Volume 9: Jan. 1772 – Mar. 1774

In the two-year span covered by volume 9 of the Colonial Series, Washington continues to be concerned with personal and local matters- the expansion of his Mount Vernon acreage and the development of the flour and fishing industries there, his promotion of schemes for the navigation of the Potomac River, and his attempts to lease his lands both in the West and in nearby counties.

The correspondence shows Washington’s involvement in the affairs of his friends and neighbors- his dealing with the complexities of the Colvill and Mercer estates and his managing the interests of his absent friend and neighbor George William Fairfax. Family issues loom large in this volume: Washington’s management of the Custis estate, his frustrated attempts to deal with his stepson John Parke Custis’s education and marriage, and the tragic death of his young stepdaughter Patsy Custis.

The correspondence also illustrates Washington’s attempts to procure for the officers and men of the Virginia regiments the bounty lands promised to veterans of the French and Indian War. The documents attest to Washington’s increasing interest in western expansion, his initial efforts to seat the lands he had acquired on the frontier, and his negotiations with John Connolly and other land speculators in the escalating dispute over the western boundaries of Virginia and Pennsylvania. The early clashes between Indians and frontiersmen that led to Dunmore’s War are described in a number of letters and documents.

W.W. Abbot and Dorothy Twohig, eds., The Papers of George Washington: Colonial Series volume 9, January 1772 – March 1774. Charlottesville and London: University Press of Virginia, 1994.

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