Among all men who have attained to an equal degree of...

Among all men who have attained to an equal degree of prominence, George Washington is one of comparatively few whose public and private lives are conspicuous for the presence of right and the absence of wrong. This meeting, therefore, furnishes an occasion for recounting some of his moral and spiritual traits.

When his environment is considered, Washington can be seen as conspicuously unselfish. For instance, he responded twice to his colony's call for public service involving extreme hazards with little promise of personal returns. In later years, after having acquired position and wealth, he put them completely at risk by responding to his country's call for greater and more difficult service. Then, when national independence had been gained, but not consolidated or established, and when he could have chosen to retire with plaudits and without responsibilities, he heeded another call from his fellow citizens for a constructive service which encountered extreme difficulties due to conflicting interests and plans, incurred the malice of personal hostility, and required the largest measure of patience, poise, and wisdom.

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