George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 16 February 1786]

Thursday 16th. Thermometer at 36 in the Morning—46 at Noon and 46 at Night.

Morning cloudy and not pleasant, wind being at No. West, but not fresh. Afterwards it became clear, calm, and exceedingly agreeable.

The warm & pleasant afternoon almost carried of the Snow.

Put one of Doctr. Gordons Subscription Papers (yesterday) in the hands of Doctr. Craik to offer to his acquaintance.

Dr. William Gordon (1728–1807), a dissenting minister in England, migrated to America in 1770 and settled in Roxbury, Mass., where he soon became active in the independence movement. As the Revolution progressed Gordon began copying and collecting documents with which to write a history of the struggle, and in 1784 he visited at Mount Vernon for 2½ weeks while he copied and abstracted Revolutionary documents from among GW’s papers (FREEMAN description begins Douglas Southall Freeman. George Washington: A Biography. 7 vols. New York, 1948–57. description ends , 6:36). Before he returned to England (1786) to find a publisher, Gordon circulated subscription papers for his history, which was first published in four volumes as The History of the Rise, Progress, and Establishment of Independence of the United States of America (London, 1788). Besides this subscription paper given to Dr. Craik, GW forwarded copies to correspondents in Alexandria and Fredericksburg. GW subscribed to two sets himself, for a total of £2 (GW to James Mercer, 20 Jan. 1786, DLC:GW; LEDGER B description begins Manuscript Ledger Book 2, 1772-93, in George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends , 223; see also PILCHER description begins George W. Pilcher. “William Gordon and the History of the American Revolution.” The Historian 34 (1971-72): 447–64. description ends ).

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