George Washington Papers

From George Washington to George Read, 26 December 1793

To George Read

Philadelphia 26th Decr 1793.

Dear Sir,

Two of the unhappy female fugitives from St Domingo have (as you will see by the enclosed letters) laid their distresses before me; which, if true in the degree they have stated, merits much commiseration. But I have received so many applications of a similar nature, and some of them from Imposters, that I find it necessary to guard what little relief I am able to afford, against impos⟨i⟩tion. For this reason—and because I am not well acquainted with any other Gentleman in Newcastle (from whence the letters come) I have taken the liberty of putting my answer to them, under cover to you, open, that if upon enquiry the authors are found to merit relief it may be sealed and handed to them—if on the other hand it should prove a fictitious tale it may be returned to me.1

I will make no apology for giving you this trouble because, to be employed in acts of humanity cannot, I am sure, be disagreeable to such a mind as yours. With very great esteem & regard I am—Dear Sir Yr Most Obedt Serv.

Go: Washington

ALS, DeHi; ALS (letterpress copy), DLC:GW; LB, DLC:GW.

1GW enclosed two letters written to him by Laurent De Saxÿ and Laurent De Verneüil, dated 6 and 10 Dec., and his reply to the two ladies, dated 26 December. Read wrote him on 4 Jan. 1794 that after “making every inquiry within my reach then of their charecter situation and circumstances,” he was “induced to believe they are such persons as they represent themselves in their enclosed Letters and further that their family Connections have been among the most respectable of that Island. Under this Impression I delivered your Letter addressed to them with it’s particular contents and they expressed much satisfaction at receiving it” (PHi: Sprague Collection). Read returned the letters that the ladies had written to GW.

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