Monday, October 26, 2009

George Washington Really Did Sleep Here, Day 6

The weather was lousy in Boston on October 26, 1789, and President George Washington didn't feel much better. Now six days into his trip to Massachusetts on his journey across New England, Washington had taken ill. He wrote in his diary that he was "disordered by a Cold and inflamation in the left eye."

The president wasn't the only person in Boston who wasn't feeling well. Numerous citizens were suffering from colds and influenza. When Washington had arrived in Boston two days prior, the weather was raw, and Washington and the thousands who thronged to the festivities spent hours exposed to the less-than-ideal conditions. So many spectators took ill that the sickness that struck Boston was referred to as the "Washington influenza." It's thought the illnesses were part of an epidemic that was sweeping the Eastern states and would have affected Boston whether Washington had come or not.

Due to his condition, Washington was forced to cancel his scheduled plan to visit Lexington, which the president referred to in his diary as the place "where the first blood in the dispute with G. Britn. was drawn." (Interesting in this day in age to read Washington referring to the Revolution as a "dispute." Surely, the war rose to at least the level of a "hubbub" or "brouhaha.")

While Washington stayed nearby his lodgings at the Widow Ingersoll's, he was visited by numerous well-wishers, and he did have tea with Governor Hancock.

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