George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Benjamin Lincoln, 20 January 1788

From Benjamin Lincoln

Boston Jany 20, 1788

My dear General

In my last,1 I mentioned to your Excellency the critical situation in which I consdeered my son though I entertained hopes that appearances were in his favor; my hopes were alive untill friday morning last; a manifest change then took place in him—He died at four in the afternoon.

In him I have lost a beloved son, an agreeable companion, and a sincere and confidential friend—With him expired the fond and pleasing hope that he would have lived a support to me in the evening of life.

My feelings which are alive on this occasion are rendered, if possible, more poignant when I see the distressed situation of my daughter, the widow, with two babes in her arms and observe the silent grief of a tender and most affectionate mother—our loss is great our wound is deep—I must not proceed I must not cause a momentary uneasiness in your mind—We have a source from which we may draw the most substantial consolation if we reflect justly.

Having been detained from convention for a number of day[s] I requested one of my friends to give me a general state of matters which statement I do my self the pleasure to inclose with the last papers from them2—your Excellency will learn in what stage the business of convention is in—I hope the constitution will be adopted I think matters wear a better face than they did.

My dutiful respects to Mrs Washington & regards to my young friend—I will write again next week. With sincere esteem & affection I have the honour of being My Dear General Your obedient servant

B. Lincoln

ALS, DLC:GW; ADf, MHi: Benjamin Lincoln Papers, dated 21 January.

1Lincoln wrote in the postscript dated 13 Jan. in his letter of 9 Jan. about the grave condition of his son.

2The statement, a typescript of which is in CD-ROM:GW, is devoted largely to an account of the controversy that arose when Elbridge Gerry was denied an opportunity to speak to the ratifying convention on Saturday, 19 January. Gerry, who had attended the convention in Philadelphia and had declined to sign the Constitution, had not been elected to the Massachusetts Ratifying Convention but had been invited to attend and answer questions.

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