GEORGE WASHINGTON DIES AT MOUNT VERNON
Norwich Packet, Norwich, Conn.
Thursday, January 2, 1800
We are proud to present one of the rarest and most historic newspapers in the entire Mitchell Archives–an issue reporting both the death and funeral of our nation’s first president, George Washington. President John Adams starts it out with a short message transmitting to the Congress the first reports from Mount Vernon written by Tobias Lear. The President writes: “The letter here with transmitted will inform you, that it has pleased Divine Providence to remove from this life, our excellent fellow citizen GEORGE WASHINGTON, by the purity of his character and a long series of services to his country, rendered illustrious through the world. It remains for an affectionate and Grateful people, in whose hearts he can never die, to pay suitable honor to his memory. JOHN ADAMS.” Lear’s letter then summarizes Washington’s illness, closing with: “Not a groan nor a complaint escaped him (Washington), in extreme distress. With perfect resignation and a full possession of his reason, he closed his well spent life.”
Page three is almost solely devoted to Washington’s passing including the headlines: “American News. GEORGE-TOWN, Dec. 20. FUNERAL OF GENERAL WASHINGTON,” with full details on the procession and ceremonies. Under another column, we read: “GENERAL WASHINGTON’S ILLNESS,” which is an in-depth report by the attending physicians of the circumstances of Washington’s being “attacked by an inflammatory affection of the upper part of the wind-pipe, called in the technical language Cynache Trachealis.” As was one of the “normal” procedures of the day, the doctors used leeches to bleed Washington, but to no effect (except as we now know to weaken him!). You’ll read this report probably a dozen times before you can even begin to put it down, I assure you! Please check out the scans of the various reports.
The issue is the complete 4-page newspaper, printed on heavy and durable rag stock, in very fine condition. There are thick black mourning rules on each page to signify the death of Washington. This date and title is one of but three documented issues! And, I’m sure you know that if this historic paper were a rare coin, stamp, or other type of popular collectible with this miniscule population, we’d be talking six to seven figures in value (I closely monitor the collectibles market). The fact is, we sold a similar title reporting Washington’s death, at a major NYC auction for $22,000 in spirited bidding. The Norwich Packet issue has nowhere to go in value but up, however you may not want to ever part with this gem, and choose to perhaps hand it down in your family instead. First call or email gets it!
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