George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Henry Lee, 6 January 1793

From Henry Lee

Richmond January 6th 93

Permit me my dear president to offer my congratulations on the late unanimous renewal of affection & confidence on the part of your fellow-citizens, & to pray that the auspicious event may be attended with the happiest effects to you and to them.1

Col. Basset died on the fourth instant in consequence of a fall from his horse—Your amiable nephew at Eltham continues to linger without the smallest chance of recovery, and Mrs Washington enjoys a tolerable state of health in the midst of calamity2—this information I have from Doctor Mcclurg who attended Colo. Basset during his illness.3

I beg leave to present my respects to Mrs Washington & to assure you of the entire respect & attachment with which I have the honor to be Your most ob: sert

Henry Lee


1On 5 Dec. 1792 the electoral college cast 132 votes to elect GW unanimously to a second term as president.

2On 3 Sept. 1792 GW had written Edmund Randolph that Burwell Bassett, who was then at Mount Vernon, “was siezed hand & foot, with the Gout on the Road, & has not been out of his bed since; nor in a condition to communicate what he knows if he was disposed to do it.” GW’s description of Bassett’s condition suggests that he suffered not from gout but from some type of stroke and that perhaps a similar episode precipitated his fatal fall in January. At the time of her father’s death, Frances Bassett Washington and her husband, George Augustine Washington, were at Bassett’s home in New Kent County, Virginia.

3Dr. James McClurg (c.1746–1823), one of Virginia’s most prominent physicians, studied medicine in Edinburgh, London, and Paris before returning to Williamsburg in 1773 to set up his medical practice. During the Revolutionary War he served as physician and director general of the Virginia military hospital from 1777 to 1780, and during the closing years of the war he was surgeon for the state navy. From 1779 to 1783 McClurg was a professor of anatomy and medicine at the College of William and Mary. After his professorship was discontinued in 1783, he moved to Richmond. In 1787 McClurg was appointed a member of the Virginia delegation to the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention. McClurg served as mayor of Richmond in the late 1790s and early 1800s, and he became the first president of the Medical Society of Virginia in 1820.

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