George Washington Papers

To George Washington from James B. M. Adair, 31 August 1793

From James B. M. Adair

New york August 31st 1793.


I take the liberty to inclose to your Excellency, a letter, which was entrusted to my care by Sir Edward Newenham of Dublin, who desired me to deliver it in person, an honour which I should certainly have done myself, had I not been detained in this part of the Country by business, & by the contagious fever, which, I am extremely sorry to find, prevails at Philadelphia.1 As I am thus under a necessity of deferring my journey to the Southern States, and consequently the honour and happiness of paying my duty to your Excellency, I have thought it adviseable to transmit Sir Edward’s letter to Philadelphia. I hope this will prove a sufficient Apology for the liberty I have taken, of addressing your Excellency on the present occasion.

On my arrival from London, the day before yesterday, I took the liberty to inclose to the Secretary of State a few of the latest London Newspapers, addressed, Sir, to you, and by the days Coach I have the honour to transmit a few of the Magazines & Reviews of the two last months. and at the same time a packet from Sir John Sinclair, who has commissioned me to make, and transmit to him the result of enquiries respecting the present State of the Agriculture in the United States.2

May I hope that Your Excellency will pardon the freedom I have used, of intruding on your time, successfully employed in promoting the happiness of a grateful people, and that I may be permitted to subscribe myself, with the highest veneration Sir Your Excellency’s most devoted And obedient Servant

James M. Adair M.D.


1The letter from Newenham to GW was probably that of 7 June 1793, in which Newenham recommended Adair. For a contemporary account of the yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia, see 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 .

2For Adair’s letter to Thomas Jefferson of 29 Aug. 1793, see Jefferson Papers description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 40 vols. to date. Princeton, N.J., 1950—. description ends , 26:775–76. Adair was transmitting John Sinclair’s letter to GW of 15 June 1793 and its enclosed plan for the establishment of the British Board of Agriculture and Internal Improvement.

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