Atheists can have good character after all!
[see original letter for full context]
Consider for a moment the implications of the letter excerpted below. Not only was the illustrious Father of our Nation willing to hire indentured Germans of any religion or none (thereby giving them the opportunity to become American citizens) but he also recognized that personal disposition and moral character are attributes wholly independent of one's particular religion or sect.
George Washington, in a letter dated 24 March 1784:If only our modern politicians were so enlightened!
I am informed that a Ship with Palatines is gone up to Baltimore, among whom are a number of Tradesmen. I am a good deal in want of a House Joiner and Bricklayer, (who really understand their profession) and you would do me a favor by purchasing one of each, for me.
I would not confine you to Palatines. If they are good workmen, they may be of Asia, Africa, or Europe. They may be Mahometans, Jews or Christian of any Sect, or they may be Atheists.
I would however prefer middle aged, to young men and those who have good countenances and good characters on ship board, to others who have neither of these to recommend them, altho, after all, the proof of the pudding must be in the eating.