[AUTOGRAPH LETTER, SIGNED, FROM GEORGE WASHINGTON TO RICHARD SPRIGG, REGARDING A DONKEY]
by Washington, George
Mount Vernon, 1786. p. plus integral address leaf. Quarto on a folded folio sheet. Old fold lines. Silked on verso. Loss to address leaf, resulting in loss of addressee's name. Two words effaced from main text. Lightly tanned. Very good. An interesting letter written by George Washington during his brief period of retirement at Mount Vernon, before his election to the presidency, revealing a slightly racy side to his character. He writes to Richard Sprigg, a Maryland politician and lawyer, discussing a "she ass" sent by Sprigg to Mount Vernon, from context, presumably for breeding purposes. Washington writes: "Dear Sir, When your favor of the first inst., accompanying the she ass, came to this place, I was from home - both however arrived safe; but Doct. Bowie informs me that the bitch puppy was not brought to his house. Nor have I heard any thing more of the asses at Marlbro', nor of the grass seeds committed to the care of Mr. Digges. I feel myself obliged by your polite offer of the first fruit of your jenny. Though in appearance quite unequal to the match, yet, like a true female, she was not to be terrified at the disproportional size of her paramour; and having renewed the conflict twice or thrice it is to be hoped the issue will be favourable. My best respects attend [Mrs. Sprigg] & the rest of your family. With great esteem & regard, I am Dr. Sir Yr. most ob. serv. Go. Washington." This missive is recorded by the Washington Papers, though with the date in error by one day, having been transcribed and recorded from a George D. Smith catalogue, where it appeared in the early years of the 20th century (Smith died in 1920). Since then, the address leaf and Mrs. Sprigg's name have been effaced from the document. A rather racy bit of agricultural correspondence by Washington. (Inventory #: WRCAM49852)
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