[George Washington]

George Washington, 2800 Pages of News! Compelling Contemporary Views During his Lifetime

Archive of British and American Newspapers and Magazines Offers Compelling Contemporary Views of George Washington


This archive includes nearly 2,800 pages of newspapers and magazines from 1754 to 1798, spanning the entire period of George Washington’s public career. It provides a foreign perspective from London on both Colonel Washington’s early military career against the French and his Farewell Address to the nation shortly before leaving the Presidency. It also includes newspapers from Philadelphia and New England during and after his two terms as President, illustrating the reverence with which Americans in the Early Republic viewed him.


[GEORGE WASHINGTON.] Archive of newspapers and magazines, 1754-1798. Some chipping and tears on edges; some water damage to some issues; most bindings absent from Gentleman’s Magazine volumes.


Items and Excerpts

-          The Gentleman’s Magazine (London, England), complete issues for 1792, 1793, and individual monthly issues for April-June 1754, August-December 1754, June 1794, July 1795, September-December 1796. Approximately 2,250 pp., 5.25" x 8.25".

The Gentleman’s Magazine (1731-1922) was a monthly magazine published in London, England. It was the first periodical to use the term “magazine.” Edward Cave (1691-1754) began the magazine and edited it under the pen name “Sylvanus Urban” until his death. The iconic illustration of St. John’s Gate on the front of each issue depicted Cave’s home, the magazine’s “office.” Samuel Johnson had his first regular employment as a writer with The Gentleman’s Magazine. Under the leadership of David Henry (1709-1792) and after 1778 also John Nichols (1745-1826), The Gentleman’s Magazine experienced great growth and was read throughout the English-speaking world. It included a stunning array of material, including the fluctuating prices of commodities, daily closing quotations for stocks and bonds, mortality figures for the city of London, theatre reviews, original poetry, parliamentary debates, theological disputes, lists of both civil and military promotions, Church preferments, and thousands of obituaries. David Henry was a friend of Benjamin Franklin and a first cousin of Patrick Henry, and The Gentlemen’s Magazine included extensive coverage of news from America. It printed the entirety of the United States Constitution in 1787, and Washington’s Farewell Address in 1796. George Washington was a subscriber to The Gentleman’s Magazine.

o   June 1754:

“Account of a Journey from Williamsburg to the French Fort, near Lake Erri, in Virginia”: “Mr Washington was sent by Governor Dinwiddie, with a letter to the French commandant on that river, by which he was required to depart.” (p252/c2)

“The purport of the answer which he brought to governor Dinwiddie, was, that the Commandant would send his letter to the marquis Duguisne, that whatever he commanded should be done, and that in the mean time he was determined to kept his station.” (p255/c1)

o   September 1754:

“Col. Washington with 400 men, having encamped in a wood, at the great meadows, on the Ohio, and defeated a party of French, that had been dispatched to intercept some provisions, receiv’d intelligence soon afterward, that the French hearing what happened, and that he was soon after to be reinforced with 500 men from New York, were marching 900 men from Monongahela to attack him.” (p399/c1-2)

“The disadvantage which we have sustained by being thus obliged to abandon the Ohio, is imputed to the delay of the reinforcement from New York, which ought to have joined Col. Washington many months before this action.” (p399/c2-p400/c1)

“There have been frequent councils lately held here upon this subject; and we have good authority to say, that our interest in America will in a very short time be effectually supported; and the disputes there decided without producing a declaration of war.” (p400/c2)

o   January 1792:

President George Washington’s Message to Congress, October 25, 1791:

“It is sincerely to be desired that all need of coercion in future may cease and that an intimate intercourse may succeed, calculated to advance the happiness of the Indians and to attach them firmly to the United States.” (p81/c1)

“The completion of the census of the inhabitants, for which provision was made by law, has been duly notified...and the returns...will give you the pleasing assurance that the present population of the United States borders on four millions of persons.” (p82/c1)

o   February 1792:

“The president of the United States has nominated Thomas Pinckney, esq. late Governor of South Carolina, to be minister plenipotentiary to the court of Great Britain....” (p175/c2)

“On Friday the 17th of December, 1791, was presented to the President of the United States a silver-mounted box, made of the celebrated oak that sheltered sir Wm. Wallace, the Scottish hero, after his defeat at the battle of Falkirk, about the beginning of the 14th century, by Edward I. This box was a present sent to the earl of Buchan from the Goldsmiths Company at Edinburgh. That patriotic company afterwards, at his lordship’s request, gave him leave to present it to the President, as above, as more deserving of it than himself, and the only man in the world to whom he thought it justly due. The box was delivered by Archibald Robertson, a Scotch gentleman just settled in America, who, at the same time, delivered a letter from his lordship to the President, requesting, that at his decease he should consign it to the man who, in his opinion, should best deserve it of his country.” (p177/c1)

In his will, Washington bequeathed the box to the Earl of Buchan; Buchan bequeathed the box to “Washingtons University in Columbia.” It was stolen in transit in the nineteenth century and last appeared in England in 1958.

o   February 1793:

“Our worthy President has been unanimously reelected; not a voice through all the Continent against him.... The war with the Indians continues with unabated fury; it is feared that a general confederation had been formed, among the Southern and Northern Indian nations, to attack the American frontier at once from South to North....” (p177/c2)

o   June 1794:

“American Congress, March 5. ‘Gentlemen of the Senate, and of the House of Representatives, The Secretary of State having reported to me upon the several complaints which have been lodged in his office against the vexations and spoliations on our commerce, since the commencement of the European war; I transmit to you a copy of his statement, together with the documents upon which it is founded. Geo. Washington.” (p569/c1)

“March 12.... Resolved, that the President of the United States be authorized, if in his judgement the safety or welfare of the United States shall require it, to lay an embargo, generally or particularly, upon ships in the ports or harbours of the United States, not exceeding at any one time forty days....” (p570/c1)

o   July 1795:

“General Washington, at the period mentioned by your correspondent Philanecdotos, was colonel of a regiment of continental militia raised by the colony of Virginia, to serve against the French on the banks of the Ohio; on which occasion he signalized his courage and conduct, and gave a flattering presage of those services he was destined to render his native country when employed in a more ample field, which afforded a wider scope for the display of his military talents.” (p566/c2)

o   Supplement 1796:

Washington’s Farewell Address, September 17, 1796

“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens.” (p1093/c1)

“Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people, under an efficient government, the period is not far off, when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality, we may at any time resolve upon, to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.

“Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor, or caprice?

“’Tis our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world; so far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it; for let me not be understood as capable of patronizing infidelity to existing engagements. I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy. I repeat it, therefore, let those engagements be observed in their genuine sense. But, in my opinion, it is unnecessary and would be unwise to extend them.” (p1094/c2)


-          The Providence Gazette and Country Journal (Rhode Island), January 7–December 30, 1786, 52 issues, 208 pp.

The Providence Gazette and Country Journal (1762-1817) was the first newspaper published in Providence, Rhode Island. Sarah Updike Goddard (ca. 1701-1770), her son William Goddard (1740-1817), and her daughter Mary Katherine Goddard (1738-1816) established the weekly newspaper in 1762. When William Goddard moved to Philadelphia to establish the Pennsylvania Chronicle in 1767, Sarah Goddard published The Providence Gazette and Country Journal with the assistance of Philadelphia-born John Carter (1745-1814), who had been a printer’s apprentice to Benjamin Franklin. Carter purchased The Providence Gazette and Country Journal in 1768. Postmaster-General Franklin appointed John Carter as the postmaster of Providence in 1772, and Carter held the position until 1792.

o   February 25:

“should hostilities (which in the present situation of affairs seem almost inevitable) break out between the savages and the Thirteen Stripes, General Washington has expressly declared his intention of not appearing again in arms; and that he has peremptorily refused accepting any command; determined not to sacrifice, among a race of wild Indians, those honours which he so recently acquired against a great nation, once so justly celebrated for its conquests and commerce.” (p2/c1)

o   August 5:

“My design, by this address, is to rescue, from seeming inattention, the brilliant conduct of Colonel, the late Major Thayer, in the defence of Mud Island, in the river Delaware, from the 12th of November until the 16th of the same month in the year 1777.... The Commander in Chief, his Excellency George Washington, had not an idea of holding the place through the campaign; but wished to retard the operations of the enemy until the main army should be reinforced by the Massachusetts brigades, marching from the conquest of Saratoga; when he would be in sufficient force to cover the country, or meet the enemy’s whole force in the field.” (p2/c3)

o   December 2:

“Baltimore, Nov. 10. We are informed that the Jack-Ass, and two she Asses, with the foreign Pheasants and Partridges, which arrived in the Iris, on the 7th inst. from l’Orient, are a present from the Hon. the Marquis de la Fayette to his Excellency General Washington. The Asses are from two to three years old, and cost at Malta three hundred guineas. The silver and golden Pheasants of China are beautiful birds, and cost sixteen guineas each. But this is not all; every expence attending their transportation has been paid, and a careful person employed, at a handsome salary, to present them to the General!” (p3/c1)

o   December 9:

An American in London to James Tilghman, ca. May 1786:

“I have had it in contemplation to write to you for some time past, on a subject in which I find myself more and more interested: I have endeavoured to shake it off from my mind, because I am persuaded that General Washington is too great in himself to be concerned at any calumny, and his character too fair and pure to need any defence of mine. I have the honour to be introduced to a party of sages, who meet regularly at a coffee-house, where they discuss politics, or subjects to communicate useful knowledge. This set of men often mention our great and good General, and commonly in a proper manner; but some give credit to a charge exhibited against him by young Asgill, of illiberal treatment and cruelty towards himself. He alledges that a gibbet was erected before his prison window, and often pointed to, in an insulting manner, as good and proper for him, to atone for Huddy’s death; and many other insults, all of which he believes were countenanced by General Washington, who was well inclined to execute the sentence on him, but was restrained by the French General Rochambeau.” (p1/c1)

George Washington to James Tilghman, June 5, 1786:

“That a calumny of this kind had been reported I knew:—I had laid my accounts for the calumnies of anonymous scribblers, but I never had conceived before that such an one as related could have originated with, or met the countenance of Capt. Asgill—whose situation often filled me with the keenest anguish:—I felt for him on many accounts, and not the least when viewing him as a man of honour and sentiment, I considered how unfortunate it was for him, that a wretch who possessed neither should be the means of causing him a single pang, or disagreeable sensation. My favourable opinion of him however is forfeited, if being acquainted with these reports he did not immediately contradict them. That I could not have given countenance to the insults which, he says, were offered to his person, especially the groveling one of erecting a gibbet before his prison window, will, I expect, readily be believed, when I explicitly declare that I never heard of a single attempt to offer an insult; and that I had every reason to be convinced that he was treated by the officers around him with all the tenderness and every civility in their power.” (p1/c2)

[Issue also includes copies of ten letters from 1782 related to Asgill’s imprisonment and release.]

In April 1782, the Board of Associated Loyalists in Monmouth, New Jersey, executed Continental Army Captain John Huddy in retaliation for the death of a Loyalist soldier. General George Washington responded by ordering the hanging of the British Captain Charles Asgill. After months of deliberation, Congress and Washington decided instead to release Asgill. In 1786, as these letters make clear, Washington was troubled to learn that Asgill was spreading rumors that he had been treated inhumanely as an American prisoner.


-          The Pennsylvania Packet, and Daily Advertiser (Philadelphia), January 24, 1789, only pp 1-2 of original 4-page issue.

“The American army furnished an instance of the effects of victory upon the human mind, which may serve to establish the inferences from the facts related by Doctor Blane. The Philadelphia militia who joined the remains of General Washington’s army in December 1776, and shared with them a few days afterwards in the capture of a large body of Hessians at Trenton, consisted of 1500 men, most of whom had been accustomed to the habits of a city life. These men slept in tents and barns, and sometimes in the open air during the usual colds of Dec. and January; and yet there were only two instances of sickness; and only one of death, in that body of men in the course of near six weeks, in those winter months. This extraordinary healthiness of so great a number of men under such trying circumstances, can only be ascribed to the vigor infused into the human body by the victory of Trenton having produced insensibility to all the usual remote causes of diseases.” (p2/c2)


-          The Connecticut Courant (Hartford), December 19, 1791, 4 pp.

“Mr. Benson called up a resolution which he had laid on the table yesterday, for the appointment of a committee to meet a committee of the Senate, for the purpose of considering and reporting to Congress the most eligible manner of carrying into effect a resolution of the United States in Congress assembled, of the 7th of August, 1783, directing that an equestrian statue of General Washington should be erected.

“In a conversation, which took place on the subject, it was observed, that in the resolution of the old Congress, the spot, contemplated for the erection of the statue, was to be the permanent seat of government; it was therefore by some gentlemen thought premature to proceed to the immediate execution of that resolve; as the statue, though well mounted, could not conveniently ride after Congress, to the banks of the Potowmack.” (p1/c3)


-          Claypoole’s American Daily Advertiser (Philadelphia), November 3, 1798, 4 pp.

At a celebration of President John Adams’ birthday in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, they drank a series of toasts, including:

“5th. George Washington Commander of the armies of the United States; may our country never forget to honour the man who sacrifices his own happiness to her safety.”


-          Connecticut Journal (New Haven), scattered issues from May 26, 1784–December 28, 1797, approximately 81 issues, 324 pp., 10" x 16".

o   July 8 and 15, 1795:

[Full text of the Jay Treaty with Great Britain.]

o   December 31, 1795:

George Washington to Congress, December 17, 1795

“The sentiments we have mutually expressed of profound gratitude to the source of those numerous blessings—the author of all good—are pledges of our obligations to unite our sincere and zealous endeavours, as the instruments of Divine Providence, to preserve and perpetuate them.” (p2/c3)

o   April 7, 1796:

George Washington to the U.S. House of Representatives, March 30, 1796

“The nature of foreign negotiations requires caution; and their success must often depend on secrecy: and even when brought to a conclusion, a full disclosure of all the measures, demands, or eventual concessions, which may have been proposed or contemplated, would be extremely impolitic: for this might have a pernicious influence on future negotiations; or produce immediate inconveniences, perhaps danger and mischief, in relation to other powers.” (p3/c2)

“To admit then a right in the House of Representatives to demand, and to have as a matter of course, all the Papers respecting a negotiation with a foreign power, would be to establish a dangerous precedent.” (p3/c2)



This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.




Item: 66600

Price: $24,000.00
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