George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Charles Landon Carter, 3 March 1795

From Charles Landon Carter

Philadelphia March 3d 1795

Dear Sir

You will doubtless be much surprized at this address, but, I flatter myself, put the mildest construction upon it.

My Father, having sustained a considerable loss by the death of Dr Hutchinson, with whom I lived in this City, declared his inability to support me longer in the prosecution of my medical studies. Thus, I remained idle, possessing the desire but totally deprived of the means of pursuing the profession, upon the study of which I had embarked—Mr Jefferson, at that time Secretary of State for the United States, hearing of my situation, appointed me a clerk in his office, to which annually arose five hundred dollars1—Mr Randolph, at his succession, continued me in that capacity, wherein I have remained ever since, thereby enabled to prosecute my studies, tho’ with less energy than before—I am now appointed Surgeon on board a Ship bound to China: the terms are, either twenty dollars a month and the privilege of adventuring five hundred dollars, or the privilege of adventuring two thousand dollars and no wages. The terms first mentioned, it would seem most prudent to accept—My object therefore is, Sir, to procure the loan of six hundred dollars, (one hundred being requisite to equip me for the voyage)—If you will be so obliging as to make use of your interest in my behalf, I shall esteem it a favor not easily to be forgotten—Sixteen months will, in all probability, elapse before a return from such a voyage can be accomplished.2 I am Dr Sir, with great respect Yr obnt Servant

Charles L. Carter.


1Dr. James Hutchinson died on 6 Sept. 1793, a victim of the yellow fever epidemic. Carter was appointed a clerk in the State Department on 26 Dec. 1793 (see Charles Carter to Thomas Jefferson, 19 Dec. 1793, 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 , 27:589–90).

2An entry of 11 March in GW’s accounts records that $200 was “lent Mr Chas L. Carter, by order of the President (to be repaid on his return from the East Indies)” (Household Accounts description begins Presidential Household Accounts, 1793–97. Manuscript, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. description ends ; see also “Sundries bot on account of G.W.,” 20 Nov. 1789–6 June 1796, CtY: Washington Family Papers). Carter repaid the loan in 1797 (Carter to GW, 2 June 1797, Papers, Retirement Series description begins W. W. Abbot et al., eds. The Papers of George Washington, Retirement Series. 4 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1998–99. description ends , 1:165–66).

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