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    The earliest known newspaper account of the death of George Washington

    [Death of George Washington] Newspaper: Federal Gazette & Baltimore Daily Advertiser. A rare newspaper account of the death of George Washington, "thy Father and Protector," three days after his death. Four pages, 12.5" x 19.5", December 17, 1799. This report consists of a eulogy and an "Extract of a letter from Alexandria", both framed in black border in the center of page three. The eulogy reads in part, "Mourn, O Columbia! thy Father and Protector is no more! Mourn, reader, of whatever kindred, tongue or clime thou be, thy friend, the friend of Liberty and of Man, is gone! . . . the Hero, Patriot, Sage, sent a while as a kind emanation from the Deity, to enlighten the dark night of our tribulation and to guide the youthful steps of our country, is snatched back to the bosom of his God. . . . endear the sacred memory and name of Washington. We feel not disposed, were we competent, to give a cold delineation of his virtues - they are deeply engraven on every heart, and the sighs of his people shall be a lasting and honorable testimony as well of the sincerity of their sorrow, as of the fervency of their love."

    The letter extract, dated December 15, follows the eulogy. In part, "I mention to you the truly melancholy event of the death of our much loved General George Washington. He made his exit last night, between the hours of 11 and 12, after a short but painful illness of 23 hours. The disorder of which he died is by some called the Crupe, by others an Inflammatory Quinsey, a disorder lately so mortal among children in this place, and I believe not until this year known to attack persons of the age of maturity. . . . He died perfectly in his senses, and from Dr. Dick's account, perfectly resigned. He informed them he had no fear of death, that his affairs were in good order, that he had made his will, and that his public business was but two days behind hand."

    On December 13, 1799, following a day spent in a snow storm, Washington became ill. His condition worsened throughout the day and by nightfall, he complained of a very sore throat and difficulty in breathing. The best doctors were summoned, but they made matters much worse, even torturous, in their attempts to extract the infection from his body. The cause of his death on December 14 was likely epiglottitis, the inflammation of the epiglottis which slowly strangled him.

    The newspaper also reports on building projects in the new capital, Washington. Letters and reports concerning Napoleon are also included. The newspaper bears minor foxing with some separation along the central vertical fold.


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    Auction Dates
    October, 2010
    14th-15th Thursday-Friday
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