Extra Supplements to

George Washington's Liberty Key: Mount Vernon's Bastille Key

Return to Bastille Key

Updated 8 August 2021


George Washington's Family (parents, siblings, brothers, sisters, step-children, step-granchildren) and Relationships 
Adapted from information from Mount Vernon Ladies' Association
Yes, George's nephew (George Augustine Washington) married Martha's niece (Fanny Bassett)! 

George Washington's Tent Video


Guillotine Video from Mozaik3D


On 7 October 2020, I found this in Thierry Van de Leur & Fernand Pigeat's excellent book L'Ephemere Resurrection de la Bastille (The Ephemeral Resurrection of the Bastille), about the reconstruction of the Bastille
for the 1899 Paris Universal Exposition.  Note this page, which has a faithful miniature of the Bastille measuring 38 cm high, 99 cm long, and 57 cm wide.  99/38 = 2.6.  57/38 = 1.5. 
Assuming 100 ft (30 meters) height of Bastille (per Encyclopedia Britannica et al), as per measurements further below, then length is 2.6 x or 260 feet (79 meters), with width 1.5 x or 150 feet (46 meters). 
This again confirms previous estimates of correct Bastille measurements!  Here is the link to the book:  https://amazon.com/gp/product/2954073101/


"This Bastille chalonnaise which measures 38 cm high, 99 long and 57 wide, is an authentic model but ... in plaster, a material all in all much easier to work than stone and admirably lends itself to mass casts!"
The author explained to me in an email:  "The Bastille Chalonnaise means that it was made by a man from the Chalons / Saône region. He lived in Ecuisses, in Saöne et Loire, 20 km from Chalons / Saône. "

View of west side of the Bastille.




Scylla and [or] Charybdis of Homer's The Odyssey


The story was often applied to political situations at a later date. In James Gillray's cartoon, Britannia between Scylla and Charybdis (3 June 1793),[9] 'William Pitt helms the ship Constitution, containing an alarmed Britannia, between the rock of democracy (with the liberty cap on its summit) and the whirlpool of arbitrary power (in the shape of an inverted crown), to the distant haven of liberty'.[10] This was in the context of the effect of the French Revolution on politics in Britain. That the dilemma had still to be resolved in the aftermath of the revolution is suggested by Percy Bysshe Shelley's returning to the idiom in his 1820 essay A Defence of Poetry: "The rich have become richer, and the poor have become poorer; and the vessel of the state is driven between the Scylla and Charybdis of anarchy and despotism."[11]


Note:  Scylla (a 6-headed monster represented by a rocky shoal off the coast of Italy's boot) and Charybdis (a whirlpool) were located in the northern part of the narrow Strait of Messina, which separates Sicily from Calabria (southern Italy). 
Metaphor for picking the lesser of two evils.  The red devil or the deep blue sea: the one takes your soul, the other your life.  Your choice? 



A Tribute to Paine by John Wesley Jarvis and J R Ames


Thanks to friend Margo Lestz (subscribe at https://curiousrambler.com/ ), I found the music for the French Revolution film: 

Newly found video (with scene pictures):  LA RÉVOLUTION FRANÇAISE ● GEORGES DELERUE ● JESSYE NORMAN


“L’Hymne à la Liberté” was written especially for the film.  The music is by Georges Delerue, with lyrics by Jessye Norman. 

Here are the French lyrics:  https://www.paroles-musique.com/eng/Jessye_Norman-Hymne_a_la_liberte_reprise-lyrics,p014408497

Google Translation: 

You, Freedom, Freedom that we love
You, Freedom, Freedom that we want
Be our hope and our strength
Be our joy, our happiness
We can sing higher every day
Sing every day further
Joyfully sing this hymn of faith
Freedom, Freedom, I believe in You
Liberty, Liberty, be our law
O you who can give hope
O you who can ring the joy
O Freedom, Freedom that we love
Always be closer to us
Always be closer to our hearts

Away from us slavery
Far from us take them
No more privileges
Far from us famines and massacres
Far from us the time of tyrannies
We will always sing your name, "Liberty"
We believe in You.

You, Freedom, Freedom that we love
You, Freedom, Freedom that we want
Be our hope and our strength
Be our joy, our happiness
We can sing higher every day
Sing every day further
Joyfully sing this hymn of faith
Freedom, Freedom, I believe in You
Liberty, Liberty, be our law
O you who can give hope
O you who can ring the joy
O Freedom, Freedom that we love
Always be closer to us
Always be closer to our hearts

A fantastic song!  Magnifique!!    : ) 

Stay 4ee, if you can! 


Video:  http://www.cnn.com/videos/tv/2017/07/19/exp-gps-0716-last-look-bastille-key.cnn


Copies signed by the author:  https://shops.mountvernon.org/collections/signed-books/products/george-washingtons-liberty-ke-25739

When even more interesting things don't fit on Extra Supplements, I put them here in Blog Form.  Click here and then Follow for automatic updates.

Key Measurements:  https://www.mountvernon.org/preservation/collections-holdings/browse-the-museum-collections/object/w-14a/

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!

To receive immediate updates, please "like" us on Facebook and rate or review us at Amazon and everywhere else!  Thanks!!


If personality is key, this key has personality!  And hopefully, this character helps teach the power of character!



The next "Moby Dick"?  You be the judge.  But definitely read it now...before the movie and the musical!   

If you like it, please tell others.  If you didn't, please tell us quickly...and how the next version might be improved. 

Living key, living book.  We can adapt!  See our email address below.

Now available at the Shops at Mount Vernon



PDF of George Washington's "Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation"

"Greetings Bill!  The American Revolution was all about character."    David McCullough

"While in the Mansion, the group inspected the key to the Bastille, a gift to Washington from the Marquis de Lafayette as a symbol of freedom following the storming of the notorious prison. The two presidents [Trump and Macron] each received [on 23 April 2018] a replica Bastille key, housed in a wooden box made from walnut wood used in the Mansion with an inlay of pecan from a tree planted near the Mansion circa 1848. Steel from the aircraft carrier USS George Washington was used in the production of this treasured replica. (Photo credit: George Washington’s Mount Vernon)" 
Click on photo for reference to Mary Wadland's article.  Key reproduction is an artistic rendering of cast of original. 


Key Maintenance at Mount Vernon

Starts at 1:55



Click here for IDs


Filthy Cities Paris (Revolutionary Paris; video)



"Deep Sea/See" Research regarding 31 May 1790 letter from Paine to Washington about transmittal of Bastille Key across the Atlantic Ocean.


8 April 2018

Commentary by Bill Bahr on Thomas Paine's 31 May 1790 letter to George Washington about the transmittal of the Bastille Key from Lafayette, after a 30 May 2018 visit to view the letter at the Library of Congress:

The comma insertions by the University of Virginia were, IMHO, correct, vis a vis those by the Thomas Paine Association.  I was very concerned about the ink bleed-throughs causing possible misinterpretation of Paine's message about the Bastille Key transmittal.  Given that the paper was thicker than I had guessed, the bleed-throughs were not as bad as I had thought from the digital representation.  I did notice a few other interesting things, however.  Paine's superscripts were lowered (as per Jeff's kind referral to the transcription methodology documentation).  And UVA took the "liberty" of inserting periods where they should have unquestionably been, but were not visible.  Paine either did not like to use periods (or they were very, very small and washed-out over time), preferring, it seems, to either use dashes, line ends, or nothing at all, leaving it up to the reasonable reader to figure where one thought ends and another begins.  Finally there were some questionable capitalizations/decapitalizations by UVA.  Nevertheless, all in all, despite what a comma may or may not do to the meaning of a sentence, the transcription of the document came through just as UVA described.

 Original info below.  Click for digital reproduction of Paine's letter at Library of Congress.


 Interpretation from Founders Online:  

 To George Washington from Thomas Paine, 31 May 1790

From Thomas Paine

London May 31. 1790


By Mr James Morris who sailed in the May Packet I transmitted you a letter from the Marquis de la Fayette, at the same time informing you that the Marquis had entrusted to my charge the Key of the Bastile and a drawing of that Prison as a present to your Excellency.1 Mr J. Rutlege Junr had entended coming in the Ship.2 Marquis de la Fayette and I had chosen that opportunity for the purpose of transmitting the present but the Ship not sailing at the time appointed Mr Rutledge takes his passage, in the Packet, and I have committed to his Care those trophies of Liberty which I know it will give you pleasure to receiveThe french Revolution is not only compleat but triumphant & the envious disposition of this nation is compelled to own the magnanimity with which it has been conducted.





Intepretation from Thomas Paine Association:

 To His Excellency George Washington May 31, 1790

To His Excellency George Washington May 31, 1790



By Mr. James Morriswho sailed in the May Packet, I transmitted you a letter from the Marquis de Lafayette, at the same time informing you that the Marquis had entrusted to my charge the key of the Bastilleand a drawing of that prisonas a present to your Excellency. Mr. J. Rutledge, jun'r, had intended coming in the ship Marquis de Lafayette, and I had chosen that opportunity for the purpose of transmitting the presentbut, the ship not sailing at the time appointedMr. Rutledge takes his passageon the packet, and I have committed to his care that trophy of liberty which I know it will give you pleasure to receiveThe French Revolution is not only complete but triumphant, and the envious despotism of this nation is compelled to own the magnanimity with which it has been conducted.


Excellent video by Adam Erby of Mount Vernon about Mount Vernon's Bastille Key.  Note, however,  the photo of "John Rutledge, Jr."  at 3:14.  This photo cannot be verified. 
To the best of the knowledge of the Library of Congress and Mount Vernon's photo collection, a picture of John Rutledge, Jr. does not exist. 
A portrait of his father, however, does exist.  Otherwise, a great video.


Link to the Curious Rambler, a very interesting blog's history of the rooster Chantecler, a symbol of France

Link to another interesting, earlier story on that blog.




A reader truly going first class on a British train (note the sign on the chair to the right)!     The reader is on his way to Edinburgh, Scotland,
birthplace of the Scottish Enlightenment and one-time "hotbed of genius" with, among others, liberty-lovers David Hume and Adam Smith.
Hopefully, in true George Washington practice, the reader will dutifully note any "uh oh" typos (and pass them on to me for correction in the book's next version). 

Edinburgh, Scotland's Bastille?





George Washington's Watermark

Memoirs of General Lafayette

Vol 3:  "Such a glorious cause had never before attracted the attention of mankind: it was the last struggle of Liberty;
and had she then been vanquished, neither hope nor asylum would have remained for her."

Interesting site:  http://www.sonofthesouth.net/revolutionary-war/patriots/lafayette-american-revolution.htm

Research on "The Keys of the Bastille of Paris" by Henry Spencer Howell of Galt, Ontario, Canada, 1887. 

This interesting pamphlet is one of the first works on the Bastille and its keys that I consulted for my own book, “George Washington’s Liberty Key:  Mount Vernon’s Bastille Key.”  Howell’s small book or pamphlet was first published in 1887 and covers in brief the Bastille, the Storming of the Bastille and subsequent aspects of the French Revolution, the Bastille keys, and the provenance of Howell’s own five Bastille keys.  All in all, the pamphlet is interesting in that it shows what information was available in that era to an individual key collector who spent a great deal of time trying to document the history of the Bastille keys he obtained.  Unfortunately, there are a number of errors Howell commits while making assertions based upon assumptions in the information-sparse world before the internet.  Even with the internet, however, I have not yet been able to find the current location of Howell’s Bastille keys.  The library (idea exchange) in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada, claims to have no information. 


Harvard Yard Snowball Fight:  Real-life "Join, or Die!" 

Photo from Museum of the American Revolution.        Description


6/24/2017:  Just had my local public library use the 3D printer donated by my colleague Friends of the Library to print up a copy of the Mount Vernon Bastille Key:   Took them 6 hours (3 hours per side) and cost me $6.



Note:  designer made key totally symmetric.  It’s not; the alignment ridge is supposed to be only on the left side.  Also, the printed key is 8 ¾ inches long, versus the real key’s 7 ½ inches.  Some of the ridges are also slightly rounded versus square.  Nevertheless, pretty cool!  3D Print Tutorial REF:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIASyrInaxA   and    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIPYMdxw4qU





Independence Hall key; same length as Mount Vernon Bastille Key

Replica key ("Philomena") made of wrought iron. 


Looking outside through keyhole; notice stop, which aligned key but prevented key opening from outside. 










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

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



Madame Tussauds' Bastille Keys




Note:  I found the above "'exact representation' of the key," published in the "Massachusetts Magazine,"  after the key was presented to George Washington.   So far I have found other newspaper articles but none other with accompanying drawings.  

Click here for a link to a new webpage showing original drawing.


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



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 combining 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. 


Link to photos of Iron Mask and Bastille Door


Probably incorrect portrayal of Jefferson leaving Paris on 26 September 1789
in "Sally Hemings:  An American Scandal"  37:57


"A Tribute to Paine," a montage tribute to Thomas Paine, the printer, by the American artist John Wesley Jarvis. Woodcut.
Courtesy of the Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D. C.





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 of Bastille:   66 long x 34 wide x 24 meters high (217 x 112 x 79 feet). 


Despite my several attempts to update, here is what's on Wikipedia  12/11/16  223 feet wide, 121 feet deep, and 78 feet high, and walls10 feet thick at base.

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?   Eugene Viollet, "Dictionnaire....", page 172



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




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              Video:  How big was the Bastille?

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."



Click on image above for link to article:  Bastille Measurement:  Resurrecting the Dimensions of Despotism


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.


George Washington, the surveyor, a measurement master!   


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


"Dear Clock."  Saturday, 14 December 1799.  Elisha C. Dick, Master of the Lodge.


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 Rue Saint Antoine Paris street

Pavers were replaced by metal markers starting ~ 2019. 



Arrows point to Bastille tower outlines in old cobblestone pavers (since replaced by new metal markers).


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

Bastille Storming Videos (beware artistic license):

1.   2. (French language)  3.    4.  5. (3 parts)

At 0:12 in Part 3, the Bastille Key appears as de Launay reaches for it.




Note the inaccuracy of the "facsimile"! 


"The Last of the Montagnards" (aka "The Martyrs of Prairial" - Revolt of 1 Prairial Year III - 20 May 1795) by Charles Ronot in 1782. 
Scene depicts 17 June 1795 Jacobin group suicide. Active participant is likely Gilbert Romme, with last words, "I die for the Republic." 


King Louis XVI Flight to Varennes The letter of grievances he laid on his bed before his departure.

Louis XVI

Déclaration de Louis XVI à tous les Français, à sa sortie de Paris

20 juin 1791

aka Déclaration du roi, adressée à tous les François, à sa sortie de Paris, traditionally known as the Testament politique de Louis XVI ("Political Testament of Louis XVI"),

 English Translation by William J. Bahr

 Louis XVI
Declaration of Louis XVI to the French people, on leaving Paris, aka Louis XVI's Declaration to all the French
June 20, 1791

Declaration to the French People prepared by Louis XVI

Flight to Varennes


The King's letter was lost shortly after his death in 1793, but in 2009 it was rediscovered by Gérard Lhéritier as being held by a private American collector. 
It was purchased for several million euros by Messr
Lhéritier's company, Aristophil.  Subsequently it was displayed at Paris' Museum of Letters and Manuscripts.  (Telegraph)
However, the Museum "closed in 2014 after its owner
Gérard Lhéritier and his company Aritophil were investigated for allegedly running the museum as an illegal Ponzi scheme." (Wikipedia).


An excellent video summary:  Maximilien Robespierre and the Reign of Terror




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



Modern attempts at making "antique" keys: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyo3My6h7Ew&t=54s

 and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfN5SBVEAk4




Frederick the Great's "quotes" (no pun intended) about George Washington;  fact over fab!     : ) 

I purchased the book Ron Chernow references in his book on Washington, the Callahan book on Knox.  Page 98 of the Callahan book has the quote and the source, listed as “[Pictorial] Field Book of the Revolution” by B. J. Lossing, (NY, 1852), p. 240.  This is what I actually find about this Callahan quote on google in Lossing’s book:  “It is said that Frederic the Great of Prussia declared that the achievements of Washington and his little band of compatriots, between the 25th of December and the 4th of January, were the most brilliant of any recorded in the annals of military achievements.” 


Looks like the FTG quote is “hearsay” information.  Probably same as the “verbal message” accompanying the sword Frederick the Great is said to have sent to Washington:   

"What had to have been the most elegant sword used by the General is now exhibited at the New York State Library in Albany. This sword is reputed to be the sword sent to Washington in 1780 by Frederick the Great with a verbal message: “From the oldest General in the World to the Greatest”. This was one of the five swords left to his nephews. It was chosen by William Augustine Washington, The sword was passed down through his son Colonel George Corbin Washington, then to his son Colonel Lewis William Washington, His widow, Ella, donated it to the library. Unfortunately, the sword was very badly damaged in the New York Capitol building fire in 1911. This fire also destroyed the original records of New York during the American Revolution."


Here's interesting sword information from another source:  https://www.annmarieackermann.com/how-frederick-the-greats-sword-helped-spark-the-civil-war/


Lady Gaga's "French Revolution" to Music (video)




"Character, Culture, Constitution"


Two original editions (Parson Weems and William Bahr) at the Fred Smith Mount Vernon Library! 


Link to book "Greatest of Men Washington" by Alfred W. McCann


Revolutionary War Blacksmith 5 Minute Video

La Marseillaise, French National Anthem (French and English Lyrics)


Found GWLK at Bloomingdale, FL (Tampa area) Public Library. Unfortunately, a Bloomingdale, IL library card wouldn't work. But autograph was welcomed!
NB:  Both Bloomingdales have 2010 Census populations of 22K.  Amazing!  L-R:  Bill Bahr, Danila Florianovich, Melissa Brown (Librarian).  1/27/2020.


1790, a good year, a good price!

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




bill  at  libertykey  dot   us


Our size of the Bastille

Our dimensions of the Bastille

Now available at the Shops at Mount Vernon

Copyright, W. Bahr, 2015-2020

Quality Quora Commentary


~ explanation:  Quote from which Teddy Roosevelt attribution  was adapted: "'A man who will steal for me will steal from me.' Theodore Roosevelt, dismissing on the spot one of his best cowhands who was about to claim for his boss an unmarked animal."  David G. McCullough, "Mornings on Horseback:  The Story of an Extraordinary Family, a Vanished Way of Life, and the Unique child Who Became Theodore Roosevelt." 
Also on page 146 of William Hazelgrove's "Forging a President:  How the Wild West Created Teddy Roosevelt."  Hopefully the attribution can be viewed as keeping with Roosevelt's character. 

"Lying (but not untruthful) Laptop Stand Desk" for writing future books.







In this letter, General George Washington offers Nathaniel Sackett $50 a month (more than $1,000 today) to spy for the Continental Army, plus another $500 to set up a spy network.

To Mr. Nathaniel Sackett

Letter Transcript:


The advantage of obtaining the earliest and best Intelligence of the designs of the enemy, the good character given of you by Colonel Duer added to your capacity for an undertaking of this kind have induced me to entrust the management of this business to your care till further orders on this head. 

For your care and trouble in this business I agree on behalf of the public to allow you Fifty Dollars pr. Kalendar Month and herewith give you a warrant on the Paymaster Genl.  For the sum of Five hundd. Dollars to pay those whom you may find necessary to imploy in the transaction of this business, an acct. of the disbursements of which you are to render to me. 

Given under my hand at Morris town this 4th day of Feb., 1777 

George Washington                                     Reference 


"Exitus acta probat" the meaning of George Washington's family motto


William J. Bahr
Amazon and Mount Vernon 
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"No punishment, in my opinion, is too great for the man who can 'build his greatness upon his country's ruin.'"  — George Washington
"Arbitrary power [tyranny, dictatorship] is most easily established on the ruins of liberty abused to licentiousness [lawlessness, irresponsibility, anarchy]." — George Washington


Revolutionary War and Strategy Amazon.com Book Reviews

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