George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Daniel McCarty, 22 February 1784

To Daniel McCarty

Mount Vernon 22d Feby 1784.

Dr Sir,

It is not convenient for me to be at Colchester tomorrow; and as I shall no longer act as a vestryman, the sooner my place is filled with another the better. This letter, or something more formal if required, may evidence my resignation, & authorize a new choice.1

I shall be very sorry if your apprehensions on account of the poor should be realized—but have not the Church-Wardens power to provide for their relief? And may not those Vestrymen who do meet, supposing the number insufficient to constitute a legal Vestry, express their sentiments on this head to the Wardens? Nay go further, & from the exigency of the case, give directions for the temporary relief of the needy & distressed. As a Vestryman or as a private parishioner, I should have no scruple to do either under such circumstances as you have described.2

Mrs Washington joins in compliments & best wishes for you, Mrs McCarty & family with Dr Sir Your Most Obedt &ca

G. Washington


The Truro vestry met on the next day, 23 Feb., and immediately elected John Gibson vestryman “in the room of his Excellency General Washington who has signified his resignation in a Letter to Daniel McCarty Gent.” During the meeting McCarty, as churchwarden, “exhibited an account of his transactions for the years 1782 & 1783” (Truro Parish Vestry Book description begins Vestry Book of Truro Parish, Virginia, 1731–1802. Manuscript on deposit at the Library of Congress. description ends ). McCarty participated in the election of two new churchwardens as well as in the vestry’s other business including the adoption of measures for the relief of the poor. He then resigned from the vestry, and Lund Washington was elected in his place. The vestry was dissolved the next year.

1See McCarty’s letter of this date.

2The acerb tone of GW’s letter may only reflect his resentment of the implied rebuke in McCarty’s letter of this date, but Lund Washington’s reference to McCarty in his letter to GW of 23 April 1783 is suggestive: “It was very tight Pole[in]g between Broadwater & Stewart the former carried it by only 3 votes, there were some who woud have Blushd to vote agst Stuart and therefore did not vote at all, by which means he lost his Election and among these were your old friend McCarty—” (DLC:GW).

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