Preface to the Revised Edition

I am gratified that the favorable reception given to my biography of George Washington has warranted the publishing of this revised edition. It not only is gratifying to my vanity, but will also put the work in a form more agreeable to my purpose in writing. I have also taken advantage of this opportunity to correct several errors in the text which slipped through in the first edition, as well as to supplement the Bibliography with some of the more recent work done on our first president. The reviews by Frederick H. Schmidt (The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 88, No. 2 [April 1980]) and by Donald H. Stewart [The Journal of American History 67, No. 2 [September 1980]) have helped me in this work. Perhaps ungenerously, I have not followed them in all cases, sometimes insisting on my own reading of the material, but I appreciate their pertinent comments, especially Mr. Schmidt's.

On such an occasion, an author is often tempted to argue for extensive revisions in the text. Being of strong character, I have resisted this temptation, and I shall content myself here with treating two instances in which I now believe that I either omitted covering some pertinent material or misread the record. First, I believe that I admired Washington a bit too much for his switch to wheat cultivation (in place of tobacco) in the 1760s. It does not detract at all from his stature as an intelligent, systematic, and adaptable agriculturalist to note that there was a general turning-away from tobacco to wheat in the upper South at that time, a conversion with far-reaching economic and political effects, according to Joyce Appleby (in e.g., [Commercial Farming and the 'Agrarian Myth' in the Early Republic,] The Journal of American History 68, No. 4 [March 1982], 833–49, esp. 839–40). Second, I believe that I was perhaps too generous in my estimate of Edmund Randolph, both in his service to President Washington and in my brief references to his character. Although I generally agree with the narrative as presented in John J. Reardon's Edmund Randolph (New York: Macmillan, 1974), I now lean toward Thomas Jefferson's characterization of him as a political [chameleon,] a person with few fixed points of reference; perhaps also a person whom events contrived to lift above the level of his abilities. This should

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