George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Joseph Wharton, Jr., 15 September 1779

To Joseph Wharton, Jr.

West-point Septr 15th 1779.


Your favor of the 25th Ulto from Philadelphia came safe to my hands a few days ago1—as did the letters you were so obliging as to bring from my old acquaintance and friend Colo. Mercer.2 A Gentn for whom I always had a sincere regard.

What walk of life he has been in the last four or five years—and what line of conduct he has observed in this great contest I am totally uninformed of. but from the opinion I entertain of his honor—his justice—and his love to this Country I would feign hope that it has been altogether unexceptionable.

I recollect with pleasure the civilities you did me the honor to confer on me in Philadelphia at the period you mention3 and shall be happy in an occasion to testify the sense I entertain of them being Sir Yr Most Obedt Hble Servt

Go: Washington

ADfS, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1This letter has not been found.

2George Mercer had written to GW on 28 Nov. 1778 and 9 March 1779, but the packet forwarded by Wharton apparently enclosed another letter or letters. Among a large collection of Mercer family papers plundered by Union troops during the Civil War was a letter of 19 Oct. 1779 from Wharton to James Mercer, “relating to an application to General Washington in behalf of George Mercer, that the latter might return to America and enjoy his estate, etc.” (WMQ, description begins The William and Mary Quarterly: A Magazine of Early American History. Williamsburg, Va. description ends 1st Ser., 1:200). George Mercer never returned to America; he died in Paris in 1784.

3GW had dined at Wharton’s home in Philadelphia on 12 Oct. 1774 (Diaries, description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends 3:285).

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