Mount Vernon is open daily. Learn about our policies for bags & face coverings


On February 10, 1796, upon learning of his eldest step-granddaughter's engagement to Thomas Law, George Washington writes this letter of congratulations to him. Washington's fatherly interest in the betrothal of Eliza "Betsey" Parke Custis is apparent. He expresses surprise, gives his blessing, and invites the couple to visit Philadelphia after the ceremony. Thomas Law earned his fortune in India and met Washington's step-granddaughter shortly after his arrival in America. The couple was married the following month, on March 21, 1796. Unfortunately, the integrity of this document has been compromised by the 19th century practice of clipping signatures.


ADf (Autograph Draft) This letter was signed by George Washington, however the signature has been clipped. The dateline, greeting and first three lines of the opening paragraph were also clipped. One sheet has been folded to create four pages. The first two pages contain the letter's text and the third and fourth pages are blank. Partial large watermark, top left corner. Gravell, AMERICAN WATERMARKS 722.

Clipped dateline and greeting, first three lines of opening paragraph, and Washington's signature


February 10, 1796




Ink, laid paper


Overall (open): 9 in. x 15 in. (22.86 cm x 38.1 cm)
Other (closed): 9 in. x 7 1/2 in. (22.86 cm x 19.05 cm)

Credit Line

Purchased with funds donated by Mrs. Stanley N. Gaines, Vice Regent for Florida and Mr. Gaines, 2008


George Washington's signature has been clipped from this letter. Second page (left side when open), center, in brown ink: With very great esteem + regard / I am?Sir / Your Obedient Hble Servt / [large loss]

Object Number


Colors (Beta)

Mount Vernon's object research is ongoing and information about this object is subject to change. For information on image use and reproductions, click here.
Buy Tickets What to Do Calendar Shop Restaurant Donate Membership
Estate Hours

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

iconDirections & Parking
buy tickets online & save