George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Samuel Powel, 24 November 1788

To Samuel Powel

Mount Vernon Novr 24th 1788.

Dear Sir,

Permit me to introduce the bearer, Mr Fairfax, to your acquaintance & civilities. He is the Son of the Revd Mr Fairfax—nearly related to Lord Fairfax—and God-son to your Hble servant.1 But that which will be his best recommendation, is his own merits—He is a young Gentleman of fortune and goes to Philadelphia for the laudable purpose of compleating his Studies.

With respectful compliments and best wishes for Mrs Powell. I have the honor to be Dear Sir Yr Most Obedt Hble Servt

Go: Washington

ALS, ViMtvL.

Samuel Powel (1739–1793) of Philadelphia and his wife Elizabeth Willing Powel (1742–1830), were close friends of the Washington family during the presidential years. Powel, who for many years served as mayor of Philadelphia, was a member of the American Philosophical Society, a founder of the University of Pennsylvania, a manager of the Pennsylvania Hospital, and president of the Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture. His wife was the sister of Thomas Willing, a Philadelphia banker, and of Mary Willing Byrd, widow of William Byrd III of Westover.

1For references to young Fairfax, see Battaile Muse to GW, 6 Nov. 1788, n.2. The present Lord Fairfax was Robert Fairfax, seventh baron Fairfax of Cameron (1707–1793), a cousin of Ferdinando Fairfax. Fairfax, who succeeded to the title on the death of Thomas, Lord Fairfax, in 1781, resided at Leeds Castle, the Fairfax seat in Yorkshire, England. GW met him when Fairfax visited his Virginia relatives at Belvoir and Greenway Court from 1768 to 1771. On 24 Nov. GW also sent a letter of introduction for Ferdinando Fairfax to Thomas Ruston, a Philadelphia physician and business associate of Robert Morris (privately owned manuscript). When Ruston came to the United States in 1785 he brought a letter of introduction to GW from George William and Sarah Cary Fairfax (2 July 1785, DLC:GW).

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