George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Fitzgerald, 21 February 1798

From John Fitzgerald

Alexandria Feby 21st 1798

Dear Sir

Upon communicating the contents of your letter to Mr Simms he declared he could not comply with the terms. I told him I could have nothing more to do with it, except, that I would convey his sentiments to you if he commited them to writing he accordingly address’d the enclosed to me, upon which you will act as you see proper.1

The first application ever made to me was by a letter sent to me on the day I had the honor of your company2 & which I suppose was occasion’d by that circumstance, the person who deliver’d the letter to me told me it was from Jesse Simms but so far was I from supposing it could have any reference to you, that I should not have open’d it ’till after your departure, had not the Servant press’d me for an answer whilst you were waiting for your horse [.] I mention this fearing you might imagine that I was rather busy in my interference & to assure you that I had no other motive but to accomodate.

As you have told me on a former occasion that you had very little knowledge of Banking-business, I will take the liberty to mention that as Simms’s Note was in the Bank merely for Collection, & not negotiated or discounted, the summary mode of recovery is lost, & you have only the common course of recovery against him—therefore a reconsideration of his proposal might not be amiss, unless you would prefer having recourse to the Endorser. With affectionate consideration & Esteem I have the honor to be your mo. Obed. Servt

John Fitzgerald


1The text of the enclosed letter from Jesse Simms to Fitzgerald, 21 Feb., reads: “it is true I Promised the money to the Genl Some time ago and had he have taken the note out of bank at the time it woud have Saved my Credit there and inabled me to have paid the money with Convenance, but as the note has laid in bank and already Done me all the Injury it Can do I now Cannot nor willnot Consent to pay the money with Interest under the 90 & 120 Days by my own notes Leaving the one now in bank in your hands till my own are paid” (DLC:GW). See Jesse Simms to GW, 8 Jan., n.1.

2GW had dinner at Fitzgerald’s in Alexandria on 7 Feb. en route to the meeting of the Potowmack Company in Georgetown the next day.

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