George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Bryan Fairfax, 15 September 1758

From Bryan Fairfax

Belvoir, Septr the 15th 1758

Dear Sir,

In Answer to your Enquiry I can scarce say whether I am alive or dead: I have been so long disorder’d both in Mind and Body that I am really between both. Disappointments in Love & repeated Colds have reduced me much;1 however tho’ I am sensible of the Follies of this Life I am no ways desirous of leaving them: I had rather bear the Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune than venture upon the unknown Regions of Eternity. The Prospect is gloomy even when viewed by a Mind that thinks itself prepared for the Journey; but how dismal it must appear to those who are unprepared for it! As this is Case there seems to be no Wonder why we are so unwilling to leave this World of Troubles and Anxieties.

I am concerned Sir to find you want Employment for from Experience I know a State of Idleness to be very disagreeable.2 Such a close Confinement and such a constant Round of Inactivity must prove very irksome to one capable of Action; and if you had complained more of the Follies of this life and the Uncertainty of it’s Enjoyments; in your present Situation Sir I should not have been surprised at it.

As we have now begun I shall be extremely proud to cultivate a Correspondence, and if you choose to give me your Sentiments on the Campaign whatever you desire to be kept secret shall remain so.

My best Wishes, Sir, attend You to the Woods of Action; and that you may return in Safety is the sincere Desire of Yr most obedt Servt

Bryan Fairfax

We have heard Nothing of my Brother since he left N. York.3


1For the most recent references to the love affairs of Bryan Fairfax, see John Kirkpatrick to GW, 23 Aug. 1758. Bryan Fairfax was the half brother of George William Fairfax of Belvoir.

2Fairfax was referring to the months GW had spent in camp at Fort Cumberland awaiting orders from General Forbes.

3William Henry Fairfax, Bryan Fairfax’s younger brother, went to New York in the fall of 1757 and bought with the approval of Lord Loudoun an ensign’s commission in the 28th Regiment of Foot. He was killed in James Wolfe’s siege of Quebec in September 1759.

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