Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from George Washington, 2 June 1784

From George Washington

Mount Vernon 2d. June 1784.

Dear Sir

It was not until I had arrived at Annapolis, on my way home, that I heard of Colo. Humphrys’s appointment as Secretary to the Commissioners for forming Commercial Treaties in Europe. Permit me now Sir, to recommend him to your countenance and friendship, which I would not do, did I not think him deserving of both. In him you will find a good scholar, natural and acquired abilities, great integrity, and more than a common share of prudence. I am certain he will abate no confidence which may be reposed in him, that he will attempt to discharge the duties of his office faithfully, and will make grateful returns for your Civilities. I sincerely wish you a pleasant voyage, the perfect accomplishment of your Mission, and in due time, that you may be restored to your friends in this Country; being with great attachment Dr Sir, Yr. Most Obed. and Affecte. Hble Servt.,

Go. Washington

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ. FC (DLC: Washington Papers). Tr (Bibliothèque Municipale, Nantes). Entry in SJL 19 June 1784 reads: “recd. in Boston Gl. Washington’s packet for Col. Humphries.”

On this same day Washington wrote to Humphreys: “I now send you, under flying Seals, letters to Mr. Jefferson, Doctr. Franklin and Count de Estaing; the letter to the Chevr. Chastellux [dated 2 June] also mentions you and your appointment. My former corrispondence with England ceased at the commencement of hostilities, and I have opened no new ones since, but I enclose you a letter to Sir. Edwd. Newenham of Ireland, from whom I have lately received several very polite letters‥‥P.S. Just recollecting my old neighbour Colonel (who may now be Lord) Fairfax, I give you a letter to him also, in case you shou’d go to England” (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, xxvii, 414–15). This letter and its enclosures constituted the “packet for Col. Humphries” that came to TJ in Boston on 19 June (see TJ to Humphreys, 21 June 1784). Washington must also have enclosed a certificate issued the same day and reading: “I do hereby certify, that Colo. Humphreys was among the first who embarked in the service of his Country, and that he continued therein to the end of the War. That from the early part of the year 1780 to the time of my resignation he was in my Family, and acted as one of my aid de camps with the rank of Lieut: Colonel. That during the whole course of his service he was actuated by an ardent zeal to promote the public weal. That his bravery and spirit for enterprize were conspicuous on all occasions, and his intelligence, and attention to the duties of his office were of singular use to me, obtaining, as they justly merited, my highest regard and confidence. Given under my hand and Seal this 2d. day of June 1784” (FC in Washington’s Letter Book, DLC).

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