George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Townshend Dade, Jr., 19 November 1774

To Townshend Dade, Jr.

Mount Vernon Novr 19th 1774

Revd Sir,

As it is necessary that the Free holders of this County should be convened, in order to make choice of a Committee agreeably to the recommendation of the Congress for the purpose of carrying the Association more effectually into Execution1 I shall be obliged to you for giving notice at both your Churches that Wednesday the 30th of this Instt is appointed for this purpose at the Court House in Alexandria, when it is hoped that all those who have a right to vote, that is, all Freeholders, will give their attendance, ⟨and feel the⟩ matter of sufficient consequence to engage their attention. I have requested the like favour of Mr Massey, which will be a means of giving full notice to the County, as publication will be made at each Church.2 I am with respect Revd Sir, Yr Most Obedt Servt.

AL[S], DLC:GW. The bottom section of the letter from just above the signature is missing.

Townshend Dade, Jr. (born c.1740), son of Townshend Dade (d. 1781) and Parthenia Alexander Massey Dade of Alexandria, had been minister of Fairfax Parish since 1765. Dade was forced to resign as minister in 1778. See Fairfax Parish Vestry Minutes description begins Manuscript in Christ Church Archives, Alexandria, Va. description ends for 21 Aug., 24 Nov., 8 Dec. 1777 and 23 Feb., 27 June 1778. Dade had evidently been in trouble during much of his ministry at Fairfax Parish. In the Fulham Papers at Lambeth Palace in England is an attested copy of a suit brought against Dade in the General Court circa 1770 by several members of his parish. Dade was said to be a “Person of ill Fame disolute manners Lewd Conversation ⟨illegible⟩ Lascivious Disposition” who had frequently tried to seduce women in the parish. In particular he was accused of attempting for several years, and finally succeeding in, debauching the wife of John Hunter, a merchant. The complainants asked that Dade “may be corrected Punished & Deprived or otherwise that Right and Justice may be administered.” Nothing has been found about a trial or the disposition of the matter. An English visitor in 1775 charged that on one occasion the Alexandria parson was “drunk and can’t perform the duties of his office,” and that on another Dade was “too lazy to preach” (Cresswell, Journal, 52, 59).

1GW is referring to article eleven in the Continental Association, signed on 20 Oct. 1774. See JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 1:75–81.

2The two churches in Fairfax Parish were the church at Alexandria and the Falls Church. The two Truro Parish churches, Lee Massey rector, were the Lower Church, Pohick, and the Upper Church, or Payne’s. Townshend Dade, Jr., and Lee Massey were both on the twenty-five-man committee selected by Fairfax County in July 1774 and headed by GW. See Fairfax County Resolves, 18 July 1774, and notes. GW did not attend the meeting on 30 Nov. but attended George Mercer’s sale. See GW to John Tayloe, 30 Nov. 1774.

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