George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Charles Landon Carter, 2 June 1797

From Charles Landon Carter

Fredericksb[ur]g June 2d 1797

Dear Sir

With diffidence I now address you, in consequence of having failed, after my first Voyage from China, to return the two hundred Dollars you favored me with the Loan of—Be assured, Dr Sir, that I left goods unsold, at the time of my Departure from Philadelphia the second Voyage, & directed that the money arising therefrom should be paid to you, but, the Integrity of my Agent did not prove to be so uncorrupted as I had flattered myself—I have, at this late period, sent by Mr G. Lewis the sum of two hundred Dollars with interest thereon from the 18th March 1795 to the 1st June 1797. That sum has laid the foundation of a pretty fortune, for which I shall ever feel myself indebted to you.1

To convince you, that I am gratefully impressed with a sense of your goodness, suffice it to say, that at the time I made application to you, I had been refused a loan of the same sum by a very near Relation—My Mother joins me in thanks & good wishes for yr wellfare.2 I am with great respect Dr Sir Yr Obt Servant

Charles L. Carter


Dr. Charles Landon Carter (born c.1774) was the son of Charles Carter, Jr.(1733–1796), of Ludlow and his wife Elizabeth Chiswell Carter (d. 1804). Dr. Carter lived in Fredericksburg.

1Charles Carter, Jr., of Ludlow, son of Charles Carter of Cleve and an old friend of GW’s who had lost most of what had since been a large fortune, wrote GW several times in 1793 and 1794 to ask for advice and help in establishing his two oldest sons in professions. Charles Landon Carter, the younger of the two sons, had been placed with Dr. James Hutchinson of Philadelphia in 1792 to study medicine. When Dr. Hutchinson died in 1793 young Carter’s father, unable to continue financing him, secured from Thomas Jefferson for Charles Landon a clerkship in the State Department, making it possible for the young man to pursue his studies in the evenings. In 1795 Carter secured a position as surgeon on a ship in the China trade. In addition to being paid a small salary, he was permitted to adventure five hundred dollars on the voyage. The two hundred dollars that GW had lent him was for this purpose. See especially Charles Carter to GW, 15 Sept. 1793, and Charles Landon Carter to GW, 3 Mar. 1795.

2GW replied from Mount Vernon on 10 June: “Dear Sir By Majr Geo: Lew⟨is I re⟩ceived your letter of the 2d ins⟨tant toge⟩ther with two hundred and tw⟨enty six Dol⟩lars; being the principal ⟨and Interest of⟩ two hundred dollars ⟨lent you in the year 1794.⟩ The Latter, that is ⟨the Interest I return⟩ as it was not from pe⟨cuniary⟩ motives I advanced the money. ⟨If the⟩ loan of that small sum has been attended with any pecuniary advantages to yourself my object in lending of it will have been fully answered. My best respects, in which Mrs Washington unites, are offered to your good mother—and I am Dear Sir Your Obedt Hble Servt Go: Washington” (letterpress copy, DLC:GW; LB, DLC:GW words and letters in angle brackets are taken from the letter-book copy). To this Carter responded from Fredericksburg on 10 Aug.: “I received by Majr G. Lewis your Letter of the 10th June, together with twenty six Dollars, being the interest of two hundred Dollars lent me—Excuse my sending the interest at that time—it proceeded from a fullness, or too great desire of evincing my gratitude for the favor done me—I was aware of your intention in lending me the Money, & shall ever be ready to serve you or any part of your family if any opportunity at a future time shou’d offer—My Mother joins me in good wishes to yourself & family” (DLC:GW). See also Cash Memoranda, 1794-97 description begins Cash + Entries & Memorandums, 29 Sept. 1794–31 Aug. 1797. Manuscript in John Carter Brown Library, Providence. description ends , 5 June 1797.

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