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Professor William Muehl once visited a fine ancestral home in Virginia. He followed the aged owner, the last of a distinguished colonial family, as she proudly showed him through her home. An ancient rifle above the fireplace intrigued him, so he asked if he might take it down and examine it. She replied, “Oh, I’m very sorry. I just can’t allow it. You see, it just wouldn’t be safe. The rifle is loaded and primed, ready to fire. My great-grandfather kept it there in constant readiness against the moment he might strike a blow for the freedom of the colonies.” Professor Muehle said: “Oh, then he died before the American Revolution came?” “No,” came the reply. “Actually he did not. He lived to a ripe old age and died in 1802; but he never had any confidence in George Washington as a general or as a Commander in Chief. You see, he knew him as a boy and didn’t believe he could ever lead an army to victory.” The old man never believed, even though he had experienced the opposite throughout his life; even when evidence to the contrary was staring him in the face.

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