George Washington Papers
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From George Washington to Thomas Pinckney, 25 February 1795

To Thomas Pinckney

Philadelphia 25th Feb. 1795.

Dear Sir,

The Gentleman who will have the honor of delivering this letter to you; is Doctr Tate, who is possessed of the valuable secret of curing Cancerous complaints.

A call to England for some purpose of that sort—or with a view to derive benefit from his discovery, affords me an occasion to inform you (at his request) that I have, myself, experienced the fruits of his skill, in this art; being cured by him of an irritable spot on my right cheek which had for years been encreasing in pricking, & disagreeable sensations; and in June last assumed the decided character of a Cancer; of which I was perfectly relieved by Doctr Tate in about two weeks by an easy course, under the operation of which I felt no confinement, or other inconvenience at the time—nor any injury to my constitution since.1

As he is going to a foreign country, and I am enabled from my own experience to bear testimony of his skill, in this particular, justice required I should do so—and it is with pleasure also that I embrace the opportunity of assuring you of the esteem & regard with which I am—Dear Sir Your Obedt & Very Hble Servt

Go: Washington

ALS (letterpress copy), DLC:GW; LB, DLC:GW.

1Martha Washington mentioned GW’s treatment in her letter to Frances Bassett Washington of 3 Aug. 1794: “he has had Doctor Tate to look at the spot on his face he makes light of the thing—I hope in god that he will very soon be well of it, the medicine that is given has not the last effect that can be perceived except that the spot is a little sore at times—I trust in god that it soon will be perfectly well” (Fields, Papers of Martha Washington description begins Joseph E. Fields, ed. “Worthy Partner”: The Papers of Martha Washington. Westport, Conn., and London, 1994. description ends , 272). In November 1794 GW recorded a payment of “15 guineas givn to Dr Tate for curing my Cancer” (Cash Memoranda, 29 Sept. 1794–17 Aug. 1797, RPJCB).

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