WASHINGTON, GEORGE. 1732-1799. Major George Washington's Journal to the River Ohio, &c. [and] The Conclusion of Major Washington's Journal, begun in our last. In: The Maryland Gazette. Annapolis, MD: Jonas Green, March 21-28, 1754. Nos 463-464.
Lot 38
WASHINGTON, GEORGE. 1732-1799.
Major George Washington's Journal to the River Ohio, &c. [and] The Conclusion of Major Washington's Journal, begun in our last. In: The Maryland Gazette. Annapolis, MD: Jonas Green, March 21-28, 1754. Nos 463-464.
Sold for US$ 173,000 inc. premium

Lot Details
WASHINGTON, GEORGE. 1732-1799. Major George Washington's Journal to the River Ohio, &c. [and] The Conclusion of Major Washington's Journal, begun in our last. In: The Maryland Gazette. Annapolis, MD: Jonas Green, March 21-28, 1754. Nos 463-464. WASHINGTON, GEORGE. 1732-1799. Major George Washington's Journal to the River Ohio, &c. [and] The Conclusion of Major Washington's Journal, begun in our last. In: The Maryland Gazette. Annapolis, MD: Jonas Green, March 21-28, 1754. Nos 463-464.
WASHINGTON, GEORGE. 1732-1799.
Major George Washington's Journal to the River Ohio, &c. [and] The Conclusion of Major Washington's Journal, begun in our last. In: The Maryland Gazette. Annapolis, MD: Jonas Green, March 21-28, 1754. Nos 463-464.
2 bifolium issues (361 x 240 mm). Bound in modern half calf over marbled boards, red morocco spine label. Gutter margins with some old staining and recent restoration obscuring several letters and a very few letters lacking, second number with a few stains, some pen trials.
Provenance: contemporary manuscript endorsement underneath Washington's signature in type, reading: "A Man of Honour."

THE EARLIEST PROCURABLE AMERICAN EDITION OF GEORGE WASHINGTON'S JOURNAL: A CRITICAL DOCUMENT LEADING TO THE FRENCH AND INDIAN WAR. George Washington was only 21 years old when he was commissioned by Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia to journey to the Ohio Country and negotiate with the French for a withdrawal of their forces. He reached the French Commander on Lake Erie in early December and after fruitless but informative discussions, Washington carried back the French refusal, reaching Williamsburg on January 16, 1754. This was a mere month and a day after his departure from Lake Erie, an astounding feat in itself in midwinter. On the way Washington remarked that the fork between the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers is "extremely well situated for a fort" (the future site of Pittsburgh) and gleaned much information from Tanacharison (the Seneca "Half-King") and other Indian leaders, as well as from a party of French deserters.

Only two days elapsed between Washington's return to Williamsburg and the meeting of the General Council at which his account was presented. Washington's news of French insolence and treachery to the Indians was so incendiary that his account was immediately printed in Williamsburg in pamphlet form. The present first newspaper printing by Jonas Green was made directly from the "just Printed" pamphlet and includes both Washington's "Advertisement" and the text of Dinwiddie's letter before and after the Journal itself, but not the translation of the French officer's reply. Green himself states his justification for devoting nearly two entire newspaper issues to Washington's Journal, writing that there is nothing more interesting to his readers than what relates to the "storm arising in the West" which soon enough became the French and Indian War.

The Williamsburg pamphlet is now known in only 9 institutional copies, having last appeared on the market in 1955. This was the Sir Thomas Phillipps copy which sold for $25,000, approximately twice the then current price of an Audubon elephant folio. We trace no other 1754 American edition of Washington's Journal on the market since. This is most likely the only privately owned exemplar of the work deemed by Wright Howes "in its original form the most desirable eighteenth century American rarity." See Howes W134; Wroth Printing in Colonial Maryland 175.

Footnotes

  • MAJOR GEORGE WASHINGTON'S JOURNAL: A SUPERLATIVE AMERICAN RARITY
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