To Thomas Peter
[Mount Vernon, 7 September 1799]
The Carriage is sent agreeably to Mrs Peter’s request; and we shall expect to see you by three ’oclock.1
Mrs Washington has been exceedingly unwell for more than eight days. Yesterday she was so ill as to keep her bed all day, and to occasion my sending for Doctr Craik the night before, at midnight. She is now better, and taking the Bark; but low, weak and fatiegued. Under his direction.
Her’s has been a kind of Ague & fever—the latter never, entirely, intermitting until now. I sent for the Doctor to her on Sunday last, but she could not, until he came the second time—yesterday morning—be prevailed upon to take any thing to arrest them. Our best regards attend you—and I am Dr Sir Yr Obedt &ca
Since writing and Sealing this letter—Mrs Washingtons fever has returned with uneasy & restless Symptoms.2
Inform Mrs Law thereof.
ALS, ViMtvL. GW addressed the letter to “Mr Thos Peter if absent to Mrs Peter Federal City by Cyrus.” He wrote the postscript on the cover.
1. Thomas Peter and his wife, Martha Parke Custis Peter, arrived at Mount Vernon “in the afternoon” of the seventh, and Mrs. Peter, with her children, apparently remained at Mount Vernon until 12 Oct., perhaps because of her grandmother’s prolonged illness (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 6:364).
2. GW recorded in his diary for 1 Sept.: “Doctr. Craik dined here—sent for to Mrs. Washington who was sick,” and on 6 Sept. Craik was sent for “in the Night” (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 6:363). Tobias Lear wrote William Thornton from Mount Vernon on 12 Sept.: “We have lately been alarmed on account of Mrs. Washington’s illness; but she is now, thank God, in a state of convalescence, and I hope will shortly be restored to her usual health” (Harris, Thornton Papers, description begins C. M. Harris, ed. Papers of William Thornton: Volume One, 1781-1802. Charlottesville, Va., 1995. description ends 1:508–9). Lear was too optimistic, however. GW reported to Lawrence Lewis on 28 Sept. that “Mrs Washington has not recovered her health; on the contrary is, at this time, weak, low, and much indisposed.” Mrs. Washington had her final visit on 12 Oct. from Dr. Craik, who in his account with GW, 25 June-December 1799 (NjMoHP) records visits on 1, 4, 6, 8, 10, 13, 19 Sept. and 12 Oct. and lists the medication he prescribed; but as late as 3 Nov. GW reported that his wife continued “much indisposed” (GW to Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, 3 Nov. 1799).