- George Washington — Very Tall over 6’3” with enormous hands. What is it about all this fascination with Presidential hand size? His teeth weren’t wooden, they were actually lead fitted with human, cattle and hippopotamus(?) teeth. A few were carved from elephant and walrus tusks. I’m not sure where his dentist found the hippos, elephants, and walruses, but we are all glad he did. Famous quote: “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence — it is a force! Like a fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master, never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.”
- James Madison — In comparison to Washington, Madison was a tiny man — less than 5’4″‘ and weighed less than a hundred pounds. History doesn’t mention his hands, but he was too small to serve in the military. Aaron Burr introduced him to his wife, Dolly. Madison was the primary drafter of the Constitution although he never studied law. Washington Irving described Madison as a “withered little apple john” and his wife Dolly as a “fine, portly, buxom dame.” I wonder what Washington Irving would say today? He outlived all the Founding Fathers and both his vice-presidents died in office.
- Thomas Jefferson — He bathed his feet in cold water everyday to avoid colds and was a terrible public speaker because of a speech impediment, but a gifted writer. He is one of three of the first five Presidents to die on July 4th — Adams and Monroe were the others. Famous quote: “A little rebellion now and then is a good thing.”
- John Adams — He was a short (5’7″) and plump man with an ego that matched his waistline. He felt it beneath him to shake hands with anyone; he bowed instead. Famous quote: “Let the human mind loose. It must be loosed. It will be loose. Superstition and despotism cannot confine it.”
- Benjamin Franklin — He was the oldest delegate to the Constitutional Convention. He had retired at 42 and then devoted his life to writing, science, and politics. He possessed the largest private library in America, Jefferson’s was small in comparison. He had an illegitimate son, William, who became the governor of New Jersey. William supported the British during the Revolution, which resulted in the permanent estrangement of father and son. Franklin’s choice for the national bird was a turkey.
- Alexander Hamilton — He was born out of wedlock in the West Indies. The reason for the Constitutional requirement that a President must be born in the US arose out of the fear by a few of the founding fathers that Hamilton might be elected President. Hamilton initially thought the newly formed US needed a King. He was part of a group who offered the job to Prince Henry of Prussia. Fortunately the group changed its mind and withdrew the offer before it got to Henry. Famous Quote: “The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for among parchments or musty records. They are written, as with a sunbeam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of Divinity itself, and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power.”
For those of you who wish I wouldn’t venture on occasion into politics on a site about meditation and faith. I apologize but July 4th only comes once a year. I’d also suggest you read Hamilton’s words. On this day it may be worthwhile to remember and consider those “sacred rights of mankind” which found their voice on a parchment on this day and in the hearts of men and women from that day forward.
Have a Hot Dog for me today! Webb.