[AUTOGRAPH LETTER, SIGNED, FROM GEORGE WASHINGTON TO HIS LONG-TIME FRIEND AND FELLOW VIRGINIAN RALPH WORMELEY, REGARDING AN INABILITY TO TRAVEL AT HIS ADVANCED AGE AND ALLUDING TO HIS APPOINTMENT AS COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF AMERICAN FORCES DURING THE QUASI-WAR WITH FRANCE].

Mount Vernon. November 18, 1799. [1]p. Some dampstaining. Very good. Matted and framed with portrait. Item #WRCAM54978

Less than a month before his death, George Washington answers a letter from a fellow landed gentleman of Virginia, Ralph Wormeley. Washington opens the letter by quashing a rumor that he was planning to visit Norfolk, Virginia, admitting he had not "been farther from home since I left the Chair of Government, than the Federal City" adding in the margin, "except when I was called to Philadelphia by the Secretary of War." He adds that his advancing age "will circumscribe my Walks; unless, which heaven avert! I should be obliged to resume a military career." This last point is an allusion to Washington's appointment as Commander in Chief during the Quasi-War with France. Although Washington had accepted a commission as Lieutenant General of the provisional army raised to defend against possible land invasion by France, he did so with the full knowledge that Alexander Hamilton, Inspector General of the Army, and Tobias Lear, his own personal secretary, would act on his behalf. Although Washington was ostensibly in good health, he had begun to slow down. The week prior to this letter, the Alexandria Dancing Assembly had invited the Washingtons to an event, but he begged off, commenting famously that "Alas, our dancing days are no more." The first president of the United States passed away at Mount Vernon after a brief illness on December 14, 1799. The recipient of the present letter, Ralph Wormeley was a bibliophile and scholar raised in a genteel Virginia family but educated at Eton and Cambridge in England. Wormeley was most well- known in his day for being a book collector. He inherited the largest book collection in Virginia at his family estate at Rosegill and added to it during his lifetime. Wormeley's English ancestry and schooling bred a fierce loyalty in him to Great Britain, and he was roundly criticized during the Revolutionary War period for being a Royalist. Wormeley found himself in hot water after penning a loyalist letter to John Randolph in April 1776, after which he was fined 10,000£ and confined to his family's hunting lodge about ten miles south of Charles Town. Despite his Tory tendencies, Wormeley and Washington were long- standing friends, since at least 1764, and Wormeley served as a member of both the Virginia Governor's Council and the Virginia House of Delegates. Washington's fondness for Wormeley can be seen in the present letter, which he concludes, "I am not less obliged to you, however, my good Sir, for your polite invitation to Rosegill; and if events (at present unforeseen) should ever call me into those parts, I certainly shall avail myself of it. Mrs Washington feels obliged by your kind remembrance of her; and unites with me in best respects to yourself & Lady." The present letter comes after an earlier correspondence in May 1799 between the two men, in which Wormeley asked Washington for letters of recommendation to John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, Henry Knox, and Benjamin Lincoln in an attempt to get one of his sons into Harvard. Washington obliged his friend, at least with regard to Knox and Lincoln, as letters to both from Washington dated May 22, 1799 survive today. In his letter to Knox, Washington describes Wormeley as "a Gentleman of respectability in his own State; a friend to the Constitution & Government of the Union; and a person of Information...." A wonderful letter from the Father of America in his final days to his old friend, a Loyalist Virginian. Founders Online: https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/06-04-02-0351

Price: $37,500.00

Written by Washington Less than a Month Before His Death