Now all of us who confessed to "never returning" library books can feel even more less alone.
Kellie alerted me to the recent news that George Washington has racked up $300,000 in fines for two never-returned library books, borrowed in 1789 from New York Society Library.
But I'm afraid we're not in very good moral company.
I mean, I knew Parson Weems made up the cherry tree story, but geez...
Here, listen to what Washington told his Seneca ally, Tanaghrisson, to get him to support British efforts to drive the French off native lands:
"[The] only motive of our conduct is to put you again in possession of your lands, and to dispossess the French, to maintain your rights and to secure the whole country for you." *
Talk about a whopper. Not only was it untrue in general (as Tanaghrisson probably knew),
but in specific, at that time Washington himself had money in a land speculation company that wanted to get its hands on these profitable lands.
There are good things you can say about George. Relentlessly honest is not one of them.
* Quoted in Alan Axelrod, Blooding at Great Meadows (2007), p. 161