George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Bushrod Washington, 10 April 1799

From Bushrod Washington

Walnut-farm April 10. [17]99
near the Cross roads

My dear Uncle

The deed from Genl Lee to you has been duly executed, acknowledged and certified, so as to entitle it to be recorded in the General Court. I shall in a few days send it down to the clerk of that Court, to record it in June. I enclose your deed to Lee, that you may have it proved in Fairfax Court this month, and being certified by the Clerk you will immediately enclose it to “Mr—— Allen clerk of the General Court—Richmond” with a request that he will in June have it admitted to record.1

I wish I could speak of the Congressional election in this District with any sort of confidence. The general opinion is, that the majority either way will be very inconsiderable, and this I believe will be the event. Indisposition has obstructed Genl Lee’s exertions very much to his injury. The favorable moments were improved by the enemies of the Government, and deep[e]r rooted impressions were made against him by the most scandalous and unfounded aspersions upon his private character. No misrepresentation of the views & conduct of the Government was too monstrous to deter its enemies; but as this would of itself have been ineffectual, it was deemed necessary to assasinate his reputation as much as possible. He is now making great exertions, and is successful in removing many prejudices. There is but a small part of this County affected by Jacobin principles; I have been to every house in that neighbourhood, and endeavoured to expose the many ridiculous and scandalous misrepresentations which had been made of the Government. I hope I was not entirely unsuccessful. Argument in public is carefully avoided by those Men, because they have not truth to support the facts upon which they reason in secret. There is very little doubt, but that this County will send fœderal men to the assembly.2

I am informed that Mr Tayloe intends to resign his commission in the army. Under this idea, Mr Thomas Turner has applied to me to mention to you his wishes to get into the Cavalry, supposing that the above resignation will render the exchange of his present office for a Captancy in the Cavalry, not improper. Whether this be the case or not, I cannot say; but as his application originally was for an appointment in this service, and as he considers himself better fitted for this than the infantry, I shall be very happy if he could be gratified. I am intimately acquainted with him, and am persuaded that he will make a valuable officer. He is an ardent and an useful friend of the Government in this part of the Country, and is besides a young man of high honor.3 Nancy unites with me in love to yourself & my Aunt—Believe me to be most sincerely My dear Uncle your Affect. Nephew & much obliged Sert

B. Washington

Since writing the above I recd by Colo. Ball your Letter and your present of the F⟨ederalist⟩ for which I return you many thanks. B.W.4

ALS, ViMtvL.

1In March 1798 Bushrod Washington advised GW to secure from Lee a new deed to the land in Kentucky that Lee had conveyed to GW in 1795, and it took until February 1799 to achieve this. See Bushrod Washington to GW, 13 Mar. 1798, n.4, Alexander Spotswood to GW, 22 Mar. 1797, n.1, and Henry Lee, Jr., to GW, 28 Feb. 1799, n.1. Wilson Allen became clerk of the Virginia General Court in June 1797.

2Bushrod Washington wrote GW on 26 April to inform him of the election of Light-Horse Harry Lee to Congress and of “two federal men” to represent Westmoreland County in the Virginia House of Delegates.

3John Tayloe wrote GW on 10 Feb. of his misgivings about accepting the offered commission as major of the Regiment of Light Dragoons because of the likelihood of his being replaced in the state senate by a Republican. GW replied two days later and agreed that Tayloe’s “Services in the civil line” were more important than they would be in the military. See also Tayloe to GW, 26 Mar., and note 2 of that document. GW wrote James McHenry on 23 April about Thomas Turner; see also Bushrod Washington to GW, 21 Sept. 1798, n.1.

4GW’s letter to Bushrod Washington has not been found. The most recent known letter from GW to his nephew is dated 31 Dec. 1798, but Bushrod had been at Mount Vernon as recently as 26 February.

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