George Washington Papers

From George Washington to George William Fairfax, 26 July 1775

To George William Fairfax

Campridge July 26th 1775.

Dear Sir,

In my hurry, Yesterday, I forgot the principal thing I had in view, when I sat down to write to you, and that was, to inform you of the indispensable necessity you must now be under of appointing another Attorney. The nature of the business I am now engaged in (which alone is full sufficient to engross the time and attention of any one Man) and the distance I am removed from your business, as well as my own, puts it absolutely out of my power to be of any further service to you in Virginia: It is a duty incumbent on me, therefore, to inform you of this circumstance, that you may, without delay, appoint some other Attorney to manage your affairs; as it would be folly in the extreme, in me, to undertake to conduct your business at the distance of 600 Miles, when it is utterly out of my power (but by means of a third person) to Order and direct my own.1

When I left home, I put Syme’s Protested Bill (with some business of my own) into the hands of Colonel Lewis, to negotiate; and since I came to this place, have been informed by him, that, unable to get the Money, he obtained a second draft from Colonel Nelson in discharge of the first, which, I dare say, will be paid. I have therefore wrote to Mr Lund Washington to get this Bill and remit it to you.2 I am, with sincere Regard, &c.

G. Washington

Varick transcript, DLC:GW; ADfS, sold by Thomas Birch’s Sons, April 1891, catalogue 663, item 141; ALS, sold by Goodspeed’s, June 1941, item 41.

1In a letter to GW of 3 Aug. 1778, Fairfax suggested that Robert Carter Nicholas or Fielding Lewis take over the power of attorney that Fairfax had given GW in 1773, but apparently neither man did so. By 1785 Battaile Muse was handling Fairfax’s business affairs in Virginia (GW to George William Fairfax, 27 Feb. 1785).

2John Syme (1728–1805) of Hanover County, Va., was a half brother of Patrick Henry; Fielding Lewis (1725–1781) of Fredericksburg, Va., was GW’s brother-in-law. GW instructed Fielding Lewis on 30 April 1775: “The Bill you received from Colo. Syme, in June last for Colo. Fairfax, is come back—He promised at Richmond that he would endeavour to take it up this Meeting—please to remind him of it—the Bills are herewith sent” (CSmH). See also Ledger B description begins General Ledger B, 1772–1793. Library of Congress, George Washington Papers, Series 5, Financial Papers. description ends , 117. Thomas Nelson, Jr. (1738–1789) of Yorktown, Va., was elected to the Continental Congress in July 1775 and became governor of Virginia in 1781. No letters from Fielding Lewis to GW or from GW to Lund Washington have been found for June or July 1775.

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