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Virginia Historical Records Advisory Board -

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has reappointed Washington Library Special Collections Librarian Michele Lee to Virginia's State Historical Record Advisory Board

Recent Acquisitions

One of the pages from George Washington's May 1, 1796 letter to Edward Carrington George Washington to Edward Carrington, May 1, 1796: In this letter, Washington laments the growing rise of political faction in the United States while discussing the  House of Representative's request to debate the passage of the Jay Treaty.

"For no candid man, in the least degree acquainted with the progress of this business, will believe for a moment, that the ostensible dispute, was about papers—or that the British Treaty was a good one, or a bad one; but whether there should be a Treaty at all without the concurrence of the house of Representatives." 


Tobias Lear to Burgess Ball, December 15, 1799: Tobias Lear was Washington's personal aide and friend.  Lear tended to Washington at the end of the President's life and wrote to Washington's friends and family informing them of his passing.

"He bore his distress with astonishing fortitude; and conscious, as he declared several hours before his death, of his approaching dissolution, he resigned his breath with the greatest composure, having the full possession of his reason to the last moment. -- While I am writing I conceive it all to be a d ream. -- But when I consider for a moment, I find, alas there is but too much reality in it!"

An artist's depiction of George Washington's final moments. - Life of George Washington: The Christian, lithograph by Claude Regnier, after Junius Brutus Stearns,1853. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert B. Gibby, 1984 [WB-55/A1], Washington Library, Mount Vernon, VA.Tobias Lear [on behalf of Martha Washington] to John Adams, December 31, 1799: After George Washington's death, Congress proposed to have his body permanently interred within a mausoleum inside the United State Capital.  Martha Washington struggled with this proposal, hoping to be buried alongside her husband once she too passed away.  Ultimately she consented, despite her personal feelings and wrote to President John Adams.

 “Taught by the great example, which I have so long had before me, never to oppose my private wishes to the public will, I must consent to the request made by Congress… I cannot say what a sacrifice of individual feeling I make to a sense of public duty.”

Tobias Lear to John Adams, January 1, 1800: Tobias Lear wrote personally to President John Adams to express how much Martha Washington feared being separated from her husband should his body be reinterred at the United State Capital.  She worried that once she too passed, Congress would not pay to have her body placed alongside her husband's.  The issue dissolved when Congress failed appropriate money for the project.  George and Martha remain buried alongside each other on the grounds of Mount Vernon.

“After a severe struggle, Mrs. Washington has yielded to the request made by Congress…Having passed upwards of forty years with the Partner of her Heart, it required more than common fortitude to consent to an act which, possibly, might deprive her of almost the only consolation she has had since his decease - namely, that her remains would be deposited in the same tomb with his. Knowing her feelings on this occasion, I have ventured to give her the firmest assurance of my belief that the removal of the General's body would not deprive her of this consolation, which is so dear to a mind afflicted like hers. And I trust I shall not be disappointed in this belief.”


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