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The Life of George Washington...

Commander in Chief of the American Forces, during the War which established the Independence of his Country, and First President of the United States. Compiled under the inspection of the Honourable Bushrod Washington, from Original Papers bequeathed to him by his deceased Relative. To which is prefixed an introduction, containing a compendious view of the colonies planted by the English on the continent of North America.

Availability: In stock

Published: London Printed for Richard Phillips, 1804-7

Stock Code: 122506

OR On display in 43 Dover Street


First English and the best edition overall, in the preferred quarto format, originally published in Philadelphia in the same years (5 volumes, octavo). "Apart from freeing his slaves after Martha Washington's death, Washington's long and detailed will left his public and private papers to his favourite nephew, Associate Justice Bushrod Washington. Bushrod, in turn, convinced John Marshall to collaborate on writing the first definitive biography of Washington. A year after Washington's death, Tobias Lear, Washington's longtime private secretary, sent the first of five trunks of Washington's personal and public papers, which Marshall and Bushrod Washington began converting into a monumental five-volume Life of George Washington. It was published from 1804 to 1807 and, until the Civil War, remained the definitive history of eighteenth-century America, including the history of the American Revolution, the evolution of American government and the Constitution, and the life of Washington as a military and political leader" (Harlow Giles Unger, John Marshall: The Chief Justice Who Saved The Nation, 2014). A particularly appealing set of the uncommon quarto issue, elegantly bound and with all maps and plates present.

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5 volumes, quarto (265 x 205 mm). Contemporary tree calf professionally refurbished (some labels, headbands and corners restored), smooth spines gilt banded, decorated with wavy-line roll tool and floriate centre tools, green morocco twin labels, speckled edges.


3 frontispieces (portrait of Washington by Fittler after Stuart, view of Mount Vernon by Milton after George Isham Parkyns, view of Washington DC in 1800 by Heath after Parkyns), 12 folding maps, one vignette at end of vol. III by Cooke after Parkyns ("Th


Near contemporary armorial bookplates of Richard Dobson. Offsetting from frontispieces, scattered foxing to maps, general toning of letterpress. A very attractive, wide-margined set, with the publisher's advertisements at the end of vols. I and V, notice in vol. II ("It is supposed that the Manuscript of another Volume of this Work will be received from America in the course of the Autumn" of 1804).


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