George Washington Papers

From George Washington to William West, 28 June 1788

To William West

Mount Vernon June 28th 1788

Revd Sir,

I was favoured with your letter of the 17th Ult.1 by your Son, in consequence of which I send the enclosed for Mr Welch, the Surviving Partner of the House of Cary and Co. who used to transact, principally, my business in London, and who is the only Mercantile character in England with whom I have had any intercourse for the last 15 years.2 Formerly I corrisponded with Messrs Hanbury & Co. who also sold Tobaco for me—but Mr Hanbury I think, is dead.3 and I have not been at all Sollicitous to renew the old or to form new Connexions in that Kingdom. When you spoke to me formerly, on this subject, I had besides Mr Welch, My old Neighbour and friend Colo. Fairfax in vew to have written to, but he is no more.4

If the introductory letter to Mr Welch can be, in the smallest degree servicable to the young Gentleman, I shall feel much pleasure from having afforded it, because I think your determination to give him an opportunity of cultivating and improving his genius for painting is wise and because he will carry with him my best wishes for the accomplishment thereof as well as for a safe and pleasant voyage and a happy return to you. With very great esteem and regard I am &c.

Go. Washington


The Rev. William West (c.1739–1791), brother of the late Capt. John West, Jr., of Fairfax County, was at this time rector of St. Paul’s Parish in Baltimore.

1Letter not found.

2GW’s letter of 28 June from Mount Vernon to Wakelin Welch on behalf of young George William West (1770–1795) reads: “Sir, This letter is equally introductory, and recommendatory of Mr West, Son to the Revd Mr West of Maryland; a very worthy Episcopal Clergaman of my Acquaintance—The young Gentleman having, in early life, displayed a prompt and masterly genius for Painting, is sent to England by his father to improve himself in this Art—and having at the same time discovered a goodness of disposition and an amiableness of manners worthy of notice. I have taken the liberty of bearing this testimoney of him and shall feel myself obliged by any civilities you may shew him, whilst he resides in London, with sentiments of esteem and regard I am Sir—Yr Most Obedt and Most Hbe Sert Go. Washington” (LB, DLC:GW). Young West studied under Benjamin West in London and returned to Baltimore before his death in 1795.

3For GW’s dealings with the Hanburys, see particularly GW to Capel & Osgood Hanbury, 12 June 1759, and GW to Hanburys & Lloyd, 4 Aug. 1774, and notes.

4George William Fairfax died in April 1787.

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