George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Bryan Fairfax, 15 May 1798

To Bryan Fairfax

Mount Vernon 15th May 1798

Dear Sir,

Herewith, I send you Letters of introduction to Gentlemen with whom I occasionally correspond, agreeably to my promise.1

I also send you a Genealogical account of the family of Fairfax, which was presented to me by the Earl of Buchan through Mr Lear (who carried a letter of introduction from me to his Lordship when he went to England four or five years ago) thinking it might be satisfactory to you as head (of at least one branch) of the family to be possessed of.2

Mrs Washington & myself propose (on friday or Saturday next) making a visit to Dr Stuart’s, from whence we shall proceed to the Federal City, and do not expect to return from thence until about Saturday or Sunday week. If you expect not to be embarked before that time, we will call as we return and wish you a pleasant passage; but if your embarkation is likely to take place at an earlier day—we will between this & friday, in a morning’s ride come up for that purpose.3 Our compliments are presented to Mrs Fairfax4 &ca and I am, at all times Dear Sir Your sincere friend, and Affecte Humble Servt

Go: Washington

ALS, ViHi.

1GW’s letters of introduction included those to the earl of Buchan, the U.S. minister Rufus King, Sir John Sinclair, and William Strickland, all dated 15 May. His letter to Buchan reads: “My Lord If this letter should be presented to you, it will be by the hands of my good neighbour and friend the Reverend Bryan Fairfax; who, although he has not taken the title, is the legitimate Baron of Cameron.

“Ill health, and the advice of Physicians, have enduced him to try the effect of Sea Air—and his inclinations have led him to give a Voyage to England the preference.

“A long & intimate acquaintance with this Gentleman enables me to introduce him to your Lordship’s civilities as one who possesses the best heart, & best intentions in the world. More I am sure, need not be said to insure him a favourable reception.

“He will repeat to your Lordship, with what sincere esteem and respect I have the honor to be Your Most Obedt & Most Humble Servant Go: Washington” (letterpress copy, DLC:GW; LB DLC:GW).

2GW’s letter introducing Tobias Lear to Buchan is dated 8 Nov. 1793.

3See Fairfax’s response, this date. GW and Mrs. Washington left Mount Vernon to visit first the Stuarts at Hope Park and then on 19 May the Thomas Peters and Thomas Laws in Washington. On their way home on 24 May the Washingtons “called at Mount Eagle to take our leave of the Revd. Mr. Fairfax” (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 6:297). See also Fairfax to GW, 15 May, and GW to Fairfax, 18 May.

4Bryan Fairfax’s first wife, a sister of Sally Cary Fairfax, died about 1788, and he was at this time married to Jane (Jenny) Dennison (Donaldson) Fairfax (d. 1805).

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