George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 27 November 1786]

Monday 27th. Mercury at 38 in the Morning—48 at Noon and 44 at Night.

Wind Southerly, and moderately all day. Sometimes there were great appearances of rain at other times it looked promising. Evening clear but a circle and bur both rd. the Moon.

Rid to the Ferry, Dogue run and Muddy hole Plantations—also to the Mill and to the Ditchers—about the Corn at all the places—Measd. 68 Barls. at Dogue run.

The Revd. Mr. Keith, and the Revd. Mr. Morse dined here & returned to Alexandria in the Evening.

Received my Chinese Pheasents &ca. from Baltimore by the Packet—viz.—

A Cock } of the Gold Pheast.
& Hen
A Cock & } of the Silver Pheat.
A Cock & } of the French Pheat.
2 Hens

and one French Patridge. The other French Patridge died in coming round from Baltimore.

The German Man, his wife and Child came home last Night by water from Alexanda.

Jedidiah Morse (1761–1826) was born in Woodstock, Conn., the son of Jedidiah and Sarah Child Morse. While studying theology at Yale in the early 1780s, Morse expanded an early interest in geography and in 1784 published the first school textbook on the subject, Geography Made Easy, a forerunner of his more ambitious later works. The day after his ordination in the Congregational Church on 9 Nov. 1786, Morse left his position as tutor at Yale and at this time was on his way to become pastor of a church in Midway, Ga. Morse and a fellow classmate, Abiel Holmes, exchanged posts temporarily so that Holmes could visit New England and Morse could learn more about the geography of the South. By Aug. 1787 Morse had returned to Yale to embark on a career in the ministry (MORSE description begins Abraham P. Nasatir and Gary Elwyn Monell. French Consuls in the United States: A Calendar of their Correspondence in the Archives Nationales. Washington, D.C., 1967. description ends [1], 26–28).

my chinese pheasents: The birds, from the royal aviary of France, were a gift from Lafayette. Charles Willson Peale wrote from Philadelphia that if any of the birds should die he would like to obtain the bodies for display. GW replied on 9 Jan. 1787: “I cannot say that I shall be happy to have it in my power to comply with your request by sending you the bodies of my Pheasants; but I am afraid it will not be long before they will compose a part of your Museum” (sold by American Art Association, 17 Mar. 1931, Item 260). In February GW sent Peale the body of a golden pheasant packed in wool, and said he would like to free the others but feared they would be taken by hawks. In acknowledging receipt of the Chinese pheasant on 27 Feb. 1787, Peale admitted that until receiving the specimen he thought the birds he had seen in Chinese paintings were only “works of fancy” (DLC:GW).

Index Entries