George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Robert Lawson, 14 November 1787

From Robert Lawson

Richmond Novr 14th 1787


It is with great diffidence that I address you on a subject, which concerns my private Interest only; the motive, I must entreat you, Sir, to consider, & suffer it to plead my apology.

I have due me in the two States of South Carolina, & Georgia, about five hundred pounds, in the hands of two Gentlemen; and I have made several attempts (through a person empowered as my Attorney in fact) to have it collected; but owing to the scarcity of specie, I have as yet been disappointed.

This sum is too considerable to me to suffer longer to lie dormant. I shall therefore after the adjournment of this Session go to Charles Town, & from thence to Augusta in Georgia, at which places my Debtors reside. But being almost an entire Stranger in Charles Town especially (except in a few instances of Gentlemen formerly in the military line) I will esteem, Sir, a singular obligation, if you would honor me with a Letter, or Letters Introductory.

Doctor Steward is so polite as to forward this for me; and should any mistake in Judgment have made me sollicit an improper thing, I must beg once again that it may be pardon’d.1 I have the honor to be with every sentiment of respect, Sir Your mo. obedt Servt

Ro: Lawson


Robert Lawson, a lawyer and planter, at this time was representing Prince Edward County in the house of delegates.

1GW wrote Lawson from Mount Vernon on 25 Nov.: “Sir, Herewith enclosed you will please to receive two letters of Introduction—The one to the Govr of South Carolina—the other to the Chief Justice, or Chancellor (I forget now wch) of that State. I wish you a pleasant Journey when it shall be commenced, and the accomplishment of your business—and with esteem & regard am Dr Sir Yr Most Obedt Hble Serv⟨t⟩ Go: Washington” (ALS, CSmH). The letters of the same date enclosed in GW’s letter to Lawson were directed to Thomas Pinckney and John Rutledge. The letter to Pinckney reads: “Genl Lawson who will do me the honor of presenting this letter to your Excellency, and whom I take the liberty of introducing to your civilities, is called by business to Charleston & Georgia. He is a Gentleman of character & merit in this State; having been a Colonel in the Continental Army and is now a Member of our Assembly. I have the honor to be Sir Yr Most Obedt & Most Hble Servt Go: Washington” (ALS, CSmH). The text of the letter to Rutledge is: “Dear Sir, Permit me to introduce Genl Lawson, the bearer of this letter, to your civilities. Genl Lawson was a Colonel in the Continental Army—is now a representative in the Assembly of this State—and is called by business to Charleston & Georgia. My best respects attend Mrs Rutlidge, in which I am joined by Mrs Washington. With very great esteem & regard. I am—Dear Sir Yr Most Obedt & Very Hble Servt Go: Washington” (ALS, LNCD). Lawson wrote from Richmond on 21 Dec: “The great honor you have done me, by the polite attention paid to my request, for Letters of Introduction to the State of South Carolina, impresses my mind with the most lively gratitude; and I entreat, Sir, that you will be pleas’d to accept my cordial & respectfull acknowledgments. In whatevr situation Fortune may place me in future, it shall continue to be the ardent wish of my Soul, that you may live long to be, the Father, and Protector, of Americas dearest rights” (DLC:GW). “Doctor Steward” is David Stuart, whose letter of 14 Nov. is missing.

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