George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Charles Lee, 31 July 1797

To Charles Lee

Mount Vernon 31st July 1797

Dear Sir,

Your letter of the 24th Inst. came to hand by last Post. The demand of Mr Monroe is no more than another card played in the same game. The moment I can get at my Papers (for having no convenient place yet to arrange them, they remain in an indigested mass) I will send you a copy of that which you require.

A Lady of my acquaintance (who lives at a distance from hence) being under some apprehension of an approaching Cancer, has written several times without obtaining satisfactory information, to know if the Nephew of Doctr Tate (his name I am unacquainted with) still lives in Philadelphia—in what part of the City—and whether his applications for Cancerous complaints are attended with the success his Uncles were.

If it is not too much trouble you will oblige me, and in a more especial manner the Lady by solving the foregoing questions. Let the information be the entire subject of a letter, that I may send it with or without your signature to the person, for whose satisfaction it is required.1

Several late publications in France, speak a language which it is presumed was not expected by some of its advocates here; And considering the characters from whence it proceeds and the changes which have taken Place in their late actions, auger something more favorable, than was to be expected from the conduct of the Directory, of that Country. With Great Esteem & regard I am always Your Affece Hble Servt

Go: Washington

ALS (incomplete), ICHi; ALS (incomplete photocopy of letterpress copy), DLC:GW; LB, DLC:GW. The text beginning with the last six words of the third paragraph is taken from the letter-book copy.

1Dr. James Tate (d. 1813) served in the Revolution as a surgeon in the Delaware, Maryland, and Pennsylvania forces. In 1793 GW consulted him about Lund Washington’s health and arranged for Dr. Tate to go to Virginia to examine Lund, probably for his increasing blindness. Tate’s treatment evidently was unsuccessful (GW to Lund Washington, 9 Dec. 1793, 19 Nov. 1794). GW availed himself of Dr. Tate’s skills in 1794, and on 25 Feb. 1795 he gave him this glowing recommendation to Thomas Pinckney in London: “Dr Tate . . . is possessed of the valuable secret of curing Cancerous complaints. A call to England for some purpose of that sort—or with a view to derive benefit from his discovery, affords me an occasion to inform you (at his request) that I have, myself, experienced the fruits of his skill, in this art; being cured by him of an irritable spot on my right cheek which had for years been encreasing in pricking & disagreeable Sensations; and in June last assumed the decided character of a Cancer; of which I was perfectly relieved by Doctr Tate in about two months by an easy course, under the operation of which I felt no confinement, or other inconvenience at the time—nor any injury to my constitution since” (letterpress copy, DLC:GW; L, DLC:GW). Charles Lee’s response to this request has not been found.

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