George Washington Papers

From George Washington to George Washington Parke Custis, 11 January 1797

Philadelphia 11th Jany 1797

Dear Washington

I hasten to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated the 7th instant, but which did not get to my hands until yesterday; and to express to you, the sincere pleasure I feel in finding that I had interpreted some parts of your letters erroneously.

As you have the best, and most unequivocal evidence the case is susceptible of, that I have no other object in view by extending my cares and advice to you, than what will redound to your own respectability, honor and future happiness in life; so, be assured that while you give me reasons to expect a ready submission to my counsels, and while I hear that you are deligent in pursuing the means which are to acquire these advantages it will afford me infinite gratification.

Your last letter is replete with assurances of this nature. I place entire confidence in them. They have removed all the doubts which were expressed in my last letter to you, and, let me repeat it again, have conveyed very pleasing sensations to my mind.

It was not my wish to check your correspondences; very far from it; for with proper characters (and none surely can be more desirable than with your Papa & Mr Lear) and on proper subjects, it will give you a habit of expressing your ideas, upon all occasions, with facility & correctness. I meant no more by telling you we should be contented with hearing from you once a week, than that these correspondences were not to be considered as an injunction, or an imposition; thereby interfering with your studies—or concerns of a more important nature.

So far am I from discoutenancing writing of any kind (except upon the principle abovementioned) that I should be pleased to hear, and you yourself might derive advantages from a short Diary (recorded in a Book) of the occurrences which happen to you, or within your sphere. Trifling as this may appear at first view, it may become an introduction to more interesting matters. At any rate, by carefully preserving these, it would afford you more satisfaction in a retrospective view, than what you may conceive at present.

Another thing I would recommend to you; not because I want to know how you spend your money; and that is to Keep an acct Book, and enter therein every farthing of your receipts & expenditures. The doing of which wod initiate you into a habit, from which considerable advantages would result. Where no account of this sort is kept—there can be no investigation; no correction of errors; no discovery from a recurrence thereto, wherein too much, or too little has been appropriated to particular uses. From an early attention to these matters, important & lasting benefits may follow. We are all well, and all unite in best wishes for you; and with sincere affection I am always yours,

G. Washington.

ViHi: Custis Papers.

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