General George Washington
"American Apostle" of Radical Christianity!

FACT! George Washington: The "MOST RADICAL" Christian;
Since Roman Emperor "Constantine the Great!"
Only slightly less than Apostle Paul!


Young George Washington:
Confessing His 'Cherry Tree Sins!'

This event Testified to by Family and Pastor;
There is not the Slightest evidence to the Contrary!
Offering $10,000 for such EVIDENCE to be presented!
Young George Washington's CHERRY TREE Story!


General George Washington:
Apostle of Christian Righteousness!'

He Commanded the his soldiers attend Sunday Meetings;
His Required a 'Time of Prayer' twice a day for Troops;
Commanded his Soldiers - including Officers - NOT TO SIN, and to have a Commitment to Christianity!
He forbad profane speech, cursing, blasphemy, petty gaming/gambling, drunkenness, adultery, etc;
He had "sinners" literally whipped with a good number of lashes for such sins!
George Washington: Prescribed 25-Lashes for Blaspheming God's Name!
George Washington: Strongly AGAINST DRINKING ALCOHOL!
George Washington: Methods of Discipline Adult Sins
George Washington on HOMOSEXUALITY;


General George Washington:
Apostle of Consistent Fervent Prayer'

His Valley Forge Prayer testified to by Army Officers,
Foot-Soldiers, Neighbors, Personal Aides, Strangers, Family Members;
George Washington Praying at Valley Forge: EXTENSIVE Evidence
Valley Forge Officers Find Washington Praying in Barn!
Isabella Potts-James Testifies Washington Prayed, Valley Forge;
Nathaniel R. Snowden: Recorded Washington's Valley Forge Prayer
Officer Muhlenberg Witnessed Washington Praying at Valley Forge;
George Washington's DIVINE BENEDICTION: His Truest Prayer!


General George Washington:
Apostle of Sovereignty and Providence;

That He wrote on the Theology of GOD'S SOVEREIGNTY;
More than any Theologian of the Reformation;
More than the Catholic Church writersin 2,000 years;
More than all who wrote Holy Scripture - COMBINED!
Washington literally declared in writing for the whole world to know, that he would have "plenty of time, To become a Preacher of Divine Providence after the War!"
George Washington Planned to be PREACHER after the WAR!
George Washington's Basic Beliefs in PROVIDENCE: BRIEF;
George Washington: Teaches on Providence of Death
George Washington Attributes MONMOUTH VICTORY to PROVIDENCE;
George Washington: Some Letters on PROVIDENCE;


General George Washington:
Baptized During The Revolutionary War;

By His Army Chaplain, Baptist Preacher John Gano,
George Washington's Baptism According to "Time Magazine" 1932;
George Washington's Baptism: 'Three Eyewitness do AFFIDAVITS: An Act of Congress, 7-16-1894, Accepts the Evidence


General George Washington:
Apostle of Biblical and Literary Genius!

He created a Religious Literary work comparative to Shakespeare:
He devised over 1,000 Scriptural Names-&-Titles for God,
Exceeding all Divine Titles EVER Created (Including Bible!)
And including all Theologians of Antiquity and the Current Age!
Since Washington did this over his lifetime, he had to have kept track of hundreds of titles previously created, in this monumental literary work!
George Washington Uses Over 1,000 NAMES-TITLES of DEITY;
George Washington used over 100 Names-&-Titles of Deity used in 100 Prayers!


General George Washington:
Apostle of Spiritual Warfare, Prayer Warrior!

George Washington prayed consistently, constantly: from pre-teens, through teens; from Early French & Indian War days through the Revolutionary War; from the US Constitutional Convention through his Presidency.
At every season of life, and every situation,
Washington prayed, and urged others to pray!
George Washington: Adult Nephew Witnesses Kneeling Daily Prayer;
What George Washington Actually Prayed for: His Own Words!
George Washington Prays for Food for Army: Fish Clog River Soon After!
George Washington Prays: Supernatural Fog Allows Escape!
George Washington: Kneeling while most others stood;


General George Washington:
Apostle of Christian Doctrine & Theology;

FACT: This multitude of Names/Titles created contain many Complex Character traits of God, making Washington a GREAT THEOLOGIAN!

FACT: Washington's Letters to Family and Friends who lost spouses and children to tragic circumstances present an amazingly grasp of theology that puts Washington ON PAR with Calvin, Wesley and Spurgeon!

George Washington: 30-Ways to DEAL with DEATH of Loved Ones;
George Washington THEOLOGIAN: Teaches on Providence of Death!

FACT: If you or any Bible college Professor out there think 1,000-plus 'Theologically Correct' Names/Titles for God is a simple task: TRY IT!

FACT: No other writer, whether Jewish Scholar, Biblical Author, Reformation or modern Scholar, has even devised ONE-TENTH as many ORIGINAL Names/Titles!

George Washington EXPLAINS
Why DIFFICULTIES Happen to Good People!
George Washington EXPLAINS
Why TRAGEDIES Happen to Good People!
AMERIPEDIA™ George Washington TWELVE MIRACLES in His Life!



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George Washington;

Creates 1,000 Names and Titles for God;

A Literary Feat Equal to the Works of Shakespeare!

George Washington created this Multitude of Titles for God, with all of them Scripturally Exacting and Theologically Correct! AMAZING!

Do You Qualify for
An Honorary "Doctor of Divinity" from Cambridge Theological Seminary?
If you believe God's Word as Stated Above:
(Click for a Free Evaluation!)

Biography of George Washington, by PARSON WEEMS, CHAP-1

Biography of George Washington, by PARSON WEEMS, CHAP-2

Biography of George Washington, by PARSON WEEMS, CHAP-12

Biography of George Washington, by PARSON WEEMS, CHAP-13

Biography of George Washington, by PARSON WEEMS, CHAP-14

Biography of George Washington, by PARSON WEEMS, CHAP-15

Biography of George Washington, by PARSON WEEMS, CHAP-16

Biography of George Washington, by PARSON WEEMS, CONCLUSION;


George Washington

Greatest Man Who Ever Lived!

Was He the Greatest Christian Outside Biblical Heroes?

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This edition of the Washington diaries has been prepared by the staff of The Papers of George Washington, an enterprise jointly sponsored by the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association of the Union and the University of Virginia. The future labors of the staff will be devoted to the vast body of letters, military records, financial accounts, and other documents that comprise one of the nation's finest historical treasures. In the introductory pages that follow, the editors present their own views of the nature of the diaries, something of their history, and a brief discussion of the present edition.

Washington as a Diarist

The diaries of George Washington are not those of a literary diarist in the conventional sense. No one holding the long-prevailing view of Washington as pragmatic and lusterless, a self-made farmer and soldier-statesman, would expect him to commit to paper the kind of personal testament that we associate with notable diarists. Even when familiarity modifies our view of the man, and we find him warmer and more intense than we knew, given to wry humor and sometimes towering rage--even then we do not find in these pages what we have come to expect of a diary.

But let us not be unfair to a man who had his own definition of a diary: "Where & How my Time is Spent." The phrase runs the whole record through. He accounts for his time because, like his lands, his time is a usable resource. It can be tallied and its usefulness appraised. Perhaps it was more than mere convenience that caused Washington to set down his earliest diary entries in interleaved copies of an almanac, for an almanac, too, is an accounting of time.

That his diaries were important to him there is no doubt. When in the spring of 1787 he journeyed to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia and discovered that he would be

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away from Mount Vernon many weeks, he wrote home for the diary he had accidentally left behind. "It will be found, I presume, on my writing table," he said. "Put it under a good strong paper cover, sealed up as a letter" (GW to George A. Washington, 27 May 1787, CSmH).

We can be unfair to Washington in another way by calling this collection of diaries uneven, mixed, or erratic. That is not his fault but ours, for it is we--his biographers, editors, and archivists--who have brought these items together since his death and given them a common label. It would surprise Washington as often as it does his readers to find between the same boards his "where and how" diaries, weather records, agricultural notations, tours of the North and South during his presidency, together with such documents as a travel journal published in 1754 under the title, The Journal of Major George Washington, Sent by the Hon. Robert Dinwiddie, Esq;... Commander in Chief of Virginia, to the Commandant of the French Forces on Ohio (Williamsburg, 1754).

Even when his preoccupation with other matters reduces Washington to a mere chronicling of dinner guests, the record is noteworthy, although at times the reader may feel he has got hold of an eighteenth-century guest book rather than a diary. What a diarist chooses to set down, and what not to bother with after a busy day, can be worthy of scrutiny: the number of "respectable ladies" who constantly turned out to pay Washington homage during his southern tour in 1791, tallied so precisely that one suspects Washington of counting heads; his passion for fruits and flowers and the resulting diary notes that very nearly constitute a synopsis of eighteenth-century horticulture; his daily horseback rides, necessary to any large-scale Virginia farmer but clearly a ritual with him; his notices of the dalliance, both planned and impromptu, of his male and female foxhounds--a vital record if canine bloodlines were to be kept pure.

The Washington of the diaries is not the Washington who penned hundreds of letters to neighbors dealing for farm produce and to foreign potentates attending to the affairs of the eighteenth-century world. He is not on guard here, for he seems unaware that any other eyes will see, or need to see, what he is writing.

"At home all day. About five oclock poor Patcy Custis Died Suddenly," runs the complete entry for 19 June 1773. Good

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enough for his purposes; it was what happened on that day. His curt entry would serve to remind him of his devotion to his ill-fated stepdaughter, dead in her teens after a life made wretched by epilepsy. The place for sorrow was in communications to friends, not in the unresponsive pages of a memorandum book, and so it was to Burwell Bassett that he wrote of his grief for the "Sweet Innocent Girl" who had entered into "a more happy, & peaceful abode than any she has met with in the afflicted Path she hitherto has trod" (20 June 1773, WRITINGS, 3:138).

Reading these diaries from beginning to end can become a tedious exercise, though rewarding. Sampling them in brief sessions can become an equally rewarding way to probe the depths, those uneven depths, of a man who has come to personify the spirit of America in his time. John C. Fitzpatrick realized this essential value of the diaries in the 1920s when he undertook to issue the first compilation, the edition which the present one is intended to supersede. Writing to a committee of the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association of the Union in 1924, he said: "Now that I have read every word of these Diaries, from the earliest to the last one, it is impossible to consider them in any other light than that of a most marvelous record. It is absolutely impossible for anyone to arrive at a true understanding or comprehension of George Washington without reading this Diary record."

The Worlds of Washington

As he rode about Mount Vernon on his daily inspection trips, Washington could turn his eyes frequently to the shipping traffic on the Potomac, his principal link with the great outside world. Vessels with such names as the Fair American, the Betsy, and the Charming Polly plied the river, some trading with the ports of Virginia and Maryland and some bound for far more distant anchorages in North America, the West Indies, or Europe. Most of the schooners, brigs, and ships that Washington watched come upriver were bound for Alexandria's docks and warehouses, and often their cargoes included goods for him: fine clothing and fabrics, bridles and saddles, books and surveying instruments, tools and nails, delicate chinaware and jewelry, fruits and spices, and great wines from France and the Madeiras. Outward bound,

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they carried the tobacco--and in later years the wheat or flour--that were sent to pay for his imports.

Now and then his commercial representatives in London, Robert Cary & Co., would err and place his shipment aboard a vessel bound for another Virginia river, such as the Rappahannock, and he must endure not only the inconvenience of further transportation but also the risk of loss. On one occasion he warned the Cary company never to ship by any vessel not bound for the Potomac, for when a recent cargo via the Rappahannock finally reached him, he found "The Porter entirely Drank out" (10 Aug. 1760, DLC:GW).

Moving along the growing network of roads that ran from New England to Georgia were more goods and the all-important packets of letters and newspapers that kept Washington in touch with an expanding nation in a restless world. Besides the English journals that came to him, he regularly read American newspapers and periodicals from Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Annapolis, and Williamsburg.

There was little isolation from the world at any time during his life. His diary for 1751--52 relates a voyage to Barbados when he was nineteen, with his dying half brother Lawrence. The next two accounts concern the early phases of the French and Indian War, the momentous struggle for control of the North American continent in which he commanded a Virginia regiment. By the 1760s, when Washington's diaries resume, young George III was on the British throne, and the American colonists were beginning to feel an ominous sense of discontent that during the 1770s grew into rebellion and placed Washington in command of a revolutionary army.

After the War of Independence, Washington never again fought on a field of battle, but military matters and political affairs of national and international import continued to engage his attention. In 1787 he journeyed to Philadelphia for the Constitutional Convention, which he chaired. During his two terms as president of the new nation there were no wars, but serious diplomatic problems arose with Great Britain, France, and Spain in 1793 and 1794. Even in retirement near the end of his life, Washington could not escape the turmoil among nations. When in 1798 relations with France deteriorated to the Point that a sea war was developing, old General Washington was placed at the head of a nominal land force that never took the field.{ page image viewer }


Washington's Extended Neighborhood

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In such a world, Washington felt happiest within a much smaller region bounded on the south by the James River and on the north by the Potomac. This was his neighborhood, somewhat extended, a world of very different responsibilities and pleasures that is best revealed in his diaries.

At the heart of this world lay Mount Vernon, the Potomac River plantation that Washington's father Augustine had established in the 1730s on an old family patent and which his half brother Lawrence had inherited and built up before his death in 1752. It was to Mount Vernon that young Colonel Washington came when, in 1758, his involvement in the French and Indian War was finished, for the plantation was now his home, Lawrence's widow having leased it to him four years earlier. It would become permanently his by right of inheritance when she died in 1761. In the meantime, Washington settled at Mount Vernon, thinking that his military career had ended forever. He was prepared for country living, a bit of politics, and plenty of riding to the hounds. The good life truly began for him in January 1759 with his marriage to Martha Dandridge Custis, a sensible young widow with a handsome dowry and two small children nicknamed Patsy and Jacky.

Washington was passionately devoted to Mount Vernon, eagerly extending its borders during the next three decades with numerous purchases of surrounding lands and striving constantly to improve its buildings, fields, and furnishings. But he did not neglect his immediate neighbors in Fairfax County nor did they disregard him. He became a vestryman of the local parish, a magistrate of the county court, a trustee of Alexandria, and one of Fairfax's two burgesses in Virginia's legislature, a position that he held from 1765 to 1775. In the course of carrying out the duties of those offices and of conducting the daily business of his plantation, he came to know well a host of local merchants, craftsmen, farmers, and planters. One of the most notable was George Mason of Gunston Hall, with whom Washington traded horticultural specimens and with whom he sometimes disagreed politically.

But Washington's closest ties, both of friendship and personal interest, were with the Fairfax family, members of the British aristocracy, whose principal American seat was at Belvoir only a few miles down the Potomac from Mount Vernon. There until 1773 lived George William Fairfax, member of the governor's

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Council and collector of customs for the south Potomac Naval District. His influence was derived from his father's cousin, Thomas Fairfax, sixth Baron Fairfax of Cameron, proprietor of all the land between the Potomac and the Rappahannock rivers from their mouths to their headwaters, the area that was known as the North Neck of Virginia in Washington's time. Lord Fairfax had the exclusive power to grant lands in the Northern Neck and the right to collect annual quitrents of two shillings per one hundred acres on lands the he granted, privileges that he retained until the Revolution.

The proprietor's home was a hunting lodge called Greenway Court, west of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Frederick County. It too was an area that Washington knew well, for as a youth he surveyed dozen's of Lord Fairfax's grants in the Shenandoah


Washington made this survey of land in Frederick County, Va., for Thomas Loftan in 1751. (Smithsonian Institution photo no. 49445)

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Valley and the valleys beyond. He himself acquired lands along Bullskin Run, a tributary of the Shenandoah River, lands which he retained until his death. During the French and Indian War he was charged for a while with the defense of this region, and for seven years before he was elected a burgess from Fairfax, the freeholders of Frederick sent him to Williamsburg as one of their representatives. In the 1770s and 1780s two of Washington's three younger brothers, Samuel and Charles, also found opportunities west of the Blue Ridge, settling on lands of their own within a few miles of Bullskin.

At the other end of the Northern Neck, south and east of Mount Vernon, lay another part of Washington's extended neighborhood, a region of concern to him mainly because of family ties. Westmoreland County, stretching for about forty miles along the Potomac, was the first home of the Washington family in the New World. There lived Washington's half brother Augustine and his favorite younger brother, Jack, and it was there, on the bank of Pope's Creek, that Washington was born. Farther up the Potomac, about halfway between Westmoreland County and Mount Vernon, was the Chotank area, part of Stafford County until 1776 and then of King George County. In that locality lived a number of Washingtons: brother Sam until 1770, and many distant cousins, some of whom Washington had known from his childhood. Several miles west of Chotank, at Fredericksburg on the south bank of the Rappahannock, was the home of Fielding Lewis, husband of Washington's sister Betty, and before 1780, the home of brother Charles. Across the river from Fredericksburg was the Ferry Farm, where Washington lived as a boy and where his mother, Mary Ball Washington, resided until old age obliged her in 1771 to retire to a house in the town, there to spend the last eighteen years of her life.

At the southern extremity of Washington's extended neighborhood was the provincial capital of Williamsburg and near it, on the York and Pamunkey rivers, were the principal lands of the Custis family and the homes of their relations, the Dandridges and the Bassetts. For Washington this was an area to which he came to fulfill his duties as a burgess, to settle accounts with merchants, and to see that the affairs of his Custis stepchildren were properly managed. But it was also the place in which he attended the theater and balls, dined with men of note, and began to move into

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the role of an American leader, which eventually took him away from his beloved neighborhood again. Indeed, the network of interconnecting regions between the Potomac and the James that made up that neighborhood helped to develop in Washington that broad feeling of kinship and responsibility for men of differing experience and outlook which enabled him to enter the larger world beyond with ease.

But seldom was his home on the Potomac far from his thoughts, and never did he fail to return there when he could, for it was at Mount Vernon that all his worlds came together. From both inside and outside his extended neighborhood came a galaxy of people from all walks of life to visit him. Some were friends and relatives who came for a holiday, to play cards, to ride to the hounds, or to shoot ducks. Others came on business, to discuss politics and land transactions, to deal in wheat, flour, fish, and other commodities, to bring their mares for breeding, to call at his mill and, in the last years, at his distillery, or sometimes just to ask for help in solving their problems.

After the Revolution he wrote his mother, who had suggested that she might wish to move to Mount Vernon, that "in truth it may be compared to a well resorted tavern, as scarcely any strangers who are going from north to south, or from south to north, do not spend a day or two at it. . . . What with the sitting up of Company; the noise and bustle of servants, and many other things you would not be able to enjoy that calmness and serenity of mind, which... you ought now to prefer" (15 Feb. 1787, DLC:GW).

With this endless flow of friends, neighbors, and the idly curious coming to his home, Washington must have thought it an unusual day indeed when on 30 June 1785, at a time when he truly believed that he was done with service to his country, he wrote in his diary that he "dined with only Mrs. Washington which I believe is the first instance of it since my retirement from public life."

Washington and the New Agriculture

No theme appears more frequently in the writings of Washington than his love for the land--more precisely, his own land. From the ordered beauty of the mansion house grounds to the muddiest

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fields on Bullskin plantation in the Shenandoah Valley, his estate and those who inhabited it were his constant concern. The diaries are a monument to that concern.

In his letters he referred often, as an expression of this devotion and its resulting contentment, to an Old Testament passage. After the Revolution, when he had returned to Mount Vernon, he wrote the marquis de Lafayette 1 Feb. 1784: "At length my Dear Marquis I am become a private citizen on the banks of the Potomac, & under the shadow of my own Vine & my own Fig-tree" (DLC:GW). On the occasion of another joyous homecoming after his two terms as president, the phrase came back to him. He wrote to Oliver Wolcott, Jr., 15 May 1797, that if he ever were to see distant friends again, "it must be under my own Vine and Fig tree as I do not think it probable that I shall go beyond the radius of 20 miles from them" (DLC:GW).1

Maintaining the mansion house and its grounds, which required constant attention from carpenters and gardeners, was in part a diversion; farming, on the other hand, was a profession in which he took immense pride. "I shall begrudge no reasonable expence that will contribute to the improvement & neatness of my Farms," he wrote manager William Pearce on 6 Oct. 1793, "for nothing pleases me better than to see them in good order, and every thing trim, handsome, & thriving about them; nor nothing hurts me more than to find them otherwise" (NBLiHi).

The surviving diaries which deal with agriculture begin in 1760, a year sometimes used to denote the beginning of a new agriculture in England. It was also the year of the ascension of George III, a monarch so fond of farming that he maintained experimental plots at Windsor and submitted articles for publication under the name of his farm overseer. The influence of English agriculture on Washington and others in this country--Jefferson included--was indeed great.

Before the agricultural revolution in England, farmers there

1 "And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree," 1 Kings 4:25. For similar passages, see 2 Kings 18:31, and Micah 4:4. The allusion occurs at least eleven times in GW's letters of 1796 and 1797, written to such old comrades as Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, Rufus King, Charles Vaughan, and Lafayette. To the earl of Buchan he wrote 4 July 1797: "Be these things however as they may, as my glass is nearly run, I shall endeavour in the shade of my Vine & Fig tree to view things in the 'Calm light of mild Philosophy'" (DLC:GW).

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Jethro Tull's Horse-Hoeing Husbandry, London, 1733, influenced Washington's early attempts at scientific farming. (Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscript Library, Yale University)

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had relied upon a three-year crop rotation: winter grain, a spring crop, and a year of fallow. The revolution brought forage crops, roots, and "artificial," or nonnative, grasses, an entire new system of cultivation pioneered by Jethro Tull. Tull mistakenly believed that plants were fed by tiny particles of soil and that the secret of good farming was to keep the soil well pulverized so the roots might take up the particles. To accomplish this he devised "horse-hoeing," or deep plowing, with crops drilled in rows so that the cultivating implements could pass between them. Although his theory about soil particles was wrong, his cultivating practices marked the beginning of mechanization. But the science of agriculture was changing rapidly. In 1760 Washington was a practitioner of Tull's horse-hoeing husbandry. At his death in 1799 he was devoted to the more sophisticated experiments and writings of Arthur Young and practiced a seven-year rotation.

The period extending from his return after the Revolution until his death was a time of intensive scientific agriculture for Washington. He was faced with the prospect of rebuilding his very large farms after the years of neglect they had suffered while he was the commanding general. He also faced the realization, with many of his fellow Virginians, that soil exhaustion and the evils of a one-crop agriculture were, together with slavery, edging them toward disaster. A general agricultural depression in the United States added to the problem. Washington wrote to George William Fairfax 10 Nov. 1785 that he never rode to his plantations "without seeing something which makes me regret having [continued] so long in the ruinous mode of farming which we are in" (DLC:GW).

At this point, Arthur Young (1741--1820) came into Washington's life. The English agriculturist had read a letter which Washington had written extolling the virtues of manure.2 Young then began a correspondence which was to last for many years, saying he thought it possible that Washington was as good a farmer as he was a general. Sending the first four volumes of his Annals of Agriculture (1784--1808), Young also offered to obtain grain seeds, farm implements, and other items for Washington.

2 GW had asked George William Fairfax 30 June 1785 to help him find a farm manager in England who knew how to plow, sow, mow, hedge, ditch "& above all, Midas like, one who can convert every thing he touches into manure, as the first transmutation towards Gold" (DLC:GW).

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On 6 Aug. 1786 Washington sent him a grateful response. "Agriculture has never been amongst the most favorite amusements of my life, though I never possessed much skill in art, and nine years' total inattention to it, has added nothing to a knowledge which is best understood from practice; but with the means you have been so obliging as to furnish me, I shall return to it (though rather late in the day) with hope & confidence" (PPRF). Washington ask Young to sent him two plows with extra shares and coulters and the best varieties of cabbage, turnip, sainfoin, winter vetch, and ryegrass seeds, as well as any other grasses which might seem valuable.

One of Washington's great preoccupations, during his whole


A drag harrow, sketched by Washington from a contemporary work on agriculture. (Library of Congress)

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career in agriculture, was finding the right crops for the soil, climate, and practical needs of his Mount Vernon establishment. His determination to throw off the bondage of single-crop farming seemed at times almost too dogged. The number of field crops he raised, attempted to raise, or at least experimented with on a small scale is well above sixty. In a set of "Notes & Observations" he kept for 1785--86 (DLC:GW) he mentions planting barley, clover, corn, carrots, cabbage, flax, millet, oats, orchard grass, peas, potatoes, pumpkins, rye, spelt, turnips, timothy, and wheat.

His experience with tobacco typifies the change in his thinking. Early in the diaries it is his all-important cash crop--the shipment he sends to England every year to exchange for goods he cannot obtain in America. When he drastically reduced his tobacco production he became, in the terminology of the day, no longer a planter but a farmer. One English observer wrote that Washington had no land left which would bring in a good crop of tobacco without appropriating woodland badly needed as a source of firewood for his family and slaves. Also, it required more manure to raise tobacco than his farms could produce (PARKINSON, 2:423--24) By 1766 he was saying that he raised no tobacco at all except at his dower plantations on the York River, and in 1768 he repeated this assertion. He said he raised no tobacco at all on the Potomac.

He could never give up tobacco entirely, however; it was still being raised in 1790 on the Mount Vernon farms. George Augustine Washington's farm report for 20 Aug. reveals that for the preceding week twenty man-days were spent at Muddy Hole in weeding, topping, and suckering tobacco, and similar work was being done at Dogue Run, River Farm, and Union Farm.

Washington raised alfalfa from 1760 to 1795, then gave it up in favor of chicory. He tried the horsebean, as did Jefferson, but it could not thrive in the hot Virginia summers. He tried buckwheat with enthusiasm, both as a feed for livestock and as a green manure, and finally concluded that it depleted as much as it enriched the soil. He raised burnet, sainfoin, ryegrass, hop clover, tick trefoil, guinea grass, hemp, Jerusalem artichoke, Siberian melilot, field peas, and potatoes. He kept on with flax even after Arthur Young had chided him for wasting his time and lands on it; it was essential for his spinning and weaving operations. He even hoped to give up most of his corn crop late in life and buy

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what he needed, because the hard substratum of clay on his farms made it difficult to till the crop properly without serious erosion. He needed corn because he believed that his slaves did not thrive as well on wheat as on cornmeal, and because he was fond of it himself. "General Washington had so habituated himself to eating the Indian corn bread, that I know some instances of tavern-keepers having to send several miles for it, for his breakfast" (PARKINSON, 2:632).

Experimentation with all these many crops was one of Washington's chief delights as a farmer. He tried drill culture instead of broadcasting the seed; he varied the distance between rows; he planted potatoes and peas between the corn rows. He tried different rates of seeding, carefully noting them in his diaries and other memoranda. In Sept. 1764 he sowed oats on the Dogue Run farm to see if it could endure the winter as his wheat did. Apparently the crop failed. Learning of his interest in experimental agriculture, admirers at home and abroad were eager to assist him. If tabulated, Washington's experiments in agronomy might not appear too different from those of agronomists in the twentieth century.

His experiments with manures extended to animal dung, marl, green crops plowed under, and in at least one instance mud from the Potomac River bottom. In Oct. 1785 he borrowed a scow from Col. George Gilpin to use in collecting mud "to try the efficacy of it as a manure" (GW to Gilpin, 29 Oct. 1785, ViMtV).

The growing shortage of timber with which to make rail fences caused him to turn to live hedges for fencing. He tried honey locust, Lombardy poplar, cedar, and some of the hundreds of species of thorned trees and shrubs. His plan was to start such fences with the fast-growing willows and poplars (which he then thought would turn back any farm animal but a hog), while the slower cedars and locusts were coming up to thicken the hedge. He told manager William Pearce 22 Nov. 1795 that nothing concerning his farms--even the crops--made him so solicitous as his desire to get all his fields enclosed with hedge fences. And the following year, when his crop of honey locust died, he lamented to Pearce that "it would seem I think as if I never should get forward in my plan of hedging" (22 May 1796, NBLiHi). By then he had become resigned to the fact that no live hedge would turn back a hog, but that any tree which would tolerate close planting

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Cultivating tools from an eighteenth-century work, La Nouvelle Maison rustique, Paris, 1798. (Mount Vernon Ladies' Association of the Union)could be used to fence in other livestock. Another decade was to pass before Lewis and Clark would send back to Jefferson specimens of the Osage orange, Maclura pomifera, from the West--one of the most successful of all hedge plants in restraining livestock. Except hogs, of course.

Improved cropping calls for improved machinery, as Washington knew, and he shared Jefferson's interest in the mechanical aspects of agriculture. The two men visited the farm of Samuel Powel, near Philadelphia, in 1791 to see the operation of a new threshing machine. It was a primitive device harvesting only six bushels an hour "fit for the miller," but Powel felt that a larger unit might produce 100 to 130 bushels a day (ANNALS, 17 [ 1792 ], 206--8). Five years later Jefferson built a similar thresher, and Washington was enthusiastic about it. He wrote Jefferson 6 July 1796: "If you can bring a moveable threshing Machine, constructed upon simple principles to perfection, it will be among the most valuable institutions in this Country" (DLC: Jefferson

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Papers). When the farms of the Mount Vernon estate were inventoried in 1800, the listing for the River Farm included one threshing machine, probably a stationary one (ViMtV).3

Like most farmers through the ages, Washington was most fascinated by the plow and its potential for advancing agriculture. He ordered a Rotheram patent plow from England 6 Mar. 1765, instructing the firm of Crosbies & Trafford that it ought to be made extremely light, "as our Lands are not so stiff as yours nor our Horses so strong" (DLC:GW). The Rotheram, dating from 1730, was a swing plow of compact design, lighter of frame and with a better moldboard than earlier designs. Made in Rotheram, Yorkshire, it had a coulter and plowshare of iron and a breast covered with iron plate. Farmers in England and Scotland liked its light draft and low cost of manufacture.

Years later, at Washington's request, Arthur Young sent two plows with extra shares and coulters, capable of a nine-inch furrow from four to eight inches deep--depending upon the friability of the soil. Young thought it should be drawn by two stout oxen or horses (Young to GW, 1 Feb. 1787, DLC:GW). By 1788 Washington had found another model he liked so well that he told Thomas Snowden 3 Oct., "I mean to get into the use of them generally" (DLC:GW). In the end, however, it was the old reliable Rotheram which pleased him most. He told Benjamin Latrobe in 1796 that he preferred it over all other plows but had found replacement parts impossible to get (LATROBE, 60--61).

Livestock was another vital interest of Washington's, though it is not as apparent--either in the diaries or the letters--as his preoccupation with crops. He was fully aware of the breeding required to prosper with livestock and equally aware of the shortcomings of American farmers in that regard. "The fact is," he wrote Arthur Young 18 June 1792, "we have, in a manner, everything to learn that respects neat & profitable husbandry" (DLC: GW). And to Sir John Sinclair he said 20 Oct. 1792, "we have been so little in the habit of attending either to the breed or improvement of our Stock" (British Museum: Add. Ms. 5757).

3 Other equipment at River Farm was less sophisticated: 8 plows, 10 harrows, 3 ox carts, a horse cart, 20 weeding hoes, 8 axes, 2 mortising axes, 6 mattocks, 2 spades, 3 shovels, 8 rakes with iron teeth, 3 mauling wedges, a pair of steelyards, and a flax rake. Among the more complicated implements at Dogue Run were Dutch fans, double moldboard plows, cultivators, wheat and corn drills, and a machine for gathering clover seed (ViMtV).

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His own self-confessed failures in husbandry were due more to his long absences from home than to a lack of good intentions; his letters to his farm managers are filled with exhortations about the care, culling, and breeding of his stock--especially sheep and swine. "At Shearing time . . . let there be a thorough culling out, of all the old, and indifferent sheep from the flocks, that they may be disposed of, & thereby save me the mortification of hearing every week of their death!" he wrote William Pearce 6 April 1794 (NBLiHi).

Washington customarily culled his flock of unthrifty lambs, wethers, and ewes and took care to withhold from market the ram lambs with the best conformation and most wool. He wrote Sir John Sinclair 15 Mar. 1793 that he normally raised from 600 to 1,000 head of sheep and that if he could always be at home to attend to their management he could produce five pounds of wool from each animal and from eighteen to twenty-two pounds of mutton per quarter. He attributed this success in part to the choice of good rams from English stock which he occasionally could obtain, "notwithstanding your prohibitary Laws, or customs" (DLC:GW). The best wool he produced was, he thought, equal to the finest Kentish wool.

Cattle were raised both to serve as oxen and to provide meat. At a time when most Virginians kept cattle in open pens the year around, Washington housed his in sheds from November until May, instructing his managers that they were to be well fed and carefully watered, the ice being regularly broken in cold weather to give them access to clean water. When 300 head of cattle brought him only 30 calves, he decided that "old and debilitated bulls" must be to blame. Despite the rarity of imported stock, some did find its way to America. Washington told manager James Anderson 8 Jan. 1797 to see if he could buy a bull from Henry Gough of Baltimore, even if the price was high. "I should not stand so much upon the price, provided the breed is to be depended upon" (DLC:GW).

Of milk and butter production we learn little from his papers, although he expressed to Pearce 2 Nov. 1794 a desire to get into the dairy business--thinking it might be profitable because of his proximity to Alexandria, Georgetown, and the Federal City (NBLiHi). He sometimes supplemented his own butter production by purchases.

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Washington's own copy of Thomas Hale's Compleat Body of Husbandry, London, 1758. (Boston Athenaeum)

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His swine ran loose in fenced woodlands until it was time to select the best for fattening in pens. They rooted and shoved their way through his hedges and eluded any attempt to count them. In listing his livestock on the various farms he could only say, in effect, "plus an uncertain number of hogs." He once directed his manager to put a dozen young shoats in a sty and keep an exact account of the cost of raising them for a year. Later he brought up the possibility of raising hogs in pens from birth, at least experimentally. But, as most of his swine must always run at large, he insisted that none be brought from the woodlands to be fattened until they reached sufficient size and age. "I had rather have a little good, than much bad, Porke," he told Anthony Whitting 4 Nov. 1792 (DLC:GW).

The records speak little about poultry. The weekly reports from Washington's manager faithfully record the number of chickens, ducks, and geese on each farm, but the flocks were not large. At a time when wildfowl was abundant, no extensive work with domestic fowls was necessary.

A few days before his death in Dec. 1799, Washington was hard at work on a plan for his future farming operations. He drew up a scheme for each of the farms at Mount Vernon, setting forth in minute detail such matters as crop rotation, the handling of pasture lands and meadows, and use of manures (including the systematic penning of cattle and sheep on regularly shifted temporary enclosures to fertilize the land). His instructions for the River Farm, written 10 Dec. 1799, closed with a characteristic statement: "There is one thing however I cannot forbear to add, and in strong terms; it is, that whenever I order a thing to be done, it must be done; or a reason given at the time, or as soon as the impracticability is discovered, why it cannot; which will produce a countermand, or change." Any other course of action was disagreeable to him, he said, "having been accustomed all my life to more regularity, and punctuality, and know that nothing but system and method is required to accomplish all reasonable requests" (DLC:GW).

Four days later he was dead, and system and method began to disappear from the farms of Mount Vernon. It would be more than fifty years before the mansion house, eventually bereft of most outlying farmland, was restored to beauty and order. Meanwhile, time and neglect diminished much of what Washington had longed to improve and preserve.

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In 1834 a writer from Fairfax County, signing himself "F," wrote a letter to the editor of the Farmers' Register. He had recently ridden across the farms. "Any, curious to mark the operation of time upon human affairs, would find much for contemplation by riding through the extensive domains of the late General Washington. A more widespread and perfect agricultural ruin could not be imagined; yet the monuments of the great mind that once ruled, are seen throughout. The ruins of capacious barns, and long extended hedges, seem proudly to boast that their master looked to the future" (1:552).

The Weather Watch

Washington's preoccupation with the weather was clearly an extension of his needs and interests as a farmer. He was not a scientific observer, as was Jefferson, and his weather records are


This recording thermometer now at Mount Vernon is similar to those used by Washington.

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irregular in scope and content. In editing the diaries for the 1925 edition, Fitzpatrick abandoned the weather record midway in his first volume except when it could not be sorted from other matters recorded, calling the weather entries "unessential" (DIARIES 1:288n). Our view is that because we cannot and should not attempt to predict the use which readers will be making of the diaries, the weather material should remain. Records for the study of eighteenth-century meteorology are not so plentiful that Washington's may be ignored.

It is difficult to separate him from the weather because so much Washington lore is weather-connected. Seasick days during a stormy voyage to Barbados; the cruel winters at Valley Forge and Morristown; the dust and mud of carriage roads during a lifetime of travel; and, at least in the minds of his family and friends, the probability that an ill-advised horseback ride in a December storm contributed to his death.

His instruments for recording the weather were few, but one in particular is notable. His prized weather vane has survived the changing winds and still serves atop the cupola at Mount Vernon. The vane is in the shape of a dove of peace, the copper body bound with iron strips and the bill with olive branch fashioned from a piece of iron. The bird is forty inches long, and the wing from tip to tip measures thirty-five inches. The vane was made in Philadelphia, by Joseph Rakestraw, in July or Aug. 1787, and was sent immediately to Mount Vernon. Washington wrote his nephew George Augustine Washington, 12 Aug. 1787, that the bill of the dove was to be painted black and the olive branch green. This color scheme is no longer maintained today, the vane having been covered with gold leaf to deter corrosion of the copper body.

Washington made no attempt to measure barometric pressure (though he mentions "falling weather" now and then), and his references to humidity are subjective assessments, not readings from an instrument. Aside from the weather vane, his only known weather instrument was the thermometer. Writing to farm manager William Pearce, from Philadelphia 22 Dec. 1793, he said, "And as it is not only satisfactory, but may be of real utility to know the state of the weather as to heat & cold, but drought or moisture, prefix, as usual, at the head of every weeks report a meteorological account of these. The Thermomiter which is at Mount Vernon will enable you to do the first" (NBLiHi).

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Two barometer-thermometers now at Mount Vernon, one in Washington's study and the other in the central hall of the mansion, are connected with Washington by family tradition only. A third instrument is probably one mentioned in an inventory of his effects not long after his death. While the inventory accords it a place in the Washingtons' bedroom, where it hangs today in restored form, it may have been located originally in the east hall outside the study. It is a registering thermometer designed to record high and low temperatures for the day, and bears the name of Joseph Gatty, a New York instrument maker.

One of Washington's comments about temperature leads to the speculation that at least some of his readings were made inside the mansion house. "Thermometer at 52 in the Morning & 59 at Noon," he writes in the diary on 7 Dec. 1785, "but removing it afterwards out of the room where the fire was, into the East Entry leading in to my Study, this circumstance with the encrease of the cold fell the Mercury to 42." Meteorologists might charge that Washington was ill advised if not actually foolish for recording indoor readings, and certainly such readings would be of little use today in studying eighteenth-century weather. And ill advised he may have been, by Dr. James Jurin, secretary of the Royal Society of London. Publishing a set of recommendations for keeping a meteorological register, Jurin advocated placing the thermometer "in a room which faces the north, where there is very seldom if ever any fire in the fireplace" (Royal Society, Philosophical Transactions, 32 [1723], 425).

In Europe, Jurin's fellow scientists objected to this recommendation, but in English-speaking countries the practice continued through the end of the century. New York and Philadelphia scientists carried on a debate about the practice of thermometer location, and at least one Philadelphia record carries one column for indoor and another for outdoor readings. Jefferson, however, was not a disciple of Jurin. When he discovered that his thermometer in the northeast portico was being affected by an unknown source of heat, perhaps a mound of earth, he changed its location and rejected eighteen months of readings in his weather record (weather diary, MHi; transcript, ViU). For a brief discussion of early views on the correct location of the thermometer, see MIDDLETON (1), 208--13.

Washington's temperature records begin Jan. 1785. It may never be possible to determine which readings were made indoors

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Dove of peace weathervane atop the cupola at Mount Vernonand which outdoors, although there are hints in the records themselves. In 1785, during a period when he was recording three readings daily--morning, noon, and sunset--there is very little variation in the day's temperature from reading to reading. For example, on 19 Jan. he records a reading of 48° Fahrenheit in the morning, 48° at noon, and 48° at sunset. On occasion there seems to be a discrepancy between his temperatures and what he says the weather is doing. He wrote on 26 May that the weather was warm until about 5:00 P. M. when clouds and high wind brought about a marked change in the temperature of the air. Yet his three readings for the day are 65°, 68°, and 67°.

Some of his extremely cold readings may indicate that the thermometer was outdoors. He wrote on 5 Feb. 1788 of weather so cold that the mercury did not rise out of the bulb of the thermometer all day. But he was writing about one of the coldest days of the century, when near Philadelphia the temperature registered--17° F.

If he was not scientifically accurate, he was at least persistent. See his entry for 30 April 1785 when, unable to record the weather personally because of a trip to Richmond, he had put Mrs. Washington in charge of the thermometer. "Mercury (by Mrs. W's acct.) in the Morning at 68--at Noon 69 and at Night 62." Even on great occasions in his life, the weather was on his mind. On 9 Mar. 1797 he left Philadelphia for the last time, after a lifetime of public service in which he longed always to return

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to Mount Vernon. "Wind changed to No. Wt. blew very hard & turned very cold," he wrote in his diary. "Mer. at 28. Left Phila. on my return to Mt. Vernon--dined at Chester & lodged at Wilmington."

History of the Diary Manuscripts

Except for special occasions, such as his mission to the French commandant and his voyage to Barbados, Washington apparently kept no daily record until 1760. Even then, his dairy-keeping was erratic until 1768, when he settled down to a program that he was to continue faithfully until he became commander in chief in 1775.

Washington kept no diary during most of the Revolution. The rigor of his activities would have made it difficult to do so, and the full record of the period which accumulated in his official letterbooks and general orders rendered the custom less necessary. He tried to resume his old habit in 1781, but it was not until he had resigned his command and returned home that he became a confirmed diarist again.

It seems likely that diaries were kept for the presidential years 1789--97, and the fact that so few have survived is particularly vexing to historians. "The Journal of the Proceedings of the President (1793--97)," a daily account of Washington's official activities and correspondence, written in the first person but kept by his secretaries, will be published later. An entry for 16 April 1789, recounting his departure from Mount Vernon to assume office, appears only in SPARKS, 1:441--42. The entry for 23 April 1789, remarking on the enthusiasm with which the public received him, is from IRVING, 4:511. So at least we know that Jared Sparks and Washington Irving had access to material indicating that Washington began his presidency with a determination to continue the record. Diaries are extant for the period covering his tours of the northern and southern states and a brief one kept during the Whisky Rebellion of 1794. Apart from an unrewarding record for 1795, all else is lost for the presidential years.

The earliest diaries were kept in notebooks of various sizes and shapes, but when Washington began in earnest to make daily entries he chose to make them in interleaved copies of the Virginia

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Almanack, a Williamsburg publication. By the end of the Revolution he had grown accustomed to the blank memorandum books used in the army, and he adopted a similar notebook for his civilian record. By 1795 he had gone back to his interleaved almanacs.

As Fitzpatrick observes, ruled paper was not available to Washington, and he obtained regularly spaced lines by using a ruled guide-sheet beneath his writing paper. "This practice gives us evidence of his failing vision, as the diaries, after the Presidency, show frequent examples of his pen running off the outer edge of the small diary page, and whole words, written on the ruled guide-sheet beneath, escaped notice of not being on the diary page itself" (DIARIES, 1:X).

Upon Washington's death in 1799, most of his papers still in his hands became the property of his nephew Bushrod Washington, an associate justice of the U. S. Supreme Court. We shall have more to say about the fate of these invaluable documents in the Introduction to Volume I of The Papers of George Washington.

Destruction and dispersal of the papers began very early when Mrs. Washington reportedly burned all the correspondence she had exchanged with Washington during his lifetime--overlooking only two letters, we believe. There followed long years of careless handling by Bushrod, biographer John Marshall, and editor Jared Sparks. Indeed, what is most important in the story of Washington's papers is not such natural processes as fire, flood, mildew, and the tendency of paper to fall into dust. Rather, there has been an overabundance of stewardship by misguided caretakers, persons who thought they knew what was important and what was trivial, what should be saved and what given away to friends and autograph collectors.

The editor who laments the disappearance of so many Washington diaries can only sink into despondency upon learning that Bushrod gave many away. To diplomat Christopher Hughes, in 1825, he gave the 1797 diary and a sheaf of Washington's notes on agriculture; Hughes dispersed these among his friends in the United States and Europe. Two years later, Bushrod gave the diaries for 1795 and 1798 to Margaret and Robert Adams, of Philadelphia. Then he presented the 1767 diary to Dr. James W. Wallace, of Warrenton. These and certain other diaries once in

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Editor Jared Sparks gave away this page from a Washington diary in 1832. (Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Dreer Collection)

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private hands have been preserved; others apparently have not.

Jared Sparks's turn to mishandle the papers came in 1827, when he persuaded Bushrod to let him take large quantities to Boston, where he was to prepare his twelve-volume edition, The Writings of George Washington (Boston, 1837). Sparks decided that carefully excising a Washington signature from a document, and sending it to a friend, did not really damage the manuscript as a piece of history; that a page torn from a Washington diary, or an entire Washington letter, could safely be given away if he, Sparks, judged it to be of no historical value. It was Sparks who cut Washington's draft of his first inaugural address into small pieces and so thoroughly disseminated this document of more than sixty pages that the efforts of several collectors have failed to reassemble more than a third of it. Even after he had supposedly returned all the papers to the Washington family, Sparks retained a supply to distribute. He was still mailing out snippets in 1861.

The pillage stopped in 1834 when the Washington family sold the basic collection to the U. S. government. This corpus, together with a later, smaller sale, forms the basis of the principal Washington archive at the Library of Congress. Other acquisitions have been made throughout the years.

In the following list, the present location of all known diaries and diary fragments is shown. The Regents' Numbers are numbers assigned by Fitzpatrick in the 1920s and used since as a cataloguing device. The diaries without Regents' Numbers were not published by Fitzpatrick, nor were several to which he assigned numbers but could not locate. His number 54, which he believed to have been kept but did not locate, is partially represented by the next diary in the series.

Previous Editions

During most of the nineteenth century, publication of Washington diaries was sporadic and limited. Sparks used extracts from certain diaries in an appendix to his second volume of Writings, edited as to grammar and spelling in the usual Sparks manner. Benson J. Lossing edited and published two small editions at

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mid-century, Diary of Washington from the First Day of October, 1789, to the Tenth Day of March, 1790 (New York, 1858), and The Diary of George Washington from 1789 to 1791 (New York, 1860). Another edition of the latter, published in Richmond in 1861, included Washington's 1753--54 journal of his mission to the French.

A quarter century after Lossing's editions, two men found that each had been preparing more extensive collections of the diaries, unknown to one another. Their work marked the beginning of a series of events that would culminate in the publication of the first comprehensive edition in 1925.

Dr. Joseph Meredith Toner (1825--1896), a physician, writer, and collector, began the practice of medicine in Washington, D. C., in 1855 and later became president of the American Medical Association. His practice was nearly overshadowed by two hobbies, the collecting of books and ephemera in the field of medicine and the study of George Washington. By 1888 he had employed a copyist to begin transcribing Washington's diaries (at seven cents per hundred words) and had begun to approach publishers. A rejection letter of 31 May 1888 from Houghton Mifflin Co. explains that a particular Washington diary probably would not be suitable for publication because it was available in other forms (DLC: Toner Collection). But Toner did achieve publication of a pamphlet entitled George Washington's Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior (Washington, D. C., 1888).

A. C. McClurg & Co. rejected a diary manuscript in a letter of 15 Feb. 1889, explaining that it would not be a profitable venture (DLC: Toner Collection); but the doctor's determination to go ahead was becoming known. At this point his work came to the attention of Worthington Chauncey Ford (1858--1941), an archivist and a historical editor who was preparing the first multi-volume edition of Washington's papers in more than half a century. Apprehensive that he and Toner were duplicating work, he asked for an appointment in a letter of 23 Jan. 1889, seeking a consultation for their "mutual advantage" (DLC: Toner Collection).

If the two men did confer at this time, Ford must have explained that he already had in press the first volume of his Writings of George Washington (New York, 1889--93) and that the first two volumes would contain the diaries of 1747/48, 1753--54,

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and 1754 with extracts from later diaries through 1774. The entire work would contain fourteen volumes.

Toner was determined to proceed despite this competition from an industrious man more than thirty years younger than he. On 9 June 1890 the publishing house of Joel Munsell's Sons, in Albany, N.Y., accepted a manuscript from Toner, offering him terms which required him to advance $200 for publication costs. By 23 June the publisher was planning to issue an entire set of diaries in volumes of about 500 pages each. And by 3 Dec. Toner was receiving galley proof of the 1747/48 journal (DLC: Toner Collection).

The Munsell firm published three works for Toner, the diaries of 1747/48, 1753--54, and 1754, the first two issued in 1892 and the third the following year. Even before these books appeared in print, however, it had become apparent to Munsell's that the venture was unprofitable. Toner began to solicit other publishers, writing 27 May 1891 to C. L. Webster & Co., of New York, offering about 3,000 pages of foolscap transcriptions with footnotes. The file contains a similar letter, undated, to Harper & Brothers, of New York (DLC: Toner Collection, letters sent, 1849--96). No replies have survived. Except for an annotated abstract of the 1774 diary, covering Washington's attendance at the First Continental Congress, which appeared in the Annual Report for 1892 of the American Historical Association, Toner published no more of the diaries upon which he and his copyist, Mary Stevens Beall, had labored for so many years.

There remains in the Library of Congress, however, the complete and carefully made transcript, valuable now because it was written at a time when the manuscripts were in a somewhat more readable condition. Toner's copious notes are useful mainly as an incentive to further research, for he gave no sources for the thousands of annotations that he made.

Diary publication during the ensuing three decades was sporadic. Archer B. Hulbert produced Washington and the West: Being George Washington's Diary of September, 1784 (New York, 1905). In the same year, Worthington C. Ford returned to the scene with extracts from the diaries of 1785 and 1786 in Publications of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts. That society was to issue his remaining work on the 1786 diary in its publications of 1915 and 1917.

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The Regent and Vice-Regents of the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association of the Union began to move toward a comprehensive edition in 1914, unaware that shortages and other pressures of World War I would soon bring disappointing delays. Some of the impetus for the Regents' campaign for publication came from Charles Sprague Sargent (1841--1927), director of the Arnold Arboretum at Harvard University. As counsel to the Association since 1901 on horticultural matters, he began in 1914 to make annual visits to Mount Vernon. Because the diaries are so rich in horticultural lore, he studied them thoroughly. Apparently as a result of his first visit to the mansion house and grounds, he suggested to Regent Harriet Clayton Comegys that her Association ought to sponsor a complete edition. The following discussion of ensuing events is based upon correspondence and reports in the Regents' files at Mount Vernon.

A diary committee was formed in 1915, consisting of ViceRegents Harriet L. Huntress of New Hampshire and Alice M. Longfellow of Massachusetts. By the end of the year they were seeking an editor. The Regent had suggested Owen Wister, "who writes so well about Washington and understands him so well." Others considered included Clarence H. Brigham, librarian of the American Antiquarian Society, and Mark Howe, editor of the Harvard Alumni Bulletin.

There was an obvious choice, of course, and the committee soon got around to him. Worthington C. Ford was invited to assume the task and at first declined, suggesting instead Professors Max Farrand of Yale, Sidney Fiske Kimball of Smith College, or William MacDonald of Brown University. But when the diary committee submitted its annual report for 1916, it declared that Ford himself had at last agreed to edit the diaries. Having served for several years as chief of the manuscripts division at the Library of Congress, Ford was now in his seventh year as editor of publications for the Massachusetts Historical Society. (For an excellent memoir of Ford's vast career as an editor and historian, SEE BUTTERFIELD [2].)

Printer's copy for the text of the diaries was nearly ready in March 1917, Ford told Miss Huntress. He said the annotation was "well in hand." In November he again reported the work going well but voiced a complaint familiar to anyone who has attempted to edit the diaries: the myriad names of persons to be

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identified. "To name generation after generation the same is an evil habit," he wrote.

By now the United States was at war with Germany, and normal routines were interrupted. Ford, however, reported in April 1918 that he was still forging ahead and thought he would be ready for the printer "on the return of peace." Peace came, but new trials developed. On 5 May 1919 he wrote Miss Huntress, "Judging from the current prices of printing and the situation of the book market, which is entirely unsatisfactory, I should recommend the postponement of the publication for another year." Besides, he was planning a trip to England and would not be available to read galleys. What he did not say was that his optimism about the completion of his editorial chores was utterly unjustified. He was not nearly ready for the printer.

By May 1921 the diary committee was reporting to the council of the Association that Ford's work was nearing completion but that a printers' strike as well as high production costs would delay publication. In Feb. 1923 Ford seemed to realize that he was never going to finish his work. He wrote the diary committee, the chairman of which was then Annie B. Jennings of Connecticut, that he wanted to be relieved of his assignment because of illness.

When John C. Fitzpatrick (1876--1941) entered the scene, he was on the staff of the manuscripts division of the Library of Congress. He had been a journalist until joining the library staff soon after the appointment in 1897 of his uncle-in-law, John Russell Young, as librarian of Congress. Since then he had become a respected curator, responsible for a number of calendars and guides issued by the library. Two of these dealt with Washington: calendars of his correspondence with the Continental Congress (1906) and with his officers of the Continental Army (1915). Fitzpatrick also had produced a facsimile edition of Washington's expense account while commander in chief (Boston, 1917) and was a frequent contributor of historical articles to the Daughters of the American Revolution Magazine.

Fitzpatrick's work was known to Fairfax Harrison (1869--1938), a Virginia railroad magnate, writer, and patron of many historical projects. Harrison had begun a movement to publish the Washington diaries privately, edited by Fitzpatrick, when he learned that the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association of the Union

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had revived its hope of sponsoring an "official" edition. The plan for a privately sponsored edition was dropped, and on 22 May 1923 Fitzpatrick was told by Eleanor Tyrell, secretary of the Regent, that he had been chosen to edit the Regents' own edition.

As his later thirty-nine volumes of the Writings of George Washington would attest, Fitzpatrick was a prodigious worker. Because of his energy and perhaps some previous work on the diaries for Harrison, and aided by materials from Toner and Ford, he was able to advise the council 20 June 1924 that he had completed his editorial work on the manuscript. All that remained was to find a publisher (Houghton Mifflin was to become the majority choice, but the presses of Harvard and Yale were still under discussion) and to settle on the costs of production and distribution.

The four-volume edition, The Diaries of George Washington, 1748--1799, came off the press in Oct. 1925. Houghton Mifflin had agreed on a mutual sharing of the costs, the Association to pay for composition and plates, the publisher to assume the expense of printing, paper, binding, and advertising. There were three printings in the fall of 1925. The publisher reported sales to 1 April 1926 of 3,096 copies. From their royalties, the Ladies paid Fitzpatrick $1,500 for his editorial work and an additional $350 for preparing the index.

The Present Edition

Although in a generic sense the diaries in this edition are part of Washington's "papers," they are published separately from the forthcoming series, The Papers of George Washington. This decision seems fitting because the diaries span Washington's entire career in relatively few volumes and are thus a complete work in themselves. There are lamentable gaps, but the reader may savor the man's words and works as they evolved from the day he set out as a boy of sixteen, to survey for Lord Fairfax, until that day before his death when, always conscious of the weather, he wrote a final entry: "Mer[cury] at 28 at Night."

Another persuasive reason to issue the diaries before the Papers has been the time required to assemble, from repositories and private owners all over the world, the letters and documents that

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will comprise the main series. While these thousands of manuscripts were being located, catalogued, and transcribed by some members of our staff, others proceeded with the editorial work on the diaries. The fact that as these diaries go to press we are still receiving substantial numbers of manuscripts for inclusion in the Papers provides further justification for our decision.

The present text of the diaries varies but slightly from that of the 1995 edition. Fitzpatrick missed the 1762 diary (not a significant one) and a few other fragments. His reading of the tattered manuscripts often differs from ours. He did some rearranging, and he omitted much of the weather data. But in general his transcription of the diaries is substantially the same as ours.

What differs is the editing. The re-editing of a historical document is much like the cleaning of an old and well-loved painting. The design, the basic theme, remains unchanged; but the colors brighten and reveal forgotten nuances of brushstroke and pigment. Occasionally, figures emerge from the background that have long been concealed, and suddenly new meanings are there; new interpretations are possible.

Succeeding generations of editors have always gone about their work in ways that differ from those of their predecessors, hoping that in the process they are improving upon the craft. They have an inevitable advantage in the vast quantity of historical research turned out by every generation of historians. Many of our manuscript sources, as well as large numbers of printed books used in our work, were unavailable to earlier editors. Washington's diaries present a peculiar problem to the modern editor in that some of the daily entries are long, detailed, and informative; others are perfunctory and, to be frank, often dull. This has brought about a variation in the length and nature of our annotation that is not accidental. When Washington feels talkative, we let him talk. When he grows laconic and uninformative, we feel a greater urge to let the reader know what is going on. Yet we must avoid the temptation to overshadow his brief entries with extended editorial statements better left for our edition of the Papers.

The principal aims of the editorial staff have been these:

a. To present the most accurate text possible (an editor's first important task).b. To identify all persons and to connect them to Washington and his activities when possible. In this we have often failed.

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Preparing these short biographical statements about obscure eighteenth-century figures has proved to be the most difficult part of the editorial process. The urge to follow the example of Dr. Toner has been great. In his notes on the Washington diaries he identifies one Private John Doe simply as "a soldier." Our system, however, is to remain silent if we have no useful biographical information to offer. People and places have generally been identified at first appearance in the diaries. Washington commonly refers to individuals only by surname. In cases where the person has been previously identified the full name will be found in the index.c. To edit fully his various travel narratives, such as the voyage to Barbados in 1751, the mission to the French in 1753, the trip to Ohio and Kanawha rivers in 1770, and his two presidential tours.d. To maintain a running account of his activities in and around Williamsburg while serving in the Virginia House of Burgesses.e. To clarify for the reader Washington's many dealings in land and especially to keep abreast of his farming operations on his five Mount Vernon farms, his Bullskin plantation in the Shenandoah Valley, and the dower plantations on the York.f. To identify all plant materials at first mention, whether field crops or horticultural specimens, and to discuss them if appropriate.g. To cover his presence at the Virginia Convention of 1774 and the Continental Congresses of 1774 and 1775.h. To make those persons around Washington, including the family and friends he loved and the neighbors he saw so frequently, come alive. And, we must add, to do the same for him.

Editorial Procedures and Symbols

Transcription of the diaries has remained as faithful as possible to the original manuscript. Because of the nature of GW's diary entries, absolute consistency in punctuation has been virtually impossible. Where feasible, the punctuation has generally been retained as written. However, in cases where sentences are separated by dashes, a common device in the eighteenth century, the

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dash has been changed to a period and the following word capitalized. Dashes which appear after periods have been dropped. Periods have been inserted at points which are clearly the ends of sentences. In many of the diaries, particularly those dealing with planting and the weather, entries consist of phrases separated by dashes rather than sentences. Generally if the phrase appears to stand alone, a period has been substituted for the dash.

Spelling of all words is retained as it appears in manuscript. Errors in spelling of geographic locations and proper names have been corrected in notes or in brackets only if the spelling in the text makes the word incomprehensible. Washington occasionally, especially in the diaries, placed above an incorrectly written word a symbol sometimes resembling a tilde, sometimes an infinity sign, to indicate an error in orthography. When this device is used the editors have silently corrected the word.

The ampersand has been retained. The thorn has been transcribed as "th." The symbol for per has been written out. When a tilde is used to indicate either a double letter or missing letters, the correction has been made silently or the word has been transcribed as an abbreviation. Capitalization is retained as it appears in the manuscript; if the writer's intention is not clear, modern usage is followed.

Contractions and abbreviations are retained as written; a period is inserted after abbreviations. When an apostrophe has been used in contractions it is retained. Superscripts have been lowered, and if the word is an abbreviation a period has been added. When the meaning of an abbreviation is not obvious, it has been expanded in square brackets: H[unting] C[reek]; so[uther]ly.

Other editorial insertions or corrections in the text also appear in square brackets. Missing dates are supplied in square brackets in diary entries. Angle brackets (< >) are used to indicate mutilated material. If it is clear from the context what word or words are missing, or missing material has been filled in from other sources, the words are inserted between the angle brackets.

A space left blank by Washington in the manuscript of the diaries is indicated by a bracketed gap in the text. In cases where Washington has crossed out words or phrases, the deletions have not been noted. If a deletion contains substantive material it appears in a footnote. Words inadvertently repeated or repeated at the bottom of a page of manuscript have been dropped.

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If the intended location of marginal notations is clear, they have been inserted in the proper place without comment; otherwise, insertions appear in footnotes.

In cases where the date is repeated for several entries on the same day, the repetitive date has been omitted and the succeeding entries have been paragraphed.

Because Washington used the blank pages of the Virginia Almanack or occasionally small notebooks to keep his diaries, lack of space sometimes forced him to make entries and memoranda out of order in the volume. The correct position of such entries is often open to question, and the editors have not always agreed with earlier editors of the diaries on this matter. Such divergence of opinion, however, has not been annotated.

Bibliographical references are cited by one or two words, usually the author's last name, in small capitals. If two or more works by authors with the same surname have been used, numbers are assigned: HARRISON [2]. Full publication information is included in the bibliography for each volume. The symbols used to identify repositories in the footnotes precede the bibliography.

Surveying notes and dated memoranda kept in diary form have not been included in this edition of Washington's diaries, although the information contained in them has often been used in annotation.



NewtonStein, Cambridge Theological Seminary™ 1973 ©
1973 ©

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