We do have a full explanation of change of Washington's birthday on our website under "Frequently Asked Questions" (see the fifth question).
My quotations are from Douglas Southall Freeman's multi-volume biography of Washington. In volume 1, the frontispiece shows the family bible page that records:
"George Washington; Son to Augustine & Mary his Wife was born the 11th Day of February 1731/2 about 10 in the Morning & was Baptis'd the 5th of April following."
For the change of the date see volume 6, p. 295, note 99. Freeman says that by 1792 Washington had adopted February 22 New Style as his birthday. Certainly it was celebrated on that date in Philadelphia, but for Alexandia's retention of the February 11th date, see volume 7, pages, 492 and 564.
My "nativity" quotation is off a bit. A Republican newspaper the New York Argus mockingly referred in its 6 March 1796 issue to the birthday celebration as a "Political Christmas" (Freeman, 7:343-44).
The Jefferson quotation, which is in Freeman, 7:493, is from Jefferson's letter to Madison of 15 Feb. 1798: "the birthdays which have been kept, have been not those of the President, but of the General."
For Abigail Adams's views, see Freeman, 7:493, note 41.
Republican journalist Benjamin Bache, who was one of Washington's bitterest critics, in the Philadlephia Aurora on 20 Feb. 1796, remined his readers that previous birthday celebrations had been so extravagant that it was little wonder that President Washington behave "with all the insolence of an Emperor of Rome." (Freeman, 7:342)
Another point of view was expressed by English traveler Isaac Weld, who said:
"No one town of any importance was there in the whole Union where some meeting did not take place in honor of this day. Yet, singular as it may appear, there are people in the Country . . . who are either so insenisble to his merit, or so totally devoid of every generous sentiment, that they can refuse to join in commendations of those talents to which thye are so much indebted. Indeed, to such a length has this perverse spirit been carried, that I have myself seen numbers of men . . . that have peremptorily refused even to pay him the small compliment of drinking to his health after dinner . . . If their public affairs were regulated by a person sent from heaven, I firmly believe his acts . . . would by many be considered deceitful and flagitious." (From Weld, Travels through the States of North America, pp. 61-62, quoted in Freeman, 7:344).
For a description of a birthday celebration by Washington in 1794, see Freeman, 7: 154-55, n.56.
Phil Chase (electronic mail, February 9, 2001).
Philander D. Chase email@example.com