From William Osborne
Phila. August 29th 1793
It is with the Greatest Respect that I take this mode of informing You, that my present expences being render’d greater than heretofore by haveing a Wife added to them, Induces me to turn my attention to Some more Eligible way of Obtaining a living than Servitude, as it is impossible to Support her by my Sallery arising from my present Sittuation.1
I Have therefore Sir, with the advice, and, an Offer of Some assisstance from a friend of mine, Some thoughts of Opening a Tavern in philaa, there is a House prepareing for me which will be ready to enter about the first of October, If I may be permitted to Hope sir, for Your protection and Assistance, by a loan of a Sum not Exceeding 200 Dollars, which I shall refund with Gratitude, and I hope punctuality, in the Course of one Year after my Commencement of Bussiness, Relying Solely on Your known disposition to do good, is the Only Reason I have to expect this indulgence.2
I do not mean Sir, to Quit your Service Untill the first of October, or Such time as You are Suited with a proper Servant.3 I am Sir with the Highest Respect, and ever shall be, Your Very Humble Servt
1. Osborne earned $140 per annum as GW’s valet de chambre. (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 , 183; Household Accounts description begins Presidential Household Accounts, 1793–97. Manuscript, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. description ends , 23 Mar. 1793).
2. According to GW’s Household Accounts description begins Presidential Household Accounts, 1793–97. Manuscript, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. description ends for 9 Sept. 1793, GW lent Osborne $100 “to be repaid in one year.”
3. When GW departed Philadelphia on 10 Sept., Osborne remained behind, only to die in the yellow fever epidemic then prevalent throughout the city (JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 239; Carey, Short Account of the Malignant Fever description begins Mathew Carey. A Short Account of the Malignant Fever, Lately Prevalent in Philadelphia: With a Statement of the Proceedings that took place on the Subject, in Different Parts of the United States . . .. 1794. Reprint. New York, 1970. description ends , 150).