George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 22 February 1788]

Friday 22d. Thermometer at 24 in the Morning—28 at Noon and 26 at Night. Wind at No. Et. and North; and fresh & cold. About 10 Oclock last Night it began to Snow & continued to do so all Night and till afternoon this day—but as it drifted much the depth cd. not be ascertained.

Colo. Wm. Heth, who came here to dinner yesterday was sent by me to Alexandria to pursue his journey to New York in the Stage.

I remained at home all day.

William Heth (1750–1807), a Henrico County landowner and distinguished veteran of the Continental line, was going to New York as commissioner for the state of Virginia to settle with Congress the state’s accounts “for the expences incurred in the acquisition and Defence of the Western Territory”—the lands north of the Ohio that Virginia had ceded to the Confederation in 1781 (VA. COUNCIL JLS. description begins H. R. McIlwaine et al., eds. Journals of the Council of the State of Virginia. 5 vols. Richmond, 1931–82. description ends , 3:514; 4:209, 226, 244). After spending the night of 20 Feb. with George Mason, Heth had set out for Mount Vernon after breakfast on 21 Feb. “I was fortunate enough,” he recorded in his diary, “to find the General without any other company than Colo. Humphreys who has been here some months. Dined & spent an agreeable day—find that the General is very anxious to see the proposed federal constitution adopted by all the States. He recd. letters this evening from Boston & New York informing him that the Convention of Massachusetts then sitting would unquestionably accept of it” (DLC). Definite word of Massachusetts’s ratification arrived on the evening of 22 Feb. (George Augustine Washington to Frances Bassett Washington, 22 Feb. 1788, ViMtvL; Heth’s obituary is in Va. Gaz. [Richmond], 1 April 1807; see also LEE [7] description begins Ida J. Lee. “The Heth Family.” Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 42 (1934): 273–82. description ends , 275–76).

The northern stage at this time left Alexandria from George H. Leigh’s Bunch of Grapes Tavern on the corner of Fairfax and Cameron streets (Va. Journal, 11 Oct. 1787).

The accumulation of snow on this day, according to George Augustine Washington, amounted to “5 or 6 Inches” (George Augustine Washington to Frances Bassett Washington, 22 Feb. 1788, ViMtvL).

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