George Washington Papers
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To George Washington from Bartholomew Dandridge, Jr., 20 August 1798

From Bartholomew Dandridge, Jr.

The Hague 20 August 1798.

Dear Sir,

The increasing feebleness of my health rendering it impossible for me to discharge the duties of Secretary to Mr Murray in a manner which I can reconcile to myself, has induced me to come to a determination to return to America. I conceived it to be my duty, Sir, to inform you of this determination to quit a situation in wch your goodness had placed me; and a fear lest Mr Murray should, from his respect & esteem for you be willing to show me more indulgence & submit to inconveniencies which he other wise would not, his own health being very bad, had considerable weight with me in taking this resolution.

In quitting a sedentary life which from experience I find to agree so illy with me, it is my intention to try a more active one & I have pitched upon the army of the U. States as affording such; in which it is my wish to obtain a subaltern commission. Mr Murray, with whom I live in perfect harmony & confidence & who is a man of great worth, is so good as to write to The President, & to the Secretary of War (the last of whom is his most intimate friend & whose Nephew will probably be my successor) on this subject for me: he will also, Sir, write to you, showing I hope his approbation of my conduct since I have been with him.1

My enquiries for a Joiner for you continue to be without success—& indeed if I were to find one it wd be difficult to transport him to you—as all communication from this country is quite at a stand except thro’ Hamburgh & England. With affecte regards to my Aunt, I beg you to accept my sincere esteem & attachment

B. Dandridge

ALS, ViMtvL; ALS, ViMtvL. Dandridge labeled the second of these “duplicate”; both were docketed by GW.

1On 30 Aug. 1798 William Vans Murray wrote to Secretary of War James McHenry recommending Dandridge for a commission in the U.S. Army, calling him “a most excellent & estimable man,” “without the vanity of ambition,” with “no pretence & no affectation of brilliance—but . . . a sound & strong understanding,” and “a man of uncommon worth.” In the same letter Murray asks McHenry to send his own nephew John McHenry, Jr., to The Hague to replace Dandridge as Murray’s secretary. Young McHenry arrived in Europe in April 1799 to assume the post (Steiner, Life and Correspondence of McHenry, description begins Bernard C. Steiner. The Life and Correspondence of James McHenry: Secretary of War under Washington and Adams. Cleveland, 1907. description ends 341–43). Instead of returning to Virginia and going into the army, Dandridge went to London in October and became the secretary of U.S. Minister Rufus King (see Dandridge to GW, 10 October).

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