George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Sarah Bomford, 6 January 1790

To Sarah Bomford

New York, January 6th 1790.


In answer to your letter of the 23rd of August last,1 which came to my hands but a few days ago, I must observe that, from the year 1775. to the close of the war with great Britain, my public duties totally precluded me from attending to any kind of private business whatever, and from the latter period to the time of my entering again into public life, I was occasionally so much engaged in correspondencies, and other matters consequent on the station which I had held, that, with the greatest industry I could not find time to pay that attention to my own private affairs which they required.

Under these circumstances I had it not in my power to attend particularly to the affairs of Mrs Savage, and, of course, have not that knowledge of the situation of them that Mr Fairfax has, to whom I have transmitted your letter with a request, and not doubting, that he will give it the attention which it deserves, and which the situation of Mrs Savage’s affairs will admit of2—And I must request that in future you will correspond with him upon this business. I am Madam, Your most obedient Servant

G. Washington.


This letter concerns the affairs of the late Margaret Savage, the widow of the Rev. Charles Green, who had married Dr. William Savage of Dumfries. For GW’s long and frustrating involvement in the affairs of Mrs. Savage, see particularly Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 2:181–82, 2:228, 3:81; GW and George William Fairfax to William Savage, 25 April 1767, GW to Margaret Savage, 28 June 1768, to William Ellzey, 3 Oct. 1769, and to Bryan Fairfax, 6 April 1789, n.3. See also the enclosure in Peter Trenor to GW, 8 Nov. 1786, GW to Newburgh Burroughs, 20 Aug. 1797, George Deneale to GW, 18 April 1798, GW to Deneale, 22 April 1798, and Henry Lee and Daniel Payne to GW, 24 April 1767. For Mrs. Bomford, see GW to Bryan Fairfax, 6 April 1789, n.3.

1Letter not found.

2GW wrote Bryan Fairfax concerning Mrs. Bomford’s letter on 6 Jan.: “I received the enclosed Letter a few days since from Mrs Bomford, upon the subject of a legacy which was left her by the late Mrs Savage—and likewise requesting payment may be made to her for the diet, lodging &ca of that unfortunate woman for upwards of four years.

“In my answer to the above letter I have informed Mrs Bomford that circumstances have put it out of my power to pay particular attention to the affairs of Mrs Savage—and that I should transmit her letter to you, not doubting but you would give it that attention which it deserved—You will, therefore, my dear Sir, be good enough to give Mrs Bomford such an answer to her letter, as from your Knowledge of the situation of Mrs Savage’s affairs you may be enabled to do—and permit me to add, if this business could be brought to a close it would be a most desirable thing.

“You will please to make my best compliments acceptable to Mrs Fairfax and your family, in which I am joined by Mrs Washington—and I assure you we are not a little pleased to hear that you are about to establish yourselves in the neighbourhood of Mount Vernon promising ourselves a new source of pleasure from that circumstance whenever we are permitted to return home” (LB, DLC:GW).

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