Presidential Series: Volume 5

DATE January – June 1790

Volume 5 of the Presidential Series continues the fourth chronological series of The Papers of George Washington. The volume covers the first half of 1790 and focuses on Washington’s continued concentration on the problems facing the new government.

North Carolina had ratified the Constitution in late 1789, and Rhode Island held its ratifying convention in early 1790. Many documents in this volume reflect the president’s concern with the establishment of ties to the federal government in both states, especially in the matter of appointments to the federal civil service. Also treated in detail in the volume are Washington’s near-fatal illness in May 1790 and his difficult recovery. The heavy incoming correspondence concerns matters as diverse as the administration’s attempts to deal with escalation of Indian hostilities on the northern frontier, negotiations concerning military medals issued for achievement during the Revolutionary War, establishment of a coinage system for the young nation, petitions from Quakers concerning abolition, events surrounding the arrival of American vessels on the coast of Oregon, Gouverneur Morris’s diplomatic mission to London, and the formation of the Scioto Company.


Dorothy Twohig, Mark A. Mastromarino, and Jack D. Warren, eds., The Papers of George Washington: Presidential Series volume 5, January – June 1790. Charlottesville and London: University Press of Virginia, 1996.

Purchase from the University of Virginia Press.