George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Richard Cary, 27 October 1789

From Richard Cary

Charlestown [Mass.]

Honoured and much Esteemed Sir,Octor 27 1789

I am prevented by the Weather (being Unwell) of Personally waiting on You, a Duty, I should have performed with great Pleasure.

Its to be Regreted, Your Continuance among us, is so short.

I look back with Gratitude, on Your Goodness, and Condescension, to me, when Your Family, was at Cambridge, and my Friend, the Late Mr Reed, was Your Secretary.

I Request the Favour of Your Acceptance of the Inclosed, which perhaps may Afford some Satisfaction, on Reading, at Your Leisure.1

I add my best wishes, that You may be long Continued, [to] the care of a Gracious Providence, a Blessing to Mankind, and Enjoy every Felecity this, and a better World, can Afford.

With Dutifull Regards to Your Good Lady, I Begg Leave to Subscribe, Honoured Sir, Your Obedient Humble Servant

Richard Cary


Richard Cary (c.1746–1806), the son of a prosperous Charlestown, Mass., merchant, graduated from Harvard in 1763 and served briefly in the British army before entering his father’s mercantile firm. His business affairs took him first to Maine and then to Maryland. He was apparently residing in Chestertown, Md., in 1775 when he traveled north to join GW’s troops outside Boston. On 15 Aug. 1775 he was appointed a brigade major and on 21 June 1776 became aide-de-camp to GW with the rank of lieutenant colonel. After he left GW’s staff in the early part of the Revolution, he spent the remainder of the war operating a mercantile trade from St. Croix. He settled in New York City around 1790, declared bankruptcy in 1796, and died in Cooperstown, New York.

1On 23 Nov. 1789 GW wrote Cary that “When I was in Boston I received your letter of the 27th of October enclosing a pamplet relating to donations which were made by Colo. Alford for civilizing & christianizing the Indians, and for other valuable purposes. My time was so occupied while on my tour to the eastward that it was not in my power to make an acknowledgement for this mark of polite attention ’till my return to this place—and I now beg you to accept it” (Df, in writing of Tobias Lear, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters). The enclosure in Cary’s letter was an, eight-page pamphlet including a letter from Cary, 1 July 1786, to the members of the “Society for propagating the Gospel among the Indians, and others, in North-America,” praising the late John Alford for his bequest to continue the society’s work. A copy of the pamphlet is in DLC:GW.

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