George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Andrew Burnaby, 4 January 1760

From Andrew Burnaby

Williamsburg Jan. 4. 1760.


I arrived here yesterday & take the first opportunity of writing to thank you & Mrs Washington for the many civilities I received at Mt Vernon.1 It gives me some concern when I consider the obligations I lie under in Virginia to think how I shall be able to return them: indeed I am afraid it will only be in my power to retain a proper sense of them; which I always shall do.

I have the pleasure to acquaint you that your friends in these parts are all well. They inquire after you, particularly the Govr and Mrs Fauquier, and seem to regret very much that Mrs Washington & yourself are so far from Williamsburg.

We have little or no news—there having been no late arrivals either from Engd or the Northward. The Speaker was married I believe last week: on which occasion nothing appeared but youth and gaiety. The new married Couple are now gone to their seat in the country.2 As a counterpart to this, I find that Mrs Burwell of James River was buried a few days ago; that Geo. Braxton has been dying of a pleurisy; but is now something better; I believe out of danger.3 Yr much obliged & humble Servt

A. Burnaby

ALS (photocopy), ViMtvL; Sprague transcript, DLC:GW.

The Anglican clergyman Andrew Burnaby (c.1734–1812) landed at Yorktown, Va., on 6 July 1759 to begin an extended tour of the English colonies in North America, during which he visited Mount Vernon in 1759 and again in 1760. According to the account of his North American travels that he published in 1775, Burnaby left Williamsburg for northern Virginia on 1 October. After visiting Fredericksburg and traveling about for some time, “From Colchester,” he wrote, “we went about twelve miles farther to Mount Vernon. This place is the property of colonel Washington, and truly deserving of its owner*. The house is most beautifully situated upon a very high hill on the banks of the Potowmac; and commands a noble prospect of water, of cliffs, of woods and plantations. . . . We rested here one day, and proceeded up the river about twenty-six miles to take a view of the Great Falls. . . . In the evening we returned down the river about sixteen miles to Alexandria. . . . The next day we returned to colonel Washington’s, and in a few days afterward to Williamsburg” (Burnaby, Travels description begins Andrew Burnaby. Travels through the Middle Settlements in North-America, In the Years 1759 and 1760 . . .. London, 1775. description ends , 28–30). The asterisk refers to Burnaby’s note about “the gallant and public spirit of this gentleman” as shown in his volunteer mission to the French commandant in the Ohio country in 1753. Burnaby visited Mount Vernon again in June 1760 (see Burnaby to GW, 23 June 1760).

1See the note above.

2John Robinson, age 55, conducted his third and last bride, Susanna Chiswell, daughter of Col. John Chiswell of Williamsburg, to Mount Pleasant on the Mattaponi in King and Queen County after his marriage on 21 Dec. 1759.

3Mrs. Burwell was probably Lucy Grymes Burwell of Carter’s Grove, widow of Carter Burwell. George Braxton, who died in 1761, at this time represented King and Queen County in the House of Burgesses.

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