George Washington Papers

From George Washington to William Stoy, 14 October 1797

To William Stoy

Mount Vernon 14 Octr 1797


On monday last, the bearer was Bit by a Small Dog belonging to a Lady in my house, then as was supposed a little diseased—And Yesternight died (I do think) in a State of Madness1—As soon as the Boy (Christopher) was Bit application was made to a medical Gentleman in Alexandria who has cut out so far as He could, the place Bit—applyed Ointment to keep it open, And put the Boy under a Course of mercury.2

But being informed of Your success in performing cures on ⟨mutilated⟩ And worse cases—has induced me to send Him to You, & put Him under Your care, Trusting You will do every thing in Your Power, to prevent any bad consequences from the Bite, And have at the same time wrote to Mr Slough in Lancaster to pay whatever is Your charge. And whenever the Boy arrives do write me, And your Opinion of Him—for besides the call of Humanity, I am particularly anxious for His cure, He being my own Body servant. The Mercury will be mostly discontinued upon His leaving this place, and untill He reaches You,3 And am Sir Your’s &ca

Go: Washington

LS, ViMtvL.

William Stoy (1726–1801), a minister of the German Reformed Church in Lebanon, Pa., was born in Westphalia in Germany. Stoy had discovered a “cure” for hydrophobia and also had developed Stoy’s Drops, a popular medicine.

1For the possible identity of the little dog, see GW to Tobias Lear, 9 Mar. 1797, n.7.

2Christopher, a young slave who worked in the house at Mount Vernon, was treated by Dr. James Craik. Dr. Craik on 9 Oct. charged GW is. 6d. for “Ung[uen]t digeste for Christopher,” 2s. 6d. for “Ungt Mercurial,” and 2s. 6d. for “Dressing his [Christopher’s] Finger”; on 10 Oct., 5s. for “12 alterat[iv]e pills for Christopher”; on 12 Oct., 5s. for “Ungt Mercurial for Christopher”; and on 14 Oct., £1 for “A Visit to” Christopher (James Craik’s account with GW, 25 Aug. 1797–27 June 1799, ViMtvL). GW on 18 Oct. gave $25 to “my Servant Christopher to bear his expences to a person at Lebanon in Pennsylvania—celebrated for curing persons bit by Mad animals.” On 23 Oct. Christopher “returned” $12 of it (Cash Memoranda, 1794-97 description begins Cash + Entries & Memorandums, 29 Sept. 1794–31 Aug. 1797. Manuscript in John Carter Brown Library, Providence. description ends ). As GW’s body servant, he attended GW in his final illness and was present at the time of his death (“Tobias Lear’s Account of Washington’s Death,” 14 Dec. 1799).

3For Stoy’s medical treatment of Christopher, see Stoy to GW, 19 Oct. 1797.

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