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When King George III of England heard that Washington had willingly relinquished power after the war, he said, “If true, then he is the greatest man in the world.”

One of Washington’s criticisms of King George was that he could neither forget nor forgive; Washington forgave people who hurt him during the war. The list includes childhood friend Bryan Fairfax and the Rev. Jacob Duché, who both rejected the Patriot cause, and the Rev. Jonathan Boucher, who attacked his character.

Washington was not a saint; he owned slaves, for example. And he had to learn to keep deep passions under control and master a quick temper. But by and large, he was a man who said what he did and did what he said, and he was justifiably beloved for it.

After Washington died, the Duke of Wellington, an enemy, said Washington had “the purest and noblest character of modern time — possibly of all time.”