Volume 4: Apr. – Dec. 1799

In the spring of 1799, when this volume begins, the relaxation of tensions between France and the United States allowed Washington to redirect his attention to his personal affairs. He drew up a new will that summer and made arrangements for the breakup of the estate he had amassed in the course of his life; but he also kept his gaze on the future, drawing up extensive plans for farming at Mount Vernon in 1800, the management of which he planned to take on himself. Washington also supervised the compilation of a comprehensive list of his Mount Vernon slaves, while at the same time making plans for their eventual freedom.

Washington died at Mount Vernon on 14 December, behaving with a courage that was witnessed by his friend and secretary, Tobias Lear, whose accounts of the event bring the volume to a close.

W.W. Abbot, ed., The Papers of George Washington: Retirement Series volume 4, April – December 1799. Charlottesville and London: University Press of Virginia, 1999.

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