This second volume of the Diaries, covering the years 1766 to 1770, reveals the joys and concerns of Washington the successful country squire. The rigorous schedule of sowing and harvesting Mount Vernon’s crops is punctuated by the pleasures of foxhunting, the theater, and family gatherings and by public duties as vestryman, magistrate, and burgess.
Washington’s painstaking weather records start in 1767, and in 1768 begin the tragic stories of his epileptic stepdaughter Patsy and of his bankrupt neighbor John Posey. The diary for 1769 is marked by Washington’s first active participation in the developing struggle for American rights: the formation of the Virginia Nonimportation Association. The entries for 1770 include the story of how Washington’s prized new gristmill was built and his account of a two-month journey to the wilderness of the Ohio Valley in search of bounty lands for himself and other veterans of the French and Indian War.
This volume also contains fifty illustrations, selected especially for it, primarily contemporary maps, pictures, and portraits showing many of the people, homes, towns, landscapes, sports and recreations, agricultural implements, tools, crops, clothing, and furnishings familiar to eighteenth-century Chesapeake society.
Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds., The Papers of George Washington: Diaries volume 2, 1766 – 1770. Charlottesville and London: University Press of Virginia, 1976.