George Washington Papers

To George Washington from James Jemima Jacobina Douglas, 26 November 1787

From James Jemima Jacobina Douglas

Eden[burgh, Scotland] new Town 1787 nov. 26

Dr sir

I sit down to adres you as father of your Country and as one who his the pour to redres the injur’d one of your subjects Mr Glass Strahcan in virg⟨i⟩nia richmond town James river phychiuns ⟨then owse⟩ to my father andrwe Douglas in 74 6 hundre pound which with the interest upon must near double the sum[.]1 my fath⟨er⟩ dying sudingly with out neading up his affairs his been hard on ⟨me⟩ I am lauffaly proclaimd heir as I am all that reamains of my father if you my Dr sir will be so good as use your pour for me and write a line to me please direct to Shakespeare square new Town Edenburgh I am Dr Sir your humble servant2

James Jemima Jacobina Douglas

sir inclosd is a letter to Mr Glas Strahcan which I take upon me to trouble you with as it is hard for a young woman to want that part of my fortune which was gaind with honnour I mea say my father was a genrall freind to all whatever part they Came from excuse my freedom it is only on you I relly for the recovry of it.3

ALS, DLC:GW. Miss Douglas addressed the letter to “His Excellency General Washington North America.”

1Dr. Alexander Glas Strachan (b. 1749), a Scot trained at the University in Edinburgh, came to Virginia before the Revolution and settled in Petersburg. There he practiced medicine and established an apothecary business, Alexander G. Strachan & Co. Strachan was also a well-to-do planter.

2In DLC:GW there is another version of this letter, dated 15 Nov. and in the docket marked “Duplicate.” Headed “Eden. new town bak of the theatre,” it reads: “I adrese you as the father of your Country you will se by the hand it is a woman that writes for help to Call in a debt due to me by alecxsender Glass Strahcan suregeon in Virginia he stays on James river richmond town my father andrwe Douglas sent out the goods to him it was six hundre poun⟨ds⟩ at his death which was in the year seventafour so you will se the interest Can near double the sum if you sir of your Clemency will be so good as use your pour to recover that part that is mine in Virginia it will much oblige your humble servant James Jemima Jacobina Douaglas. if you sir will honour with a line it will greatly oblige me.”

3GW answered Miss Douglas from Mount Vernon on 12 May 1788: “Miss, I have received your letter of the 26th of November and have lately had an opportunity, (by a Gentleman of this neighbourhood who was in Richmond)of making the enquieries which you desired. He informs me that he saw the Gentleman mentioned in your letter who acknowledges there is a balance in his hands due to your father but says the sum is not so large as you mention, some part of it having been already paid.

”It will readily occur to you that the only method of recovering the money will be to invest some person on the spot with proper power to act on your behalf and receive it for you. The necessity of appointing some person living in the neighbourhood of the Gentleman from whom the money is due is so obvious that you cannot but be sensible of it. and permit me to observe here that my agency in this business thus far has been no ways inconvenient or disagreeable to me, but my various avocations which require a constant and unremitting attention would compel me to do an injury [to] my feelings by declining to take any part in recovering or receiving the money if it should be proposed. I am Madam, Yr most Obedt Hble Servant Go. Washington“ (LB, DLC:GW). The letter to Strachan enclosed by Miss Douglas in her letter to GW has not been found.

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