Anecdote of the late Gen. Washington
One Reuben Rouzy of Virginia owed the General about one thousand pounds. While President of the United States
one of his agents brought an action for the money; judgement was obtained, and execution issued against the body
of the defendant who was taken to jail. He had a considerable landed estate, but this kind of property cannot
be sold in Virginia for debts, unless at the discretion of the person. He had a large family, and for the sake
of his children preferred lying in jail to secure his land. A friend hinted to him that probably Gen. Washington
did not know anything of the predeeding, and that it might be well to send him a petition with a statement of the
circumstances. He did so, and the very next post from Philadelphia, after the arrival of his petition in that
city, brought him an order for his immediate release, together with a full discharge, and a severe reprimand to
the agent for having acted in such a manner.
Poor Rouzy was in consequence restored to his family, who never laid down their heads at night without presenting
prayers to Heaven for their “beloved Washington”. Providence smiled upon the labors of the grateful family, and
in a few years, Rouzy enjoyed the exquisite pleasure of being able to lay the thousand pounds with interest at
the feet of this truly great man. Washington reminded him that the debt was discharged.
Rouzy replied, the debt of his family to the father of their country and the preserver of their parent, could never
be discharged; and the General, to avoid the pleating inportunity of the grateful Virginia, who would not be denied,
accepted the money – only, however, to divide it amongst Rouzy’s children, which he immediately did.
From The Centinel (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania)
March 26, 1806
Submitted by Nancy Piper