George Washington: His Savage Nature

"Very tall for his generation -- over six feet -- with reddish hair and gray-blue eyes, his face massive, his shoulders narrow for his height but his hands and feet tremendous, George exuded such masculine power as frightens young women just wakening to the opposite sex." His half-brother was rather short 1a SEE BELOW.

After his death, Washington's frozen corpse was measured as 6 feet 3.5 inches in length 2a. The body was 1 foot 9 inches across at the shoulders and at the elbows. Another reference cites Washington as 6 feet 2 inches tall 3a. Comment: A post-mortem frozen height would be greater for at least two reasons: (1) If the corpse really was frozen, a frozen Washington would be taller because our bodies are 70% water and because water expands as it freezes -- the only liquid with this property. (2) A laid-out corpse would be relieved of gravity pressing on the spine. As astronauts know, people "grow" a few inches when weight on the spine is removed.

The painter Gilbert Stuart, who did not like Washington, remarked that Washington's features
were indicative of the strongest and most ungovernable passions. Had he been born in the forests, he would have been the fiercest man among the savages. 4a
Stuart was a portrait painter who, of course, paid careful attention to faces. He further described Washington:
There were features in his face totally different from what I had observed in any other human being. The sockets of the eyes, for instance, were larger than what I ever met with before, and the upper part of the nose broader. 3a
Stuart once remarked to General "Light Horse" Harry Lee that Washington had a terrible temper, but held it under wonderful control. Lee later asked Washington about this. "With something like a smile, Washington remarked, 'He's right'" 4b.
Cited Sources
  1. Flexner, James Thomas. Washington: The Indispensible Man. Boston: Little, Brown, 1974.
    a  p.8

    Comment: Distillation of Flexner's four-volume biography of Washington published from 1965 to 1972.

  2. Morens DM. Death of a President. New Engl J Med. 1999:341;1845-1849. Pubmed: 10588974.
    a  Tobias Lear recorded these measurements in his journal. He does not say the corpse was frozen.
  3. Marion, Robert. Was George Washington Really the Father of our Country?. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1994.
    a  p.67
  4. Boller, Paul F. Jr. Presidential Anecdotes. New York: Oxford University Press, 1981.
    a  p.22  b  pp. 22-23

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