WASHINGTON, George, President. Autograph letter signed ("Go: Washington") to David Stuart, Esq., 5 May 1787 from Mount Vernon. 2 pages, 4to, integral autograph address leaf with explanatory docket (probably by Stuart): "This letter relates to some observations I had drawn up at the Genl's request respecting the fitness of the Potomac for a place of deposit for the fur trade." Slight damage to blank margins of address leaf, otherwise fine.
WASHINGTON PREPARES TO ATTEND THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION: "I SHALL COMMENCE MY JOURNEY...TO PHILADELPHIA"
A letter regarding plans for the use of the Potomac for the fur trade, mentioning "Mr. Jefferson," and written just four days before Washington left Mount Vernon for the convening of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. Washington had been chosen by Virginia as one of its delegates and had initially declined the post. Ultimately, after much consideration and considerable persuasion, he accepted, convinced that "his reputation might suffer if he sat out the convention while other men struggled with the 'awful crisis,'" and believing that not attending would be a "dereliction to republicanism." (J. Rhodehamel, The Great Experiment: George Washington and the American Republic, p.96) At the first session, several weeks later, Washington was further honored by the assembled delegates, who unanimously elected him Chairman of the Convention. Here, he concurs with Stuart's memorandum and struggles to organize his personal finances before departing: "I have received your favor of the 30th and thank you for the enumerations contained in it. They are all clear and self evid[en]t and in some instances may be enlarged. Did you communicate the plan to Colonels Fitzgerald and Hoes? And how far did you give either, or both, reason to believe they would be recommended to Mr Jefferson? (to whom I shall write as soon as I get to Philada.) I wish to be fully informed of this that I may govern myself accordingly. On Monday after an early dinner, or on Tuesday morning, I shall (my Rheumatic complaint having gotten better) commence my journey (I believe by the way of Annapolis) to Philadelphia. It would therefore suit me very much to receive the sum mentioned when you were here last, at that place; and probably, as you are going to Richmond, it may be so ordered. Alexander's Bills or Mr. Morris' would answer well; doubtful Bills, or Bills which would be accompanied with delay, would by no means suit me, because the money would be applied -- 1st toward paying a debt there and 2nd in the purchase of some goods for the family, if I can get them cheap there. If I can render you, or Mrs. Stuart any services while there, I shall be happy in the execution of your commands."
In his retirement, Washington, whose finances had been severely depleted by his financial losses during the Revolution, hoped to rebuild and improve Mount Vernon.
Published in Writings, ed. J.C. Fitzpatrick 29: 211-212.