George Washington Papers
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From George Washington to Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, 8 July 1796

To Charles Cotesworth Pinckney


Mount Vernon 8th July 1796

My dear Sir,

Sincerely commisserating the distresses of the Citizens of Charleston, occasioned by the late unfortunate fires—I take the liberty of offering, through you, my mite toward their relief; without any desire of having my name mentioned.1 With affectionate regard I am always Yours

Go: Washington

ALS (duplicate), ScC; ADfS, DLC:GW; LB, DLC:GW. The duplicate was posted from Alexandria, Va., on 15 July. The original letter was enclosed with GW’s first letter to Pinckney of this date (see GW to John Marshall, 10 Aug., found at GW to Marshall, 8 July, n.2). Pinckney acknowledged receipt of the duplicate when he wrote GW on 27 July.

1A footnote on the draft and letter-book copy states that “$300 were enclosed.” The entry for this date in GW’s cash accounts identifies the money as “Columbia Bank Notes” (Cash Memoranda, 1794–97 description begins Cash + Entries & Memorandums, 29 Sept. 1794–31 Aug. 1797. Manuscript in John Carter Brown Library, Providence. description ends ).

The Philadelphia Gazette & Universal Daily Advertiser for 23 May 1796 printed an extract from a letter written at Charleston, S.C., on Monday, 16 May: “A little after 2 o’clock on Saturday morning last, a fire broke out in this city … Nothwithstanding the exertions of the citizens, the progress of the fire was not arrested till 6 o’clock in the morning, during which short space of time, sixty-five dwelling houses were destroyed in King Street, Clifford Street and Beresford Street. Property to a very considerable amount was consumed, and upwards of seventy industrious families were driven from their dwellings.”

The same paper for 24 and 29 June printed accounts of a second fire in Charleston that began during the afternoon of 13 June and continued until the following morning. This fire burned some 500 buildings and left “upwards of two hundred families” in distress.

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