George Washington Papers

To George Washington from David Griffith, 31 March 1788

From David Griffith

March 31st 1788

Dear Sir,

The enclosed paper contains a Statement of your Subscription to the first of August last, when, by a resolution of the vestry, at their last meeting, the Pew rent was to commence in lieu of it. If it be convenient, should be greatly obliged to you for the balance.1 With respectful Compliments to Mrs Washington, I am, Dr Sir Your most humble & obedt Servt

D. Griffith


1GW wrote in his diary on 31 Mar. that “a Son of Revd. Mr. Griffiths came here on business of his fathers & stayed to dinner” (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 5:293). The “Subscription” had been the annual payment the parishioners made for the minister’s support.

A new vestry was elected for Fairfax Parish on 28 Mar. 1785 after the incorporating of the Protestant Episcopal Church by the Virginia legislature in 1784. The church no longer received tithes, and on 25 April 1785 GW and seven other pewholders at the Alexandria church signed an agreement to pay an annual pew rent of £5 for the support of the minister and the church. The next year, on 21 Mar. 1786, the members were asked to sign a subscription “to pay to the Minister and Vestry of Fairfax Parish yearly to commence the first day of May next . . . the sums affixed to our respective names” for the support of the ministry and church. At the “last meeting,” on 22 Aug. 1787, however, the resolution was made “that a subscription be offered to such Members of the Church as do not pay pew rent in aid of the Salary to be raised for the Minister exclusive of the Glebe And that the money arising from such subscription together with that arising from the Pew-rents be applied to wards furnishing such salary not exceeding One Hundred and fifty pounds per annum Which shall be paid to The Revd Doctr David Griffith for his support” (Fairfax Parish Vestry Minutes description begins Manuscript in Christ Church Archives, Alexandria, Va. description ends ). For GW’s earlier affiliation with the Alexandria church, see GW to John Dalton, 15 Feb. 1773, n.1. Griffith sent his son again to GW in November to collect the pew rent for 1787–88 (Griffith to GW, 3 Nov. 1788). See also Griffith to GW, 26 April 1787, n.1.

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