Worthy Partner: The Papers of Martha Washington

By Joseph E. Fields; Martha Washington | Go to book overview

for the twilight is gathering around our lives. I am again fairly settled down to the pleasant duties of an old fashioned Virginia house-keeper, steady as a clock, busy as a bee, and as cheerful as a cricket. 6

Text taken from Mary and Martha, p. 313-14.

1.
Lucy Flucker Knox, wife of Major-general Henry Knox, the General's chief of artillery during the Revolution and Secretary of War in his cabinet.
2.
Elizabeth Parke Custis Law, wife of Thomas Law. Diaries, 6:239.
3.
Martha Parke Custis Peter, wife of Thomas Peter of Georgetown. Diaries, 6:239.
4.
Fanny Bassett Washington Lear had been dead for almost a year.
5.
The Washingtons arrived at Mount Vernon on Wednesday, March 15, 1797. W. S. Baker, Washington After the Revolution, ( Philadelphia, 1898), p. 347. Diaries, 6:239.
6.
The diction is not that of MW. There are parts of the letter that resembles the style of GW. Factual portions of the letter are plausible. However, if based on an authentic letter, it has been extensively edited and embellished. The reference to Fanny Bassett Washington Lear casts serious doubts as to its authenticity.

To David Humphreys

Dear Sir 1 Mount Vernon June 26th 1797

Your Polite & obliging letter of the 18th of Feby came safe to my hands as did the Gold Chain which you have had the kindness to present me with as a token of your remembrance.

I wanted nothing to remind me of the pleasure we have had in your company at this place; but shall receive the chain, nevertheless as an emblem of your friendship, & shall value it accordingly, - about the middle of March we once more (and I am very sure never to quit it again) got seated under our own Roof, more like new beginners than old established residenters, as we found every thing in a deranged (sic), & all the buildings in a decaying state. 2

Poor Mrs Stuart has had very ill health for the last 6 or 8 months but is better now - Her two oldest daughters as you know, or have heard, are both married & each have a daughter 3 - Nelly lives as usual with us - to all of whom I have presented you in the terms you required, and all reciprocate your kind wishes in an affectionate manner

- Mr Lear who often visits us, has lost his second wife more than a year ago; 4 Mr Lund Washington died in August last. 5

- Our circle of friends of course is contracted without any disposition on our part to enter into new friendships, though we have an abundance of acquaintances and a variety of visitors. - Doctr Craik6 is well and enjoying tolerably good health, but Mrs Craik declines fast 7 - they have lately lost their second daughter, Mrs. West, 8 who has left five young children -

Perceiving by your letter to Mr W - that you were - on the eve of an important change I wish you every possible happiness in it. 9 - With very great esteem & regard

-304-

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