WASHINGTON, GEORGE Early autograph letter signed.
Mount Vernon: 9 August 1759. 1 1/2 page autograph letter signed Go: Washington on recto and verso of one sheet of watermarked laid paper, with integral blank. The written page 9 x 7 1/4 inches (22.5 x 18 cm), framed open to 9 x 14 1/2 inches (22.5 x 36 cm). Puncture from seal where opened affecting a few words at foot of first page, an old dampstain obscures some text on both sides, other old faint stains and browned areas, usual folds with one small puncture in the text, the old frame chipped and the letter not removed.
A delightfully chatty letter addressed Dear Sir but written from Washington at Mount Vernon to his brother-in-law Burwell Bassett in the first year of his marriage to Martha Dandridge Custis Washington who is mentioned three times along with several other notable Virginians of the period. The letter opens regarding the delivery of a horse (a "chestnut mare" as referred to in a letter from the same day, see below) that Bassett, the husband of Martha's sister Anna Maria Dandridge, had bought from Henry Churchill. The letter continues that the newlywed couple has "nothing worth communicating" and that "Mrs. Washington is mustering up all the occurrences she can get" to transmit to her sister. Washington reports he will visit Mr. Mercer in the following month to sort his papers and that Mrs. Washington will accompany him "to clear up any doubtful matters." Next, Washington requests that Bassett collect from James Danforth a horse brand for Colonel Fairfax and draws out the "F-X" initials for him. In closing, Washington requests Canary seed for Mrs. Washington and mentions in a postscript that she requests replies to other letters enclosed (not present).
The current letter appears unpublished. For a letter written on the same day from Washington to Henry Churchill discussing the sale of the horse to Burwell Bassett see The Papers of George Washington, Colonial Series, vol. 6, 4 September 1758?-?26 December 1760, ed. W. W. Abbot. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1988, p. 338.
C Estate of Lila H. Barrows
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