In adding another treatise on Washington to the many now extant a statement of the author’s plan and purpose may not be out of place.
No effort has been made to write a complete biography of our principal subject. Every phase of his public career has already many times been critically investigated and minutely recorded by those who have had that special object in view, but, in doing this, they have allowed his private life to become largely overshadowed by his official greatness, and it is in his private life, with its rural pastimes and rustic occupations, that we find best illustrated the beautiful simplicity of his character.
To make this more intimate and personal portrayal of the “Father of his Country” has been the writer’s desire. At the same time he has found it necessary to present a brief synopsis of Washington’s entire career that the narrative might appear as a connected whole.
Nearly all the biographies of this great man, whether written on an extensive scale or in abbreviated form, properly close with his death and funeral. Large interest, however, has centered in those most closely associated with him in a domestic sense, and especially in his now historic home. Some account, therefore, is given of his devoted wife, her children and grandchildren, and her successors at Mount Vernon on the Potomac. Particular attention has been paid to the history of this famous estate, the story of which is traced from the acquisition of the original grant by John Washington, the immigrant, down to the present time.
This volume is intended, also, to give in brief form the history of Washington’s connection with Masonry and, in particular, his relation to Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22, of which he was the first Master. The data for this branch of the work has not been easily obtained, but with conscientious care, discarding many unfounded traditions and weighing scrupulously every fact adduced, it has been attempted to present to the Craft an accurate account of its most illustrious member.
In conclusion, the writer indulges the hope that in pursuing these subjects he is transmitting, in condensed and consecutive form, an interesting story, woven about and around the cherished home of Washington and those intimately associated with its great proprietor, as well as faithfully recording historic data of a particular nature and of intrinsic worth. If such proves to be the case, the tedious hours of toilsome investigation and persistent endeavor will be amply rewarded
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