WASHINGTON, George, President. Autograph letter signed ("G: Washington") to his nephew Samuel Washington, Mount Vernon, 22 September 1799. 1 page, 4to, neat repairs to folds, silked.
GEORGE WASHINGTON TO SAMUEL WASHINGTON ON THE THE DEATH OF THE FORMER PRESIDENT'S BROTHER
A letter to his nephew Samuel, after Washington has learned of the death of his brother and Samuel's father, Charles: "Your letter, announcing the death of my brother, came to hand last night. One from Col. [Burgess] Ball, informing me of that event, arrived the evening before. I very sincerely condole with your mother and the family on this occasion. But as death, in this case, was regular in its approaches, and evident, long before it happened, she, and all of you, must have been prepared for the stroke. Of course, though painful, it must have fallen much lighter on that account. By this event, you have become the Guardian of your mother; and as it were, the father, of your fathers family;- and by care, industry & sobriety will endeavour I hope to merit the appelation of one. Your Aunt [Martha Washington] has been, and still is, much indisposed, but unites in best wishes for your mother, self & family."
The death of Charles had been long expected. Washington had written the same day to Burgess Ball: "The death of near relations always produces awful and affecting emotions, under whatsoever circumstances it may happen. That of my brother has been so long expected, and his latter days so uncomfortable to himself, must have prepared all around him for the stroke...I am the first, and am now the last, of my father's children." (Writings, ed. J.C. Fitzpatrick, 37:372) George Washington's father had ten children, four by his first wife Jane Butler Washington, and six by his second wife Mary Ball Washington. Charles was George's full brother by their father's second marriage. George, the eldest of his six siblings, survived the longest, outliving his brother Charles by just three months, dying on 14 December 1799.
Published in Writings, ed. J.C. Fitzpatrick 37: 373-374.