In the American Memory section of the Library of Congress, several papers of the Founding Fathers can be found. In particular, the diaries of George Washington are included as images. So, what did George do back in 1768? He rode, of course.
He added several pages of The Virginia Almanack for the Year of our Lord God 1768 among his notes in the diary for 1768 perhaps as reference as he proceeded through his days.
On page 5 of the diary, the almanac’s front cover shows, under the author’s name (T.T. Philomath), a poem describing the almanac:
Thus Year by Year the Reader we present,
Something new Matter for to give Content;
You’ll find here, besides the Calendar Part,
Rare Observations, written with much Art;
With Verses which to each Month do agree,
And other Things of Mirth and merry Glee.
Below the poem, the cover states “Williamsburg: Printed and sold by PURDIE and DIXON.”
Another poem introduces the January calendar,
Twelve circling moons, in crescent and in wane,
I’ve seen revolving, and shall see again.
The Year that’s past is wither’d, dead and gone;
But, phenix like, revives again to run.
Below the January calendar:
Rules to know the WEATHER.
Observe the daily circle of the Sun,
And the short year of each revolving Moon;
By them thou shalt foresee the following day,
Nor shall a starry night thy hopes betray.
In his diary, Washington included sections by date of what he was doing and with whom, comments on the weather and observations.
For January 26, 1768, George Washington included the following:
Went out with the hounds but started no fox. Some of the hounds run of upon a deer.
Wind at northwest, cloudy and cold with spits of snow.
He did not include any observations of January 26, but he did ride with his hounds!
At the end of his January notes, he included the end of January almanac page on which the printer admonished readers:
“Now feasting is pretty much in fashion, some to end up the old year, and some to begin the new. They that abound with money, victuals, and drink, may find pretences enough for feasting; and if you are equally qualified to make returns, it is enough to make you a companion, if not a cousin or relation; but it often (though not always) happens, that if the world frowns it quite eclipses the relation, and perhaps the acquaintance too, under a pretence of idleness or extravagancy. The best way to be valued is to have something of your own, when other people go to victuals; for if you laugh, your friends will laugh with you; but if you cry, you may cry by yourself.”
The page goes on to include a variety of recipes and words of wisdom for the 1768 reader.
It’s interesting and educational to look back into the lives and daily activities of the people who helped shape our country over 240 years ago.