George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John V. Weylie, 7 September 1792

From John V. Weylie

Alex[andri]a [Va.] Sept. 7th 1792

Honoured Sir,

Notwithstanding the inestimable Favour you have conferred upon me in paying for my Education, yet I have made bold (though with great reluctance) to beg another particular Kindness.1

Through your unexampled Bounty, I have made a considerable Progress in the Latin Tongue, and at the Return of the Revd Mr McWhir from Georgia, I am to begin Greek.2 My Father bought several Latin Authors for me, and others I borrowed. But being at present unable to purchase me what Greek Books I shall want, and they being more scarse than the Latin, my only Resource is in your well known Generosity. Without your kind Interposition and Assistance, I am afraid my Education will be rendered altogether imperfect. Had I continued to learn English, I might by this time, have made myself perfect Master of my Mother Tongue. But having exchanged that for the Study of the Classics, and being, very much charmed with it, I am very loath to forsake so very agreeable a Study; as a thirsty Traveller having found a cool, refreshing Brook in his way, is very unwilling to leave it till he perfectly allayst his Thirst. Whether the Greek Language may please me as much as the Latin, is a matter I am as yet uncertain of; however I am very desirous to try. I entreat you Sir, as your unparalled Liberality has conducted me thus far, not to forsake me at the very moment I am upon the point of obtaining my Desires. I might here enlarge upon my manifold Obligations to you, but as merit is alway disgusted at its own Praises, I choose to be silent. But depend upon (illustrious Benefactor) you have my most ardent and sincere wishes for your temporal and eternal Welfare.

The principal Books necessary for learning the Greek Language are the five following, Moor’s Greek Grammar, Testament, Lucian’s Dialogues, Homer’s Iliad and a Lexicon. Though they are but few, yet my Father’s Circumstances incapacitate him to procure them for me. I therefore, hope, noble Sir, you will assist me, and thus complete the Benefits already heaped upon Your Excellency’s most devoted Humble Srt3

John V. Weylie


1For information about GW’s previous financial support of Weylie, see Weylie to GW, 11 Mar. 1789, and source note.

2William McWhir (1759–1851), a Presbyterian minister who had emigrated from Ireland in 1783, was headmaster of the Alexandria Academy and a reputed scholar of Greek and Latin. He moved to Sunbury, Ga., in 1793 to accept the principalship of the Sunbury Academy.

3Because GW responded positively to his request for financial aid, Weylie sent an enthusiastic letter of thanks on 8 Sept.: “It is with great pleasure that I reflect on the many advantages, which all America recieves from you. To Your valour and prudence she owes her liberty and the peaceful enjoyment of her civil and religious rites. And if she is so infinitely indebted to you for these blessings, how much rather are those who not only enjoy them, but also are educated by Your extraordinary Bounty. But I am lost in admiration of you Liberality to myself. After giving me a considerable knowledge of the English Language, you went so far as to have me instructed in Latin. And then to crown all your Favours, and give me a complete Education, you have even offered to purchase me Books to learn the Greek language. It is utterly impossible for me to repay or enumerate my obligations to you” (DLC:GW).

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