Samuel Blair to Tobias Lear
Tuesday afternoon [27 March 1792]1
Allow me, Sir, the liberty, which I now assume, of addressing the President of the United States through you in consequence of the unavoidable delay of an answer to his and Mrs Washington’s invitation to Mrs Blair and myself to dine with them on Thursdy next.2 The delay was owing to my not being able to procure an earlier information from Mrs Blair on the subject.
She is very sorry that it is not in her power, on account of the badness of the road from Germantown, to come into Town this week. She therefore requests that her apology may be made.
At the same time, allow me likewise to communicate through you my desire of being excused on the present occasion, partly on account of ill health,3 & partly on other considerations, which render it inconvenient for me to do myself the intended honor on Thursday next. Your very respectful humble Servant
Samuel Blair (1741–1818) graduated from the College of New Jersey in 1760 and held a pastorate in Boston before settling in Germantown, Pa., where he became rector of a Presbyterian church. He served as a chaplain in the Continental army during the Revolutionary War, retiring in the winter of 1780–81 due to ill health. When the federal government moved to Philadelphia in late 1790, Blair obtained a position as congressional chaplain, which he held for two years.
1. When this undated letter was printed in 1933, the editor supplied the date of 26 Mar. 1792, which was a Monday (Decatur, Private Affairs of George Washington, description begins Stephen Decatur, Jr. Private Affairs of George Washington: From the Records and Accounts of Tobias Lear, Esquire, his Secretary. Boston, 1933. description ends 258–59).
2. Susannah Shippen (1743 –1821), the eldest daughter of prominent Philadelphia physician William Shippen, Sr., married Blair on 24 Sept. 1769.
3. Blair also had been unable to attend GW’s birthday celebrations in February 1792 because he was confined to his bed (see William White to Lear, 21 Feb., in GW to Thomas Jefferson, 11 Feb., note 2).