George Washington on integrity, from a letter to Alexander Hamilton, August 28, 1788. " I hope I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain (what I consider to be the most enviable of all titles) the character of an honest man!" Isn't it interesting the man who was a key factor to forming this great nation and our first President, put the title of an honest man above all?
He held honesty paramount in his life and made no attempt to hide his feelings to everyone who surrounded him! To Timothy Pickering, February 10, 1799, " Concealment is a species of misinformation." And again, August 29, 1797 " Candor is not a more conspicuous trait in the character of Governments than it is of individuals."
A good conscience and hope of divine approval were essential to Washington's sense of integrity. It was immortalized in the fable of him chopping down the cherry tree. While that story seems to be an embellishment, and Washington himself wouldn't have approved of it, it's creation was designed to convey how his upbringing defined the man. One of the key tools to George Washington's character was , "The Young Man's Companion Book," written by W. Mather in 1742. It contained little tidbits like this....
" The Instruction of Words is not so Powerful as the Exhortation of Works, for if they Teach well and neglect to do well they shall hardly profit their hearers....Let us declare and profess what we will, Men will judge of us after all by our Works... So that it is a Dishonor to God , a Scandal to Religion, and a cause why so many become atheists that men are permitted to Preach and Teach the People, who are unsound in Morals, yea, guilty of some of the Evil above mentioned."
I don't see this level of instruction present in today's society, perhaps that's why we don't produce leaders like George Washington anymore?