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CULLED FROM the six volumes of The Diaries of George Washington completed in 1979, this selection of entries chosen by retired Washington Papers editor Dorothy Twohig reveals the lifelong preoccupations of the public and private man.
Washington was rarely isolated from the world during his eventful life. His diary for 1751-52 relates a voyage to Barbados when he was nineteen. The next two accounts concern the early phases of the French and Indian War, in which Washington commanded a Virginia regiment. By the 1760s when Washington's diaries resume, he considered himself retired from public life, but George III was on the British throne and in the American colonies the process of unrest was beginning that would ultimately place Washington in command of a revolutionary army.
Even as he traveled to Philadelphia in 1787 to chair the Constitutional Convention, however, and later as president, Washington's first love remained his plantation, Mount Vernon. In his diary, he religiously recorded the changing methods of farming he employed there and the pleasures of riding and hunting. Rich in material from this private sphere, George Washington's Diaries: An Abridgment offers historians and anyone interested in Washington a closer view of the first president in this bicentennial year of his death.