Washington, Martha (1731-1802) Autograph Letter Signed, Philadelphia, 18 October 1794. Single laid paper sheet with a stub of the blank bifolium conjugate attached, inscribed over two pages, to Martha's niece Frances (Fanny) Bassett (1767-1796); thin ivory-colored paper, with bold brown ink, old folds, a few holes, good, 7 1/2 x 9 1/4 in. In the letter, the First Lady makes arrangements for a visit to Mount Vernon for the family of Senator Ralph Izard, and expresses her continued support of Fanny's acceptance of a marriage proposal from Tobias Lear.
"My Dear Fanny, I had the pleasure to receive your kind favor some time in the last week, and I have put your letter away so secure as not to be able to find it today. I am very glad to hear you are tolerable well yourself and your children better, your happyness my dear Fanny is I assure you, very dear to the President and myself. I have not a doubt but you have considered well what you are about to undertake and I hope that the same providence that has heather to taken care of you will still be your gardien angel to protect and derect you in your undertakings, you have my fervant prayers for your happyness.
Mrs. Izard a ladie of my acquaintance since I have been here is setting out on a journey to the seat in Charlestown South Carolina. Mr. Izard has been in Congress ever since the President has --after serving his six years he means to retire and his family goes on this fall, they will come to Alexandria and wish much to visit Mount Vernon if it is not very inconvenient to you I shall be much obliged to you to goe down to Mount Vernon with Mrs. Izard and her family as they would be glad to rest thair a day it would be well to let Mr. Pearce know it. The ladies intend to set out on Wednesday next. Thair present intention is to go by Lancaster and either Yorktown and come from thence to the Federal City. I would wish you to be very kind to them, and put up a supply of good bread or anything else that they may want. I shall give Mrs. Izard a letter for you which she will send to you as soon as she gets to Alexandria. Mrs. Mannegot is her daughter and will I expect go all together to Mount Vernon. I will when I write next week give you all the information I can as to the time they expect to get to Georgetown. Mr. Lear is very well acquainted with the ladys and gentlemen. If he will be so good as to let you know when they arrive at the city and go down with them it would be the more agreable to him as he would be able to walk about with them.
My love and good wishes attend you and children. I have not heard of the President since he left Carlyle. I am dear Fanny your ever affectionate, M Washington"
Mrs. Washington mentions President pro tem of the Senate, Ralph Izard (1742-1804), his wife, Alice DeLancey Izard (1748-1832) and their daughter, Margaret Izard Manigault (1768-1824). Fanny Bassett was Martha's sister Anna Maria Dandridge Bassett's daughter, the widow of George Augustine Washington (oldest son of GW's brother Charles), and the fiancee of Washington's longtime personal secretary, Tobias Lear. Unfortunately, the visit did not turn out as well as Martha had planned. Evidently, "Fanny was unaccountably absent, and the Izards stayed only one night at Mount Vernon, looked after by Frank the butler." (Quoted from Helen Bryan's Martha Washington: First Lady of Liberty, page 332).
The President had left Philadelphia with Alexander Hamilton on 30 September for Carlisle, Pennsylvania, to meet with militiamen mobilized to put down the insurgent Whiskey Rebellion. Washington reviewed the troops, briefed his commanding officers, and returned to Philadelphia. Despite the hated tax invented by Hamilton, Washington was able to suppress the uprising and restore order with minimal violence.
Provenance: The Estate of David Spinney.
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