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George Washington Parke Custis

Compiled by Jim Moyer 9/10/17  still in construction., updated 10/27/19

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George Washington Parke Custis

(Born April 30, 1781 – Died October 10, 1857)

He is the grandson of Martha Washington.

He is the adopted son of George Washington.

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Washington_Parke_Custis

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THE SPEECH

Read this unauthenticated speech and the footnotes following it.

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Start Quote:

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“I am a chief, and the ruler over many tribes. My influence extends to the waters of the great lakes, and to to the far blue mountains. I have travelled a long and weary path, that I might see the young warrior of the great battle. It was on the day, when the white man’s blood, mixed with the streams of our forest, that I first beheld this chief: I called to my young men and said, mark yon tall and daring warrior?

He is not of the

red-coat tribe—he hath an Indian’s wisdom, and his warriors fight as we do—himself is alone exposed. Quick, let your aim be certain, and he dies. Our rifles were levelled, rifles which, but for him, knew not how to miss—’twas all in vain, a power mightier far than we, shielded him from harm. He can not die in battle. I am old, and soon shall be gathered to the great council-
fire of my fathers, in the land of shades, but ere I go, there is a something, bids me speak, in the voice of prophecy. Listen! The Great Spirit protects that man, and guides his destinies—he will become the chief of nations, and a people yet unborn, will hail him as the founder of a mighty empire !”*

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Custis’ footnotes for that speech:

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* He addressed Washington, through Nicholson, the interpreter

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* This narrative the author of the Recollections received from the lips of Dr. Craik,

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Washington does not mention the circumstance in his Diary.

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It was a peculiar trait of his character to avoid everything, either in speech or writing, that had a personal relation to himself, in this manner.

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In his Diary he mentions a visit from an embassy of the Six Nations, led by White Mingo, who made a speech.

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But that occurred on the nineteenth of the month; while the incident that forms the subject of   this chapter, did not occur until they had reached the mouth of the Kanawha, after   the thirty-first.

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The Reverend Samuel Davies, a Presbyterian minister at Hanover, in Virginia,during the earlier portions of the French and Indian war (and in 1759, was president
of the college at Princeton), preached several patriotic discourses after the defeat of
Braddock, to arouse his countrymen to action.

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In one of these, entitled “Religion and Patriotism the constituents of a good Soldier,” he remarked, in allusion to the remarkable preservation of Washington on the bloody field of Monongahela, “I can not but hope Providence has hitherto preserved him in so signal a manner, for some important service to his country.”

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It is an interesting fact, that Washington never received the slightest wound in battle.

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End of Footnotes.

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End Quote.

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From Page 303 and 304 of this link:

https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=nyp.33433082397302;view=2up;seq=326;size=125

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The Long Book Title indicates 3 authors involved in its production:

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Recollections and private memoirs of Washington, by his adopted son, George Washington Parke Custis, with a memoir of the author, by his daughter; and illustrative and explanatory notes. By Benson J. Lossing. Published: Philadelphia, J. W. Bradley, 1861.

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Read about the 3 authors:

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George Washington Parke Custis (April 30, 1781 – October 10, 1857)

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Washington_Parke_Custis

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Mary Anna Randolph Custis Lee (October 1, 1808 – November 5, 1873)

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Anna_Custis_Lee

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Benson John Lossing (February 12, 1813 – June 3, 1891)

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benson_John_Lossing

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http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=61135260

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—————————————————–

More from that book:

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“Doctor Craik then related the romantic and imposing incident of the old Indian’s prophecy, as it occurred on the banks of the Ohio in 1770, observing that, bred, as he himself was, in the rigid discipline of the Kirk of Scotland, he possessed as little superstition as any one, but that really there was a something in the air and manner of an old savage chief delivering his oracle amid the depths of the forest, that time or circumstance would never erase from his memory, and that he believed with the tawny prophet of the wilderness, that their beloved Washington was the
spirit-protected being described by the savage, that the enemy could not kill him, and that while he lived the glorious cause of American Independence would never die.*

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Page 223

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while Doctor Craik, pleased with this confirmation of his faith in the Indian’s prophecy, nodded to the officers who composed the party of the preceding evening, and then, pointing to Heaven, seemed to say, in the words of the savage prophet, “The Great Spirit protects him; he can
not die in battle.”

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Page 224 from the link:

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https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=nyp.33433082397302;view=2up;seq=246;size=175

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IS THE SPEECH TRUE?

No proof there is of this wonderful speech.

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George Washington records meeting this Indian but nothing about the particulars of the speech as reported by his adopted son, Martha’s grandson.

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Even George Washington’s adopted son, his Wife’s grandson, notes that George Washington  did not record this speech in his diary, that “This narrative the author of the Recollections received from the lips of Dr. Craik ” who accompanied GW on that trip.

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HOW DO WE KNOW IT’S GUYASUTA?

Notice GW’s adopted son never mentions the name of the Indian?

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GW’s adopted son offers a rationale for GW’s ommission.  “It was a peculiar trait of his character to avoid everything, either in speech or writing, that had a personal relation to himself, in this manner.

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Plausible, that Guyasuta was the speech maker

GW commented on his own reaction to the speech:

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“After much counseling over night, they all came to my fire the next morning with great formality; when Kiashuta, rehearsing what had passed between me and the Sachems at Colonel Croghan’s, thanked me for saying, that peace and friendship with them were the wish of the people of Virginia, and for recommending it to the traders to deal with them upon a fair and equitable footing; and then again expressed their desire of having a trade opened with Virginia, and that the governor thereof might not only be made acquainted therewith, but with their friendly disposition towards the white people. This I promised to do.”

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TEDIOUS

The next day GW further comments on his own reaction to all the speechmaking:

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29th.- The tedious ceremony, which the Indians observe in their counsellings and speeches, detained us till nine o’clock.

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So, apparently THE SPEECH and speeches did not impress GW.

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Tedious? How tedious is GW’s being invincible in battle?  How tedious is a speech prophesizing GW will become Chief of Nations as in head of the 13 Colonies?

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Instead GW reported that Guyasuta’s speech mentioned  trade and relations with the White People.

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DR CRAIK RECORD ANYTHING?

So did Dr Craik really tell GW’s adopted son that Guyasata said something different than what GW reported?

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No writings by Dr Craik of that moment have been discovered.  So we have hearsay.

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Not 100% provable either way.   And if not provable, why is this speech reported as fact in countless news articles and books to this day?

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CONNECTING GUYASUTA TO THE SPEECH

 The only other remark GW makes of Guyasuta: “In the person of Kiashuta I found an old acquaintance, he being one of the Indians that went with me to the French in 1753. He expressed a satisfaction at seeing me, and treated us with great kindness, giving us a quarter of very fine buffalo. He insisted upon our spending that night with him”

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SO not only is The Speech unsubstantiated, but later authors attributed this speech to Guyasuta because of these entries in GW’s diary.

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 Nothing of that speech is in GW’s Diary.

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But you’ll find it all over the internet, as though there was proof the speech was really made.

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Many writers of that time filled in the gaps.

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WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN SAID

These authors of that time thought of what the actor in that story MIGHT have said.

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Even if NOT EXACTLY the words, at least the sense of what might have been said is true.

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GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH

“Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” is one GIGANTIC example. See:

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And now we come back to our opening on this section:

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The real story?

It’s longer than a lie.

Myths are compact.

Myths get to the point.

The truth?

It’s a rabbit hole.

Endless byways, sideways.

A lie is so brief it is the soul of wit.

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SIDE TRIP TO MORE ON GUYASUTA

See Links on this Guyasuta:

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Canada’s Online biography

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guyasuta (c.1725–c.1794) was an important leader of the Seneca

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Oriskany 6 AUGUST 1777

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Boris Karloff as Chief Guyasuta in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unconquered

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Guyasuta final resting place days at Darlington family home

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Some history on Guyastua

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Gist and Guyasuta Sculpture on Manchester Bridge before it was moved

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Washington and Guyasuta Sculpture at Point of View Park October 20, 2006 article

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YOU WILL LIKE THIS MAP !

Navigate Google Car with Mouse or Touch screen to look at statue of  Guyasuta and GW:

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https://goo.gl/maps/rQgA2MvRtFP2

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