George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Mary Digges Lee, 27 September 1780

From Mary Digges Lee

Annapolis September 27th 1780.


I have the honor to inform your Excellency that the Ladies of Maryland have manifested their gratitude, by Subscribing a Considerable Sum for the relief of the American Army—They are daily depositing the Money in my hands, and I flatter myself the collection will be compleated in a Short time1—I must therefore solicit your Excellency’s directions as to the manner in which it shall be disposed of—If for necessaries which may be procured in this State, it will give me pleasure to assist in the execution of your orders—at the Same time it may also be Necessary, that your Excellency Should fix their destination—whether for the Northern or Southern Army.2 I am Sir, with the highest respect and Esteem, your Most Humble Servant

Mary Lee.


Mary Digges Lee (1745–1805) belonged to a prominent Catholic family in Maryland and married Thomas Sim Lee in 1771 after he promised to reject Anglicanism for Catholicism.

1For this subscription, see Esther De Berdt Reed to GW, 4 July.

2GW replied to Lee from Passaic Falls on 11 Oct.: “I am honored with your letter of the 27th of September, and cannot forbear taking the earliest moment to express the high sense I entertain of the patriotic exertions of the Ladies of Maryland in favor of the Army.

“In answer to your enquiry respecting the disposal of the Gratuity, I must take the liberty to observe; that it appears to me, the money which has been, or may be collected, cannot be expended in so eligable and beneficial a manner, as in the purchase of Shirts & Stocks (black) for the use of the Troops in the Southern Army.

“The polite offer you are pleased to make of your further assistance in the execution of this liberal design, and the generous disposition of the Ladies, insure me of its success, and cannot fail to entitle both yourself and them, to the warmest gratitude of those who are the objects of it” (ALS, PWacD: Sol Feinstone Collection, on deposit at PPAmP; DfS, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW). GW’s aide-de-camp David Humphreys wrote the draft, but GW wrote “Shirts and Stocks (black)” after striking out the original words—now largely illegible—related to clothes.

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