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Mr. Sparks printed in his collection of Washington's “ Writings” upwards of twenty-five hundred letters, apart from his journals and memoranda. I have increased the number of letters to more than three thousand, and draw more freely on the diaries, farm journals, and plans of compaigns and of army organization. The difficulty lay principally in making a proper selection from the wealth of material found; one that would preserve a proper balance between the public and the private acts of the man, so displaying his character more fully than has been done. If I have partially succeeded in this attempt, I am content; the result can be entirely satisfactory least of all to myself, who in daily study for more than four years have been brought to realize the man's true greatness, and his relation to the history of his times. I frankly confess to a certain feeling of disappointment, as his reserve has left so many of the important events of his career unexplained ; but I am in part consoled by a knowledge that in this new collection of his writings a patient study will obtain much that is of value.

Again I thank the many kind friends who have given me freely of their stores. Mr. Crosby, of Boston, sent copies of all the important collection of letters from Washington to General Lincoln, and placed them at my disposal. Mr. F. B. McGuire, of Washington, supplied me with the Washington

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Madison correspondence, since unfortunately scattered. Dr. John S. H. Fogg, of Boston, Dr. Thomas Addis Emmett, of New York, and the late Mr. Cassius F. Lee, Jr., of Alexandria, have never refused access to their stores ; while Mr. William F. Havemeyer, of New York, has done a patriotic duty in bringing together a splendid collection of Washingtoniana, to which I was able to refer whenever I desired. Mrs. Burton Harrison gave me copies of the Washington-Fairfax letters, and heavy drafts have been made upon the Historical Societies. I am happy to record the public-spirited conduct of these societies—with but two exceptions. The Long Island Historical Society, of Brooklyn, and the New York Historical Society, proved themselves to be historical societies only in name.

One debt I can never sufficiently acknowledge. There was one who first offered his counsel and aid, and whose kindly encouragement, intelligent criticism, and hearty sympathy in the undertaking made smooth many rough places, and without whose co-operation the work could not have been brought to a successful issue under my editorship. To my father, GORDON LESTER FORD, who did not live to see the last volumes, I owe the debt of gratitude, and in affectionate remembrance of which I record his name in this connection. My brother, Paul Leicester Ford, has been as untiring in his assistance as he has proved learned in American history.


11 August, 1893.



To James Anderson, May 22d .

His intention to withdraw from Mount Vernon-Has no

desire to change, or to employ one discontented with his con-
duct-Rights of a proprietor-Wishes to know the reason of

his complaints—Makes an offer,

To Alexander Hamilton, May 27th

Is disturbed by the troubles with France-A proposed tour

inexpedient-Does not think that France will come to open war
-Would serve at the head of the army, if called—Addresses

from the people—The government supported.

To Jeremy Belknap, June 15th .

His American Biography—The Calverts—Richard Bland and

the history of Virginia.

To John Adams, June 17th

A visit to the federal city-Wishes him to make Mount Ver-

non his headquarters—Good wishes for his administration.

To James Lloyd, June 25th

Marshall's return from France, Mysterious conduct of his

colleague-Flimsy performances of the French ministers.

To James Lloyd, June 27th

The full correspondence with the French ministry must carry

conviction to every mind.

To John Adams, July 4th .

Had determined upon retirement-Will come forward in

case of an actual invasion-French have been led to believe we

a divided people—The choice of general officers—The

greatest circumspection should be used in appointing the

general staff.

To James McHenry, July 4th .

Is reluctant to assume further responsibilities—Reasons

against such an assumption-His sentiments in the Farewell
Address—Danger of appointing juvenile generals—Importance
of the general staff-Mode of warfare will be different-
Requirements to be demanded of officers-Conditions under
which he will take the command.


To James McHenry, July 5th

His letter may be shown to the President-The choice of

officers all-important—Reasons for a delay in appointments-

Dr. Craik recommended.

To Sir John Sinclair, July roth .

History of early wheat in America—The Egyptian wheat a


To Timothy Pickering, July 11th

Hamilton's fitness for command-Reasons for a southern

appointment-General Pinckney should be considered-His

own conduct.

To John Adams, July 13th

Sensations in receiving his appointment-Approves the wise

and prudent measures of his administration towards France-

Has determined to accept the call-Conditions and a reservation.

To Alexander Hamilton, July 14th.

Manner in which he has accepted the command of the army

-Relies upon his co-operation-Action of Congress-Suggested

appointments-Pinckney's position.

To Henry Knox, July 16th

Will command the army-Relies upon his support-The

question of Major-Generals—Pinckney has the highest claims-

Former rank should be forgot in the new army.

To James McHenry, July 22d

Suggestions on the list of nominations—Carrington's fitness

for the office of Quartermaster-General-Sevier-Application of
Mr. Tayloe-Tallmadge and Ragsdale-Other applicants-

Edward Rutledge fit to command the artillery.

To James Anderson, July 25th.

His literary work-Is again in public life-The reasons-

Indignation against France-His gardener satisfactory.

To James McHenry, July 27th.

The Grayheads— Presentation of colors.

To James McHenry, July 29th.

Overwhelmed with applications, introductions, and recom-

mendations—Would not a secretary be allowable-Wishes to
remain free from all engagements as to aids—Qualifications
required of aids-What progress has been made.

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