George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Alicia McKenna, 23 April 1794

From Alicia McKenna

New york April the 23d 1794

Honoured Sir

Nothing Could Make Me trouble your Excellency with this Request, but My very great uneasyness about tow Children, I left in Ireland ten years ago one a Girl, your Amiable Charecter and Goodness, has induced Me to Make So Bold, as to Request your leave to go in the Vessell that Mr Jay goes to England in,1 I would not trouble him in the Cabbin, any Place I would be Private from the Sailors I would be happy to get, My Anxiety is so great to go for My Children before any Farther troubles take Place—I have been ten years liveing in Alexandria have the Pleasure of being very well acquainted with Doctor and Mrs Steward, Mrs Herbert, and Many Others My Husband and Six Children are there he has an Employment in the Bank of that town, three of My Sons are in the Militia in Baltimore2—I Came to New York to go in a Vessell going to Dublin a Week before the Embargo in March took place, Since that I have been at Lodgeings here waiting for it being off but was dreadfully disappointed at it being laid on again, as I hope to be back in the Fall3—I humbly beg your Excellency will forgive My Presumption Nothing but the Feelings of a Mother Could Make Me trouble you let that Plead My Excuse.

Mrs Harison—she that Was Miss Craig knows Me—if you Can grant My Request and allow one of your Domesticks to let Me know at No. 56 Water Street New York I Shall Ever Pray for your Happyness and long Life, let Me intreat your Pardon.4 I am Sir your Obedient Humble Servant

Alicia McKenna

ALS, DLC:GW. Postal stamps read, “N York. Apr 23” and “FREE.”

1On John Jay’s approaching departure for England, see n.2 of Edmund Randolph to GW, 19 April (first letter).

2Eleanor Calvert Custis Stuart, the wife of physician David Stuart, was the former daughter-in-law of Martha Washington. Sarah “Sally” Carlyle Herbert was the wife of Alexandria merchant William Herbert. Both couples were frequent visitors to Mount Vernon. James L. McKenna (d. 1813) was a cashier in the Bank of Alexandria.

3For the congressional resolve of 26 March, which established a thirty-day embargo on “all ships and vessels” in U.S. ports, and the resolve of 18 April, which extended the embargo until 25 May, see Stat description begins Richard Peters, ed. The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, from the Organization of the Government in 1789, to March 3, 1845 . . .. 8 vols. Boston, 1845-67. description ends . 1:400–401.

4This probably is Ann “Nancy” Craik, who was the daughter of GW’s friend and physician James Craik and married to Richard Harrison, a partner in the Alexandria mercantile firm of Hooe and Harrison and currently the auditor of the U.S. Treasury Department. No reply from GW has been found.

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