Prayer at Valley Forge pt 2

Last Sunday I discussed the famous painting of Washington praying at Valley Forge (above) and focused on the painter who did it Arnold Friberg (click here.)

This Sunday, I would like to pass along some additional info I stumbled upon about the Washington praying scene.  

First off, there is some debate as to whether or not this scene ever actually took place at all (click here.)  Just like that Washington cutting down the cherry tree malarkey, this may be another made up legend.

Another debate click here involves how other paintings of the scene show a Quaker named Isaac Potts observing Washington praying.  Friberg did not include Isaac who supposedly witnessed and reported the scene.  (My guess is that because Friberg was so intent on showing off the horse, he didn’t want any other distractions to take away attention from Mister Ed.  Horse looks a little like Ed doesn’t he?)

The legend goes that Mr. Potts, despite being a loyalist to the King, was so impressed at how fervently Washington prayed that he changed his allegiance from the King to the revolutionists. This was even more telling because Washington and his troops at the time were badly mistreating the Quakers while they camped out in their Valley Forge lands (click here and scroll down about halfway thru the article.)  This in turn led to some frictions between Washington’s men and their Quaker neighbors.  

Seems that in early colonial times the Quakers were not viewed too favorably.  Some of the colonies even passed laws banning Quakers (click here)   When the war began and the pacifist Quakers did not join in, this naturally led to some further churn and animosity towards them.  

Thus, the whole story of Mt. Potts seeing Washington praying and then endorsing him afterwards had more to do with resolving religious differences than it did with Washington being such a devout and religious leader.  Friberg’s omission of Mr. Potts glosses over that part of the story. 

OK, music wise the Quakers were not to keen on that either (click here.)  So how about a nice little instrumental from Earl Klugh?  As you know, I am not much of a pet person but as I was looking for this song,  I landed on this video that’s not that bad even if it does have Chinese subtitles.  (Make note of the end of the video where it looks like Rover is about to cock and unload.  Maybe he saw someone hiding in the bushes.)

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