To James McHenry
Dear SirMount Vernon 27th July 1798
The Greyheads of Alexandria, pretty numerous it seems, and composed of all the respectable old People of the place; having formed themselves into a company for the ^defence of the Town & its Vicinity, are in want of Colours; and it being intimated that the Presentation of them by Mrs Washington would be flattering to them; I take the liberty of requesting the favour of you to have made & sent to me as soon as is convenient, such as will be appropriate to the occasion. Handsome, but not more expensive than becomes Republicans (not Bachite Republicans) is reqd. If you think a Motto would be proper, the choice of one “chaste & unassuming”—is left to your own judgment.1 Send the cost, & the money shall be remitted by Yours always
ALS (letterpress copy), DLC:GW.
1. On 21 July the following notice appeared in the Columbian Mirror and Alexandria Gazette: “SILVER GRAYS. ATTENTION!!! A meeting of those citizens above the age of forty five (exempt from the militia law) is particularly requested at the Court-house, THIS EVENING at 5 0 ’clock, in order to form a Company of Infantry, and to chuse their Officers. Those who were appointed to solicit recruits, are likewise desired to attend—THIS IS THE TIME TO TRY MENS’ SOULS!!” See also GW to McHenry, 2 Aug., and McHenry to GW, 13 August.