George Washington Papers

From George Washington to George William Fairfax, 27 June 1770

To George William Fairfax

Mount Vernon June 27.⟨th⟩ 1770.

Dr Sir

Herewith you will receive some Letters which I brought from Williamsburg; which place I left on Saturday in the After noon. The Assembly was not then up, a few Bills remaind unfinished which woud oblige the House to set again this Week—little business of a Publick nature has been transacted—private Bills have engrossd the time of the House almost wholely since the First meeting of it.1

A New Association is formd much upon the old Plan, but more relax’d; to which the Merchants then in Town acceded—Committees in each County are to be chosen to attend to the Importations, & see if our Agreements cannot be more strictly adhered to.2 There was nothing new when I left Williamsburg—Yours & Mrs Fairfax’s Friends were well, as I suppose your Letters advise—I had many Complimts to you all (Colo. Fairfax Included)3 which as I am but a poor hand at delivering specially I must beg the favour of having them receivd in a Lump.

I am very much obligd to you for the favour of getting Stone from your Quarries I understand it has assisted me much, as it is got at much easier than with me.4 My ⟨compliments, in which Mrs Washington, &ca⟩5 join’s are tenderd & I shoud be glad to know how you all do—After a little rest, and enquiry into the state of my business; I will do myself the pleasure of seeing you at Belvoir & paying my respects to Sir Thomas.6 I am Dr Sir Yr Most Hble Servt

Go: Washington


1GW left Williamsburg on 23 June and arrived at Mount Vernon on 26 June, having spent the night of 25 June with his mother near Fredericksburg.

2The nonimportation association formed in 1769 (see GW to George Mason, 5 April 1769, and source note; Mason to GW, 5 April 1769, and notes; and Mason to GW, 28 April 1769, and notes 1 and 2) had not been as effective as GW and the other opposition leaders had hoped. GW was among those who drew up a proposal on 15 June 1770 for forming a new nonimportation association, and he was one of the 165 men who signed it on 22 June. Based on a critique of the old association that Mason sent to Richard Henry Lee on 7 June (see Rutland, Mason Papers description begins Robert A. Rutland, ed. The Papers of George Mason, 1725–1792. 3 vols. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1970. description ends , 1:116–19), the new association no longer relied solely on the examples of the great planters to secure compliance but provided for the creation of county committees to identify merchants who imported enumerated goods and then to call publicly for a general boycott of such merchants. The text of the association of 1770 is in Scribner and Tartar, Revolutionary Virginia description begins William J. Van Schreeven et al., eds. Revolutionary Virginia: The Road to Independence. A Documentary Record. 7 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1973–83. description ends , 1:79–84. At the meeting of the merchants held in Williamsburg at some time between 22 and 27 June, a committee was appointed “to take under their consideration the general state of the trade of this colony.” The committee was composed of 130 merchants from all over the colony, including John Carlyle, Thomas Kirkpatrick, and Robert Adam of Alexandria. Anyone with “any matter to recommend to the consideration of the Trade be requested to correspond with Mr. Haldenby Dixon, in Williamsburg,” who would “lay the same before the committee at their next meeting, the 30th of October, next” (“The Meeting of the Merchants,” Virginia Historical Register, 3 [1850], 79–81).

3“Colo. Fairfax” is Robert Fairfax. See Lord Fairfax to GW, 30 April 1769, n.1.

4The stone was used in the building of the mill on Dogue Run. See Cash Accounts, April 1770, n.5.

5The words in brackets were taken from Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington description begins John C. Fitzpatrick, ed. The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745–1799. 39 vols. Washington, D.C., 1931–44. description ends , 3:16–17.

6The frigate Boston, a British man-of-war commanded by Sir Thomas Adams, arrived in Virginia in March 1770 and lay at anchor in Hampton Roads. Adams went up the Potomac and remained there for “some time for the benefit of his health” (Virginia Gazette [Purdie and Dixon; Williamsburg], 6 Sept. 1770). GW wrote in his diary on 1 July: “At home—Sir Thomas Adams—the two Colo. Fairfax’s & Mr. Waker a Midshipman dined here” (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 2:253). Sir Thomas returned to Mount Vernon on 5 July for breakfast. Adams died in early October and was buried in Castle William in the Boston harbor (Virginia Gazette [Purdie and Dixon; Williamsburg], 1 Nov. 1770). See also Cash Accounts, July 1770, n.1.

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