George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 3 February 1788]

Sunday 3d. Thermometer at 42 in the morning—46 at Noon and 45 at Night. Mild, Wind tho’ not much of it Southerly & thawing. Towards evening it lowered and at Night began to rain.

Colo. Fitzgerald, Messrs. Porter, Ingraham, Murray & Bowen, Doctr. Stuart & Craik Junr. and a Mr. O’Conner came to Dinnr. & returned except Doctr. Stuart.

John O’Connor, who styled himself “a barrester at law of the kingdom of Ireland,” arrived in America in 1787 and was now traveling through Virginia, peddling subscriptions for a proposed multivolume geographical and topographical history of the Americas, “Collected and compiled” by himself (Md. Gaz., 6 Dec. 1787). That work, he told subscribers in Alexandria, was now “nearly finished, and . . . the first volume was absolutely in Press at Philadelphia.” However, one subscriber who had occasion to visit Philadelphia in April inquired at the printing office about the progress of O’Connor’s history and was greatly surprised to learn that the printers had not “received one shilling” from the author, nor had they “ever seen the manuscript” (Md. Journal, 22 April 1788). Although O’Connor continued for the next year and a half to assure everyone of his determination to publish his work as advertised, it never appeared (Md. Journal, 13 May 1788; O’Connor to GW, 5 Oct. 1789, DNA:PCC, Item 78; O’BRIEN description begins Michael J. O’Brien. George Washington’s Associations with the Irish. New York, 1937. description ends , 44–45). GW did not subscribe to O’Connor’s history.

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