"Love is a mighty pretty thing; but like all other delicious things, it is cloying; and when the first transports of the passion begins to subside, which it assuredly will do, and yield—oftentimes too late—to more sober reflections, it serves to evince, that love is too dainty a food to live upon alone, and ought not to be considered farther, than as a necessary ingredient for that matrimonial happiness which results from a combination of causes; none of which are of greater importance, than that the object on whom it is placed, should possess good sense—good dispositions—and the means of supporting you in the way you have been brought up."

George Washington to Elizabeth Parke Custis | Sunday, September 14, 1794


Editorial Notes

In the late summer of 1794, the eldest of George Washington’s three step-granddaughters was feeling down-in-the-dumps, because her next youngest sister had just become engaged and was soon to be married, while Eliza Parke Custis (1776-1831) had no romantic prospects at that point.  Having been a husband for 35 years, George Washington responded to the 18-year old with some advice on courtship and marriage.

George Washington to Elizabeth Parke Custis | Sunday, September 14, 1794


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