George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Margaret Savage, 20 September 1772

To Margaret Savage

Mount Vernon 20th September 1772.


From the purport of Mrs Bomforts last favour by Captn Grayson it wou’d appear that my letter (and the small sum I was able to advance out of my own pocket for your immediate support) had not then got to hand; but as there is no doubt of its having done so before this; I shall not give you the trouble of having the substance of it recapitulated.1 In pursuance of your request, I have at length, got the original Deeds wch passed from you to the Doctor previous to your marriage, as also an authentic copy of the Doctrs Bond to you, both of which are herewith inclosed. In procuring the former, I met with a good deal of difficulty, being oblig’d to send to Williamsburg for them, after searching Prince William, Fairfax & Loudoun offices in vain.2 I have, at the same time, the further satisfaction of advising you, that I think we are in a fair way of setting aside the transaction with Mr Montgomerie respecting the annuity of your Bond; and consequently coming upon the Doctor for the whole sum due thereon, since the date of your marriage; but as the matter yet hangs in suspence, I would not advise you to be altogether sanguine, till you hear from me again, wch shall be as soon as we can get the matter finally fixed with Mr Montgomerie.3 In the interim the suit goes on against the Doctor, & will, it is hoped, come to a hearg in a Court or two more; I wou’d advise you therefore to adhere steadily to your appointment of Mr Piper, who seems to have taken a little umbrage at your changing the channel of corrispondence from Mr Dixon, as if you were suspicious of some inattention or remissness in one or the other of them.4 The Doctor begins, I fancy, to squeak at the prospect; & you may for aught I know, soon receive some proposals of accomodation from him, but I wou’d advise you not to be hasty in acceding to them, as I flatter myself we are not without a very good chance of recovering the whole sum due upon the Bond; & you may be assured that his offers will fall short of his expected payments. This packet was intended to go by Capt: Grayson, but being unluckily from home, when his Ship passed by, I missed the opportunity; but hope it will get safe to your hands notwithstanding.5 I rejoice sincerely, that it is in my power from the information of Mrs Bomfort to congratulate you upon your recover’d state of health; at the same time I assure you that I receiv’d the accot of your affliction with real concern; Persons, & things in this neighbourhood since the date of my last, remain nearly, in statu quo; Mrs Washington & Miss Custis join their best wishes to mine, for you, and I am Madam Your most obt Servant

G: Washington


1GW sent Mrs. Savage £53 in January 1772, and Sarah Bomford later reported that Mrs. Savage received it shortly after she “became one of our Household” in March 1772 (GW to Margaret Savage, 27 Jan. 1772, and Sarah Bomford to GW, 25 May 1774). Captain Grayson is probably Capt. James Grayson.

2Thomas Everard, clerk of the General Court, wrote GW on 29 Aug. 1772: “Sir Inclosed are the Original Deeds from Green to Savage there are no other Deeds between these Parties recorded in the General Court” (DLC:GW).

3For a concise summary of the Savage affair, see Henry Lee and Daniel Payne to GW, 24 April 1767, n. 1. In March 1774, GW and Bryan Fairfax got a judgment for £606.17.6 current money and costs against Dr. William Savage in favor of Mrs. Savage, but Dr. Savage appealed and the case was in chancery when the courts were closed and the assembly was dissolved in 1774. A three-page summary of the suit in Fairfax County court by Bryan Fairfax and GW against William Savage and Thomson Mason is in ViMtvL. The summary begins with the 18 May 1772 pleas in which the case against Mason was abated and continues with a 22 Feb. 1774 session in which the order was given for the case to be tried before a jury. This jury convened on 23 Mar. 1774. The jury reached the decision that Savage had indeed not performed the conditions of the bond and awarded the judgment of over £600 to Mrs. Savage. On 17 May 1774 a decision was rendered that any errors in the case were not sufficient to change the ruling. The original summons against Savage and Mason, dated 20 Mar. 1772, for £2,000, the amount of the penalty bond, was listed in the Stan V. Henkel Catalog no. 1415, item 112, 22 May 1928. See also GW to Margaret Savage, 15 April 1774, and to Sarah Bomford, 28 Aug. 1774.

4Mrs. Savage seems not to have changed her “channel of corrispondence.” See her letter to GW of 19 August. Margaret Savage had sent a power of attorney earlier to Harry Piper (see GW to Margaret Savage, 5 Sept. 1771), but it may not have been recorded in court right away. There is a power of attorney from her to Piper, signed in the presence of the mayor of Dublin, recorded on 19 Mar. 1772 (Fairfax County Order Book, [1772–74], 24, ViFfCh).

5Sarah Bomford wrote to GW on 27 Sept. 1773 that the last letter that she and Margaret Savage had received from GW was dated 20 Sept. 1772.

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