George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 9 April 1786]

Sunday 9th. Thermometer at 44 in the Morning—[ ] at Noon and [ ] at Night.

Lowering more or less all day. In the morning there were great appearances of Rain. About Noon it brightened up a little but in the evening it grew cloudy again and a large circle appeared round the Moon between 9 and 10 Oclock at Night. The Wind was at So. Et. and E.So. Et. all day and at times pretty fresh.

Mr. Dalby of Alexandria came here to dinner, and returned afterwards. In the Afternoon Doctr. Stuart and his Sister arrived and stayed all night.

Philip Dalby came to enlist GW’s support in recovering a slave. While visiting in Philadelphia, Dalby’s servant had been lured away by a group of Quakers organized for the purpose of freeing slaves brought to that city. Dalby inserted a long notice in the Alexandria newspaper warning the general public of this “insidious” practice of the Quakers (Va. Journal, 30 Mar. 1786) and was at this time going to Philadelphia to petition the Pennsylvania assembly for the return of his property. GW wrote to Robert Morris: “If the practice of this Society of which Mr. Dalby speaks, is not discountenanced, none of those whose misfortune it is to have slaves as attendants, will visit the city if they can possibly avoid it” (12 April 1786, DLC:GW). He added that although he deplored the institution of slavery, its abolition must come through legislative authority. Dalby’s suit was successful and he recovered his slave (Robert Morris to GW, 26 April 1786, DLC:GW).

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