George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John V. Weylie, 11 March 1789

From John V. Weylie

Alexandria 11th March [1789]1

Honoured Sir,

I have made bold to write these few lines to you to Thank you for my Education my Parents being Poor were unable to Give me much So that had it not been for your Generosity to Which I owe for my Learning I Might have remained without any all My life But since You have been so Bountiful to The Poor Inhabitants of this town As to set up A free School for the benifit of the poor Children Whose parents were not able to Give them a proper Education2 I being one of them that Reap the benifit of your bounty have here made bold to write this Letter to you for I understand you are going to New York therefore my Good wishes shall forever attend you for the Lord to bless you in your going out and in your coming in The prayers of all the poor Children in the free school as well as those of their parents Should be on you night and morning to protect you and your Lady from all perils and dangers, however Mine in particular shall be offered up to heaven for your safety for the Lord to vanquish all your Enemies in this world and to Crown you with everlasting life in the world to come I shall enlarge no farther but shall conclude by styling myself your most obedient most humble and most Devoted svt till death

John V. Weylie


John V. Weylie may have been a tutor for a time in the mid–1790s at the College of William and Mary. In December 1797 Garret Minor, a William and Mary student, wrote his friend David Watson that “Your old friend Weylie is about leaving College much to the regret of his acquaintance, and his pupils.” Weylie apparently moved next to Jamestown where his services as a tutor gave “him £60 per annum: and the fees of as many Scholars as he can get” (“Letters from William & Mary,” Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, 30 [1922], 235, 238, 243). Weylie apparently was later employed as a tutor at Abingdon for the family of Dr. David Stuart.

1The bracketed date is taken from GW’s endorsement on the verso of the letter.

2In the fall of 1785 GW was approached by Dr. William Brown and other Alexandria residents with the proposal that he become one of the trustees of a new academy in Alexandria. GW wrote that “as nothing is of more importance than the education of youth . . . I therefore not only highly approve the institution, but am thankful for the honor done me by enrolling my name among the managers of it” (GW to Brown, 24 Nov. 1785). On 17 Dec. 1785 GW approached the board of trustees with an additional proposal: “It has long been my intention to invest, at my death, one thousand pounds current money of this State, in the hands of Trustees—the interest only of which to be applied in instituting a school in the Town of Alexandria for the purpose of educating orphan children who have no other resource—or the children of such indigent parents as are unable to give it.” Although he was not able to advance that sum at the time, GW wrote, “I will until my death, or until it shall be more convenient for my Estate to advance the principal, pay the interest thereof (to wit, Fifty pounds) annually. Under this state of the matter, I submit to your consideration the practicability & propriety of blending the two institutions together, so as to make one Seminary under the direction of a President, Visitors, or such other establishment as to you shall seem best calculated to promote the objects in view.” The trustees agreed to GW’s proposal on 17 Dec., and the academy was incorporated by the Virginia legislature (12 Hening description begins William Waller Hening, ed. The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619. 13 vols. 1819–23. Reprint. Charlottesville, Va., 1969. description ends 392–93). In his will GW left $4,000, “or in other words twenty of the shares which I hold in the Bank of Alexandria,” for the support of the free school.

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