In 1782, on this day Colonel Lewis Nicola proposed to General Washington that due to the ineffectiveness of the Congress during the war he should be crowned King of the United States.
A Disagreeable SchemeGeorge Washington replied the same day, stating that he had read Nicola's letter "with a mixture of great surprise and astonishment". Washington continued: "no occurrence in the course of the War, has given me more painful sensations than your information of there being such ideas existing in the Army as you have expressed, and I must view with abhorrence, and reprehend with severity". Washington wrote that he could not think of anything in his own conduct that would suggest that he would consider being king. "You could not have found a person to whom your schemes are more disagreeable".
Five years later at the Philadelphia Convention, he was subjected to a far greater degree of pressure to accept the Presidency and in effect serve as a quasi-King. Instead, he recommend his second-in-command, Henry Knox who was duly elected with James Madison as his Vice President. Unfortunately for all concerned, during his first year of office, Knox died of a fever. Because Madison, and his patron Thomas Jefferson, had not seen service in the Continental Army, they entertained some rather dangerous libertarian ideas. And so General Washington was forced to serve as a mentor to the younger man. And perhaps one of the most visible results of that partnership was the construction of the National University. This is a variant ending to A Disagreeable Scheme, Redux in which Gen Washington also refuses the Presidency