He caught a chill riding horseback several hours in the snow while inspecting his Mount Vernon farm.
The next morning it developed into “acute laryngitis” and the doctors were called in.
Their response was to bleed him heavily four times, a process of cutting one’s arm to let the “bad blood” out.
They also had him gargle with a mixture of molasses, vinegar and butter.
Despite the doctors’ best efforts, they could not save former President George Washington and he died December 14, 1799, at the age of sixty-seven.
After saying “Doctor, I die hard, but I am not afraid to go” and “I should have been glad, had it pleased God, to die a little easier, but I doubt not it is for my good,” George Washington, at about 11pm, uttered his last words:
“Father of mercies, take me unto thyself.”
On Washington’s tomb at Mount Vernon is engraved:
“I am the Resurrection and the Life; sayeth the Lord. He that believeth in Me, though he were dead yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die.”
The Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., which is 555 feet tall, has engraved on its metal cap the Latin phrase “Laus Deo,” which means “Praise be to God.”
Three years earlier, President George Washington had delivered his Farewell Address, September 19, 1796, warning:
“And of fatal tendency…to put, in the place of the delegated will of the Nation, the will of a party;- often a small but artful and enterprising minority…
“They are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the Power of the People and to usurp for the themselves the reins of Government; destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion…”
“But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism…
“Disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an Individual…(who) turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty…
“The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism…”
“Let there be no change by usurpation…It is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.”
William J. Federer is a nationally known speaker, best-selling author, and president of Amerisearch, Inc., a publishing company dedicated to researching America’s noble heritage.
To learn more about the author please visit William Federer
Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze; oil on canvas; Metropolitan Museum of Art.