Volume 6: Jan. 1790 – Dec. 1799

The events of the first year of Washington’s presidency are the subject of this last volume of The Diaries of George Washington. The official and unofficial matters discussed in the entries and annotations include many of major importance. The volume covers the diplomatic relations with the British government following Gouverneur Morris’s mission to England, as well as the extensive negotiations with Creek chief Alexander McGillivray and the Indians on the southern frontier. Of special interest is George Washington’s account of his participation in the government’s 1794 military expedition to suppress the Whiskey Rebellion in western Pennsylvania, when he accompanied the federal forces as far as Carlisle.

His tour of the South in 1791 is described here. A southern counterpart of his tour of New England in 1789, it took him from Philadelphia through Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, as far south as Savannah. The events of this journey are fully annotated, and the persons he met are identified. Added are accounts of his reception in the South drawn from contemporary letters, diaries, and newspapers.

This last volume of the Diaries continues Washington’s forty-year record of agricultural activity on a Virginia plantation. It also chronicles the steady stream of famous and obscure individuals who came in the post-presidential years to visit the new republic’s leading citizen. Although many visits were purely social, some visitors came on particular business, especially when Washington was involved in military preparations during the Quasi-War and in the construction, of the new Federal City.

Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds., The Papers of George Washington: Diaries volume 6, January 1790 – December 1799. Charlottesville and London: University Press of Virginia, 1979.

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