George Washington Papers

From George Washington to George William Fairfax, 17 July 1763

To George William Fairfax

Mount Vernon 17th July 1763.

Dear Sir,

We were a good deal disappointed in the promised Visit—A constant Watch was kept untill the accustomed Bell gave the signal for Dinner, and said it was time to look no more—We do not readily comprehend the cause of the disappointment, but as Water seems not to be the Element favourable to our wishes, we hope you will no longer trust to so uncertain a conveyance, but give us the pleasure of securing a visit at the next appointment1—I am ⟨in⟩ a necessity of going to Fredericksburg early in next Week (i.e. about the 26th) for a Weeks stay, to which place if you have any commds I shoud be glad to execute them2—Our Compliments—I mean Mrs Green’s, he is at Church,3 Mr & Mrs Fairfax’s and Mrs Washington’s, are tendered along with those of Sir Yr Most Obedt Hble Servt

Go: Washington

ALS, PHi: Gratz Collection. The letter is docketed, “Supposed to be intended for G. Wm Fairfax Esqr.,” in an unidentified hand. The tone of the letter and its contents as they relate to GW’s letter to Fairfax now dated 25 July 1763 seem to confirm that GW directed the letter of 17 July to his friend George William Fairfax, who had very recently returned from England. If this is the case, the “Mr & Mrs Fairfax” referred to at the end of the letter are Bryan Fairfax and his wife Elizabeth Cary Fairfax, George William Fairfax’s brother and his wife’s sister, who lived nearby at Green Hill. George Mason also has been identified, mistakenly it would seem, as the recipient of the letter (Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington description begins John C. Fitzpatrick, ed. The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745–1799. 39 vols. Washington, D.C., 1931–44. description ends , 2:401–2; Rutland, Mason Papers description begins Robert A. Rutland, ed. The Papers of George Mason, 1725–1792. 3 vols. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1970. description ends , 1:55–56).

1Although Fairfax’s Belvoir was only a short carriage ride from GW’s Mount Vernon, it would have been even shorter by boat.

2GW left for Fredericksburg on Tuesday, 26 July, and returned on about 30 July. See Cash Accounts, July 1763. In his letter to Fairfax dated 25 July, GW refers to letters entrusted to him by Fairfax to be taken to Fredericksburg.

3GW wrote the letter on Sunday (17 July), and the Rev. Charles Green was rector of Truro Parish.

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