George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Fitzgerald and James Craik, 13 March 1797

From John Fitzgerald and James Craik

Alexandria Monday afternoon [13 March 1797]

Dear Sir

A number of the Inhabitants of this town & its Vicinity wish to have the pleasure of meeting you on your entrance into the State & escorting you to Mt Vernon[.] As they flatter themselves that this token of their sincere affection & esteem will not meet your disapprobation, they have dispatched the bearer & request you will let them know at what time you will probably cross the ferry that they may regulate themselves accordingly.1 We have the honor to be your mo. Obedt Servts

John Fitzgerald

James Craik


1The plan of GW’s friends John Fitzgerald, a merchant in Alexandria who frequently handled business matters for GW, and James Craik, GW’s doctor, to have inhabitants of Alexandria escort GW and his party from the town to Mount Vernon did not materialize. As GW later wrote, he “avoided in every instance where [he] had any previous knowledge of the intention, and could by earnest entreaties prevail, all parade or escorts” (GW to James McHenry, 3 April 1797).

On 13 Mar. GW “lodged in Bladensburgh.” The next day in Washington he dined with Eliza Parke Custis Law (1776–1832), Martha Washington’s oldest grandchild, and her husband, Thomas Law (1759–1834), and slept at the house of Martha Parke Custis Peter (1777–1854), Mrs. Washington’s second grandchild, and her husband Thomas Peter (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 6:238–39). On 15 Mar., after receiving “the Compliments of the Citizens of George Town as I had done the day before of those of the City of Washington,” he “Stopped in Alexa. & got to Mt. V. to dinner” (ibid., 239). While GW was in Georgetown he received an address from the faculty of Georgetown College: “Sir, When you are the admiration of the world and the Idol of your fellow-Citizens we thought it incumbent on the members of a public Institution to wait on one who Stands to us as well as to the rest of America in the double relation of Father and Saviour. Your partiality to Seminaries of Learning, of which you have given innumerable proofs, Since your character rose first in the Universe, and especially in your late address to the People of America, which has earned to you the additional praise of being friendly to the Muses, and the Patron of those who introduce others to their acquaintance, emboldens us now to invite you to an asylum we have prepared for them, not doubting but your presence will be a Signal for them to take their flight to our hill, and consecrate it as they did, of old, those of Thessaly and greece. Religion and Sound Policy who preside on the helm of our Institution, will exult at contemplating within their walls the hero who reflects on them So much glory—they already Stretch forth their hands to blend with the nine Sisters a happy and eternal union, under the auspices of the peculiar favourite whom they all claim with an equal emulation, and indeed with equal right Since Posterity will be at a loss to discern to which of them he has done more honour” (DLC:GW).

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