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George Washington in NH

George COmes to Seacoast New Hampshire 1789


His visit lasted five days, a lengthy stay in his whistlestop tour of the new nation. George Washington left a few hundreds words in his diary about the trip that historians have been analyzing ever since. Now you can read his complete journal entries.




What Did Washington Really Think
About Portsmouth & Exeter, NH?

SEE: Our Tobias Lear Section

There are many accounts of what Washington did while in Portsmouth. He reportedly attended an engagement party for his secretary Tobias Lear, kissed the daughters of merchants Stephen Chase, stopped off in Kittery and visited the widow of former British royal governor Benning Wentworth. None of those events appear, however, in Washington’s diaries. In the essay linked above, we tracked the legends and details of Washington’s only visit to town, but for the record, this is Washington’s own version. It was not intended as a literary work. Washington was a methodical and scientific man, more accountant than author much of the time. But these are his words from his arrival on New Hampshire soil to his departure in November 1789. -- JDR

ALSO READ: Washington' Tours the Seacoast

OCTOBER 31, 1789

Saturday 31st. Left Newbury-port a little after 8 Oclock (first breakfasting with Mr. Dalton) and to avoid a wider ferry -- more inconvenient boats -- and a piece of heavy Sand, we crossed the River at Salisbury two Miles above; and near that further about -- and in three Miles came to the Line wch. divides the State of Massachusetts from that of New Hampshire. Here I took leave of Mr. Dalton and many other private Gentlemen who accompanied me -- also of Genl. Titcomb who had met me on the line between Middlesex & Essex Counties -- Corps of light Horse and Many officers of Militia -- And was recd. by the President of the State of New Hampshire -- the Vice-President; some of the Council -- Messrs. Langdon & Wingate of the Senate -- Colo. Parker Marshall of the State, & many other respectable characters; besides several Troops of well cloathed Horse in handsome Uniforms, and many Officers of the Militia also in handsome (white & red) uniforms of the Manufacture of the State. With this Cavalcade we proceeded and arrived before 3 Oclock at Portsmouth, where we were received with every token of respect and appearance of Cordiallity under a discharge of Artillery. The Streets -- doors and windows were Crouded here, as at all the other Places -- and, alighting at the Town House, odes were Sung & played in honor of the President. The same happened yesterday at my entrance into New-buryport -- Being stopped at my entrance to hear it. From the Town House I went to Colonel Brewsters Ta[ver]n the place provided for my residence and asked the President, Vice-President, the two Senators, the Marshall and Majr. Gilman to dine with me, which they did -- after which I drank Tea at Mr. Langdons.

The Washington Papers at the Library of Congress


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