George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Samuel Vaughan, 28 July 1795

From Samuel Vaughan

London 28th July 1795.

Dear Sir,

It is with pleasure I take up my pen to renew an acquaintance with an Illustrious Character I have ever respected & admired, and to introduce to You my Son Benjamens amiable family who are embarking in the Ocean Capt. Howard for New York. My amiable Daughter in Law & seven Children are accompanied by my Daughter Sarah and the Revd Mr Merrick, a worthy & respectable character, who has resided for some time in my Sons family to superintend the Education of the elder branches of his Children.1

Permit me to request Your kind attention towards them, and I hope it will not be long before my Son will have the honor of paying his personal respects to Your Excellency.

As a sincere friend to America, I hope it will long keep out of the troubles that are agitating in Europe, & enjoy the fruits of that peaceful System, which will give health Vigor and strength to a Country and a Constitution that are fast advancing to a Maturity superiour to any in the Annals of History.

In proportion as we correct our own Commercial Systems, we shall I trust form a stronger tie and connection with America, but we have yet to make some sacrafices to our selves, & to our own habits & prejudices, before we can liberalize our own plans, for our own benefits; & as all are directed by a wise over ruling providence, it will I trust lead us at last to the Blessings of peace and to the cultivation of those objects that are calculated to promote the happiness & welfare of Society. That You may long enjoy the pleasing reflextions of having so essentially contributed Your share to these great purposes is my sincere wish & am with respectful compliments to Mrs Washington. Dear Sir, Your assured & obedt hble Servt

Saml Vaughan

ALS, PPAmP: Benjamin Vaughan Papers.

1The ship Ocean, captained by Nathaniel Howard, arrived in New York in early October after a voyage of fifty-six days from London (see Argus, or Greenleaf’s New Daily Advertiser [New York], 5 Oct. 1795).

Benjamin Vaughan (1751–1835), eldest son of Samuel Vaughan, married Sarah Manning (1754–1834) in 1781. Their children were Harriet (1782–1798), William Oliver (1783–1826), Sarah (1784–1847), Henry (1786–1806), Petty (1788–1854), Lucy (1790–1869), and Elizabeth Frances (1793–1855) Vaughan.

Sarah Vaughan (1761–1818) was the seventh of Samuel Vaughan’s ten surviving children.

John Merrick (1766–1862), a licensed but unordained minister, returned to England in 1797 and married Samuel Vaughan’s daughter Rebecca (1766–1851) in 1798. The two settled in Hallowell, Maine, where he became a leading citizen (Daniel R. Goodwin, Memoir of John Merrick, Esq., Prepared for the Maine Historical Society [Philadelphia, 1862]).

On 29 July, Samuel Vaughan penned a brief letter to GW: “A Treatise on the Poor Laws is just come out, as it is highly spoken of and as an object of high Importance to all States, I have sent one to Your Excellency, in hopes some usefull hints may be found in it.

“In the fullness of my heart I am induced to announce with pleasure to Your Excellency, that the indefaticable Industry and ability of Mrs Vaughan in the Instructions of Her Children in Ethicks, the Arts, Sciences, Philosophy and general knowledge I believe to have been but seldom exceeded, I therefore hope the Family will prove an acqu[i]sition to America” (ALS, DLC:GW).

The treatise that Vaughan sent probably was David Davies, The Case of Labourers in Husbandry Stated and Considered, in Three Parts. . . . (London, 1795), which was in GW’s library at the time of his death (see Griffin, Catalogue of the Washington Collection, description begins Appleton P. C. Griffin, comp. A Catalogue of the Washington Collection in the Boston Athenæum. Cambridge, Mass., 1897. description ends 65).

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