Extra Supplements to

George Washington's Liberty Key

Update 18 April 2017

Click here for discussion of Bastille size, measurements, and dimensions located about a quarter-way down this page.


Note:  These supplements are likely best understood after reading the book!

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Research on 110 Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior

Link to Original Handwritten Notes (printed cover says GW 14 or 15 years old)

Link to WikiSource saying GW wrote Rules around 1744 (making him 12 years old)

Link to GW's Copybook around 1745 (13 years old; note slightly improved handwriting over Rules?; Rules earlier?)

Note:  Is the author of this Rules Preface wrong (he says Rules were written when GW was 13, based upon 1745 date on one of the pages)?  But he also says GW wrote Journal when he was 16 years old and 1 month;  In March 1747, IMHO, GW would have been 15 years old and 1 month!

Link to GW's" A Journal of my Journey over the Mountains," begun 11 March 1748 (GW 16 years old), but Diary begins 11 February 1777.  School copybooks extend to age 15. 
Link to Transcript
:  Preface:  "Washington s Journal here given to the public, if we except his version of the " Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation," is the earliest literary effort of this, the most admirable character in all history."

Comments welcome to wbahr at mail dot com


I have been challenged to find evidence of a relatively recent assertion that, following Washington’s display of the Bastille Key, newspapers across the country ran an "'exact representation' of the key, splayed out in grim silhouette."  While I have copies of several newspaper articles at the time about the key, none has a drawing.  The Library of Congress tells me that any such drawing would be rare.  No response yet from the person asserting this claim, despite several requests.  As I laboriously begin to search through microfilms, any help finding a copy of such a newspaper article would be appreciated.  Thanks!  


Bastille Day 2002 West Point (United States Military Academy) cadets lead parade; "Duty, Honor, Country," one version of Washington's three key requirements for Liberty. 


David Wood's "Justice:  A Dane and Bones Origins Story" novel mentioning the Mount Vernon Bastille Key


Two slave shackles with keys courtesy of Andy Maglio of Action Lock & Key
Used to connect chain links.  Small shackle to the left has key inserted.



Here's a video of Place de la Bastille, worth a thousand pictures, worth a thousand (French) words?  3/3/2017

Here's a "Paris 3D: Through the Ages" video of the Bastille (start at 9:52) and many other iconic Paris structures 3/3/207


Bit in shape of #2.   By definition, a key "2" the Bastille?!  

Hmmm, replica is probably cast steel or highly refined cast iron....


21 Jan 2017
55 is also the number of delegates to the Constitutional Convention, of which 39 signed. 


1 Jan 2017
Mention is made in the book that Europe (specifically Paris) is 4,000 miles away from NYC.  Other history books like to say that the distance is 3,000 miles.  Actually, as Dave the Dove of Peace flies, Paris is 3,627 miles away (round up to 4,000) from NYC, London being a little closer at 3,470 miles (round down?).  However, also consider the actual sailing routes, as pictured on page 95.  Note that the southern sailing route could almost be described as a right-angle triangle of the 3, 4, 5 variety, with the Dove of Peace measurement being the hypotenuse (5). In this case, then the alternative distance is 3 + 4 or 7, which is 7/5 or 40% longer than the 5 hypotenuse.  140% of 3,627 miles is 5,078 miles.  Let's pretend we rounded the 5 route down to 3,000 miles.  The average then between 3,000 miles and 5,000 miles is 4,000 miles!   


XMAS 2016 Present (as received from a reader in Italy)


If you bought a copy of the book and would like a bookmark and/or self-adhesive bookplate (author's signature + your preferred inscription), just send a self-addressed stamped #10 (business - 9.5 x 4 inch) envelop to the publisher of the book (address on book's page ii) along with your request. 






"New" quote: 

“Washington is the mightiest name of earth – long since mightiest in the cause of civil liberty, still mightiest in moral reformation. . . . To add brightness to the sun or glory to the name of Washington is alike impossible. Let none attempt it. In solemn awe pronounce the name, and in its naked deathless splendor leave it shining on.”    ̶   Abraham Lincoln

From George Washington to Lafayette, 10 June 1792

To Lafayette


Philadelphia June 10th 1792

My dear Sir,

In the revolution of a great Nation we must not be surprized at the Vicissitudes to which 


 We are however anxious that the horrors of war may be avoided, if possible, and the rights of man, so well understood & so permanently fixed, as while despotic oppression is avoided on the one hand, licentiousness may not be substituted for liberty or confusion take place of order, on the other. The just medium cannot be expected to be found in a moment, the first vibrations always go to the extremes, and cool reason, which can alone establish a permanent & equal government, is as little to be expected in the tumults of popular commotions, as an attention to the liberties of the people is to be found in the dark Divan of a despotic tyrant.






Comment from Scott Klemm (antique key expert):  11/17/16


Scott Klemm:  Thanks, Bill !!! I was glad to be of help. Your book will be a genuine contribution to both American and lock & key histories.  (Bill's comment:  check out Scott's own great books on antique keys:   http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4688070.Scott_J_Klemm )



Comment from Brian Sandman:  11/17/16


Brian Sandman:  It doesn't appear this Keyway Escutcheon was used for the Key Profile shown in the Cover Picture ?


Bill Bahr:  Good eyes -- you are correct! I plead "artistic license"! A matter of combing a replica brass key without the real key's side "ridge" with a likely keyhole for the real key with a door and its escutcheon partially hidden by the keyhole. Thanks for your comment! 


Brian Sandman:   ...worked for the Federal Government and Inspected Federal Facilities for Locks, Keys, Doors, Vaults and Sight reading. Good Graphic though for your Book. 


Comment from Brian Sandman:  11/21/16


The Bastille Key is a Bridge Ward cut. It is for use from both sides of the Door. This Keyhead T shape is used for help in the constant turning motion of the key. It helps to add torque and lessen the strain on the Jailors wrist.




"Madam Secretary" on CBS talks about the importance of Washington's Bastille Key
on Season 3, Episode 5:  "The French Revolution" @ 15:45 of 42.24.  Click photo for link.



Madame Tussaud's 5-7 October 2012 Best Western Exhibition



Louis 16th's Private Forge at Versailles





Louis 16th and the Locksmith by Joseph Caraud                                 The Forge of King Louis 16th by Joseph Caraud

Louis 16th and Gamain at Versailles forge. 





GW pictures and comment from Scott Klemm 11/21/2016

Here's a picture of George Washington's keys from an oil on canvas painting. It is at the Huntington Library in San Marino, CA. Huntington's label states that it's probably a copy of the original Charles Peale portrait done by a French artist. The keys can be seen hanging just below his waistcoat (vest) on the left hand side of the picture.  Keys are likely barrel (hollow shaft) keys, probably for his most valuable, personal chest or camp storage trunk.


Bastille Size and Dimensions

Background for pages 29-30 of "George Washington's Liberty Key," which discuss Bastille dimensions and size.

Note:  I discovered Wikipedia/ Wikiwand has a newly made entry on its Bastille page which mentions Bastille measurements.  Unfortunately, I have not been able to publicly comment there that one reference, Schama, does not mention measurements on the cited page (or anywhere else that I can see).  I am trying to obtain copies of the other two references (in French) cited.  I have mentioned to the page editor that I have the engineering drawings (see below), which cite the measurements, but to no avail.  IMHO, the dimensions currently given on the Wikipedia page are ambiguous (they don't say at what points the measurements were made; the building was irregular) and thus misleading.  You can make your own measurements from the drawings below.   11/24/16

Note:  I am re-measuring.  More tomorrow.  11/29/16

Earlier measurements I took for the first book printing were with a ruler in inches/millimeters, which I converted to toises.  I decided to construct a scale(s) with just toises, then do the conversions to feet, which should give me more direct and thus more accurate estimates.  These new estimates will be in the next printing of the book, along with the refined description of the Lincoln Memorial dimensions. 

Here's what I measured on 12/1/16




Here's what I measured on 12/20/2016

Comment:  Given the diagram details, the A.J. Mathieu (engineer; with Edme Verniquet, architect) measurements appear to be the most accurate of the
three taken before the destruction of the Bastille.  As well, the added dimension of height allows one to see the
varying measurements of width/depth/length at various heights. Expanded scales (scales "photoshopped"
together to give longer  length like a "tape meausre") were overlaid on Bastille to allow the finely graduated portion to determine exact length. Bottom line, one notes the interpretations of the measurements of the three engineers/architects agreed  with each other on various measurements between 93% and 100%.  As one is not sure what Cathala and Palloy were  measuring at various heights compared to Mathieu, one could, therefore, take a tolerant view and say that they  generally all agreed with one another.  Note transposition between width to length and depth to width on Mathieu map. 

Original scale at bottom of maps.  1 toise = 6 pieds du roi = 6.39 feet.  1 meter = 3.28 feet

Scales were duplicated, added, and expanded for measurement.

All this is summarized on pages 29-30 of "George Washington's Liberty Key" by William J. Bahr

General comment:  It is not always easy to judge building dimensions, as evidenced by modern-day disputes over what is the floor-space in a home or which is the tallest building in the world.  Does the building have an antenna?  Is the antenna part of the structure or just an add-on?  See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_tallest_buildings_and_structures

Now we know that the Bastille was an "irregular" structure, not rectangular but with at least six distinct sides.  We also know that the foundation (approximately 20 feet high/deep) was exposed when the moat was not filled with water.  So, is it or is it not a part of the height measurement which would include the remaining 80 feet, thus making the height 100 feet?  You can also see from below that the battlements jutted out, just as did the base (maybe a better term than foundation).  My rough or rounded numbers try to take this into account, leaving one with a physical impression one can use when comparing the Bastille to current buildings.  Hope this helps!     




40 meter front face (about 130 feet) if measuring at angle (the hypotenuse; tilt vertical scale to left as shown).


Palloy map with annotation courtesy of Jim Chevallier (Toises scale at bottom left)


Chateau de Tarascon (Brother to the Bastille?) diagram

Map Castle 
Legend  : 1. Input Court 2- 3- 4- Pont Courtyard of Honor Staircase Dungeon 5- 6- 7- Clock Tower Tour Chapels 8- 9- Great Chapel Chapel Singers 10- southwest Tour Paneterie 11- 12- 13- feasts Hall Tower Artillery Home 14- 15- 16- pantry Echansonnerie Paneterie 17- 18- 19- Saucerie Fruiterie 20- 21- Barnyard Tour Marie 22- 23- Tour Tour of stair walkway.


Here's what is on Wikipedia (French version) 12/11/16  Says 66 long x 34 wide x 24 meters high. 


Despite my several attempts to update, here is what's on Wikipedia  12/11/16

Here is Wikipedia's reference 9:

Muzerelle does have the cited dimensions on page 14, but no description as to how they were derived.  There is a drawing on page 21 in toises, which does not seem to correlate.  I am still trying to understand its graphic dimensions in terms of what Muzerelle claims on page 14. Below are the cited references to Viollet and Schama, which clearly have absolutely no dimensions!!!  The only cited Muzerelle page (page 14) with dimensions called out is reproduced below with a translation.  Anybody know how to inform the Wikipedia Bastille Page Editor????


No dimensions?  Simon Schama:  "Citizens:  A Chronicle of the French Revolution"

No dimensions?   Eugene Viollet, "Dictionnaire....", page 172




Boxed text:  "Cette bastille Saint-Antoine, desormais composee de huit tours, hautes de 24 m, reunies par des courtines de meme hauteur, formait un rectangle de 68 m sur 37 m, entoure d'un fosse, offrant un modele architectural nouveau qui devait rencontrer un certain succes au cours du siecle suivant." 


Page 14


Translation of boxed text:  "This Bastille Saint-Antoine, now composed of eight towers, 24 m [78.7 feet] high, joined by curtains of the same height, formed a rectangle of 68 m [223 feet] by 37 m [121.4 feet], surrounded by a pit, offering a new architectural model which was to meet some success in the next century."

No explanation is given as to how these measurements were made, especially the 68 meter (223 feet) dimension. 

Bottom line:  What was the size of the Bastille?  What were the dimensions of the Bastille?

"The Bastille's maximum outside dimensions, measured at the building's base: approximately 260 feet long, 130-150 wide (ends, middle), and 100 feet high. The base (the exposed foundation), which was sometimes covered with moat water, was 20 feet high, with walls being 80 feet, making the total height 100 feet. This maximum dimension takes into account the protrusions of the towers and their battlements, as well as the widened footings at the base. The building was irregular, more of a hexagon than a rectangle, hence the difference between middle and ends. It's possible that some would want to look for dimensions just at the interior; however, that itself was also irregular, with the addition of various additions and apartments. The above dimensions were arrived at by extending (duplicating and adding them together to form a "tape measure" by photo-shopping) the original engineering/architect/contractor (Mathieu/Cathala/Palloy) drawing/diagram scales and overlaying them on the diagrams." 
––  William J. Bahr       Reference:  pp 29-30, "George Washington's Liberty Key"

Our size of the Bastille

Our dimensions of the Bastille

Bastille Size

Find out why the Lincoln Memorial is so amazingly and remarkably "magical" on page 193 of the book! 

12 Miles SW and over river from Bastille to Versailles and from Lincoln Memorial to Mount Vernon. 
But what is even more amazing?!  Check out page 193....

BTW, here are the NPS Lincoln Memorial Statistics:

 I have asked the NPS to clarify their acreage for the Memorial to within that of the Lincoln Memorial Parkway Circle.  I have recalculated, and believe my numbers are correct, with your opportunity to verify yourself below for this and other Bastille-related measurements.  As regards, Lincoln Memorial measurements, note roof overhang beyond the pillars, which likely accounts for different dimensions cited.   





Bastille and Lincoln Memorial relationship to be further developed in upcoming book "Lincoln's Bastille."


Another "Washington Monument," this one a cellphone tower off I-55 in Ridgeland, TX:




Washington's Birthplace Monument 55 feet tall. 
Pope's Creek, VA.


End of dimension discussion. 


11 August 1790 thank you letter from Washington to Lafayette


Treaty of Paris ending American Revolutionary War

A= Azores; M = Madeira; C = Canary Islands; S = Barbados (where Washington went to help his brother Lawrence);
E = St. Eustatius (Dutch Island which gave Revolutionary War's American Navy its "first salute," located just 20 miles NW of St. Kitts/Nevis, where Alexander Hamilton was born and grew up); B = Bermuda. 
Shown is alternative return to America taking more southern route than shorter Canary Islands to Bermuda route. 


Hurricane development  (high pressure rushes towards low pressure and is right-shifted by earth's rotation)
See book Sources section for explanatory video!  



Executioner showing head of guillotined Louis 16th to the crowd




Dr. Dick was in attendance at George Washington's death. 
Scales at George Washington Masonic National Memorial.



Psychological categorization:  Washington (analytical driver?); Lafayette (expressive driver?)



Clock (circle) at top of modern building in Bastille


Outline of Bastille in pavers on Paris street


Arrow likely pointing to Bastille's Treasury Tower outline in cobblestones


Courtesy of Nicolas Melnyk  www.BastilleFortress.com



Houel Bastille Cell Release of Prisoners


Portion of Liberty Tower reconstructed at Henri Galli Square


Bastille stop at Paris Metro with themes of the French Revolution


Key recently found in Mount Vernon's old kitchen refuse pile



"Character, Culture, Constitution"


Revolutionary War Blacksmith 5 Minute Video


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Do I need better credit attribution for above materials?  Please let me know immediately, and I will correct.  Thanks!

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Our size of the Bastille

Our dimensions of the Bastille

Now available at the Mount Vernon Gift Shop

Copyright, W. Bahr, 2015-17



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