George Washington Papers

To George Washington from George William Fairfax, 1 September 1758

From George William Fairfax

Belvoir Septr 1st 1758

Dear Sir

I have this instant recd yours of the 22d & 27th Ultimo.1 The first Mrs Fairfax undertakes to answer, as I dont care to detain the bearer, and having several Culpeper People now waiting upon business2—You may depend Sir that Mr Patterson shall have all the Assistance I am able to give him, and shall do all I can to forward his Work. But I begin to doubt whether it will be finished before we may reasonably expect you down. One very great reason for my thinking so is The goods from York are not arrived, neither do I know when they will, altho. I have wrote to your Brother John, & to Mr Ambler if possible to hasten them up.3

Your Overseer has housed some Tobaco and by the help of a late very soaking rain, I hope he will secure a good Crop of both Corn and Tobaco, which is more than any I hear can boast of. For I never Remember so very dry a Season, and till this late blessed rain, there was not a green blade of Grass to be seen on my Plantation, and every thing began to whither, indeed most of my Pear, and many of my Apple Trees are dead (and I am sorry to say your two Chestnuts before the House) But thank God the face of things begin to revive. But never so as to make in Genl more than quarter Crops.

Knowing that you have the Philadelphia Papers more frequent and regular than we, I think it needless to recite the particulars of the reduction of Louisburg, and some advantages gained in Europe. And shall only rejoice with you, and every Loyal and well affected Person, upon having the Dunkirk of America in our hands, and at so little loss of blood.4 I was going to Expatiate upon it’s Advantages, till I recollected it was needless to one of your knowledge of the Continent. And being call’d upon by an impatient Man at my Elbow,5 which I hope will be a sufficient Apology to conclude with all our Compliments, And to wish you, and our Countrymen may return with Laurels sufficient to Perpetuate their Names to the latest Ages. I am Dear Sir Your Most Obedient and very humble Servt

Wm Fairfax

P.S. As there is no dependance on Mr Ballendine, I shall endeavour to get Plank for the Floors else where, otherwise to see whether we cant do without, and make the old look as well as possible.6

I am really sorry the Ladies wont dispense my going with them to Hampton, but I will put it off as long as I can in hopes of seeing the goods from York, (which I believe will be about three weeks hence).


1GW’s letters of 22 and 27 Aug. have not been found.

2It was in answer to Sarah Cary Fairfax’s (missing) letter of this date that GW wrote his remarkable letter of 12 September.

3For a discussion of the goods at Yorktown, see John Carlyle to GW, 1 Sept., n.4. Mr. Ambler was probably Edward Ambler (1732–1768) of Jamestown, the husband of Mary Cary Ambler, George William Fairfax’s sister-in-law.

4Louisburg fell on 28 July.

5The impatient man was Thomas Burris who brought down from GW at his camp the two missing letters to Fairfax (see note 1) as well as the missing letter of 27 Aug. to John Carlyle and the missing letter to Humphrey Knight referred to in Knight’s letter of 2 September. Burris got back to Fort Cumberland from Alexandria and Winchester on 11 Sept. with letters from Alexandria and environs, written by John Carlyle (1 Sept.), George William Fairfax (1 Sept., two [1] [2]), Sarah Cary Fairfax (1 Sept., missing), Humphrey Knight (2 Sept.), John Patterson (2 Sept.), and probably John Kirkpatrick (3 Sept.), and with letters from Winchester and environs written by Charles Smith (7 Sept.) and perhaps by Christopher Hardwick (3 Sept.).

6John Patterson, who was in charge of the work on the house at Mount Vernon, complained of not having the “Plank” he needed and expressed his doubts that John Ballendine would deliver as promised. Patterson wrote on 2 Sept. that it was due to Fairfax that he had boards to lay any floors at all. For other references to the new flooring at Mount Vernon, see George William Fairfax to GW, 5 Aug., n.1.

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