George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Robert Stewart, 17 September 1761

From Robert Stewart

Philadelphia Sepr 17th 1761

My dear Sir

I arrived here last Saturday in Compy with Doctor Stuart who laid a State of your case before Doctor Macleane and now send you their opinions1 But as the changes to which your Disorder are Subject and the distance of Time and Place may probably in some measure destroy the efficacy of what they prescribe I would earnestly beg leave to recommend your coming here as soon as the circumstances of your affairs can possibly permit for when I consider the advantages you must derive from being under the immediate care of the most eminent and universally acknowledg’d ablest Physician on the Continent in a place where you could enjoy variety of agreeable Compy &Ca as well as from change of air I cannot help again repeating my entreaties of your loosing none of that valuable Time requisite to re-establish your Health with which no Bussiness however important ought to be put in competition.

This place is at present very barren of News, this Days Paper which I enclose you contains what little there is except a Report of a Peace which it’s hop’d will turn out groundless, nothing as yet has transpir’d with regard to the destination of the Troops Encampt on Staten Island but a man of war is daily expected from England with Dispatches for the General.2

I have applied to General Monckton for leave to attend him as a Volunteer on the intended Expedition (in case our Governor will agree to it) I have likewise requested his Interest to procure me the Purchass of a Compy and in the event of my Success will give you the earliest Intelligence of it3—I propose to set out for Camp in a few days from whence I will do myself the pleasure to write you what ever I can pick up that may merit your notice—I am extremely anxhous to know how you do and were it not that writing may be disagreeable in your present situation I would beg a line if ever so short by every oppy for this place Directed to the Care of Messrs Macleane & Stuart4 for I’m perswaded you will not hesitate to beleive that nothing could make me so happy as an accot of your perfect Recovery which I with all my Soul most ardently wish Please offer my Respectfull Complemts to your Lady I ever am with the most perfect & unalterable Regard My Dear Colonel Your most Affectionat & Most Obliged humble Servt

Robert Stewart


1Saturday was 12 September. John Stewart (Stuart) was a surgeon in the Virginia Regiment. Laughlin (Lauchlin) Macleane (c.1728–1778), a graduate of the University of Edinburgh, was a surgeon in Charles Otway’s 38th Regiment in Philadelphia. A contemporary described him as a man of “great skill in his profession” and “a man of wit and general information” with a “distressing impediment in his speech” (Graydon, Memoirs description begins Alexander Graydon. Memoirs of His Own Time. With Reminiscences of the Men and Events of the Revolution. Edited by John Stockton Littell. Philadelphia, 1846. description ends , 42). For GW’s prolonged illness in the summer of 1761, see GW to Andrew Burnaby, 27 July 1761, n.7.

3There was considerable pressure for Stewart to return to the Virginia Regiment in which he held the rank of major. In early September, Lt. Col. Adam Stephen wrote Gov. Francis Fauquier that officers in the regiment now on Virginia’s southern frontier were “thinking it Extreamly hard to Enter an Enemy’s Country, & fight the Battles of Gentlemen, who [like Stewart] belong to other Regiments, and are abroad pushing their own private Interest, without regard to that of the Colony, or the honor of the Regiment.” A few weeks later while en route for a meeting with Gen. Jeffrey Amherst in New York, Fauquier saw Stewart in Philadelphia and reported that Stewart “told me that he should make his Option to continue in the Virginia Regiment” while pursuing his career with the regulars. When Fauquier expressed the hope that Stewart would “be immediately orderd back to our Regiment,” Amherst responded that “if he persists in his Resolution of Continuing in the Virginia Regiment, I shall certainly order him to Join it” (Stephen to Fauquier, 7 Sept., Fauquier to Amherst, 11 Oct., and Amherst to Fauquier, 15 Nov. 1761, all in Reese, Fauquier description begins George Reese, ed. The Official Papers of Francis Fauquier, Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, 1758–1768. 3 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1980–83. description ends , 2:569–70, 583–84, 590).

4See note 1.

Index Entries