Brother General George Washington
By: Ill. Brother McDonald "Don" Burbidge, 33ļ
Ask anyone about Brother George Washington and they might tell you something that they admire about this Brother. It might be about when he chopped down the Cherry Tree or it might be the time that he crossed the Delaware River in a boat surrounded by his soldiers in icy waters.
During the Revolutionary War much information was recorded about him and his actions at the time they happened. Here is one of the events that stand out about this great Brother of ours that shows, "Masonry Has No Boundaries."
While General Washington was encamped in New Jersey, a party of American troops was sent out on an expedition. Along the way they came across a group of British soldiers who stood guard over some baggage. Soon a skirmish ensued; the British soldiers were taken prisoners along with the baggage they were guarding and taken to the American army camp. On close examination of the baggage, a Templarís sash and Masonís apron were found, which excited the soldiers. Upon this discovery the soldiers delivered the baggage and itís contents to their commander-in-chief.
As soon as General Washington saw the Masonic material, he gave instructions that the baggage should be carefully protected and that the owner of this baggage be brought to him as soon as possible.
The owner of the baggage soon found himself standing in front of General Washington. As the two men talked kind words and friendly greetings filed the air around them. Soon the talk of the war disappeared as the subject of discussion turned to Masonry.
The owner of the baggage was Sergeant Kelly of the British Army who was a prisoner of war in the American forces. General Washington made sure that he was treated with the utmost care and respect while a prisoner under him.
Soon after that first meeting Sergeant Kelly was put aboard a boat to England attended by all the comforts and conveniences which was possible to bestow upon him in those times of trouble.
In 1838 when Sergeant Kelly was on his dying bed, surrounded by his kindred and a brother Mason, he ordered his sash and apron to be produced. Calling to his old friend and brother Mason to his side, he gave him instructions that after his death that he present his apron and sash to the Montgomery Lodge located in New York along with a letter explaining why he wanted them to have them.
In his letter to Montgomery Lodge Sergeant Kelly explained how General Washington had shown him brotherly love and kindness while he was a stranger and prisoner of war under him.
On the evening of December 12, 1799 Brother George Washington contracted a common cold with a soreness of the throat. Then on December 13, his inflammation increased, to the point that his personal physician who was also his life long friend Dr. Craik along with Dr. Dick, of Alexandria, were both sent for. It should also be mentioned that both of these Gentlemen were Masons.
Upon both of their examination of Brother Washington the conclusion was that it was to late to do anything to save his life except to make him as comfortable as possible. Brother Washington was fully aware that he did not have much time to live. To the astonishment of his love ones around him he looked upon his physician who informed him he had not long to live. To this Brother Washington simply replied, "It is well, doctor: I am not afraid to die." At this time Brother Washington calmly crossed his arms upon his breast, closed his eyes, and passed away on December 14, 1799 with Martha at the foot of his bed.
Brother George Washington is no longer with us but his lessons and examples are well documented that we as Masons can learn from.
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