WASHINGTON, Martha Dandridge Custis (1731-1802). Autograph letter signed ("M. Washington") to her niece, Francis Bassett Washington ("Fanny"), New York, N.Y., 8 June 1789. 4 full pages, 4to, central fold neatly reinforced, very insignificant tears to...
Estimate: US$30,000 - US$50,000
Price realised: US$64,625
WASHINGTON, Martha Dandridge Custis (1731-1802). Autograph letter signed ("M. Washington") to her niece, Francis Bassett Washington ("Fanny"), New York, N.Y., 8 June 1789. 4 full pages, 4to, central fold neatly reinforced, very insignificant tears to fold at bottom margin , otherwise in very fine condition. THE NEW FIRST LADY'S ACCOUNT OF HER JOURNEY TO JOIN THE NEWLY INAUGURATED PRESIDENT IN NEW YORK A superb letter, one of Martha's earliest extant letters following her husband's inauguration as President (30 April 1789), telling of her experiences and feelings on her eventful journey from Mount Vernon to the seat of the new government in New York. Writing to her closest correspondent, Martha reports that "...we had a very agreable journey, - I arrived in philadelphia on fryday [ sic ] after I left you without the least accident to distress us, were met by the president of the state (Genl [Thomas] Mifflin) with the city troop of Horse and conducted safe to grays ferry [on the Delaware], where a number of Ladies and Gentlemen came to meet me, - and after a cold colation [ sic ] we proceed to town, - I went to Mrs. Robert Morrises [Robert and Mary Morris] - the children was very well and chearfull all the way, Nelly [Eleanor Parke Custis] complained very little of being sick..." "I set out on Monday with Mrs Morris and her two Daughters, and was met on Wednesday morning by the president Mr Morris and Col. [David] H[umphreys] at Elizabethtown point with the fine Barge you have seen so much said of in the papers with the same oars men that carried the P[resident]. to New York - dear little washington [George Washington Parke Custis] seemed to be lost in a mase at the great parad [ sic ] that was made for us all the way we come - the Governor of the state [George Clinton] meet me as soon as we landed, and led me up to the House, the paper will tell you how I was complimented on my landing - I thank god the Pr[esi]d[en]t is very well, and the Gentle men with him are all very well..." She then describes the first Presidential mansion, at No.1 Cherry Street (near the present-day Brooklyn Bridge), which had been newly decorated for the Presidential family at Congress' expense: "[T]he House he [Washington] is in is a very good one and is handsomely furnished all new for the General - I have been so much engaged since I came hear that I have never opened your Box or derections but shall soon have time as most of the visits are at an end - I have not had one half hour to myself since the day of my arrival, - my first care was to get the children to a good school, which they are boath very much pleased at, - Nelly shall begin Musick next week...she is a little wild creature and spends her time at the windows looking at carriages, in passing by which is new to her and very common for children to do ...I am pleased to hear that the domestick concerns goe on well - sickness is to be expected and Charlot [a dower slave, maid to Martha] will lay her self up for as little as any one will - it was right to give them more Bread if I did not put enough in each bundle - I am truly sorry to hear of another death in her family so soon." She goes on to report on various articles of apparel she has obtained: "[A]s soon as I could I sent for the stay maker, and gave him your measure and derected him to send the stays to Col o Biddle, when done to be sent to you, - also two pair of shoes of a new fashioned kind those with Low Heels are for you, those with the high heels is for Mrs. Stuart, with a p[ai]r apiece for the two dear little girls...," and asks Fanny to be particularly attentive to Patty Dandridge, for "I have a great regard for her and wish to see her do well." Regarding Fanny's brother, she expresses regret that "I was obliged to leve [ sic ] home so soon after they came to mount vernon," and asks that Fanny "remember me to all enquiring friends to mr & sons & washington the major and give sweet little marie a thousand kisses for me - I of
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