Monday, April 30, 2007

Washington Letter Found

The New York Times reported recently that a letter written by George Washington in May, 1787 has been discovered in a scrapbook compiled by a 10-year-old Julia Kean in 1826. The scrapbook, along with many other documents (and a house) was recently bequeathed to Kean University by members of the Kean family.

Washington's letter, written at Philadelphia and sent to Kean's grandfather Jacob Morris, is short but significant; it includes a reference to the Constitutional Convention which got underway late in May: "The happiness of this Country depend much upon the deliberations of the federal Convention which is now sitting. It, however, can only lay the foundation - the community at large must raise the edifice."

Washington also mentions sending along several "enclosures" for General Horatio Gates, which has scholars drooling about what those might have been (the two men were not on the best of terms after Gates had tried to oust GW as commander late in the Revolution).

A very interesting and tantalizing find, to be sure. I wonder what else they'll come across in going through this collection? (one possible indication: "an icehouse is full of documents yet to be read").

[h/t fade theory]