George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Benjamin Stoddert, 31 March 1799

To Benjamin Stoddert

Mount Vernon 31st March 1799.

Dear Sir,

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

Go: Washington

ALS (letterpress copy), DLC:GW.

1Robert 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.

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