George Washington Papers

To George Washington from George Plater, 20 October 1784

From George Plater

Oct. 20th 1784

Dear Sir

Since I had the Honor of visiting you I have been revolving in my Head the Subject of our Conversation respecting the opening the Potowmack, Advancing the Trade of the back & new settled Countries [in] this these middle States & the more I consider it, the more I am impressed with the Utility & Advantages resulting therefrom1—So much so, that I am determined to press the Measure in our Assembly, which will soon meet, & I hope we shall be joined by Virginia 2—To enable me to do it with more Effect, I take the Liberty to entreat the Favor of you, in some Leisure Moment, to give me as concisely as you please, some Description of the Waters in the back Country, the Land Carriage unavoidably necessary, & what other Information you may deem important—Your Letter sent to Mrs Digges will come safe to Hand 3—Mrs Plater joins me in warmest Respects to your Lady & you, & I have the honor to be with the highest Regard & Esteem—Dear Sir—Yr most aff: & obt hume Servt

Geo. Plater


George Plater (1735–1792) of Sotterly, St. Mary’s County, Md., was married to Elizabeth Frisby (d. 1789), stepdaughter of GW’s friend William Fitzhugh. Plater at this time was president of the Maryland senate, and at the time of his death he was governor of the state.

1It is not known when Plater visited Mount Vernon, but the tone and content of GW’s lengthy response of 25 Oct. suggest that the visit was perhaps made before rather than after GW’s western journey in September.

2Plater was active in support of GW’s successful efforts to secure the passage of his Potowmack Company bill by the Maryland legislature in January 1785.

3See GW’s letter to Plater, 25 October. Mrs. Digges may be the widow of William Digges (1713–1783), who lived at Warburton Manor, directly across the river from Mount Vernon and upriver from Sotterly.

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