George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Edward Newenham, 29 July 1789

To Edward Newenham

New York July 29th 1789

Dear Sir

Since my arrival in this City I have had the pleasure to receive a letter from you;1 but, you will do me the justice to believe, that my numerous avocations & encreasing duties have been such as to form some apology for want of punctuality in my private Corrispondencies.

The immediate object of this letter is to introduce to your acquaintance & civilities Mrs Montgomery, a lady of a very respectable family in this Country & the widow of a very distinguished officer, who sacraficed his life in support of the liberties of America. But I may be allowed to say, if Mrs Montgomery was not a descendent of the antient and oppulent family of the Livingston’s, who have always been the strenuous advocates of freedom; or the relict of the intelligent & brave General Montgomerie, whose name will be immortal: yet her personal merits would entitle her to every attention & respect, which are usually shewn to Strangers of distinction in the hospitable Kingdom of Ireland.2

I have only leisure to add, that the prospect of the prosperity of this Country, under the influence of the new general Government, continues to excite the most pleasing sensations in every patriotic breast; and that I am, With sentiments of estiem & regd Dear Sir, Your most Obedt & Very Hble Servant

Go: Washington

ALS, MiU-C: Schoff Collection; LB, DLC:GW.

1GW is probably referring to Newenham’s letter to him of 23 Feb. 1789.

2Janet Livingston Montgomery (1743–1828) of the Clermont branch of the Livingston family, was the sister of Chancellor Robert R. Livingston and the widow of Gen. Richard Montgomery. Mrs. Montgomery was apparently a frequent visitor to the presidential mansion. “I am constantly at General Washington,” she wrote the chancellor in the summer of 1789, “and am each time very kindly received.” For an account of her skillful maneuvering during these visits to marshal support for the chancellor’s application for office, see her letter to her brother, undated but probably written in July 1789, NHi: Robert R. Livingston Papers, quoted in Dangerfield, Livingston, description begins George Dangerfield. Chancellor Robert R. Livingston of New York, 1746–1813. New York, 1960. description ends 244; see also GW to Robert R. Livingston, 31 May 1789. At this time Mrs. Montgomery was about to sail for Ireland to visit her sister-in-law.

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