he wonder who my friends can have no reasonable objection. If all these interrupted Tories can be satisfactorily answered there will remain but one more to be asked. That however is an important one. Have I sufficient ground to conclude that his affections are engaged by me. It was.
Plus some advice from George Washington on a love affair. Among the most famous of Washington's words probably are those contained in his farewell address which he delivered to Congress on September 19. 1796. These words sometimes have been ascribed to Alexander Hamilton. However despite their ornatus and their mannered and tax and whatever their origin they were delivered by Washington and they have as much meaning to Americans of this moment as they did 100 60 or more years ago. Interwoven as is the love of liberty with every ligament of your hearts no recommendation of mine is necessary to fortify or confirm the attachment the unity of government which constitutes you one people is also now dear to you.
It is justly so for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence the support of your tranquillity at home your peace abroad of your safety of your prosperity of that very liberty which you so highly prize. But it is easy to forsee that from different causes and from different quarters. Much pains will be taken many artifices employed to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively so often Coverly and insidiously directed. It is of infinite moment that you should properly estimate the immense values of your national union your collective and individual happiness that you should cherish a cordial habitual and immovable attachment to it. Accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the
Palladium of your political safety and prosperity. Watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety this countenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion that it can in any event be abandoned and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts. For this you have every inducement of sympathy and interest. Citizens by birth or choice of a common country that country has a right to concentrate your affections in the name of American which belongs to you in your national capacity must always exult the just pride of patriotism more than any appellation derived from the local discriminations with slight shades of difference. You have the same religion manners
habits and political principles you have in a common cause fought and triumphed together. The independence and liberty you possess are the work of joint councils and efforts of common dangers and successes. Well those words sound as if they could have been written this afternoon. In the book Triumph over odds Edited by J Donald Adams and published by dual Sloan and Pearce there are some comments by Earl Schenck mirrors about Washington followed by some revealing excerpts from Washington's own journals when he was 21 years of age. This is an excellent book by the way and fully justifies its subtitle An Anthology of man's unconquerable spirit which mirrors writes. It has never been customary and we are unlikely ever to regard George Washington as a
writing man has as been pictured time and again as a one track mind not matching and brilliance the courage and integrity of his character. My own conviction for a long time has been that Washington was a more interesting man apart from his achievements as a soldier and builder of the young republic than his biographers have been able to make him appear. Here are some pages from the journal he kept on his first important mission when he went out to woo the Indians and circumvent the French. There are only eight copies of the original printing extant journal as a revealing document. In it we can see and sense the craving for advancement and through its somewhat pedestrian understatements we are made aware of the intraparty and fortitude of which Washington was so highly capable. It was this journal which first made his name known to the English and marked him as a man to be watched to lead the party into the wilderness the governor selected
hard bitten Christopher Guest's an Indian trader with the Ohio company who deserved his fame among early American frontiersman. Yes it was one of the first to penetrate those canebrake now called Kentucky. A restless fellow who might feel hemmed in if he saw his own shadow too often. He was the kind of woodsmen who one night chased a bear from under a ledge so that he might have that sequestered spot for his own sleeping quarters. Later he fought with Broderick and five years after this mission under Washington died of smallpox. Early in the journey guest's own journal revealed the cut of the man and its entry for November 15th. Quote We set out and at night and camped at George's Creek about eight miles where a messenger came with letters from my son. Remember this is just talking who has just returned from his people at the Cherokees and lay sick at the mouth of a chunk of teak. As I found myself entered again on public business and major Washington and all of
the company unwilling I should turn. I wrote and sent medicines to my son and so continued my journey and quote. Like Washington just placed duty first and one hopes that the medicines reach to his ailing son and time to be of help. We have no record of that. Washington's reluctance to turn back is understandable for snow it began to fall in three days later. Guests journal would describe it as ankle deep ankle by the way being spelled A and C L E. Well here we pick up Major George Washington's Journal of that trip. The first entry dated December 17 53 December 4th. This is an old Indian town Binondo situated at the mouth of French Creek on Ohio and lies near north about 60 miles from logs town. But more than 70 the way we were obliged to go. We found the French colors hoisted at a house from which they had driven Mr. John Fraser an English subject. I immediately repaired to it
to know where the commander resided there were three officers one of whom captains don't care inform me that he had the command of the Ohio but that there was a general officer at the near Fort where he advised me to apply for an answer. He invited us to sup with them and treated us with the greatest complaisance. The wine as they dosed themselves pretty plentifully with it soon banished the restraint which at first appeared in their conversation and gave a license to the tongues to reveal their sentiments more freely. They told me that it was their absolute design to take possession of Ohio and that they would do it for that although they were sensible The English could raise two men for their one yet they knew their emotions were too slow and dilatory to prevent any undertaking of theirs. They pretend to have an undoubted right to the river from a discovery made by one sixty years ago and the rise of this expedition is to prevent our settling on the river or waters of it as they have heard of some families moving out in order. There are two
from the best intelligence I could get there have been fifteen hundred men on their side of Ontario Lake but upon the death of the general all were recalled to about six or seven hundred who were left to Garrison for forts. One hundred fifty or thereabouts in each. December 5th rained excessively all day which prevented our traveling Japanese don't care sun for the half king as he had but just heard that he came with me. He affected to be much concerned that I did not make free to bring them the Indians in before I excused it in the best manner I was capable and told him I did not think their company agreeable as I had heard him say a good deal in dispraise of Indians in general. But another motor prevented me from bringing them into his company. I knew he was interpreter and a person of great great influence among the Indians and had lately used all possible means to draw them over to their interest. Therefore I was desirous of giving no opportunity that could be avoided. When they came in there was great
pleasure expressed at seeing them. He wondered how they could be so near without coming to visit him. I made several trifling presents and applied liquor so fast that they were soon rendered incapable of the business they came about. Notwithstanding the caution which was given. The day following just after we had passed a place called a murdering town where we intended to quit the Pathans tour across the country for shut up and we fell in with a party of French Indians who had lain in wait for us. One of them fired at most a guest or me not 15 steps off but fortunately missed. We took this fellow into custody and kept him till about 9 o'clock at night and then let him go and walked all the remaining part of the night without making any stop that we might get to the get the start. So far as to be out of reach of their pursuit the next day since we were well assured that they would follow our track as soon as it as it was light. The next day we continued travelling till quite dark and got to the river the Allegheny River
about two miles above Seana pins. We expected to have found the River frozen but it was not only about 50 yards from each shore. The ice I suppose had broken up above what was driving in vast quantities. There was no way for getting over but on a raft which we set about with but one poor hatchet and finished just after sun setting. This was a whole day's work. And then set off. But before we were half way over we were jammed in the ice in such a manner that we expected every moment our raft to sink in ourselves to perish. I put out my setting pole to try to stop the raft but the ice might pass by. When the rapidity of the stream threw it with so much violence against the pole that jerked me out into 10 feet of water. I fortunately saved myself by catching hold of one of the raft logs notwithstanding all our efforts we could not get the raft to either shore but were obliged as we were near an island to quit our raft and make to it. The cold was so extremely severe that Mr
Guest had all his fingers and some of his toes frozen but the water was shot up so hard that we found no difficulty in getting off the island on the ice in the morning and went to Mr. Frazier's. We met here about twenty warriors who were going to the southward to war but coming to a place upon the head of the great kind of law they found seven people killed and scalped all but one woman with very light hair. They turned about and ran back for fear the inhabitants should rise and take them as the authors of the murder. They report that the bodies were lying about the house and some of them much torn and eaten by hogs by the marks which were left. They say they were French Indians of the Ottawa nation and so forth. Who did it. As we intended to take courses here and it required some time to find them. I went up about three miles to the mouth of the jaga gun to visit Queen Aliquippa who had expressed great concern that we passed her and
going to the fort. I made her a present of a match coat and a bottle of rum which latter was thought much the best present of the two. I always kept a January 1754 Tuesday the first day of January. We left Mr. Fraser's house and arrived at Mr. guests and modern gila. The second where I bought a horse saddle etc.. The sixth we met 17 horses loaded with materials and stores for a fort at the forks of the Ohio and the day after some families going out to settle. This day we arrived at Will's creek. After as fatiguing a journey as it is possible to conceive rendered so by excessive bad weather from the first day of December to the fifteenth. It was but one day in which it did not rain or snow incessantly and throughout the whole journey we met with nothing but one continued series of cold wet weather which occasioned very uncomfortable lodgings especially after we had quitted our tent
which was some screen from the inclemency of it. On the 11th I got the Belvoir where I stop one day to make necessary rest and then set out and arrive in Williamsburg the 16th when I waited upon his honor the governor with a letter I had brought from the French Commandant and to give an account of the success of my proceedings. This I beg leave to do by offering the foregoing narrative as it contains the most remarkable occurrences which happened in my journey. I hope what has been said will be sufficient to make your honor satisfied with my conduct. But that was my aim in undertaking the journey and chief study throughout the prosecution of it and so concludes Washington's Journal. The rough hewn quality of this narrative of Washington's mission to the Ohio country makes a true product of the American frontier. The will to survive require dealing bluntly and unemotionally with reality. But Governor Dinwiddie and the council needed with
the facts of the case Washington stated them brusquely as his own nature in the spirit of the crisis demanded. But even so a great deal of Washington the man emerged I think in these journals here was the Washington of 21 taking a raft across the ice packed Allegheny is on a Christmas night some years hence and older Washington would pay a surprise visit on the Hessians across the ice packed Delaware at Trenton. Not more than 30 or so miles from where this program is being recorded. Here was the Washington of 21 showing his future dimensions of leadership as he judged the strength of a French fort down to the last canoe blocked out and waiting to be finished when spring came. Our Izzy took the measure of half canes and don't care St. Pierre. Or as he taught Christopher Guest how frozen mountain trails should be crossed in the dead of winter here. 21 was the hero of
whom Lord Byron would one day sing a Cincinnatus of the West whom envy dared not hate. Bequeath the name of Washington to make men blush. There was but one. And so. In his own words. And in words written about him. We have attempted a prose profile of George Washington. With special emphasis on the man behind the statue. It's not an easy thing to do. Because iis that an unknown quantity.
We can't get away from that grim mouth that everybody refers to in the firm jaw and the. Frozen statue. But I hope that our visit during these past 30 minutes has served to underscore your own feelings about the greatness and the humanity of our first president. As a deadline. Next week we're going to leave the earth and its people. And explore the great unknown. While not completely unknown. Everyone has faith or convictions or indeed lack of them. As a feeling of something beyond man. Call it an intelligence. A spirit. Or some kind of undefinable force. Man is not sufficient unto himself. Many Americans among others in the world have put their own feelings about this beyond minus in the words beautiful flowing articulate. As well as sometimes halting exploratory and uncertain. Next week will concern ourselves with some of these writings. Until then thanks for listening this is Dick Burdick saying so long.
To him earlier. Listen to the land was produced and recorded at station W.H. y y Philadelphia under a grant from the National Educational Television and Radio Center and is being distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is James Keeler inviting you to be with us next week for something beyond man listen to the land with your host and narrator Richard S. Burdick. This is the end AB Radio Network. It works to it with theone. The F-4 it works.
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Listen to the land
George Washington: Man behind the statue
Producing Organization
WHYY (Radio station : Philadelphia, Pa.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program focuses on American writings about George Washington.
Series Description
America's literary heritage is explored through readings of short stories, poems, folklore, journalism and legends. The series is narrated by Richard S. Burdick.
Broadcast Date
Media type
Announcer: Keeler, James
Host: Burdick, Richard S.
Producing Organization: WHYY (Radio station : Philadelphia, Pa.)
Writer: Schauffler, Robert Haven, 1879-1964
Writer: Washington, George, 1732-1799
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 60-54-11 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:24
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Chicago: “Listen to the land; George Washington: Man behind the statue,” 1960-11-08, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 25, 2024,
MLA: “Listen to the land; George Washington: Man behind the statue.” 1960-11-08. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 25, 2024. <>.
APA: Listen to the land; George Washington: Man behind the statue. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from