George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Richard Randolph, Jr., 20 September 1797

From Richard Randolph, Jr.

Williamsburg Sept. 20th [17]97

Dear sir

On my return from Mount-vernon, to Culpeper, I found Mrs Randolph so much indisposed as to detain me there till’ a few days ago which will account for your not hearing from me sooner. Agreeably to your request, on my arrival here I applied to Colo. Finnie respecting his Cook, and have to inform you that your information is erroneous—he is not for sale, & if he were, the same objection exists that did with the one of Mr Lee—he has a Wife & several Children.1 I however, am not without hope of success in another quarter—I am informed of one which I can venture to recommend—a single man about 25 years of age & has been brought up in the very best regulated family that I do know—he is not offered for sale for any fault whatever but from motives of œconomy—the Gentleman is Mr Nathl Burwell of King William County, brother to the little gentleman Lewis.2 I have written to him on the subject, but am as yet without his answer—you shall be informed as soon as I hear from him, but I can be more particular about 10 or 12 days hence from Fredericksburg, as I shall call on my way up on Mr Burwell when every enquiry respecting the Servant shall be made. I have visited there for several years past, & always remarked the excellence of his cooking as well as the most uniform good bread-maker I ever saw—I believe he knows nothing of pastery. Shou’d you have accommodated yourself elsewhere, you will please inform me. I remain, with the highest respect & regard Dr Sir, Your mo. Obdt

Richd Randolph

ALS, CSmH; Sprague transcript, DLC:GW. A number of comma-like marks sprinkled throughout the letter, which Randolph clearly did not intend as commas, have been ignored.

Richard Randolph, Jr. (c.1758–1799), of Curies in Henrico County and his brother-in-law Carter Beverley (1774–1844) of Culpeper County dined at Mount Vernon on 23 August. Randolph was married to Maria Beverley Randolph (1764–1824). See Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 6:253.

1Col. William Finnie (1739–1804), who lived in Williamsburg, served during most of the Revolutionary War as deputy quartermaster general in the southern department.

2Nathaniel Burwell (1750–1802) of King William County was the son of Lewis Burwell (d. 1784) originally of Kingsmill, James City County, near Williamsburg. Burwell Bassett informed GW on 22 Dec. that Nathaniel Burwell had told him “the supposed desire in him to part with his cook was a mistake.” The “little gentleman Lewis” (d. 1805), the fifth Lewis Burwell of the Kingsmill line, was also known as “English Lewis.” See Simpson, Legends of Carter’s Grove, description begins Alan Simpson. The Legends of Carter’s Grove and Other Mysteries: A Selection of Essays from the Journal of Colonial Williamsburg. Williamsburg, Va., 1993. description ends 58–78.

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