Aug

29

 The amount of written information we have about any past event is usually in inverse proportion to their relevance to actual events. Jefferson had no part in the actual American Revolution but his is the name that overshadows all others, even Washington. Why? Because he made damn sure that it would be in terms of what was preserved in the libraries at UVA and DC. By comparison, we know almost nothing about Washington; spymasters who win wars do not write things down if they can possibly avoid it. Lack is wrong. Hamilton was insane to choose Washington as any kind of example for his own life. Men who have no family fortunes cannot afford to wait and never learn patience. Henry Knox and Franklin understood what Washington had done; book sellers, if they succeed at all, are masters of inventory control and waiting. The British could only be defeated by their own expectations that the thing would soon be over, that a campaign or two would do it just as it had in the earlier fight with the French in Canada. But Washington refused to fight, lose and surrender honorably; he kept letting the thing drag on. That drove Hamilton as insane as it did the British, and even though he was there, he never quite understood how Washington had actually pulled it off.


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