Benjamin West (1738—1820)

by Benjamin West (1738—1820)

Watercolor on ivory; 6.4 x 4.6 cm (2 1/2 x 1 13/16 in). Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT.

by Benjamin West (1738—1820)

Oil on canvas; 131 x 98 cm (51-1/2 x 38-1/2 in). Historical Society of Pennsylvania Collection, Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater K

by Benjamin West (1738—1820)

Full title: General Johnson Saving a Wounded French Officer from the Tomahawk of a North American Indian. Oil on canvas. Derby Museum

by Benjamin West (1738—1820)

Art and hand-colored print by Benjamin West; engraving by Pierre Charles Canot (c. 1710—77). Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, OH.

by Benjamin West (1738—1820)

Art and hand-colored print by Benjamin West; engraving by William Smith (1727—1803). Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, OH.

by Benjamin West (1738—1820)

Oil on canvas; 28 1/4 x 23 in. (71.8 x 58.4 cm). New-York Historical Society, New York, NY.

by Benjamin West (1738—1820)

Oil on canvas; 76.2 x 61.6 cm. Private collection.

by Benjamin West (1738—1820)

Oil on canvas; 152.6 x 214.5 cm (60 x 84-1/2 in).
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario.

by Benjamin West (1738—1820)

Oil on canvas; h:66.50 w:66.30 cm (h:26 1/8 w:26 1/16 inches). The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH.

by Benjamin West (1738—1820)

Oil on canvas; 25 x 24 7/8 inches (63.5 x 63.2 cm). Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT.

For all their talk of reason and enlightenment, Washington and the other leading Founders were more religious than they sometimes seem. Most of them had no quarrel with religion as long as it was reasonable and orderly. Washington was a member of his Anglican, later Episcopal, church vestry, and he remained a frequent churchgoer — though unlike his wife, Martha, he never became a member of his church, meaning that he did not partake of the Eucharist on communion Sundays. Washington, the perfect Freemason, considered himself enlightened in religious matters (being no bigot myself to any mode of worship), and he almost never knelt in prayer and seems never to have purchased a bible.

Gordon S. Wood
Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789–1815 (2009)