From George Washington Parke Custis
Annapolis [Md.] April 2d 1798
Your letter arrived by the ordinary course of the Mail which goes by Baltimore and gave me sincere pleasure in hearing that you were in good health and likewise the family.
I was somewhat unwell for sometime after coming here owing to the water but that is entirely removed and I am very well again—I am going on the College with the class and likewise the French master who is I beleive very competent to the task—We likewise write Dissertions on various subjects every week which are both amusing and instructive and which create emulation laudable in every thing.
I am very happily situated perhaps better than many and could a repetition of those sentiments which I have allways avowed express my gratitude and obligations to you: freely should they be exercised, but it is sufficient that they are indelibly grounded on my mind and can never be erased while the principles on which they are founded exist—Those principles are innate! It is them which elevate the soul and prompts us to good works. I conceive that misfortunes are intended as an awfull example for us to profit by and are proportionate to the degree of prevalency which the passions have over us—What then could have been a greater misfortune to me than your displeasure, what a greater happiness than your confidence?
I find that young Mr Carroll has been at Mount Vernon and report says addressing my Sister it may be well to subjoin an opinion which I believe is general in this place, viz., that he is a young man of the strictest probity and morals discreet without closeness, temperate without excess and modest without vanity—possesed of those amiable qualities of benevolence and friendship which are so commendable in any one, and with as few vices as the age will admit of (this may be excused as I am acting on hypotheses and supposition) In short I think it a desirable thing and wish that it may take place with all my heart.1
I have received every kindness from the citizens of Annapolis and could any thing heighten my opinion for you and your character it would be their expressions of esteem and regard. Adeiu Dearest Sir and beleive me sincerely and Affectionately Yours
G. W. P. Custis
ALS, ViHi: Custis Papers.
1. Eleanor Parke Custis the year before had found Charles Carroll of Homewood “pleasing” enough but with “more affectation than is by any means agreeable.” GW suggested to Custis on 15 April with regard to Custis’s hints about Carroll’s interest in Nelly Custis, “the less is said about the subject” the better.
On 14 May 1798 she wrote to her friend Elizabeth Bordley to deny the rumor that she was engaged to Charles Carroll. “Mr Carroll,” she wrote, “was at Mount Vernon in March, staid one day & night, nothing more than common civility passed on either side, & he marched off as he came. Since when I have neither seen him, or heard anything of his movements . . . his personal attractions . . . are not very great, although quite equal to most of the youths of the present day” (Brady, Beautiful Nelly, description begins Patricia Brady, ed. George Washington’s Beautiful Nelly: The Letters of Eleanor Parke Custis Lewis to Elizabeth Bordley Gibson, 1794–1851. Columbia, S.C., 1991. description ends 36–37, 50–53; see also Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 6:288).