George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Page, 9 September 1785

From John Page

Rosewell [Gloucester County]
Sept. 9th 1785

My dear General

A thousand Accidents have happened which prevented my writing to you since I had the Pleasure of seeing you at Richmond—for some Time I comforted myself with the Hope of being able to wait on you: & when I was appointed by the Convention one of their Deputies to the gen’l Convention to be held at Philada I then determined to wait on you in my Way1—but the Situation of my Affairs has detained me at Home, & Mrs Page’s State of Health, who is advised to accompany me to Philada requires that she should go a great Part of the Way by Water so that I can only now send you this late Apology for a long seeming Neglect2—When I saw you I told you how unfortunately I missed seeing you when I went to wait upon you at York, & how totally the public Business in which I had been engaged since your Return from the Army to the Northward, had engrossed my Time & Attention; & as to not writing to you, I thought it was better, that you should suppose for some Time I had neglected you; than that I should be one amongst the thousands who I was certain were troubling you with Letters, so as to be sufficient to make you wish some of them had forgotten you. As I think you may by this Time have a little Leisure to receive my Apology, I beg you will accept this Letter as one; & you may be assured that a sincere Regard for you occasioned my refraining from troubling you with an Address so early as I could have wished—As no Man is more truly sensible of the Obligations our Country is under to you for your great & glorious Exertions in her Support than I am; so I may venture to say, no one was ever more deeply affected with Gratitude & Esteem; or more eager to shew it than I have been—I admired, & highly esteemed you before the late War; you may easily judge then, how much I must admire & venerate you now—Although I know your Delicacy, I could not my dear Sir refrain from saying what I have: I could no longer restrain the Feelings of my Heart; nor need I, for Praise much higher than I can give, is your peculiar due; & Flattery can never be charged on any one who praises you—Mrs Page unites with me in presenting our Compts & best wishes to yourself & Lady—I am my dear Sir with every Sentiment of the most perfect Respect & Esteem yr most obedt hbe Servt

J. Page

PS. I expect to be at Philada about the 25th inst. & shall be proud to execute your Commands—If you have not yet applied to any one in that City to procure Emigrants or Redemptioners for the Use of the Dismal Compy I will do anything you shall be pleased to recommend respecting that Business—The Managers have not met since I was appointed one of them—I have pressed Mr Jameson & Mr N. Nelson to go down & look into the Affairs of the Co. on the Spot & see what the Carolina Co. will be willing to do towards opening the Canals & am in Hopes they will go down.3


1GW and John Page (1743–1808) were among the members of the Dismal Swamp Company who met in Richmond on 2 and 3 May. For the meeting, see GW to Thomas Walker, 10 April, n.1. Page had recently been elected the lay delegate from the Virginia diocese to the general convention of the Episcopal church in Philadelphia beginning on 27 September.

2Page’s wife, Frances Burwell Page, daughter of Robert Burwell (1720–1777), bore him twelve children before her death later in this decade.

3See Resolutions of the Dismal Swamp Company, 2 May 1785. Nathaniel Nelson, the younger brother of Gen. Thomas Nelson (1738–1789), died suddenly in the spring of 1786.

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