Friday, July 13, 2012

Washington's Correspondence

I am a big believer in communications skills.  In reading the Masonic correspondence of George Washington, I find that he was quite poetic in his language.  Not that he was a particularly poetic person, although he might have been, but that it was necessary that a man in a position of power and influence needed to have a masterful command of language.

Bro. President Washington found it necessary to say nearly the same thing to dozens of people, lodges, and other organizations which were at the time fawning over him, and maybe trying to ingratiate themselves.  Yet, he took the time to compose poetic responses using the language of Masonry.  He rarely used the same phrases although he was essentially saying the same thing - "thank you for your kind words".  He wrote multiple drafts, and considered the act of communication as a key component of his position.

I believe there is a lesson we can draw from this commitment as we look to focus our own attention to how we communicate.

"Fellow-citizens and Brothers, of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania.

I have received your address with all the feelings of brotherly affection, mingled with those sentiments, for the Society, which it was calculated to excite.

To have been, in any degree, an instrument in the hands of Providence, to promote order and union, and erect upon a solid foundation the true principles of government, is only to have shared with many others in a labour, the result of which let us hope, will prove through all ages, a sanctuary for brothers and a lodge for the virtues, -

Permit me to reciprocate your prayers for my temporal happiness, and to supplicate that we may all meet thereafter in that eternal temple, whose builder is the great architect of the Universe.

Go. Washington"


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