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Vouching for a Young Man of Good Character

Sources & Images
Source Name Image(s)
CollectionHarvard University: Jared Sparks Collection view image
Document Information
Date April 11, 1796
Author Name Thomas McElderry (primary) Location: Baltimore
Recipient Name James McHenry (primary) Location: Philadelphia
Summary McElderry answers a request from McHenry regarding the character and circumstances of Andrew Parks, who made a request of President Washington, most likely a request to marry his niece, Harriot Washington. McElderry had taken Parks as a business partner, and assures McHenry that the young man will make a good husband.
Document Format Autograph Letter Signed
Document Notes Addressed to "Dear Doctor"
Content Notes [not available]
Related Persons/Groups James McHenry; Thomas McElderry; Andrew Parks; President; George Washington; husband; Doctor; Virginia gentlemen; young lady; Harriot Washington; McCurdy; Mrs. McHenry; Taylor; British; Irish; Doctor Ross; ;
Related Places Philadelphia; Baltimore; Fredericksburg; ;
Keywords character; circumstance; partnership; very proper manner; esteem; business; landed estates; stock; brig; post; settlement; leisure; ;
Key Phrases [not available]

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[stamp] BALT' AP· IO FREE
James McHenry Esqr
Secretary at War
[partially obscured by seal] Free
Mr Thomas McElderry
to James McHenry Esq
11th April 1796
Baltimore April 11th 1786
Dear Doctor
I received your favour of ye 6th Mentioning Andw. Parks's request
to the President, [or Precedent] it is the first I have heard of his having such intentions
As to his character and Sircumstance I will briefly state them to you, On
the failure of his Father in the year 92 being rendered unable to to any thing
for his son. I took him into Partnership and established him in Business
at Fredericksburg and from what I have heard as well as from my own
observation he has conducted himself in a verry proper manner and has
gaind the esteem of the People generally, his engaging in Business for
himself before he was Nineteen years of age, and conducting it with so
much propriety and reputation, induces me to believe he will make
a good Husband, much more promising than many of the Virginia Gentlemen
with their large landed Estate and Negroes. He commenced Business in
June 92 and in the 16th of September 92 I went to Fredricksburg and took
an acct. of his goods when it appear'd he had Massd £1106..10.0 after paying
all expences and verry little outstanding debts for his plan is to sell for
ready money, since which he has been doing a good Business but I have
been so engaged here that I could not spare time to take an acct. of
his stock nor has it been done to my knowledge since so that I
cannot ascertain exactly what he may be worth at this time
You will perceive by what I have already done for Mr Parks my
desire of serving him, whether the match contemplated may be a
prudent one
a prudent one for him I can not pretend to judge I advise you sincere
I am not much a friend to great Parade or extravagant manner of Life
if his connection would have that tendancy (which I hope not) it might
not be so happy — He is to be here in a few days to lay in his spring
supply of goods I know of no other engagement he has contemplation
at present It will however give me great Pleasure if I can assist
him further on his changing his state, it is probable the young Lady
may have something also which could be beneficialy employed by him
as I would not whish him to divide the Profit with me when his capital
is equal to to Business by himself which I trust will soon be the case
Mrs. McHenry is well I saw Mrs. & Mrs. McCurdy last evening he is astonishingly
Monied — I will wait on Mrs. McHenry with a tender of my services.
You got out of the scrape with Taylor in good time, the Brig
(M Witman) that so much dependance was laid on is carried in by the British
and his Post condemned because his is an Irishman, and Dr. Ross cannot
be brought to a settlement, so that his affairs in state gloomy.
Wishing you a little more leisure that you may be able
to drop a line now and then to your assured Friend
Thomas McElderry