To Benjamin Stoddert
Mount Vernon 31st March 1799.
This letter will be presented to you by Burwell Bassett Esqr. one of the Senate of this Commonwealth—and a Nephew to Mrs Washington—whom I beg leave to introduce to your civilities.
Mr Bassett will mention to you the wish of another of Mrs Washingtons Nephews—Mr Robert Henley—to obtain a birth as Midshipman in one of our Frigates (if youths of Sixteen are admitted).1
I am not, myself, acquainted with this young Gentleman; but on Mr Bassetts report of him, ⟨who is⟩ you may entirely rely. I have the honor to be with esteem & respect Dear Sir Your Obedt Hble Servant
ALS (letterpress copy), DLC:GW.
1. Robert Henley (1783–1828) was the son of Martha Washington’s younger sister Elizabeth Dandridge Aylett Henley and her husband Leonard Henley (d. 1798) of James City County. Henley was made a midshipman on 8 April and served in the U.S. Navy until his death, gaining a measure of fame in September 1814 as the commander of the brig Eagle in the battle of Lake Champlain.