George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Timothy Pickering, 23 October 1793

From Timothy Pickering

Philadelphia Octr 23. 1793.


I wrote you by Monday’s post.1 That afternoon I went to see Mr Peters; and had the pleasure to find that your accommodation and a suitable provision for Congress had engaged the attention of him and divers other citizens of Philadelphia who were scattered in the adjacent country. They have had some consultations on the subject; and will continue them until suitable provision shall be made; of which he has promised to give me early information.

It is Mr Peters’s opinion that the city will be perfectly safe for the assembling of Congress the first week in December: but lest it should be otherwise, competent provision will be made at Germantown. He says that a number of the citizens of Philadelphia are preparing to quit Germantown, for places on the river where they can better receive and dispose of their fall goods. These removals & the other measures which he and his fellow citizens will take, will make room for the members of Congress. He says also, that an Academy and an adjacent building at Germantown will answer very well for the meeting of the two houses of Legislature⟨.⟩ Their first object will be to provide for you the most convenient house the adjacent country will afford, to which, if you think proper you can soon resort. I will give you the earliest notice when this provision is made.

As I mentioned in my last, the fever has not been known in Germantown, except with persons who had carried the infection from the city. And Mr Peters mentioned a remarkable fact—That from all such deaths in the country, not a single instance had been known of the infection being communicated. On my way to Germantown yesterday, I spoke of this circumstance to a reputable man whom I knew, and who lives near Fair-Hill: He confirmed it by many2 instances which he said had fallen under his own knowledge. By this it would seem, that persons not previously contaminated by the impure air of the city, were not susceptible of the disease.

My ride to Germantown yesterday was on purpose to see the Attorney General: but he was not at home.

I am waiting for an answer from the Mayor to a letter I wrote him last evening, requesting authentic information of the number of deaths, and of the present state of the disease.

I have sent my servant a second time for the Mayor’s answer: but he does not return; and the closing of the mail being at hand, I must conclude now, and write again by the next post.3 I am most respectfully sir, Your obedient servant

Timothy Pickering

ALS, DLC:GW; ADfS, MHi: Pickering Papers.

2On the draft, Pickering initially wrote “near seventy,” but he struck those words out when he revised the sentence.

3A note written on the draft reads: “Afterwards recd the Mayors answer, and inclosed it in another letter of this date, to the President” (see below).

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