To Mary Ball Washington
Mount Vernon Sept 30 1757
Honored Madam—Your letter by Mr. Smith I received on my way to Col Fairfax’s funeral;1 in answer to that part relative to my Bro’r Charles’ Marriage I shall observe, that if there is no other objection than the one you mention, it may soon be removed; and that Mrs Thornton if she believes I am capable of taking these ungenrous advantages, knows little of the principles which govern my conduct:—however I suppose Mrs Thornton is actuated by prudent Motives and therefore would be safe.—If she will get any Instrument of writing drawn I will sign it provided it does not effect me in other respects than her Daughters Fortune, if my Brother dies under Age.2
I have waited till now, expecting the arrival of my Negros Cloaths from Great Britain; but as the season is advancing, and risks attending them I can no longer depend, and therefore beg the favour of you to choose me about 250 yds Oznbitgs 200 yds of cotton 35 pr Plad Hoes and as much thread as is necessary in Mr Lewis’ Store if he has them if not in Mr Jackson’s and send them up by Jno who comes down with a Tumbler for that purpose.3
I set out this afternoon on my return to Winchester.
I offer my Love to Charles, and am Hon’d Madam, Yr. most Dutiful and affect’e Son
Magazine of American History, 6 (1881), 128.
1. The letter from Mary Ball Washington, GW’s mother, has not been found. Mr. Smith may have been GW’s friend Lt. Charles Smith, who was in Fredericksburg (where presumably Mrs. Washington was) as late as 21 Sept. when he was absolved of blame for killing a man (see Charles Lewis to GW, 21 Sept. 1757).
2. Charles Washington (1738–1799), GW’s youngest brother, and Mildred Thornton, daughter of Col. Francis Thornton (d. 1749) of Spotsylvania County, were married in 1757. Mrs. Thornton apparently feared that if Charles Washington died while still a minor her daughter would not have a widow’s rights and his property would go to his older brother.
3. Mr. Lewis is Fielding Lewis and Mr. Jackson is Robert Jackson. John was GW’s servant John Alton. A tumbler was a sort of cart.