During the period covered by volume 6, Washington's attention
was devoted to several matters of great national significance. He
signed the Residence and Funding Acts, authorizing a permanent new
Federal City on the Potomac, establishing the seat of the federal
government at Philadelphia until 1800, and creating a national debt
by assuming the Revolutinary War debts of the states. Washington's
official correspondence also shows his concern with Indian affairs,
particularly his frustration with Brigadier General Josiah Harmar's
punitive expedition in the Northwest Territory. Secretary of War
Henry Knox's negotiations at New York with the southern Creeks loom
large in the documents and annotation of early August 1790, which
provide evidence of contemporary attitudes toward the Native
American negotiators. Light is also shed on the intrigues of
foreign agents on America's frontiers and in its capital as Spain
and Great Britain appeared to drift toward war. The president's
triumphal visit to Rhode Island in celebration of its ratification
of the Federal Constitution is well documented. Washington's
private correspondence with his secretary about remodeling the new
presidential mansion and renovating his coach provides a detailed
picture of high Federal culture and a glimpse of those whose
livelihoods depended on serving the elite. Several requests for
charity and numerous letters of application for federal office,
particularly for posts in the newly created Revenue Cutter Service,
describe the lives of various other ordinary American citizens.
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