From Masonic Lodge,
No. 22, Alexandria, Virginia
Alexandria [Va.] 29th Augt 1793
Sir and Brother
Actuated by the warmest sentiments of personal affection, and encouraged by that masonic relation, by which you are connected with us in a social capacity—We the Alexandria Lodge of Free and accepted Masons venture to address you on a subject particularly interesting to us.1
We deem it an honor of the highest and most pleasing nature, that our Charter is distinguished by your name, and if no greater could be conferred upon us, we might be satisfied that the parent of our Institution is the greatest character of the age—But although history shall hand-down your virtues and patriotic services to the latest posterity, and although the name of George Washington must ever be dear to every good Mason and especially to the members of No. 22, yet will it be a source of the most refined gratification the tracing out and contemplating the various ornaments of his character in the resemblance of his person. To this end we beg leave to solicit you to set for your portrait. The person we have chosen to execute the painting is Mr Wm Williams, an American Artist—From a number of Specimens we have seen of this Gentleman’s performance, we are persuaded he is the most successful portrait painter that we have yet seen or heard of in America.2
We remain with the sincerest fraternal affection your Brethren of Lodge No. 22. Signed in behalf of said Lodge
⟨M.⟩ Flannery Secy
Elisha C. Dick. Master
James Taylor[.] Senr Warden
Ch: Simms[.] Jur Warden3
1. On GW’s membership in the Alexandria Lodge, No. 22, see Brockett, Lodge of Washington description begins F. L. Brockett. The Lodge of Washington. A History of the Alexandria Washington Lodge, No. 22, A.F. and A.M. of Alexandria, Va., 1783-1876. Alexandria, Va., 1876. description ends , 22, 30.
2. Although no reply from GW to this request has been found, he agreed to sit for the painting, despite the fact that he had refused to sit for William Joseph Williams in the previous year (GW to Henry Lee, 3 July 1792). Williams completed the pastel portrait showing GW in full Masonic dress in Sept. 1794 (Eisen, Portraits of Washington description begins Gustavus A. Eisen. Portraits of Washington. 3 vols. New York, 1932. description ends , 2:505–6).
3. Michael Flannery (d. 1813) was a teller in the Bank of Alexandria and was among those Masons from the lodge who attended Washington’s funeral in 1799 (Brockett, Lodge of Washington description begins F. L. Brockett. The Lodge of Washington. A History of the Alexandria Washington Lodge, No. 22, A.F. and A.M. of Alexandria, Va., 1783-1876. Alexandria, Va., 1876. description ends , 49, 99, 112). Alexandria physician Elisha Cullen Dick (c.1750–1825) was one of the doctors who attended GW on his deathbed (Tobias Lear’s Narrative Account of the Death of George Washington, 15 Dec. 1799). Dick was again Worshipful Master of the lodge in 1799, and, as such, he led the Masonic rites at GW’s funeral. James Taylor, as “acting Senior Warden,” was among the Masons from the lodge who attended the ceremonial laying of the cornerstone of the U.S. Capitol on 18 Sept. 1793. Alexandria lawyer Charles Simms, whose legal services GW sometimes employed, was one of the pallbearers at GW’s funeral (ibid., 49, 98–99, 117–18, 128–29).