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A Long Hidden Romance of 
Washington s Life 









Copyright, 1916, by 
The DeVinne Press 


NOV -i 1916 






Prefatory Note ix 

Wilson Miles Gary: an Appreciation, 

by W. Gordon McCabe ....... xi 


Appendix I: The Plantation Life of a Vir- 
ginia Girl in the Eighteenth Gentury . . 59 

Appendix II: The Society of Williamsburg 

in 1805 66 

Appendix III : The Geelys Library ... 81 


Wilson Miles Cary died in the summer of 
1914 without ever having published a book, al- 
though during many years his lively and fertile 
mind had teemed with and planned enough to 
stock a library. His literary life was like a 
stream confined by a dam, which, ever accumu- 
lating, by reason of diversions never reaches the 
spillway. One who loved him and has explored 
the masses of notes of original genealogical re- 
search which this ardent and learned student of 
Virginia family history left behind him as the 
record of happy laborious days, has found only 
a single fragment of all his purely literary proj- 
ects which in any way realizes completion: even 
that has required some affectionate editing to 
piece it out from his notes and other family 
MSS. The Editor has had the privilege of sub- 
mitting the result of his work to that eminent 
authority on Virginiana, Dr. Lyon G. Tyler, 

President of William and Mary College, and 
gratefully acknowledges his criticism and sug- 

The sketch of Sally Cary is here reproduced 
that there may be for those who knew "the Cap- 
tain" some tangible souvenir of his enthusiasm in 
respect of the Colonial period. The opportunity 
is taken to include, by permission, the pleasant 
appreciation of the man contained in Captain 
Gordon McCabe's Presidential Address to the 
Virginia Historical Society in 1915. 

F. H. 
Belvoir House, 

Fauquier County, Virginia, 

June, 1916. 



An Appreciation 


President of the Virginia Historical Society 

From the Annual Report of the Virginia Historical Society 
for 1914 (23 Va. Mag., April, 191 5, XXXIII) 

Two others there are, both bearing historic 
names in this commonwealth, both men of high 
intelligence and of spotless character, yet so de- 
preciatory of their own merits and so unobtrusive 
in their "daily walk and conversation" that only 
their intimates appreciated fully their varied ac- 
complishments and their antique standards of the 
conduct of life. 

One, Wilson Miles Cary,^ son of Wilson Miles 
Gary and seventh in descent from Miles Gary of 
Bristol, England, the first immigrant and pro- 
genitor of the family in the colony of Virginia, 
was allied by blood to well-nigh every historic 
family in the State. * 

He was born at "Haystack," Baltimore 
Gounty, Maryland, December 12, 1838, and died 

1 The other was Captain Robert Edward Lee, youngest and 
last surviving son of the great Captain, who died at Nordley, 
Fauquier County, Virginia, October ig, 1914. 

at "Belvoir," Fauquier County, Virginia, the 
country-seat of his cousin, Fairfax Harrison, 
Esq., August 28, 1914. Though born in Mary- 
land, he was essentially a Virginian by blood and 
tradition. There has always been a Wilson 
Miles Cary in Virginia from the earliest days of 
the colony — full seventy years, indeed, ere Spots- 
wood and his "Golden Horseshoe Knights" rode 
across "the Ridge" and drank their Royal Mas- 
ter's health on the summit of "Mount George" 
("in Virginia red wine, white wine, Irish usque- 
baugh, brandy, shrub, two kinds of rum, cham- 
pagne, canary, cherry-punch and cider") — 
sometimes, indeed, more than one of that name at 
the same time — and, happily for the State, that 
name is still worthily borne in this community. 
Briefly, he was educated first at good private 
schools and then at the University of Virginia, 
founded by his great-great-granduncle, Thomas 
Jefferson. He proved a good soldier in the 
armies of Lee and Johnston, and on the conclu- 
sion of the war returned to Baltimore, studied 
law, and was admitted to the bar of that city. 
He was fairly successful, but it may well be 
doubted whether a man of his retiring disposi- 
tion would ever have won substantial success as 
a forensic advocate. There was a greater diffi- 
culty still. He was by temperament and inclina- 
tion a "bookish" man, who loved study for its 
own sake and not for any alluring prospect of 

pecuniary results. The truth is that his heart 
was not in his work, and "the law," we are told, 
"is a jealous mistress." Thus it was, that, in no 
long time, when offered the position of clerk of 
the Baltimore Criminal Court, he gladly ac- 
cepted. The work was indeed laborious, but he 
performed it with such scrupulous fidelity and 
intelligence that, year after year, for many years, 
he was reelected to the position. But after 
"office hours" his time was his own in which to 
prosecute his studies, which he "specialized" 
more and more in the direction of early Colonial 
history and genealogy. At last he became so 
absorbed in these "specialized" studies that he 
resigned his office and devoted himself exclu- 
sively to his chosen field. There was scarce a 
county court-house in Virginia or Maryland, 
scarce a library, public or private, that contained 
Colonial records and manuscripts, in which his 
slight figure was not a familiar presence. Court 
officials, in town or country, were glad to be 
obliging to this pleasant-spoken gentleman, who 
evidently "knew his business," and whose gra- 
cious manners had no touch of that "cocksure- 
ness" suggestive of "Ph. D." and "made in Ger- 
many," so often offensively characteristic of the 
"scientific fledglings" of the "New School." 

His name, as the years went by, became widely 
known to special students of family history as 
that of a highly trained expert in Virginia and 


Maryland genealogies, and it was with a view to 
further investigations in this special domain that 
he went to England and resided there for several 
years. Happy years they were of persistent yet 
congenial toil, working steadily amid the manu- 
script treasures of the British Museum and Pub- 
lic Records Office and poring over parish regis- 
ters in London and in various parts of the 
kingdom. In the pauses of his work, his time 
passed pleasantly enough among new-made 
friends in London (which has a glamor and 
charm for many of us that no other city on earth 
possesses) and in visiting some of his far-away 
kinsmen (yet none the less his kinsmen) in the 
country, where he met, we may be sure, welcome 
far different from the cold reception accorded at 
first to young Harry Warrington — the younger of 
Thackeray's "Virginians" — when he had crossed 
the ocean to make acquaintance with his English 
cousins and to see with his own eager eyes the old 
"home-nest" in the pleasant Hampshire country 
that his grandfather. Colonel Esmond, had so 
often fondly described to him at the new "Castle- 
wood" in Virginia. 

No wonder that "Will" Cary, as his intimates 
called him, met cordial welcome wherever he 
went in England, town or country; for he was 
one of the most agreeable of men in conversation, 
with a great fund of racy anecdote about the 
worthies of Colonial days, when the manners and 



customs of our "Old Dominion" were quite those 
of the mother-country, and possessed, in addition, 
the easy yet dignified manner and the softly 
modulated voice which English folk regard as 
indispensable to good form. 

It may be noted here, as yet another instance of 
hereditary "recurrence of physical type," that he 
bore a marvellous resemblance both in face and 
bearing to what contemporaries pronounced the 
most characteristic portraits of his great kins- 
man, Jefiferson. 

He never married, but grew old quite content- 
edly among his beloved books, "those sweet un- 
reproaching companions," as Goldsmith fondly 
calls them; and so, with the grave, sedate step 
we remember so well, he went his way down the 
"long path" toward the westering sun, the same 
simple, kindly, courteous gentleman, his coat un- 
tricked, indeed, of any guerdon of the world's 
applause, yet to the end, "through all the tract 
of years, wearing the white flower of a blameless 




AT the famous old watering-place of Bath, 
^iljL where once all England's aristocracy was 
wont to gather for a season to recuperate its 
energies or to continue the carnival of Vanity 
Fair, there died in the autumn of 1811, at her 
mansion in Lansdowne Crescent, an ancient gen- 
tlewoman, whose departure from that gay centre 
of gossip doubtless caused little comment in the 
heedless world of fashion of the time. Alas! 
poor lady! her heyday was long ago, and the gal- 
lants of today pay scant tribute to the belles of 
yesterday. The theatre of her triumphs was 
many leagues beyond the sea; the tender hearts 
that fluttered, the witty tongues that flattered in 
the days of leafy June and the glorious summer 
of her prime were but a sweet memory to her 
now, like the surviving remnants of the fine bro- 
cades she had worn in her youth. ^ Long laid 
away were the beaux who did homage to her 

1 Among the flotsam and jetsam of inheritance there has sur- 
vived a rich brocade gown fit only for the slenderest figure, 
which came back from Bath to Virginia among Sally Gary's 
personal effects, and though somewhat in tatters is still worn 
on occasion at the new Belvoir by a slip of a girl who bears also 
Sally Gary's name. 

In 1 761 Sally Gary and her husband were in London, and a 

13 ] 

beauty and wit when she held sway as the belle 
of Ceelys in that distant Virginia home laved 
by the broad waters of the lower James. Gone 
to their graves were all who had hailed the 
happy day when her gallant groom, the pre- 
sumptive heir to an ancient title and immense 
estates, had come to her lowland border to bear 
her away to his home on the Potomac, where she 
was to grace and charm the social circle that 
centred at Belvoir in the olden time; long gone 

dressmaker's bill which survives from that time has a certain 
curious interest today: 

"Mrs. Fairfax 

To H. Ambler, D". 

For making blew and white silck night gown 

bod)^ lining to do 

pd. for 9 yds. pea green rib. 

for 4 yds. Yz of broad 

for mending crepe gown 

for trimming black short apron 

pd. for silck for trimming do 

for making black silck negligee and coat 

for making trimmings and trimming do. 

for body and sleeves linings 

for ferritt buttons, looping and 

pd. for 6 dozen 8 yds. of black rib. 

pd. for 10 yds of rich black silck 

I Walking Grey Lustring negligee 










































Received March the 17th the above 
contents and all demands. 

Hannah Ambler." 


to ashes was that colonial hall itself,- and severed 
were all the links, but one, that bound her to her 
native land. For forty years expatriated, full 
twenty-five of which had rolled by in a lonely 
childless widowhood, still she lived on, far from 
the scenes of her girlhood, satisfied to pass the 
remainder of her days in the midst of that 
polished society which had never lost its charm; 
and, though the almond tree was flourishing 
and the evil days were at hand, desire had 
not yet failed, for she still bent all the pow- 
ers of a strong and vigorous mind to the accom- 
plishment of the sole ambition that now actuated 
her shattered existence, the struggle to make a 
suitable provision for a favorite nephew, her 

2 The old Belvoir on the Potomac, where Washington twice 
said that he had passed the happiest moments of his life, is 
indeed no more. After the Fairfaxes went to England in 1773 
the house burned to the ground, and the property was then 
offered for sale. When, in 1796, Sir John Sinclair proposed to 
begin agriculture in America, Washington, showing once more 
in the days of his greatness an unvarying friendship for the 
Fairfax family, tried to interest him in the purchase of Belvoir. 
He described the estate as containing "near two thousand acres 
of land . . . surrounded in a manner by water. The mansion 
house stood on high and commanding ground: the soil is not of 
the best quality, but a considerable part of it, lying level, may 
with proper management be profitably cultivated." But Sir 
John did not come, and the land, being exhausted by the manner 
in which it had been used, has never since tempted a cultivator; 
and by reason of railways the convenience of residence on the 
rivers no longer outweighs the scourge of the genus Anopheles. 
Belvoir has not known the plough for more than a century, and 
has relapsed into the wilderness out of which its once prosperous 
tobacco and corn fields, its orchards and gardens and pleas- 
aunces, had originally been carved. The land today shows the 

[5 ] 

sister's son, who was to inherit the family title 

and uphold the dignity of an ancient name in the 

Old Dominion. But ruthless death conquers 

even the strong will of a woman. Her span of 

life had passed the psalmist's limit of three score 

and ten, and even by strength had exceeded four 

score, and her vital force could baffle no longer 

virulent assaults of that hereditary foe, the gout; 

so now at last in her far-away place of sojourn 

the silver cord was loosed, the golden bowl was 

broken, but alas! the mourners who went about 

the streets were few, and none of kindred blood 

was near to drop a tear over the withered form of 

the once beautiful and brilliant Sally Gary of 

Ceelys. Aliens, with paid pomp and perfunc- 


ancient ridges laid by the ploughs of long dead servants; but 
instead of orderly tended crops, bristles with rank forest and 
underbrush bound together with stout ropes of wild grape, until 
it would be an admirable setting in which to stage the old fairy 
story of the Sleeping Beauty. Colonel William Fairfax lies 
buried in the midst of what was once his domain, a very exam- 
ple of Emerson's "Hamatreya." A small cleared area sur- 
rounds the crumbled foundations of the dwelling-house, marking 
the spot where once Sally Cary had her "posy" garden; and here 
thousands of daffodils, long become feral but still propagating 
freely, display their golden beauty every spring, and so, like meta- 
morphosed heroines of a Greek myth, hardily keep alive the 
memories of the fair women who once gave the spot its greatest 
charm. The site has an interest for all those who live within 
the original boundaries of the Northern Neck of Virginia, 
now a broad territory of prosperous and settled agriculture, 
including twenty-three counties in Virginia and West Virginia 
(in one of which is the new Belvoir) ; for here was for years 
established the registry office of the Lord Proprietor, in which 
were recorded most of the titles through which the modern 
owners hold their lands. 


tory grief, bore all that remained of a Colonial 
belle down to the quaint little church of Writh- 
lington in Somerset, and laid them to rest in its 
chancel by the side of her long dead lord. There 
the inquisitive traveller of today may still read a 
mural tablet which is inscribed: 







And here we might leave "Sarah, his wife," to 
sleep in almost nameless oblivion in that far- 
away, forgotten grave, her memory to moulder 
with her dust, never to be exhumed till resurrec- 
tion morn when the great books are opened and 
the secrets of all are revealed — but for a bundle 
of faded letters, pale skeletons of a buried pas- 
sion, that have been uncoffined from their long 
hidden caskets and pitilessly exposed to a mock- 
ing age., 


Because of this cruel publicity given to certain 
tender and passionate declarations made by a 
lover to the woman he desperately loved, and 
which were written for no eyes but hers, we are 
moved by "a decent respect for the opinion of 
mankind" to show the lady a late tribute of re- 
gard. "But what is Hecuba to us, that we should 
weep for her?" Sally Gary's story claims a cer- 
tain interest even outside of the annals of her 

The microscope of history has been diligently 
levelled for the past century upon the character 
and personality of Washington. His fame, great 
as it was in his life, has been steadily expanding 
with the Republic, till now the Father of his 
Country has fairly burst the bonds of human na- 
ture and assumed the proportions of a demigod. 
On the other hand, the world knows nothing of 
the beautiful and talented woman who had no 
little share in shaping the destiny of one of its 
foremost men. We propose, then, since these 
letters have been given to the public and have 
excited its comment, to draw such a portrait of 
this interesting lady as family tradition and her 
own pen make possible, and to give an authentic 
account of the romance of Washington's life. 
But if the perusal of a lover's letters should have 
a tendency to retard the evolution of a national 
god, at least truth will be vindicated and hu- 
manity will score one more illustrious example 


to attest the fact that one touch of nature which 
makes the whole world kin is better than a thou- 
sand fables forged in the mischievous manufac- 
ture of impossible heroes. These epistles un- 
doubtedly throw a strong side-light on the 
character of the Father of his Country, and help 
to save him from that colorless dehumanization 
to which indiscriminate eulogy was at one time 
fast reducing our grandest American. They 
show him to be a vigorous and natural man, 
whose real greatness consisted in the steady sub- 
jugation and control of strong impulses which 
pigmies never feel. 

In the glare of his subsequent fame we are apt 
to lose sight of the humbler beginnings of the 
lover. At the outset of his career our heroine 
was at the top of the social ladder, while he who 
bowed at her shrine was climbing the lower 
rounds. To make this apparent it is necessary to 
recall the evolution of the Virginia colonial 
noblesse and of the family to which she belonged. 

With what justice we will not now pause to 
discuss, Virginia from an early period of her his- 
tory has been associated in men's minds with a 
vocal assertion of aristocracy existing in the 
midst of a lavish and baronial habit of life. 
Though the outward evidence of such a civiliza- 
tion largely passed away with the abolition of the 
entails that made it possible, certain it is that the 
pride of caste was never stronger in any of the 


colonies than in the Old Dominion. While at 
the outset the bulk of the earlier colonists were, 
as might be expected, of an humble rank, seek- 
ing to hew a home out of the wilderness, at a 
later period, when Cromwell and the Puritans 
came into power, the Cavaliers in great numbers, 
proscribed and landless, gathering the remnants 
of ruined fortunes, sought the congenial soil of 
loyal Virginia and there established the tradi- 
tions and the practices of the contemporary Eng- 
lish gentry.'^ In their wake, after the Restoration, 
came many others of their kind, disgusted with 
the faithless Stuarts, or incited by the success of 
emigrant kinsmen. 

Suffice it to say that a century later, when 

3 In any discussion of Colonial society in Virginia it is always 
expedient to view the social civilization of the time in the 
round. A paragraph from the. MS. of another lively historian 
of the Cary family is here apropos. The author grew up in the 
early years of the nineteenth century and had her impressions 
at first hand from her elders, who had been part of Virginia 
life at the end of the Colonial period. She is writing of the easy 
and idle life on the plantations. 

"It is probable that the manners of this provincial region were 
not very polished or very modish. A few gentlemen were educated 
in England, and the aristocratic families had the advantage of 
mingling with the courts of Governor Dinwiddie and Lord Bote- 
tourt: but there was a large rustic element, and, moreover, the 
most polished Britons of that day would be considered by their 
descendants of this not polished at all. We know from the novels 
and sermons of the period what the morals and manners were, and 
it is universally conceded that society has grown more moral and 
more refined. We do not boast of the temperance or propriety in 
language of our time: but it is a disgrace now for a man to swear 
in the presence of ladies; he is no gentleman who does it. Then 
the most odious habit of profane swearing was the fashion and as 
indispensable to the character of a fine gentleman as the ability to 
drink an intolerable quantity of wine; it was a feather in a gentle- 

Washington was a boy, the Colonial constitution 
was become even more intensely aristocratic in 
its tendencies than that of the mother-country. 
The reins of social as well as of political power 
had long been held by territorial grandees, who 
took such strong measures to secure the perpetu- 
ation of caste rule and the lineal descent of 
landed estates that it had become far more diffi- 
cult to break an entail in Virginia than in Eng- 
land itself. All the important places of honor 
and emolument these provident potentates took 
care to secure for their sons, whom they sent 
abroad to the English schools and universities, 
to fit them to fill either the paternal seat in the 
King's Council, — Virginia's House of Lords,^ — 
or to guard the interests of their class in the 

man's cap to drink himself under the table at a dinner party. The 
license in manners was incredible. Men (if permitted) act their 
natures, and some men must have been tolerated who were like the 
beasts of the field. Col. Byrd, the greatest fortune in Virginia, per- 
petrated jokes which were too coarse even to be hinted in one's 
secret chamber: especially one is related for which in that duelling 
age he deserved to be shot, but which was thought by his com- 
panions (they were not our kin) an admirable piece of practical 
humor and excited roars of laughter. We know at what a low ebb 
religion was; in truth, irreligion and infidelity were the fashion!" 
■* Campbell (History of Virginia, Chap. XLIII) says: 
"The C^ouncil had the powers of Council of State, of upper 
house of assembly or house of lords; in the general court, of su- 
preme judges, and as colonels, answering to the English lord- 
lieutenants of counties. The Councillors were also naval officers 
in the customs department, collectors of revenue, farmers of the 
King's quit-rents. . . . The governor was lieutenant-general, the 
councillors lieutenants of counties with the title of Colonel, and in 
counties where no councillor resided some other person was ap- 
pointed with the rank of Major." 

In reading this paper it should be remembered that in Colonial 
Virginia the title of "Colonel" was a badge of official civil 

House of Burgesses. Belonging to this govern- 
ing oligarchy were such families as the Amblers, 
Armisteads, Berkeleys, Beverleys, Bacons, Bur- 
wells, Boilings, Byrds and Blands, the Carters, 
Carys, Corbins, Digges, Fairfaxes, Grymes, 
Harrisons, Jennings, Ludwells, Lightfoots, Lees, 
Nelsons, Pages, Peytons, Skipwiths, Randolphs, 
Wormeleys, and others. ^^^e-H^J'* ^^ftv.^^- 

One of this caste was the father of our heroine, 
Colonel Wilson Cary^ of Ceelys, County Lieu- 
tenant of Elizabeth City, a scion of that branch 
of the ancient Devonshire family of Cary which 
in the sixteenth century established itself as suc- 
cessful merchants at Bristol, the port at which 

^ In the Heralds' College at London {Book of Grants, Vol. 
IV) is recorded under date September 25, 1699, the petition of 
"John Cary of the City of Bristol, Richard, his brother, and 
their kinsman John Cary of the City of London, Merchants," 
setting forth that "that branch of the Carys seated at Bristol 
aforesaid, having time out of mind borne and used the armes 
of the Ancient Family of the Carys of Devonshire, scilicetj 
Argent on a Bend Sable three roses of ye First, with a Silver 
Swan for their Crest, as descended from a Collateral Branch 
of the said Family," and praying that such arms with a differ- 
ence might be confirmed to them and their descendants. This 
was accordingly done on the supporting evidence that "the 
Right Honble Robert Cary Lord Hunsdon has Personally own'd 
that he does believe the Pet" are descended of a Collateral 
Branch of the said family, and has Requested that the said 
Armes may be Allow"^ and confirmed to them" ; and on an attested 
certificate by "Edward Cary of Torr Abbey in the County of 
Devon, Esq., Heir male and Principal Branch of the Family of 
the Carys of Devonshire," stating that he has "heard and do be- 
lieve that the Carys of Bristol sprang some generations past 
from a younger Branch of the Carys of Devonshire. And I do, 
therefore, hereby acknowledge them to be my kinsmen." 

The established pedigree of the Carys of Virginia, who are 


the commerce of the Virginia Plantations devel- 
oped its earliest importance. 

His grandfather, Colonel Miles Cary of War- 
wick, had emigrated about the middle of the 
seventeenth century and became a leading mem- 
ber of that "Long Parliament" of Virginia that 

mentioned in the text, from father to son, to and including "the 
Captain," is: 

1. William Cary (1492-1572), Mayor of Bristol, temp. 

Henry VIII. 

2. Richard Cary (1519-1570), Merchant of Bristol. 

3. William Cary (1550-1633), Draper and Mayor of Bris- 

tol, temp. James I. 

4. John Cary (1583-1661), Draper of Bristol. 

5. Miles Cary (1620-1667) of Warwick Co., Va., the im- 

migrant to Virginia, who married Anne, daughter of 
Captain Thomas Taylor, Burgess for Warwick in 1646. 

6. Miles Cary (1655-1708) of Richneck, Warwick Co., who 

married Mary, daughter of Colonel William Wilson 
of Ceelys. 

7. Wilson Cary (i 703-1 772) of Ceelys and Richneck, who 

married Sarah, daughter of Colonel John Pate of Po- 
ropotank and was father of Sally Cary. See Appen- 
dix III. 

8. Wilson Miles Cary (1734-1817), "the old Colonel," of 

Ceelys and Carysbrook, who married, "at the Palace" 
in Williamsburg, Sarah, daughter of Hon. John Blair 
(1687-1771) of Williamsburg, President of the Coun- 
cil, Acting Governor, etc., and nephew of Commissary 
Blair. See notes 26 and 39 and Appendices II and III. 

9. Wilson Cary (i 760-1 793) of Richneck, who married 

Jean Barbara Carr, daughter of Dabney Carr (1743- 
1773) and Mr. Jefferson's sister Martha. See Appen- 
dices II and III. 
10. Wilson Jefferson Cary (1784-1823) of Carysbrook, 
who married Virginia Randolph, daughter of Thomas 
Mann Randolph of Tuckahoe. This lady contributed 
not only the blood of her maternal grandfather, Archi- 


reelected Berkeley royal governor in 1660. Soon 
after the Restoration he was raised to a seat in 
the King's Council. Some years later, in obedi- 
ence to a royal mandate, he built a fort at Old 
Point Comfort on the site of the present Fortress 
Monroe, and there in 1667 was mortally 
wounded in repelling an attack of a Dutch 
fleet.*^ His son. Colonel Miles Cary, had been 

bald Carj- (i 721-1787) of Ampthill, the "old Iron" 
of the Revolution, a descendant of the immigrant Miles 
Cary in another line, but two strains of the blood of 
William Randolph (1650-1711) of Turkey Island, 
from whom so many distinguished Virginians are de- 
scended. See Appendix II. 

11. Wilson Miles Cary (1806-1877) of "Haystack" and 

Baltimore, who married Jane Margaret Carr, daugh- 
ter of Peter Carr (1770-1815), who was brother of Jean 
Barbara Carr supra. She was a descendant through 
Mr. Jefferson's mother of Colonel William Ran- 
dolph of Turkey Island, thus bringing to her children 
a fourth strain of that blood. Jane Margaret Cary 
was a truly noble woman. Reared under the immedi- 
ate direction of Mr. JefFerson, she carried on for more 
than half a century the tradition of his theories of edu- 
cation at the Southern Home School in Baltimore and 
died, in 1903, at the age of 94, leaving to her descen- 
dants the inheritance of a character which combined 
sweetness with force. 

12. Wilson Miles Cary (1838-1914), "the Captain," of 

The line persists in the thirteenth and fourteenth genera- 
tions, and the name Wilson Miles Cary, as well, in the 
persons of Captain Cary's nephew and grand-nephew. 
^ In 1868 Captain Cary made a pilgrimage to the scattered 
tombs of his Colonial ancestors, and left this note of the final 
resting-place of the immigrant Miles Cary: 

"At the 'Windmill,' a high bluff marking the intersection of War- 
•wick and James Rivers, just opposite Mulberry Island, is an estate 

sent home to England for his education, and suc- 
ceeded to his father's prominence in the afifairs 
of the colony. He was long an influential bur- 
gess from Jamestown and from Warwick, and 
was one of the original trustees named in the 
royal charter to the College of William and 
Mary in 1693.'^ ^^ ^^^ sometime rector of the 
college, while he also held the lucrative posts of 
collector of customs for York River and sur- 
veyor-general of Virginia. 

Colonel Wilson Cary, eldest son of the second 
Miles Cary, inherited one of the amplest for- 

formerly known as Gary's Quarter. Here by the river-side, over- 
looking the broad expanse of the James, is an ancient grave-yard 
of the Carys. At the foot of a giant walnut in its midst and in the 
deep shade of a bower formed isy the festoons of a mighty grape- 
vine that embraces in its snake-like folds the entire grove, lies the 
tomb of Col. Miles Cary. The ponderous iron-stone slab, lying 
above the debris of old English brick, is some six feet by three, 
and, though broken by vandals, still bears to his descendants of the 
eighth generation the inscription traced by the piety of the first 
more than two hundred years ago. Elegantly sculptured in bas- 
relief within a circle garnished with graceful mantlings is the coat 
of arms, a shield bearing on a bend sable three white roses, sur- 
mounted by a helmet upon which stands the crest, a swan with 
wings raised in the attitude of attack. Below these arms we read: 
'Here lyeth the Body of Miles Cary, Esq^e, only son of John Cary 
and Alice his wife, daughter of Henry Hobson of the City of Bris- 
toll. Alderman. He was born in ye said City and departed this Hfe 
the loth day of June, 1667, about the 47th year of his age, leaving 
four sons and three daughters, viz: Thomas, Anne, Henry, Bridgett, 
Elizabeth, Miles & William.' " 

"^ Five Wilson Carys in direct succession, descendants of 
Colonel Miles Cary, w^ere enrolled from its opening year among 
the students of William and Mary, a fact which "the Captain" 
recalled with pleasure when, in 1897, he was elected to member- 
ship in the Phi Beta Kappa Society of William and Mary Col- 
lege. "The Captain's" father, who was one of the five, subse- 
quently graduated at the University of Virginia, where "the 
Captain" himself was educated. For an account of the Ceelys 
library, illustrating what this education meant, see Appendix III. 


tunes of the day, not only through his father, but 
through his mother, Mary Wilson, and after re- 
ceiving the best education William and Mary 
afforded, finished his studies at Trinity College, 
Cambridge. Upon returning home he obtained 
from government an office of prominence and 
profit, married and devoted himself to the man- 
agement of his estates and to the enjoyment of 
literary ease. The remnant of his library, con- 
taining the standard works and periodicals of the 
day, proves the breadth of his culture, while his 
autograph, with date of purchase, inscribed on 
many a title-page just from the press, shows his 
sympathy and acquaintance with all the leading 
topics of the time. 

The mansions of the Virginia colonial gentry 
were set on the banks of the broad tidal streams, 
for the rivers were almost the only arteries of 
commerce and communication between the plan- 
tations. Though Colonel Cary had estates in sev- 
eral different counties and town houses at Hamp- 
ton and Williamsburg, his principal seat was at 
Ceelys on the James, about three miles from 
Hampton and a short distance from Newport 
News. The mansion, built of British brick,^ 

8 At some risk of iconoclasm the candid reader will interpret 
the term "British brick," as used in the traditional lexicon of 
Virginia architecture, as brick made in Virginia according to the 
specifications of the contemporary British standard, and not as 
brick imported from England. Ceelys took its name from 
Thomas Ceely, from whom Major William Wilson (1646- 


with 1706, the date of erection, on its lintel, and 
commanding a fine view of the shipping in 
Hampton Roads, became a rendezvous for the 
society of the lower James, for it was conve- 
niently situated at the gates of the principal 
marine highway of the colony, where all vessels, 
homeward or outward bound, were required to 
report to the chief naval officer of the lower 
James; and so the gentry among their officers 
and their passengers found it as convenient as it 
was agreeable to accept the hospitality of Colo- 
nel Cary, who, for upward of thirty-five years, 
held that office, which his grandfather had held 
before him. 

In the days of Colonel Wilson Cary, Ceelys 
lost none of its prestige. Numerous and notable 
were the guests that sought its social privileges 
— local nabobs, officers of the royal navy, states- 
men and scholars; in fact, the elite of Virginia 
society. Tradition recalls the elegant manners 
and the domestic state of the courtly gentleman 
who presided at those gatherings. There is a 
tale that a wag who once dined at Ceelys, im- 

1713) bought the estate in 1691. Major Wilson built the origi- 
nal house, which was inherited by his daughter Mary Wilson, 
wife of the second Colonel Miles Cary, from whom it passed 
to her son Colonel Wilson Cary. 

Richneck, Ceelys and Carysbrook, the three seats of the 
Carys in Virginia, and, indeed, also their town house in Wil- 
liamsburg, have all suffered the fate of so many of the Colonial 
dwellings — each in turn was destroyed by fire and given over to 


pressed with the scale on which the household 
was mounted, on observing the motto "Cari Deo 
nihil carenf beneath his host's coat of arms, 
made the irreverent translation: "The Carys, by 
God, want nothing."" 

Thus Colonel Gary reared his only son and 
four daughters in the midst of what were as bril- 

^ The material magnificence which Captain Gary here at- 
tributes to the Colonial environment of his immediate ancestors, 
for all that it is borne out by an astonishing supply of really 
notable silver plate which has survived in inheritance, might 
seem somewhat tinsel to those who did not know what "the Cap- 
tain" felt of his moral obligation to his breeding. The description 
sprang from an appreciation of the actual influence of the 
Carys in the Virginia society of the eighteenth century, but even 
more from a sincere and deep belief in the precept noblesse 
oblige and a just pride in a spiritual inheritance from genera- 
tions of men of education and high sentiment. The material things 
of life were always of the least real importance to him: but 
what the tradition of gently bred forebears had meant to him 
all his life is expressed in one of the last letters he ever wrote, 
that accepting the invitation for his annual visit to Belvoir in 
1914, when and where he died. It is here reproduced partly to 
illustrate and temper the exuberance of the text, but principally 
that a generation which did not know "the Captain" may have 
a glimpse of the characteristics which made his welcome so 
warm and so persistent in all the households of his many 
nephews and nieces. 

"I received your sweet invitation yesterday, and its kindly ex- 
pression warmed the cockles of my old heart. As one grows old 
and feels, alas! that now he is but a fly on the wheels of action, it 
is consoling to feel at least that he is not an insensate fossil, but is 
still capable of exciting the love and interest of those busy workers 
in the vineyard of life where he is now but a superannuated drone. 
It is sweet to know that a few here and there still remember him 
and retain warm places in their hearts for him. I do not know how 
it may be in other families, but I have been peculiarly blessed in 
passing my latter days in the midst of a most 'superior' brood of 
blood kindred, who are all actuated by noblesse and high tone and 
big hearts, inherited from refined strains of nature's nobility, of 
which we all have just cause to be proud. I do not care to depre- 


liant surroundings as the colony afforded/" 
Being a member of the House of Burgesses, his 
family passed much of their time during the ses- 
sions of the Assembly in Williamsburg, where the 
College of William and Mary presented a fine 
field for the latent social talents of four maidens 
in their teens. As might have been expected, these 

ciate myself, for I have tried to do my best, though sorely handi- 
capped in many respects; but I only too well know it is no special 
merit of mine that gains me their love, but rather the fine spirit of 
forbearance and of self-sacrificing charity in all its senses, on their 
part, that makes the happiness of all who are blessed in coming in 
contact with them. I know no family connection which has ever, 
within my personal knowledge, possessed nobler specimens of wo- 
men — grand Mothers in Israel, shining exemplars of social and 
domestic life. You will pardon this boasting of our people, but I 
think they deserve it. ... I hate to miss any part of the early 
summer in such charming surroundings as Belvoir always holds 
out to me, so you may rely upon my putting on extra steam to come 
down at the earliest possible day." 

10 It will be noted that nothing is said of Sally Gary's mother. 
By reason of the destruction of many family records in the 
fire wliich consumed Carysbrook in 1826, Captain Cary was, 
during most of his life, unable to identifyTFTe faftrtty of the wife 
of Colonel Wilson Cary. He knew simply that her name was 
Sarah. His quest for this thrice great grandmother was unre- 
mitting, though perhaps more professional than pious. She was, 
indeed, the only fact in his pedigree of which he had no legal 
evidence. The year before his death, while working among the 
original Colonial public records now preserved in Richmond, he 
had the intense satisfaction of finding proof which enabled him 
to establish that Sarah, wife of Colonel Wilson Ca^y, was Sarah 
I^ate, daughter of Colonel John Pate of PoTopotanklrrGTouces- 
ter. This discovery was the crowning and personally most com- 
forting achievement of a life of genealogical research, and the 
real enthusiasm of "the Captain" in thus running down and 
summoning the lady from her grave was truly infectious. Every 
student who has engaged in research for great things or small 
will recognize the emotion. 

For a parallel of the plantation life of the children at Ceelys, 
see post. Appendix I. 


young women did not languish for lack of suitors 
when in due time they were launched in the 
social world and presented at the formal recep- 
tions at the Governor's palace. ^^ It was not, there- 
fore, long before Colonel Cary was called upon 
to surrender the hands of his daughters. Mary 
was carried off by Edward Ambler, the wealthy 
young heir of Jamestown Island, just returned 
from Cambridge and the "grand tour" of Eu- 
rope. Anne became the wife of the distinguished 
Robert Carter Nicholas, Treasurer of Virginia, 
whose four sons inherited their great talents from 
both parents. Elizabeth, the youngest, in time 
gave her hand to Bryan Fairfax, who subse- 
quently succeeded to the old title which his and 
her descendant still bears. 

But of all these damsels the cleverest and far 
the most fascinating was Sally, the eldest, whose 
lovers sought her from far and wide. ^- Tradition 
has it that among her suitors was a young man, 
quite unknown either to fortune or to fame, who, 
having met her in Williamsburg, became so 

11 For a lively picture of Williamsburg society a generation 
later, see post. Appendix II. 

12 The hall-mark of Sally Gary's established belleship is that 
in the Williamsburg tradition she was made the heroine of that 
anecdote which has been told of so many reigning belles all over 
the world. On occasion driving through a military line she was, 
it seems, stopped by a sentry, who demanded the password. Con- 
fused, she stammered out her own name and was passed at once, 
for the gallant officer of the day, who was her swain, had given 
her name as the password. 


much infatuated as to follow her to Ceelys and 
demand permission of her father to pay his ad- 
dresses. The story goes that the proud old patri- 
cian surveyed the presumptuous young man with 
amazement and scorn, and, turning on his heel, 
said: "If that is your mission here, sir, you may 
as well order your horse. My daughter has been 
accustomed to her coach and six."^'^ 

Whatever Colonel Cary may have thought, his 
urbanity and breeding forbid belief that he could 
have been guilty of such a breach of good man- 
ners. The anecdote, I surmise, has been sup- 
plied to emphasize the subsequent comment of 
the gossips. At all events, the father in this in- 
stance, like Polonius in the play, was not long in 
lodging the intimation, "The Lady Sarah is a 
princess out of thy star; this must not be." 
Whereupon the young man "fell into a sadness" 
and went home, and his spirits would scarcely 
have been enlivened had he read a subsequent 

1'' Washington has been named as the hero of this anecdote by 
family tradition, and, indeed, it has several times found its way 
into print under his name. For many years Captain Cary ac- 
cepted the tradition, but as he was never able to discover any 
evidence in support of it, and as Washington was only sixteen 
years of age when Sally Cary married, he came somewhat 
reluctantly to regard the tale as a myth, supplied, as he here 
says, "to emphasize the subsequent comment of the gossips." 

The story has also been told of Washington and Sally Cary's 
younger sister, Mary, who became Mrs. Ambler, and is set 
forth by Bishop Meade {Old Churches, I, io8) on the putative 
authority of an Ambler family document: but on criticism it 
does not bear the test of history. That it might be altogether 

announcement in the Virginia Gazette for De- 
cember, 1748: 

"Married, on the 17th inst., George WiUiam Fair- 
fax, Esqr., eldest son of the Honourable William 
Fairfax of His Majesty's Council, to Sarah, eldest 
daughter of Colonel Wilson Cary of Ceelys." 

The fortunate groom seems to have considered 
it his duty to apprise an English cousin, Robert 
Fairfax of Leeds Castle, of so important a 
change in his condition, that gentleman being 
the only person who stood between him and the 
succession to the title then borne by Lord Fair- 
fax of Greenway Court ;^^ but evidently he was 

ben trovato, this last authority has embellished the fable with 
a sequel: that when Washington was riding through the streets 
of Williamsburg at the head of his victorious army after the 
surrender of Cornwallis, he saw at a window the lady who had 
once discarded him and saluted her profoundly with his sword. 
Whereupon she fainted ! The principal difficulty with the his- 
tory of this incident is that there are no suggestions in the 
family letters passing between Ceelys and Belvoir, which are 
profuse in all such matters, that Washington was ever seriously 
interested in Mary Gary. The origin of the myth seems to be 
Washington's letter to his "dear friend Robin," written from 
Belvoir in 1748 {M^ritings of PFashington, Ford ed., I, 7), 
where, he says, "I might, was my heart disengaged, pass my time 
very pleasantly as there's a very agreeable young lady lives in the 
same house (Col. George Fairfax's wife's sister)." As for the 
sequel, it does not appear that Washington ever marched 
through Williamsburg at the head of his army after Yorktown. 
Cornwallis did not surrender until October, 1781, and Mrs. 
Ambler had been stark in her grave at Jamestown since May of 
that year. 

1^ The family of Fairfax has held land in Yorkshire for more 
than seven hundred years and is still represented there. The 
genealogists trace the pedigree of the Virginia branch from 


anxious to betray no feeling in making the an- 
nouncement and took pains to check all super- 
fluous enlargement. He writes thus from Wil- 

"Attending here on the General Assembly, I have 
had several opportunities of visiting Miss Cary, a 
daughter of Colonel Wilson Cary, and finding her 
amiable person to answer all the favourable reports 
made, I addressed myself, and, having obtained the 
young lady's and her parents' consent, we are to be 

father to son through eleven generations, most of whom lived 

at Walton Manor in Yorkshire, continuing in the following line: 

12. Sir Guy Fairfax (1410-1495) of Steeton, a judge of the 

King's Bench. 
- 13. Sir William Fairfax (1435-1514) of Steeton, Recorder 

of York. 

14. Sir William Fairfax (1490-1557) of Steeton, who mar- 

ried the heiress Isabel Thwaites, and therebj^ raised the 
family fortunes. 

15. Sir Thomas Fairfax (1521-1598) of Denton and Nun- 

appleton, who saw service in the contemporary wars in 
Italy and in Germany, and was knighted on the field by 
Queen Elizabeth's Earl of Leicester. 

16. Sir Thomas Fairfax (i 560-1640) of Denton. He was 

knighted by Queen Elizabeth's Earl of Essex at the 
siege of Rouen in 1591, and subsequently was employed 
in diplomatic negotiation with James VI of Scotland, 
who offered him a Scotch peerage. He had the politi- 
cal discretion to decline this at the time, but subse- 
quently accepted the honor at the hands of James' 
son, being raised to the peerage by Charles I as Baron 
Fairfax of Cameron in 1627. He was brother to Ed- 
ward Fairfax, the translator of Tasso. 

17. Henry Fairfax (1588-1665), Rector of Bolton Percy. 

His elder brother was the second Lord Fairfax and 
father of the Parliamentary general. 

18. Henry Fairfax (1631-1688) of Oglethorpe succeeded 


married on the 17th instant. Colonel Cary wears the 
same coat of arms as the Lord Hunsdon." 

Young Fairfax took his bride at once to Bel- 
voir and introduced her to a charming circle. 
Colonel William Fairfax, the head of the house, 
then a widower, was a gentleman who had had a 
wide experience of the world, having served his 
King many years abroad both in the army and 
navy, but had finally settled in Virginia to man- 
age the Northern Neck estates of his cousin 
Lord Fairfax. He was now a man of wealth 
and great consideration in the colony and the 

his cousin, the Parliamentan' general, as fourth Lord 

19. Henry Fairfax (1659-1708) of Towlston. His elder 

brother was the fifth Lord Fairfax, who married the 
daughter of Lord Culpeper, through whom his nephew, 
the sixth Lord Fairfax, inherited the Northern Neck 
in Virginia. 

20. William Fairfax (1691-1757) of Belvoir in Virginia. See 

note 15. 

21. Br5'an Fairfax (i 736-1 802) of Towlston and Mount 

Eagle, who succeeded his cousin as eighth Lord Fair- 
fax. See note 17. 

22. Thomas Fairfax (1761-1846) of Vaucluse, ninth Lord 

P'airfax. See notes 27 and 34. 

23. Albert Fairfax (1802-1835) of Vaucluse. 

24. John Contee Fairfax (1830-1900) of Northampton in 

Marj'land, who succeeded his brother, Charles Snow- 
den Fairfax (1829-1869) of California, as eleventh 
Lord Fairfax. 

25. Albert Kirby Fairfax (1870- ). Being first natural- 

ized as a British subject, the family title was confirmed 
to him by the House of Lords, November 17, 1908. 


father of a most cultivated family/^ His hos- 
pitable home was ever a favorite resort of officers 
of the army and navy, and persons of note from 
abroad would scarcely visit Virginia without let- 
ters to the Fairf axes.^^ Belvoir, being but a short 
distance from Alexandria, drew many of its 
guests from that quaint little city, while the gay 
young men and maidens from the province of 

15 William Fairfax (1691-1757) entered the British navy as 
a lad, early had his baptism of fire at sea, and subsequently took 
part in more fighting with the British army in Spain under his 
kinsman Colonel Martin Bladen. Entering the Colonial ser- 
vice, he took part in Captain Woodes Rogers' picturesque cam- 
paign to clear the Bahamas of pirates. In 1725 he was ap- 
pointed royal collector of customs for Salem and Marblehead 
in Massachusetts, and at Salem married his second wife, 
Deborah Clarke. On the invitation of his cousin the sixth 
Lord Fairfax to assume the agency of the Northern Neck 
estate, he removed to Virginia in 1734 and soon after estab- 
lished the old Belvoir on the Potomac. There he administered 
his cousin's vast but undeveloped Virginia property with such 
success as to turn a burden into a source of income. His busi- 
nesslike policy resulted in a rapid settling up of the territory 
constituting most of the Northern Virginia of today. He be- 
came a burgess in 1742, was appointed collector of customs for 
the South Potomac and in 1744 a member of the King's Council 
for Virginia, to all of which offices his eldest son George Wil- 
liam Fairfax succeeded. For a time Colonel William Fairfax 
was President of the Council. As revealed by his letters, he 
was a man of character and ability, scrupulous in detail but 
broad of vision, busy with public affairs but ever cheerful and 
merry, and finding time for wholesome sport. All young men 
seemed to admire and trust him as Washington did, which 
is surely evidence of engaging traits. He was a type of the best 
of the Colonial worthies of the eighteenth century. 

I'' In the library at the new Belvoir in Fauquier is a tall 
copy of Ralph Thoresby's Ducatus Leodiensis, 1715, which, 
on publication, was delivered to one of the subscribers, the Rev. 

Maryland across the Potomac were never de- 
terred by distance and fatigue when a ball at 
Belvoir was the goal. 

The marriage of Colonel Fairfax's daughter 
Anne to Lawrence Washington, owner of the ad- 
joining estate of Mount Vernon, produced fate- 
ful consequences to the country which were 
scarcely contemplated by the "contracting par- 
ties" or their friends. Lawrence, wishing to ad- 
vance the interests of his half-brother George, 
now invited him from primitive surroundings in 
Stafford to become a member of his household. 
Thus the youthful George Washington not only 
found his opportunity for employment by the 
proprietor of the Northern Neck, who dwelt 
with his cousin for several years before estab- 
lishing himself at Greenway Court in the remote 
Valley of Virginia, but was thrown into intimate 

Miles Gale (1647-1721), Rector of Keighley, Yorkshire. Con- 
taining pedigrees of the Yorkshire families, including the Gales 
and their cousins the Fairfaxes, the volume was at once adopted 
as a house book in which visitors to the Keighley rectory signed 
their names, and household recipes were recorded on blank 
pages bound in for the purpose. As appears from the inscrip- 
tions, the book passed from Miles Gale to his son Christopher 
Gale (1680-1734), who emigrated to North Carolina and was 
there chief justice from 1703 to 1731, holding the same office 
for the Bahamas in 1721. While at New Providence, Chris- 
topher Gale gave the book to his cousin William Fairfax, who 
was there employed in the Colonial service; and later, on his 
removal to Salem, Massachusetts, to become royal collector of 
that port, William Fairfax took the book with him, and at 
Salem, as later at Belvoir on the Potomac, continued the prac- 
tice of having his guests enroll their names in its pages. The 


relations with the elegant society of Belvoir. 
Here his manners were patterned after the best 
models, his sentiments refined and his views en- 
larged by contact with clever men and women of 
a superior class. He encountered now, if not 
before, and became henceforth subject to, the 
potent fascinations of the most charming woman 
he had ever met, and from the subtle influence of 
whose magnetism the strongest efforts of his re- 
markable will seem to have been powerless to 
disenthrall him. 

Of an ardent temperament by nature, in youth 
his heart seems to have been peculiarly suscep- 
tible to female influence. Careless, happy boy- 
hood requires only propinquity and the faintest 
of zephyrs to fan into flame a feeling we are then 
pleased to call love. At that time of life love is 
almost a spontaneous combustion, and there are 

result is that there has survived with this interesting volume a 
• notable collection of autographs of Colonial worthies of North 
Carolina, of the Bahamas, of Massachusetts and of Virginia, as 
well as of many visitors from abroad. William Fairfax died at 
Belvoir on September 3, 1757, and the last Colonial entry in the 
book is the signature "S. Fairfax," the heroine of this sketch, 
made three days after the death of her father-in-law. She set 
down, in her beautiful tall chirograph}^, the sentiment: "Un 
malheur ne vient jamais seul. On n'estime jamais une chose 
assez avant que nous I'avons perdu." The curiosity of subse- 
quent generations has always been piqued as to what was the 
other "malheur." The Belvoir House Book, after a long 
absence in England, whither it was taken back by George Wil- 
liam Fairfax, still continues to perform its earlier office of 
hallowing at the new Belvoir the pleasant practice of hospitality, 
more majoruni. 


many more or less apocryphal traditions con- 
cerning Washington's early "flames." But his 
character now began to exhibit its stronger 

The duties and responsibilities of an active 
public life were soon thrown upon him, and 
those fitful emotions masquerading as love, 
which, like will-o'-the-wisps, had so often de- 
ceived him, disappear from the scene. In their 
place came the deeper passion of his man- 
hood, taking possession of his soul with such 
vigo'r that for a time it seemed to overmaster his 
high sense of honor. Indeed, the turmoil of war, 
the peril of battle, the cares of state, the charms 
of other fair women, and the far more destruc- 
tive agency of time itself, with its years of sepa- 
ration and the barrier of a wide ocean, all com- 
bined, failed to obliterate the traces of that pas- 
sion which still slumbered in his heart till almost 
the day of his death for the woman who had first 
stirred his soul to its depths. 

Washington was considerably younger than 
George Fairfax, but his vigorous, manly charac- 
ter overcame the diflference of years when he 
entered the employment of Lord Fairfax, and 
they soon became intimate companions. Young 
Mrs. Fairfax was a woman of unusually fine 
mind which had been enriched and embellished 
under her father's supervision from childhood 
with the best literature of the day. And when 


he found her presiding at Belvoir with such 
clever sprightliness as well as dignity, Washing- 
ton's mind soon conspired with his heart to wor- 
ship her as the paragon of a woman. And to 
her, as being now a connection by marriage, he 
doubtless came with great freedom and perfect 
confidence to seek advice and sympathy in all his 
affairs, both political and private. Who can 
compute the ennobling influence of constant as- 
sociation with a feminine mind of superior 
mould, when there exists in the coarser clay the 
latent spark of divinity to be fired by the con- 
tact? And so the charming young mistress of 
Belvoir inspired the future hero, whose educa- 
tion had been so limited, with a desire to fit him- 
self for a more elevated sphere by an acquain- 
tance with the great models to be found in that 
literature she loved so well, and the results may 
be seen in the more dignified style and diction of 
his correspondence. She it was who filled his 
soul with high aspirations and incited him to 
brave deeds of arms, urging him to a nobler 
career than that which satisfied the great ma- 
jority of the gentry about him, and from her he 
drew his ideal of a hero's wife. In his letter to 
her from camp, September 25, 1758, we find the 
following passage : 

"I should think our time more agreeably spent, be- 
lieve me, in playing a part in Cato with the Company 


you mention, and myself doubly happy in being the 
luba to such a Marcia as you must make." 

Addison, in his Cato, makes luba thus describe 
"The virtuous Marcia towers above her sex. 
True, she is fair (oh how divinely fair!) 
But still the lovely maid improves her charms 
With inward greatness, unaffected wisdom 
And sanctity of manners. Cato's soul 
Shines out in everything she acts or speaks, 
While winning mildness anci attractive smiles 
Dwell in her looks and with becoming grace 
Soften the rigour of her father's virtues." 

And in subsequent scenes luba exclaims: 
"Oh, Marcia, let me hope thy kind concerns 
And gentle wishes follow me to battle! 
The thought will give new vigour to my arm. 

Thou virtuous maid, I'll hasten to my troops. 

And in the shock of charging hosts remember 
What glorious deeds should grace the man who 

For Marcia's love." 

In keeping with these noble sentiments of luba 
is Washington's comment in the same letter, 
after describing an engagement in which his 
regiment suffered severely: 

"Thus it is the lives of the brave are often dis- 
posed of: but who is there that does not rather envy 

than regret a death that gives birth to honour and 
glorious memory?" 

This intimate friendship subsisted between 
them for years. How long the regard on his part 
remained purely ptatonte— -cannot exactly be 
known. But there can be no question that his 
affection began ere long to assume hues that were 
scarcely those of sober friendship. At first he 
seems hardly to have been aware of the real na- 
ture of his own feelings; but that his fair mentor 
began to perceive his growing ardor and became 
more chary of those sympathetic conversations 
which he characterizes as "tender passages," is 
equally plain from the young man's own admis- 

A letter of Washington is written from Fort 
Cumberland at Wills Creek under date of June 
7, 1755. He was then acting as aide-de-camp to 
General Braddock, who had despatched him to 
Williamsburg on the 30th of May, whence he 
had just returned bearing with him the sinews of 
war for the famous expedition against Fort Du- 
quesne which resulted so disastrously just one 
month later. 

"Dear Madam: 

When I had the happiness to see you last you ex- 
press'd an inclination to be inform'd of my safe ar- 
rival in Camp with the Charge that was entrusted to 
my care, But at the same time desir'd it might be 



communicated In a Letter to somebody of your ac- 
quaintance. This I took as a gentle rebuke and a 
polite manner of forbidding my corresponding with 
you: and [I] conceive this opinion is not Illy founded 
when I reflect that I have hitherto found it Imprac- 
ticable to engage one moment of your attention. If 
I am right In this, I hope you will excuse the present 
presumption and lay the Imputation to elateness at 
my successful arrival. If, on the contrary, these are 
fearful apprehensions only, how easy Is it to remove 
my suspicions, enliven my spirits, and make me hap- 
pier than the day is long, by honouring me with a 
corrispondance which you did once partly promise to 
do. Please make my Compliments to Miss Hannah 
and to Mr. Bryan, ^'^ to whom I shall do myself the 
pleasure of writing so soon as I hear he Is return'd 
from Westmoreland. 
I am, Madam, 

Yr. most obedt. & most Hble. servt. 

G. Washington." 

1'^ Brjan Fairfax (1736-1802), third of the sons of Colonel 
William Fairfax of Belvoir, and first child by his second wife, 
Deborah Clarke of Salem, Massachusetts. Unlike the other 
younger sons of the family (one of whom, serving in the British 
navy, was killed in action against a French ship in the Indian 
Ocean in 1746, and the other under General Wolfe at the siege 
of Quebec in 1759), he did not take up arms as a profession, 
though he served for a time with the Virginia troops in the 
French and Indian war. He seems to have had something of a 
jeunesse orageuse, for the contemporary family letters are full 
of dark hints and his portrait is that of a man who has known 
"life." After his marriage to Elizabeth Cary he lived at Towls- 
ton Grange, a large and fertile plantation, lying in the upper 
end of Fairfax County, which took its name from a family 
estate in Yorkshire. He sat for many years as a magistrate at the 
County Court sessions of Fairfax County, as appears from the 


But it is very apparent from these same letters 
that years rolled by before the passion, pent in 
his bosom, for this heroine of his youthful sighs 
could burst the bonds of his native prudence 
and find vent in express words^words that were 
' unmistakable in their meaning, words that loy- 
alty to his early friend and due consideration for 
an affianced bride to whom he was so soon to 
swear eternal fidelity should have constrained 
him to stifle forever. Those who have always 
been accustomed to regard Washington as a most 
prudent and unimpassioned man of method and 
moderation in all things will be amazed and 
well-nigh confounded at such an exhibition of 
uncontrollable feeling on his part, evinced at a 

interesting old records preserved at Fairfax Court House. Like 
the others of his family who survived until the American Revo- 
lution, he remained loyal to the Crown: he attended, but con- 
scientiously withdrew from, the Fairfax County meeting of July 
i8, 1774, which adopted strong revolutionary resolutions. (See 
his correspondence with Washington on this occasion. Writings 
of Washington, Ford ed., II, 420.) He stayed in Virginia, re- 
siding throughout the war quietly at his house, Mount Eagle, 
near Alexandria, and such was the respect of the neighborhood 
for his family that he was not molested by the patriots, as most 
Tories were. (See Eckenrode, The Revolution in Virginia, 
igi6, p. 129.) In the heat and bitterness of the war Washing- 
ton wrote him from Valley Forge on March i, 1778: "The 
friendship which I ever professed and felt for you met with no 
diminution from the difference in our political sentiments. I 
know the rectitude of my own intentions, and, believing in the 
sincerity of yours, lamented, though I did not condemn, your 
renunciation of the creed I had adopted." (Ford, VI, 389.) The 
experience of the Revolution seems to have awakened a latent 
evangelical strain in his character; he became adevout churchman 

time when there seemed no special occasion to 
call it forth, but every prudential reason to con- 
ceal a passion which he had entertained hitherto 
without daring to give it birth in words. Why 
should he select this juncture, of all others, to 
make such an avowal? He was about to con- 
summate his engagement with Mrs. Custis, the 
match unexceptionable in every point of view; 
the wedding day was scarce four months ofif. 
And if this contemplated marriage was with him 
more a matter of cool judgment and esteem than 
of passion, did not every consideration all the 
more conspire to induce a man of more than 

in the d.\vs of the lowest ebb of the church in Virginia. Finally 
he took orders and, on the resignation of the celebrated Dr. 
Griffith, served from 1790 to 1792 as rector of Fairfax parish, 
officiating at Christ Church in Alexandria and the chapel of 
ease since known as Falls Church. Surviving his brothers, 
he succeeded in 1793 to the family dignity of Baron Fairfax 
of Cameron in the peerage of Scotland, and after some 
republican scruple on the part of his son, which appears from 
Sally Cary's letter quoted in the text {post, p. 48), went to 
England and there in 1800 established his title before the House 
of Lords, as did his American great-great-grandson Albert 
Kirby Fairfax a hundred years later. It was in his clerical 
habit that he made his appearance in England, exciting some 
curiosity. "Unlike the clergy of England, his dress was a com- 
plete suit of purple in accordance with the custom of Virginia," 
says the History of Leeds Castle, where he stayed with his 
kinspeople. Bryan Fairfax maintained a steady friendship with 
Washington, was one of the Principal Mourners at his funeral, 
and was named in his will. For a sympathetic sketch of him and 
of his precocious and amusing little daughter, another Sally 
Fairfax, see "A Little Centennial Lady," by Constance Cary 
Harrison, in Scribncr's Magazine, July, 1876. See also post. 
Appendix L 


ordinary prudence and honor to veil carefully 
the real state of his feelings? What was the 
object of this declaration at such a time, and to a 
married woman? 

Ah, the secret spring of an action so extraor- 
dinary cannot be doubted. It is a sudden revolt 
in the soul of a man intensely wrought who has 
nerved himself to take a step against which his 
rebellious heart makes its final emphatic protest, 
and who, before he crosses the irrevocable Rubi- 
con of matrimony, pauses to falter forth his real, 
feeling soul in a piteous sort of frenzy to the long 
unattainable love of his life, to clasp his hopeless 
attachment in one mad embrace, as it were, ere 
he parts with his cherished ideal forever. 

The letter in question is apparently in response 
to one from Mrs. Fairfax congratulating him on 
his approaching nuptials with the fair widow, 
and in which, with a badinage which is human 
but not altogether excusable,^*' while sympathiz- 
ing with his well-known disapproval of the 
present military policy, she had hinted a more 
potent reason for his opposition than he had 
admitted, viz. : the delay it interposed to his mar- 

is It appears from the family correspondence of the time that 
Sally Cary entertained some personal feeling against her 
brother-in-law Bryan Fairfax which estranged him and his 
brother for years. It has remained for the feminine intuition 
of a later generation to conjecture that Bryan had rebuked Sally 
for her flirtation with Washington. 


"Camp at Fort Cumberland, 

I2th Septs 1758. 
Dear Madam: 

Yesterday I was honour'd with your short but very 
agreable favour of the first Inst. How joyfully I 
catch at the happy occasion of renewing a corrlspon- 
dance which I fear'd was disrelish'd on your part, I 
leave to time, that never failing Expositor of all 
things, and to a Monitor equally as faithful in my 
own Breast to Testifie. In silence I now express my 
Joy. Silence, which in some cases — I wish the pres- 
ent — speaks more intelligably than the sweetest Elo- 

If you allow that any honour can be deriv'd from 
my opposition to our present System of management, 
you destroy the merit of it entirely in me by attribut- 
ing my anxiety to the animating prospect of possess- 
ing Mrs. Custis, when — I need not name it, guess y^ 
yourself — should not my own Honour and Country's 
welfare be the ex [/'//] citement? 'Tis true I profess 
myself a votary to Love. I acknowledge that a Lady 
is in the case; and, further, I confess that this Lady is 
known to you. Yes, Madam, as well as she is to one 
who is too sensible of her Charms to deny the Power 
whose influence he feels and must ever submit to. I 
feel the force of her amiable beauties in the recollec- 
tion of a thousand tender passages that I could wish 
to obliterate till I am bid to revive them; but Experi- 
ence alas! sadly reminds me how impossible this is, 
and evinces an Opinion, which I have long enter- 
tained, that there is a Destiny which has the sover- • 


eign controLil of our actions, not to be resisted by the 
strongest efforts of Human Nature. 

You have drawn me, my dear Madam, or rather 
have I drawn myself, into an honest confession of a 
Simple Fact. Misconstrue not my meaning, 'tis obvi- 
ous; doubt it not, nor expose it. The world has no 
business to know the object of my love, declared in 
this manner to — you, when I want to conceal it. One 
thing, above all things, in this World I wish to know, 
and only one person of your acquaintance can solve 
me that, or guess my meaning — but adieu to this till 
happier times, if ever I shall see them; the hours at 
present are melancholy dull — neither the rugged toils 

of War, nor the gentler conflicts of A B s is 

in my choice. I dare believe you are as happy as you 
say. I wish I was happy also. Mirth, good Humour, 
ease of Mind, and — what else? cannot fail to render 
you so, and consummate your Wishes. 

If one agreable Lady cou'd almost wish herself a 
fine Gentleman for the sake of another, I apprehend 
that many fine Gentlemen will wish themselves finer 
e'er Mrs. Spotswood ^^ is possessed. She has already 
become a reigning toast in this Camp, and many there 
are in it who intend, fortune favouring, to make hon- 
ourable scars speak the fullness of their Merit and 
be a messenger of their Love to her. 

I cannot easily forgive the unseasonable haste of 
my last Express if he depriv'd me thereby of a single 

19 This was probably Mary Dandridge, widow of John Spots- 
wood, who was son of the Governor of that ilk. She became 
Mrs. Spotswood in 1745, a widow in 1757, and subsequently 
gave her hand en secondes noces to one "John Campbell, Gent." 
Ford conjectures that A r- B s stands for Assembly Balls. 


word you intended to add. The time of the present 
messenger Is, as the last might have been, entirely at 
your disposal. I can't expect to hear from my Friend^ 
more than this once, before the Fate of the Expedi- 
tion will somehow or other be determined. I, there- 
fore, beg to know when you set out for Hampton & 
when you expect to return to Belvoir again, and 
should be glad to hear also of your speedy departure, 
as I shall thereby hope for your return before I get 
down; the ciisappointment of [;/o/] seeing your fam- 
ily wou'd giv^e me much concern. From anything I 
can yet see 'tis hardly possible to say when we shall 
finish. I don't think there is a probability of it till 
the middle of November,, Your letter to Capt" Gist 
I forwarded by a safe hand the moment it came to 
me. His answer shall be carefully transmitted. Col°. 
Mercer, to whom I deliver'd your message and com- 
pliments, joins me very heartily in wishing you and 
the Ladies of Belvoir the perfect enjoyment of every 
Happiness the World affords. Be assur'd that I am, 
D"". Madam, with the most unfeigned regard 
Yr. most obedient 
most obliged Hble. Servt. 

G. Washington, 

N.B. Many Accidents happening (to use a vulgar 

saying) between the Cup and the Lip, I choose to 

make the exchange of Carpets myself, since I find 

you will not do me the honour to accept of mine."^'^ 

20 This letter was first printed in the Neiu York Herald 
newspaper, March 30, 1877, and is included in W. C. Ford's col- 
lection (II, 95). The sneer which moved Captain Gary to the 
preparation of this paper is in P. L. Ford's The True George 
JVashingtoti, p. 92. 

Alas! poor human nature. But who that has 
felt the maddening force of love shall throw the 
first stone? We can scarcely believe this to be 
the Washington of history, but it is the Wash- 
ington of nature! His love, whether right or 
WTong, is love, impassioned love, which will no 
longer brook the cold dictates of reason, but 
bursts its bonds and overleaps all barriers when 
the soul is wrought to desperation. This con- 
vulsive action on the part of a strong heart, to 
use his own words, "evinces an opinion, which 
I have long entertained, that there is a destiny 
which has the sovereign control of our actions, 
not to be resisted by the strongest efforts of 
human nature." 

It is a supposition not altogether unwarrant- 
able from our knowledge of the sex, that his fair 
friend, though conscious of his tendresse for her- 
self, could not resist a woman's temptation to 
rally him in her letter in a manner fully calcu- 
lated to touch him to the quick. At all events, 
it elicited a reply rather more ardent than she 
could have desired, and, as is evident from the 
next letter of Washington, her response indicated 
unmistakably a discreet determination not to un- 
derstand his fervid utterances as applying to 
herself, for she could but feel how difficult it 
would make their relations in the future. 

This letter we shall not give in full, as it refers 
mainly to military movements and is to be found 


in the article on Washington in Appletons' New 
American Cyclopedia, by Everett, who errone- 
ously has supposed it to be addressed to Mrs. 
Custis,-^ but shall restrict ourselves to the per- 
sonal items. It begins thus: 

"Camp at Rays Town, 

25th Sept'r., 1758. 
Dear Madam: 

Do we still misunderstand the true meaning of 
each other's Letters? I think it must appear so, 
tho' I would feign hope the contrary, as I cannot 
speak plainer without— but I'll say no more and leave 
you to guess the rest." 

He then proceeds to describe the abortive at- 
tack on Fort Duquesne by Major Grant, in 
which Washington's regiment lost, out of eight 
officers, six killed and one wounded, and con- 
cludes his account with this bitter criticism: "So 
miserably has this expedition been managed that 
I expect after a month's further trial and the loss 
of many more men by the sword, cold and per- 
haps famine, we shall give the expedition over 
as perhaps impracticable this season, and retire 
to the inhabitants, condemned by the world and 
derided by our friends." 

21 Ford includes the letter in his edition of the Writings of 
Washington (II, lOl), and correctly attributes it. The original," 
like the others quoted, came back to America from Bath among 
Sally Gary's personal papers. 



These wretched failures chafed the high spirit 
of a soldier who longed for military success to 
"speak the fullness of his merit" to his divinity, 
where words had been so ineffectual, and he 
doubtless coveted a repetition of that charming 
round-robin, penned by the divine Sally herself, 
which was sent over to Mount Vernon from the 
ladies of Belvoir on the evening of his return 
from Braddock's fatal campaign, when he was 
the hero of the day and his praises filled every 
mouth.-- The letter concludes thus: 

"Your agreeable Letter contain'd these words: 
'My Sisters and Nancy Gist, who neither of them ex- 
pect to be here soon after our return from Town, de, 
sire you to accept their best complimts &c.' 

Pray, are these Ladies upon a Matrimonial 
Scheme? Is Miss Fairfax to be transformed into 
that charming domestick, a Martin, and Miss Gary 

--On July 26, 1755, Colonel William Fairfax wrote to 
Washington a cordial and affectionate letter (see Letters to 
IVashbigton, Hamilton ed., I, 73) on hearing the news of his 
safe return to Mount Vernon from Braddock's unhappy expe- 
dition. To this was appended the following arch and provoking 

"Dear Sir: 

After thanking Heaven for your safe return, I must accuse you 
of great unkindness in refusing us the pleasure of seeing you this 
night. I do assure you nothing but being satisfied that our Com- 
pany would be disagreeable should prevent us from trying if our 
Legs would not carry us to Mount Virnon this Night; but if you 
will not come to us tomorrow Morning, very early, we shall be at 
Mount Virnon. 

S. Fairfax, 
Ann Spearing, 
Eliz'th Dent." 


to a Fa-re? What does Miss Gist turn to — a Cocke? 
That can't be, we have him here.-" 

One thing more and then [I] hav^e done. You 
ask if I am not tired at the length of your letter. 
No, Madam, I am not, nor never can be while the 
lines are an Inch asunder to bring you in haste to the 
end of the paper. You may be tired of mine by this. 
Adieu, dear Madam; you will possibly hear some- 
thing of me or from me before we shall meet. I 
must beg the favour of you to make my compliments 
to Colo. Cary and the Ladies with you, and believe 
me that I am most unalterably 

Your most obedt. and oblgd. 

G. Washington." 

With this letter closes the romance of Wash- 
ington's life. Two months later the fate of the 
expedition was decided; the French were dis- 
lodged from the Ohio, and Washington had 
fought for thd last time under the British flag 
when, on the 25th of November, 1758, he planted 
it on the ruins of Fort Duquesne. He returned 
to Mount Vernon, married Mrs. Custis on the 
6th of January following, and the next sixteen 

23 Hannah Fairfax soon afterward married Warner Wash- 
ington, a cousin of the General. Elizabeth Cary turned to a 
"Fa-re" (the punning heraldic motto of the Fairfax family is 
Fare fac, translated "Say it and do it") in 1759 when she mar- 
ried Bryan Fairfax. Miss Nancy Gist never married, but died 
at a great age at Canewood in Kentucky. She was the sister of 
Colonel Nathaniel Gist of the Revolution, grandfather of Gen- 
eral Frank Blair of St. Louis, and of his brother who was Lin- 
coln's postmaster-general. 


years of his life were passed in the tranquil pur- 
suits of a country gentleman, which were varied 
from time to time by more responsible duties as 
a member of the House of Burgesses. The for- 
tunes of the poor surveyor had been steadily ad- 
vancing. By his brother's death he had become 
master of Mount Vernon; by- his marriage with 
the wealthy widow he had added at least $ioo,- 
ooo to his means, while he annually increased his 
property by skilful management and provident 
investment. He had not only risen to rank and 
influence in his own colony, but his fame had be- 
come continental, insomuch that in 1775 he was 
the unanimous choice of a budding nation to 
command the American armies, and at his death 
was "first in peace, first in war, and first in the 
hearts of his countrymen." 

On the other hand, the fortunes of George 
William Fairfax, which at the time of his mar- 
riage seemed so assured, so dazzling in prospect, 
were crushed by the political and military suc- 
cess of his friend, the youth who had helped to 
survey the immense landed estate of which he 
was presumptive heir. He died before attaining 
the family title, and lost through unfortunate 
alienations and unsuccessful litigation the bulk 
of his English patrimony; so that at the close of 
his career he had through sequestrations com- 
paratively little left in Virginia, still less in 
Yorkshire, the home of his fathers, while in 


death he was laid among strangers in a remote 
English county with which his family had no 

Mrs. Fairfax accompanied her husband to 
England in 1773, with the purpose of remaining 
some years. The Revolution prevented their 
return, as George Fairfax was a loyalist.-^ 
Neither ever visited America again. He died at 
Bath in 1787. She survived him many years, 
and family papers supplement the tradition that 
she truly lamented the choice of her heart. A 
few extracts from these papers, though taken 
from letters written in the decline of life, must 
suffice to acquaint us with the mind and char- 
acter of the woman who swayed the soul of 

Before me lies a letter written in 1788, a year 
after her husband's death, to a sister-in-law in 

The lonely Sarah has been chastened by the 
griefs and misfortunes of her family. She has 

-^ Washington used his best interest to prevent sequestration 
of George Fairfax's property in Virginia, urging, in a letter 
dated November 7, 1780 {Writings of Washington, Ford ed., 
IX, 20), "proof of his attachment to the interests of America 
since his residence [in England], and of the aid he has given to 
many of our distressed countrymen in that Kingdom." Writing 
to his brother Bryan from his exile at Bath in 1783, George 
Fairfax sends across the sea a wistful message: "I sincerely 
congratulate you and our Country on the blessings of Peace and 
Independence, which God grant you may long enjoy with every 
earthly felicity." 


seen the proud hopes of her prime crumble to 
dust, her husband's brilliant prospects shattered, 
the paternal estate dwindling into commonplace. 
But though the dispensations of Providence have 
produced a marked change in her aristocratic 
prejudices, the bitter reverses of fortune only 
serve to elicit sentiments worthy of Cato's 

"Weeping has robbed me of sight. I am ashamed 
to see my candle-light work, but if you can find out 
my meaning I am satisfied. I think before I wrote 
you that your dear brother [he?' hushaud~\ was as 
highly esteemed as any man In England. As a proof 
of it I now send you what appeared in the London 
papers at the time of his decease. Myself nor any 
of his friends know by whom put In, so that It was 
not a pick-thank. . . . Poor dear Mrs. Norton 
\^lier niece~\^ my heart bleeds for the loss she has sus- 
tained. I am sorry to hear Mrs. has already 

lost two little ones. There was a time of my life 
when I should not have been well pleased to hear 
of the union between a daughter of yours and Mr. 
; but, thank God, I have outlived those preju- 
dices of education, and know now that the worthy 
man Is to be preferred to the high-born who has not 
merit to recommend him. In this country we every 
day see the daughters of noblemen give their hands 
to nabobs just returned from India with great wealth 
Ill-gotten. When we enquire Into the family of these 
mighty men we find them the very lowest of people. 


In your country, I apprehend Caesar's sword has 
thrown down all distinctions.-^ 

I heartily wish Mr, and Mrs. every felicity, 

and I hope if Mrs. finds her good husband's 

connections less refined than she wishes, she will not 
esteem them less for what is rather a misfortune than 
a fault. 

I am much obliged to you for the mention of Polly 
Gary's \_her niece^ eligible marriage. . . . When 
I consider the prodigious fortune which my misman- 
aging brother^*^ was possest of, quite clear of debt, I 

2^ The language of the dying Cato : 

"A Senator of Rome, while Rome survived, 
Would not have matched his daughter with a King. 
But Cffisar's arms have thrown down all distinction: 
Whoe'er is brave and virtuous is a Roman." 

-"This was Wilson Miles Cary (1734-1817) of Ceelys, and 
of Carysbrook in Fluvanna, known in the family tradition as 
"the old Colonel." One of his great-granddaughters who had 
known him in the flesh has left a spirited appreciation of his 
career, which we may reproduce as the explanation of his sis- 
ter's characterization and as a picture also of the times. The 
preface is a vignette: 

"In the May following I was four years old; it was at the coun- 
try home; of the other no trace is left in my memory. I stood in 
the hall door beside two persons, one a tall man with grizzled 
hair, the other shorter and slighter, his head bald on the top, the 
rest covered with full curly hair, white as snow. They talked 
earnestly while the wind tossed about the peculiar grey locks of the 
one and the snowy curls of the other. I looked up, amazed, won- 
dering not who these beings were, so widely differing in aspect to 
myself, but iv/iat they were, to what class of creatures they be- 
longed, and what was I, so small, so distinct from them. . . . One 
of the old men was my great-grandfather, then 79; the other was 
Mr. Jefferson, then 70 years old. . . . 

"Wilson Miles Cary was educated at William and Mary College. 
Nothing has transpired which gives the idea that his abilities were 
of a high order or that he possessed much scholarship; he was, 
however, a member of the Virginia Convention of '76 and was a 
stanch republican, notwithstanding his close affinity with distin- 
guished Loyalists. When party spirit became rampant at the be- 
ginning of this century^ a special codicil was made to his will, 
declaratory of his political sentiments: 'As a man of honour 


am astonished to hear it is reduced, nor can I think 
how he has done it. . . . 

If you will excuse me this time giving you the 
trouble of this long scrawl, I, like the children, will 
promise to do so no more. God bless you. Adieu." 

and a friend to my country, I declare I have lived and 
hope to die of the Washington school, lamenting that the good 
people of this state should be seduced from following and sup- 
porting the religion of their ancestors and the glorious and 
virtuous principles of a Washington.' Yet the great apostle of the 
opposite party, Mr. Jefferson, his kinsman, was also his esteemed 
friend to the end of Colonel Gary's life. That our ancestor took 
no more active part in public affairs was probably because he was 
of an easy temperament and, born to luxury, had no ambition to be 
other than a gentleman planter, a position which our forefathers 
thought quite equal to that of an English nobleman, and so rela- 
tively it was. . . . But the English nobleman, or large landed pro- 
prietor, is a hard worker if he be conscientious and determined to 
account strictly for his stewardship. The Virginia owner of a 
large property was, however, idle as the day was long. At any ' 
period when the plantation system was in force there was, indeed, 
little for a gentleman planter to do, with a bodyguard of overseers 
between him and the labor of superintendence; unless, indeed, he 
were one of the class who were up early and down late, trusting no 
one, a hard master determined to get all the work practicable out 
of the negroes. Ay! there's the rub! it was possible to keep prop- 
erty together, to make a fortune even by 'driving' ; but if a man 
were too innately humane to do this, he must take the alternative 
and drift certainly into the shoal water of disaster and debt. The 
estate of Carysbrook was for a greater part of the year without the 
presence of its owner; it was always, however, under the charge 
of a steward who was plenipotentiary and whose management must 
have been deplorable: for with all the advantage of the best bottom 
land and new ground for tobacco planting, affairs were retro- 
grading steadily. In later days consultation on financial matters 
between master and manager commonly ended in one formula: 
'The money must*be raised: sell a negro.' Twenty-five years later, 
when a crisis of the kind occurred, this seemed a terrible alternative 
and many privations were endured before the expedient was re- 
sorted to. But it must be remembered that as yet responsibility for 
man ownership had not been thought of. Our great-grandfather 
was an indulgent and humane master, and simply was not in ad- 
vance of the times in which he lived. The decline and ruin of 
property held in this manner was, as a rule, certain as gravitation. 
Although there was a large property, as yet little incumbered, 
everything was at loose ends, everything was controlled by hired 
agents who were sucking its life blood like vampires. Miss Edge- 
worth tells of the lord of Castle Rack-rent, who cut down a tree to 
boil his tea-kettle. Here, we shall see, was a worse improvidence. 


In a letter of 1795, to her favorite nephew,-" 
she writes : 

... "I beg pardon for addressing you by what 
I thought your proper style, which, be assured, I 
would not have done, if I could have supposed your 
father did not intend taking up his title. Of the ex- 
pediency of dropping an old title that comes by in- 
heritance, and whether or not it may not in the future 
be a disadvantage to some of the descendants of your 
family, your father and you are the proper judges. 
However you may chuse to drop honours, I pray 

It does not appear that our grandfather's mind was impaired: at 
the period referred to his mind worked well where he set it to 
work: but he had never concerned himself about business at all, and 
when a man with tobacco laiids and slaves (cotton might have 
stood the brunt) has it said that 'wine enough has been drunk at his 
table to float a seventy-four,' the story is told. Triptolemus Yel- 
lowley (vide The Pirate) says: 'The carles and the cart-avers make 
it all, and the carles and the cart-avers eat it all.' Those held to 
involuntary servitude did more, what the free laborers of the 
Shetland Isles could not do; in homely phrase, 'they ate off their 
own heads.' " 

In recording this melancholy story (so much like that of 
Baynard in Humphry Clinker, but without the fortunate re- 
versal), it is but just to remember that the American Revolu- 
tion brought about economic as well as political changes in the 
civilization of Virginia, and that Colonel Cary survived well 
into the nineteenth century. It may be added from the tes- 
timony of family letters that no man of his generation was 
apparently more universally well spoken of, or was treated 
from his earliest maturity to the late evening of his life with a 
greater measure of the respect and esteem of his contem- 
poraries, than was Colonel Cary. It was his birthright to be 
a gentleman, and he was a type of the old Virginia school in 
manners and character, even to its improvidence. 

27 Thomas Fairfax (1761-1846) of Vaucluse, Fairfax 
County, where he resided quietly all his life, taking no part in 
public affairs or business. He was the eldest son of Bryan 
Fairfax and his successor in the family title. He married three 


Heaven you may never be divested of that true dig- 
nity that elevates men above the common rank of 
mortals and in the end sets them far above anything 
that a King or family can do." . . . 

Referring to a person in America who had been 
long in her debt, she remarks : 

"Alas ! I much fear the principles of my country- 
men are not improved by their independence. It has 
been the maxim of my life to go without what I 
wanted ever so much if I could not pay instantly, for 
I considered that I robbed the seller of the interest 
of his money by withholding the payment." 

In 1802, endeavoring to dissuade her nephew 
from going to law to recover an estate which his 

times (Mary Aylett, Louisa Washington, and Margaret Her- 
bert), and left a large family of sons and daughters. One of his 
sons, Henry (i 804-1 847), was captain of a company of volun- 
teers raised in Fairfax County, and was killed in action at 
Saltillo in the Mexican War; another, Reginald (i 822-1 862), 
was an officer in the "old" navy of the United States; another 
was Dr. Orlando Fairfax (1806-1882), a much-beloved phy- 
sician in Alexandria and afterward in Richmond. 

Randolph Fairfax (1842-1862), son of Dr. Orlando Fairfax, 
a youth of great promise, was killed in action at the battle of 
Fredericksburg while serving as a private in the Rockbridge 
Artillery. He is the subject of a tract upon the Christian 
soldier by Dr. Philip Slaughter, which was widely distributed 
throughout the Confederate armies. In it a writer in The 
Edinburgh Review for July, 1 870, observed "a singular instance 
of pertinacity of family type," drawing an interesting parallel 
between the simple and manly sentiments expressed in the letters 
of the boy private of the Confederate army and those of Sir 
Thomas Fairfax when he commanded the armies of the Par- 
liament in an earlier civil conflict. 


father believed to have been illegally alienated, 
she writes : 

"I call Heaven to witness that your uncle had as 
good a right to dispose of it as he had of the bed he 
died on. The entail was docked on the marriage of 
the Hon. Henry Fairfax with Anne Harrison, who 
was the mother of your grandfather William Fair- 
fax, in order to make a settlement adequate to the 
large fortune she brought into the family. The Hon. 
Henry Fairfax was possessed of landed property to 
the amount of what is now £10,000 a year, all of 
which he spent. The estate now in question was 
mortgaged for his life. At his death it came to the 
widow. At her decease it went in fee to her eldest 
son Henry Fairfax, who would have left it to your 
uncle Wm. Henry Fairfax, from an impression that 
my husband's mother^^ was a black woman, if 
my Fairfax had not come over to see his uncle and 
convinced him he was not a negroe's son. . . . 
Sometimes Fve been almost convinced that the 
strange claim is by agreement to answer some family 
purpose that I am not informed of; be this as it may, 
I've the satisfaction to know that I have set the truth 
before yon, and if your ruin must happen, I wash my 
hands of it. Agreeably to the above sentiment I acted 
ever since I heard of your father's claim, and as it 
was not possible to write to you, my brother, or any 
other of my friends without mention of so extraordi- 
nary a subject, I would not write a line to any one 

28 Colonel William Fairfax's first wife was Sarah, daughter 
of Major Thomas Walker, R. A., stationed in the West Indies. 


for fear of doing mischief and deranging your plans, 
but now as I hear you have written to Mr. Erskine 
and do really intend going to law, I thought it my 
duty to prevent your ruining yourself. You know 
not what law in England is; the Redness Estate, the 
half of which your uncle recovered, was by expense 
of law the dearest purchase ever made. The last 
summer Mr. Wormeley came from London to Bath 
to pump me. He could get nothing from me. I told 
him I would defend the suit. He replied: 'Then I 
am a ruined man.' I said I feared Ferdinando Fair- 
fax would be such. He informed me that the way 
the claim was found out was in the search to establish 
the Title. I was not averse to his thinking so, but 
indeed I was not to be so imposed upon. I well know 
where the thing originated and that a Right Hon- 
ourable must be at the bottom of it, but I never can 
think that any kind of injustice can prosper, nor 
could I wish that any one that is dear to me should 
be stigmatized with any kind of fraud, if by putting 
it in practice he could possess all the land in England. 
I ought to have begun with congratulations and 
expressing my thankfulness to Heaven for its mercy 
in permitting you at length to be a husband and 
father, but as I did not know that my lame fingers 
could possibly have borne the torture of writing the 
hundredth part of what I have forced them to 
scrawl, I began with all I considered so very neces- 
sary, &c. &c. ... Be pleased to assure Lady Fair- 
fax that if I had been able to put pen to paper I had 
long since addressed myself to her on hearing she 

was to become my niece or rather my daughter, as 
she is the wife of my adopted son. ... I must 
trouble you to convey my affectionate remembrance 
to your Aunt Washington and sister. I would in- 
clude Mrs. Herbert if I thought it would be agree- 
able, but as you wrote from her house without her 
remembrance, I fear to be intrusive. . . . 

God bless you and preserve you and yours, prays 
your faithful and affectionate 

S: Fairfax." 

Her letters are all couched in clear and simple 
language and evince great energy of character 
and vigorous understanding, and in spite of 
gouty fingers the beauty and elegance of her 
chirography puts to shame the scratchy scrawls 
of most of the feminine scribblers of today. She 
never seems to lose her interest in the current 
politics of the times. In 1794 she criticizes the 
conduct of the government in intermeddling 
with the French in their fearful Revolution. 

"All reasonable people apprehend it impossible 
for England to carry on this diabolical war much 
longer: indeed, I believe the same infatuation which 
prevailed in their counsels in regard to America led 
them into this destructive war, with which it is cer- 
tain they had nothing to do, as they could not make 
one hair white or black. There is no way of recon- 
ciling ourselves to the bloody politicks of these times, 
but looking on them, as I do, as the scourge of the 

Almighty. I've seen the comments of a Mr. Robert 
Fleming, a dissenting minister, on Revelations, writ- 
ten a hundred years ago, that mention the very year 
of the murder of Louis XVI and all the calamity that 
has come on France and may be expected by other 
nations. Here men's hearts fail them with looking 
for allthe evil that can fall on man. I hear much of 
hiding money, etc. And, In short, few look to any- 
thing they have as their own. The servants and 
lower classes carry themselves very high and are In- 
solent above all description. I heartily wish I was 
with you, living at Ashgrove in peace and retirement, 
but at my time of life and in my state of health I 
dare not think of crossing the Atlantic, for I have 
been very poorly the last twelve months : my old com- 
plaint as I advance In life Is worse and worse, as may 
be expected." 

On a July morning In the summer of 1798, at 
Bath, in the library of her mansion in Lansdowne 
Crescent, standing at her writing cabinet might 
have been seen a gray-haired gentlewoman verg- 
ing on three score and ten, still bearing traces of 
that rare beauty which some women lose only 
with life. Her fine aristocratic features exhibited 
signs of some unusual excitement as her eyes fell 
upon the superscription of a letter just received. 
It bore a foreign post-mark and the wax Impres- 
sion of the writer's crest, but it needed not those 
superfluous marks to solve conjecture. Though 

many years had fled since he had penned her 
name, she knew its author at a glance. Was it 
age or was it emotion that trembled in those fin- 
gers as she sank into her chair, paused some mo- 
ments, then broke the seal and read : 

"Mt. Vernon, 

1 6 May, 1798. 
My dear Madam: 

Five and twenty years have nearly passed away 
since I have considered myself as the permanent resi- 
dent at this place, or have been in a situation to in- 
dulge myself in a familiar intercourse with my 
friends by letter or otherwise. During this period 
so many important events have occurred and such 
changes in men and things have taken place as the 
compass of a letter would give you but an inadequate 
idea of. None of which events, hoivever, nor all of 
them together, have been able to eradicate from my 
mind the recollection of those happy moments, the 
happiest in my life, which I have enjoyed in your 
company. -u-^yX. Sj- :■" ''• U'^ U^,v<^f!;«A \^ f^- ->. 7'-65 

Worn out in a manner by the toils of my past 
labour, I am again seated under my vine sand fig tree, 
and I wish I could add that there were none to make 
us afraid; but those whom we have been accustomed 
to call our good friends and allies, are endeavouring 
if not to make us afraid, yet to despoil us of our 
property, and are provoking us to acts of self defence 
which may lead to war. What will be the result of 
such measures, time, that faithful expositor of all 


things, must disclose. My wish is to spend the re- 
mainder of my days, which cannot be many, in rural 
amusements, free from the cares from which public 
responsibility is never exempt. Before the war, and 
even while it existed, although I was eight years from 
home at one stretch (except the en passant visits 
made to it on my marches to and from the siege of 
Yorktown), I made considerable additions to my 
dwelling houses and alterations in my offices and gar- 
dens; but the dilapidation occasioned by time and 
those neglects which are co-extensive with the ab- 
sence of proprietors, have occupied as much of my 
time within the last twelve months in repairing them, 
as at any former period in the same space: and it is 
a matter of sore regret, when I cast my eyes towards 
Belvoir, which I often do, to reflect, the former in- 
habitants of it with whom we lived in such harmony 
and friendship no longer reside there and that the 
ruins can only be viewed as the memento of former 
pleasures. Permit me to add that I have wondered 
often, your nearest relations being in this country, 
that you should not prefer spending the evening of 
your life among them, rather than close the sub- 
lunary scene in a foreign country, numerous as your 
acquaintances may be and sincere as the friendships 
you may have formed. . . .^^ 

The proud, lonely old woman may well have 
laid down this letter with her eyes suffused, think- 

29 The complete letter will be found in Writings of Wash- 
iriffton. Ford ed., XIII, 497. 

ing of the disturbing fire which had inflamed 
earlier letters from this same man, in contrast 
with the cool but steady friendship of this the 
last; thinking of the descending scale of her own 
life and the steadily ascending scale of his: but 
it is clear that she never winced, that she was 
never sorry for herself. Her great mischance in 
life was not that she did not share Washington's 
fortunes, but that she never knew the peace 
which passeth all understanding. 





What kind of life Sally Gary had led as a girl 
at Ceelys may be illustrated by the record of that 
of her niece and namesake on her father's plan- 
tation of Towlston in Fairfax County, a genera- 
tion later. 

Sally, daughter of Bryan Fairfax and Eliza- 
beth Cary (see note 17), was born in 1760 and 
died before she was eighteen. She had the spirit 
which was the charm of her aunt. Her childish 
diary of life at Towlston in January, 1772 (when 
she was twelve years old), which has survived 
among family papers, is the only record of a 
short career, but it leaves her "reader" in no un- 
certainty as to the kind of little lady she was : 

"On thursday the 16 of decern mama made 6 mince 
pyes and 7 custards 12 tarts i chicking pye and 4 pud- 
ings for the ball." 

"miss molly payn and mr perce baillls and mr Wil- 
liam payn and mr william Sandford, mr mody and 
miss Jenny, a man who lives at Colchester Mr hurst, 
Mrs. hurst's husband, young harry gunnell son of old 


ftiffTl?fi?l^ ^g ^^^ ^^^^ ^^!ginS ^tf^?rrT^| | l|i!iirirriiirTttr^ i' '" ^^^^ ^^ ■_ 

wllliam gunnell John seal from the little falls. Mr 
Watts and mr hunter [here some of the names are 
illegible] these are all the gentlemin and ladies that 
were at the ball. Mrs Gunnell brought her sucking 
child with her." . . . 

"on Satterday the 28th of december I won 10 shil- 
lings of Mr. William payn at Chex."'"' 

"On monday night when papa was at mount ver- 
non my aunt fairfax sent my muslin apron to him 
which she gave me when I was at belvoir. but I did 
not bring it home with me so she made miss polly 
work it for me and sent it to m. vernon for p. to bring 
to me which he did and in it she sent me a note and a 
litter, the apron is worked mighty pritty — peter gullet 
and nicholas money all came here for money." 

"on thursday the 2nd of jan margerry went to 
washing and brought all the things in ready done on 
thursday the 9th of the same mounth I think she was 
a great while about them a wole week if you will be- 
leive me reader." 

"On friday the 3rd of janna. came jonn vain to 
undertake the building of the henhouse he got no in- 
courgemint so he went away the same way he came." 

3*^ This was the William Payne who, according to the local 
tradition at Alexandria (see Brockett, The Lodge of Washing- 
ton, Alexandria, 1876, p. 102), had the honor of knocking down 
George Washington with a sudden lusty buffet delivered at the 
hustings in the heat of an election debate in 1754. The story is 
that Washington acknowledged himself to be in the wrong, 
whereupon the parties "affriended," as old Spenser says. Payne 
was subsequently a colonel in the Continental army and a steady 
supporter of Washington, finally serving as one of the pall- 
bearers at his funeral. 


"On friday the 3 of jan came here granny carty 
she cut me out a short-gown, and stayed all night." 

"on friday the 3 of jannuary papa went to Collo. 
Washington's and came home again the next Wednes- 
day which was the 8." 

"On friday the 3 of jan that vile man adam at 
night kild a poor cat of rage because she eat a bit of 
meat out of his hand and scrached it. o vile wreach 
of new negrows if he was mine I would cut him to 
pieces a son of a gun a nice negrow he shoud be kild 
himself by rites. "^^ 

"on monday the 6th of jannuary which was old C 
mass day in the afternoon it set to snowing and 
snowed till the snow was above ancle-deep and then it 
held up but the snow lasted upon the ground at least 
a Week and then came another snow as deep. 

"on friday the 10 of jannuary in the morning came 
here danny genens overseer for taff and taff went 
away accordingly poor taff I pitty him indeed reader." 

31 The vigor of this denunciation has, of course, reminded 
Sally's "reader" of another spirited young diarist. Dr. John 
Brown's Marjorie Fleming: "A young turkie of 2 or 3 months 
old, would you believe it, the father broke its leg and he killed 
another! I think he ought to be transported or hanged." Nor 
was this the only unnatural member of a degenerate family. 
In deathless verse Marjorie limns the self-restraint of the 
turkey mother facing the tragedy: 

"But she was more than usual calm, 
She did not give a single dam." 
As a German scholar might say: "How Sophoclean! How 
much more truly Greek is this exhibition of o-oxftpoavvr] than 
Euripides' crude realism picturing Medea, in similar plight, 
ranting in a dragon chariot!" 


"on friday the lo th of jan margery mended my 
quilt very good." 

"On Sater day the i ith of Jan papa measured me 
on the right hand of the door as you come out of the 

"on sater day the 1 1 th of jan nuary I made me a 
card box to keep my neck lass in and I put them in. 

32 "The Chamber! This does not present a very clear image, 
perhaps, except to the understanding of a dyed-in-the-wool Vir- 
ginian. Thus was always designated the bedroom of the mis- 
tress in an old-time Virginia household. This room, generally 
situated upon the ground floor, was broad, spacious, motherly, 
exquisitely neat. Here was the great mahogany bed shrouded 
in spotless dimity, with the flight of steps leading up to it; here 
the huge fireplace blazing welcome, and the brass andirons and 
split basket of pine knots upon the hearth-side. Before the fire 
stood the chintz-clad easy-chair, behind which cowered little 
impish shapes of black children brought up for daily training in 
the useful arts. Here sat the mistress for a stated period every 
day; here she held levees of her people, who came in from the 
quarter, one by one, dropping curtseys and courtly bows, offer- 
ing for sale their eggs and butter, detailing grievances, each 
with a story to tell of some bodily ailment or 'misery,' without 
which no colored person of good standing in those days was ever 
found. A corner cupboard, situated somewhere near the ceiling, 
behind the chimney-piece, generally contained a stock of good 
old-fashioned medicines: castor oil that was castor oil, odorifer- 
ous rhubarb, calomel by the pound — for the applicants were 
very rigid in exacting the proper degree of strength to their 
doses. In the chamber — pronounced, if you please, with the 
broadest of as (chaa/nber) — centered all the hundred, little 
family cares and interests; and, except at times when the mys- 
teries of birth and death closed the portals, it was apt to be the 
most charming, inviting spot about the mansion. I can picture 
Miss Sally, standing on tiptoe to be measured, and the pencil 
marks that were never rubbed out." C. C. H., in Scribner's 
Magazincj July, 1876. 



"on monday the 13th of jan mama made some tea 
— for a wonder indeed. "^^ 

"A list of my fowls: 7 geece, 2 ganders, 2 turkey 
hens, I turkey cock, 8 ducks, 2 drakes, 6 old hens, 13 
pullets, 3 cocks." 

"on monday the 13th of jannu John went to jenny 
thrifts for some butter and 2 turkeys, and 6 ducks 
and papa sent her word if she would let him have 
them he would discharg all the rest of the debt and 
she sent them to us — and when they came papa gave 
them to me to bred from, 

S. Fairfax." 

"on tuesday the 14th of jan John went to mr 
moodys to bring home the shoes and papa's pistole 
bags which he did and brought papa a pair of new 

"on thursday the i6th of jan there came a woman 
and girl and mama bought 3 old hens from them 
and gave them to me, which reduced her dept she 
ow'd me which was 5 and nine pence to three and 
nine pence which she now owes me and she owes me 

33 It is altogether possible that the tea in the Towlston 
store-room in 1772 had been smuggled, if it was not a long- 
cherished supply. This was the period after the repeal of the 
stamp taxes when the British government sought to maintain 
the principle of imperial taxation by a small tax on tea alone. 
The answer of the colonists, seeking to maintain their prin- 
ciple, took the form of non-importation and non-consumption 
agreements, which were so effective that, to help out the plight 
of the East India Company, the government in 1773 embarked 
on what proved to be the fatal policy of forcing the importation 
of tea into the colonies. 


five teen pence about nancy perrys ribon which she 
never paid. 

S. F-x." 

"on Friday the 17th of jan I mended tommy's shirt 
from head to foot.^^ 

S. F-x." 

"A list of all the fowls on the plantation, viz: 14 
ducks in all, 9 geece in all 3 turkeys in all 25 fowls 
in all of mine and 4 of mamas she bought to eat'''' I 
mean 3 pullets and one cock of hers, there is 3 hens 
with eggs today, jan the i8th." 

>^^ When Thackeray wrote The Virginiaiis he felt it necessary 
to comment upon a similar occupation of Miss Theo Lambert: 
"A hundred years ago young ladies were not afraid either to 
make shirts or name them." Now manners have reverted in 
this respect to eighteenth-century directness, and many a "Sister 
Susie" takes pride in "sewing shirts for soldiers" even in public. 

The "Tommy" was Sally's younger brother (see note 27). 
Bryan f'airfax, writing on January 19, 1767, to his wife, then 
on a visit to her father at Ceelys, says: 

"Sally, too, desires her kind Love & Duty to you. Tommy is now, 
I think, very well. He can say his letters, dance a minuet with his 
sister & sing a song, and I think has a good taste for musick be- 
cause he prefers Ever Smiling Liberty to every other song." 

In the library at the new Belvoir is a copy of Clio and 
Euterpe or British Harmony, a collection of celebrated Songs 
and Cantatas . . . With the Thorough Bass for the Harpsicord 
and Transposition for the German Flute (London, 1762). This 
was the book out of which "Tommy," at the age of six years, 
learned his song, which appears on page 44 of Volume III as 
"a Favourite Song in Judas Maccabeus, Set to Musick bv Mr. 

"5 In the books of account of a Virginia plantation the house- 
mistress appears traditionally somewhat in the guise of a wolf. 
The last Christmas live-stock inventory of the new Belvoir, 
prepared at the steading, contained an artless item: "7 wethers, 
19 turkeys and 14 old hens for Mrs. H. to eat." 


"On friday the 17th of jannuary poor lucy colton 
died of a dropsy 1772 her child is dead also." 

"on Saturday the i8th of jannuary top came to see 

"on Sunday the 19th of Jan. papa went to Court 
and brought mama a comb and me a comb and 
tommy a comb coarse combs they were and he came 
home the 22nd." 

"on thursday the 23rd of jan John jacson came 
here and went a hunting with papa." 

"on friday the 24 of jan about 12 o'clock at night 
margery was brought to bed of a boy 1772."^'' 

"on Sunday the 26th of janna came here Mr. 
Lewis, and dined with us and went away again at 

"On monday the 27 of jan, there fell an amazeing 
snow two foot and a half deep, on tuesday the 28 
of jan I craked a loaf of sugar on tuesday the 28, 
Adam cut down a cherry tree, on friday the 14 of 
febberary the red and white cow calfed and had a 
red and white calf 1772. 

S. Fairfax." 

36 Sally's contempt for a "new negrow" and her affectionate 
interest in the domestic relations of "top" and "dolly" and 
"margery" and other "home-raised" servants is thoroughly 
characteristic of plantation life in Virginia in slave times. 




{An extract from a Gary family AIS.) 

At Monticello, August 28, 1805, Wilson Jefifer- 
son Cary married Virginia Randolph, daughter 
of Colonel Thomas Mann Randolph g. Tucka- 
hoe. Her brother had married Jefferson's 
daughter Martha, and after the death of her 
mother and the remarriage of her father she was 
taken into her brother's household at Edgehill 
and there was educated under Mr. Jefferson's 
supervision. The ceremony was performed by 
the Rev. Matthew Maury, grandfather of Lieu- 
tenant Matthew Fontaine Maury, U. S. N., of 
scientific fame. The young couple proceeded in 
the autumn to Williamsburg and became mem- 
bers of the household of the bridegroom's grand- 
father. Colonel Wilson Miles Cary. The arrival 
of the bride and the bridegroom was the event 
of the season in this quiet old town, where nov- 
elty was sought with an avidity proportioned to 
its infrequent appearance. There must, indeed, 
have been stagnation, since the arrivals from 
England were then chiefly to the port of New 


York and very rarely to the mouth of James 
River. Everybody was invited to dine at Colonel 
Gary's, and in time everybody invited the bride 
and bridegroom. Mrs. Gary, Sen., was rather a 
novice in housekeeping and found great part of 
the pleasure of her life in entertaining dinner 
company. She was Rebecca Dawson, the spin- 
ster daughter of the Rev. Thomas Dawson 
(sometime Gommissary for the Bishop of Lon- 
don and President of William and Mary Col- 
lege), when "the old Golonel" married her in 
1802, i.Jt many years after the death of his first 
wife. A lady of good position and family, but 
being left poor and dependent, she had lived 
many years in the family of Golonel Henry Skip- 
with of Williamsburg, brother of Sir Peyton 
Skipwith, Bart. Few second marriages have 
been happier than this. Mrs. Gary, although not 
a person of strong and cultivated mind, possessed 
moral qualities which atoned for any deficiency: 
her contemporaries attributed to her a strength 
of principle which might have been part of a 
stronger nature. She was high-minded and trust- 
worthy and warm-hearted, and so discreet that 
in the difficult relation she maintained she made 
herself respected by all. Her heart went forth 
to all who belonged to the family, and the great- 
grandchildren never remembered that she was 
not of their blood. In person she was the ex- 
act opposite of her daughter-in-law, Mrs. Jane 


Cary, being small and slight and fond of colors 
in dress; and as the other lady wore black and 
both were "grandmamma," the juveniles desig- 
nated them by their colors, "Black" and "White," 
an inelegant distinction tolerable only for its 
genuine childishness. 

Mrs. Jane Cary, daughter of Dabney Carr 
and Mr. Jefiferson's sister, was the widow of "the 
old Colonel's" dead son and mother of Wilson 
Jeflferson Cary. Since her widowhood she had 
resided in Williamsburg in a comfortable house 
which was part of her dower. She was a person 
of literary tastes, possessed of no accomplish- 
ments (few were in those days) and not much 
personal beauty. She had great good sense and 
vivacity, was an excellent talker in spite of a 
slight hesitation, read everything and seemed 
literally to remember all she read. Her temper 
was admirable, no one ever heard of her being 
excited to say an unkind or discourteous word; 
she was sincere, affectionate, judicious: in short, 
few have lived a long life with more friends and 
more entirely without enmities. In person she 
was tall, five feet ten, and erect, with strong ir- 
regular features, lighted up and almost beauti- 
fied by the intellect that shone out of a pair of 
large dark eyes. Latterly she was very stout, but 
carried herself with a truly majestic dignity. 
During her residence at Richneck, being free 
from care and little interrupted by society, her 


time was spent almost wholly in reading: the 
elder members of the family used to say that it 
was her wont to send what Shakespeare calls a 
"buck basket" for books from the circulating li- 
brary at Williamsburg, which she usually read 
and sent the basket to be replenished in two 
weeks' time. With all this mental activity, Mrs. 
Cary was physically very indolent : while accom- 
plishing this enormous amount of reading she 
reclined on a sofa for many consecutive hours. 
The ladies of her day were exceedingly given to 
this sort of indulgence: but their constitutions 
seemed proof, seemed to endure this violation of 
the laws of health; for more robust, well-con- 
ditioned women are not seen now, when exercise 
is so much the rule of daily life; they had no 
disease but gout, which usually came late in life. 
But to return to the entertaining at Williams- 
burg. The hours were primitive, the feast being 
not a minute later than 2, with a "groaning 
board" and desserts of infinite variety, all of do- 
mestic manufacture. Without the excitement of 
news and new faces every day, we can easily see 
that there must have been a lack of life-blood 
and nervous energy in the constitution of this 
provincial society; still, an element, wanting in 
a large city, must have atoned for this — the cor- 
diality and friendliness, the strong social bond 
existing between people dependent on each other 
for the amenities and charities of daily life. . . . 


The family circle was very pleasant. Mrs. 
Jane Cary lived in the next street; Mrs. Peachy, 
with two young daughters, opposite on the other 
side of the Green; Mrs. Banister and her son 
Monroe were near at hand. "Aunt Ban,""'' as 
she was called everywhere, was very homely, a 
proverb for ugliness. She was totally bald (from 
all accounts she wore no wig) and amused her- 
self and others by humorous allusions to this 
rather personal defect. Her spirit and gaiety 
made her sought by all, especially the younger 
gentry. She was extremely fond of dancing and 
condescended to join in the modern reel, but de- 
lighted more in the stately minuet. (Lady Cov- 
entry's minuet was a favorite; it is to be found 
among some of our old Williamsburg music. 
Lady C, it will be remembered, was a beauty of 
George II's time.) Mrs. Andrews^^ was a per- 
son of graver character. She had suffered much 
and was alone in the world, and probably her 
sad, quiet look was owing to these circumstances. 

^'^ She was Anne Blair, daughter of the Hon. John Blair 
(1687-1771), President of the Colonial Council and sometime 
Governor, ex officio, of Virginia, whose other daughter, Sarah, 
had been "the old Colonel's" first wife and mother of his chil- 
dren. Mrs. Banister was the widow of Colonel John Banister 
(1734-1788) of Battersea near Petersburg, who was con- 
spicuous in the public life of Virginia before, during, and after 
the Revolution. 

•"•^ She was Marj- Blair, niece of Mrs. Banister and of "the 
old Colonel," being the daughter of their brother and brother- 
in-law John Blair (1731-1800), who was a justice of the Su- 
preme Court of the United States. 


Colonel and Mrs, Skipwith were daily guests. 
The lady was profusely patronizing. To a de- 
gree only appreciable by those who knew the 
position referred to, she had made use of "poor 
Becky" ; but, being a person of just disposition, 
she now made amends for the past by paying 
assiduous court to "Mrs. Wilson Miles Gary." 
Probably people only smiled and thought of the 
new manner as part of the dress brought for the 
wedding. Colonel Cary, according to the evi- 
dence, "pshawed" now and then, but his simple- 
hearted wife was convinced that her truest, best 
friend was "Cousin Skipwith" : it was the fashion 
to assume relationships for friendship's sake, and 
a niece and nephew were always "cousin." We 
observe the custom prevailed in Shakespeare's 
day. Yet Mrs. Skipwith was a woman of some 
talent and taste, very quick at repartee and clever 
in society, but very peculiar: the poor lady had 
her domestic trials, and perhaps her obliquities 
were owing to them. She seems to have been 
among the first who began the fashion of collect- 
ing "knickknacks" in a cabinet (Macaulay says 
Mary of Orange introduced the custom in Eng- 
land of collecting curios and odd pieces of 
china). Any elder member of the Carysbrook 
family accustomed to note trifles might recall a 
very pungent sorrow inflicted on a juvenile by 
the abstraction of a many-colored glass bird, 
which was spirited away unfairly for Mrs. Skip- 


with's collection. The child was precocious and 
felt a deep wrong which she never quite forgave. 
Judge and Mrs. St. George Tucker (with 
her beautiful daughter Polly Carter, after- 
wards Mrs. Joseph Carrington Cabell) were in- 
timates of the house. He was a poet and wrote 
some graceful and some witty lines, of which 
it is probable no copy is extant. Days of My 
Youth is one of a sentimental cast. Another 
commemorates an event of the Revolution ; it 
begins thus: 

"The Rebel hills and Rebel dales 
With Rebel echoes sounded." 

This is humorous and rather coarse and broad 
in its allusions to the immoralities of an English 
"Sir William, he, snug as a flea. 

Lay all this while a-snoring. 

Nor dreamed of harm as he lay warm," etc., etc. 

It is called The Battle of the Kegs. 

Judge Tucker was of course of the prominent 
men of Williamsburg; he was then, as in after 
life, subject to deep depressions, alternating with 
starts of boyish vivacity which made him a very 
ridiculous old man, to speak the plain truth; he 
was, besides, fearfully deaf. But if suffering 
under these visitations, he had one blessing to 
compensate, a wife (eldest daughter of Sir Pey- 
ton Skipwith) whose beauty of person, charm of 


manner, and perfect temper made her beloved 
and sought by all. The children even felt the 
spell of her soft voice, her gentle manner, her 
imperturbable suavity: always graceful, always 
lovely, she preserved to the last days of her life 
the transparent delicacy of her skin and the be- 
witching softness of dark eyes which seemed 
never to catch the shadows of age. 

Governor and Mrs. Page were valued friends 
of the family. Bishop Madison was a man of 
taste and learning and high character, although 
a Socinian, and not a good churchman, as he 
often forgot Good Friday. No praise can be 
given to his assistant, Mr. Bracken. Spiritual 
religion must have been at a low ebb in the old 
city, but in other parts of the country people were 
beginning to awaken from the slumbers of for- 
malism. Samuel Davies, who was called "the 
New Light," had been preaching a little before 
this time in a region of Virginia not very remote 
from Williamsburg, and the dry bones were be- 
ginning to be shaken.^'' To return to our subject, 

39 "The old Colonel" was himself a stout and convinced 
churchman, a diligent vestryman, and, after the Revolution, a 
faithful attendant at general conventions of the incorporated 
Episcopal Church: but he had the vision to see clearly that the 
pre-Revolutionary church did not satisfy the evangelical long- 
ings of all the Virginia people. Bishop Meade {Old Churches, 
I, 50) tells an amusing and characteristic anecdote a propos: 

"I had a conversation many years since with Mr. Madison, soon 
after he ceased to be President of the United States. He himself 
took an active part in promoting the act for putting down the estab- 
lishment of the Episcopal Church while his relative was Bishop of 
it and all his family connection attached to it. He mentioned an 


Colonel Gary's daughter Mrs. Ferdinando Fair- 
fax^'* came once a year to see her father, and the 
nephews Wilson Cary Nicholas, Norbourne 
Nicholas, and John Ambler made him occa- 
sional visits, for he was the honored head of a 
family who never omitted to show him respect 
and regard. 

The celebrated William Wirt was then begin- 

anecdote illustrative of the preference of many for it who still 
advocated the repeal of all its peculiar privileges. I give his own 
words: 'At the time when lobby members were sent by some of the 
other denominations to urge upon the legislature the repeal of all 
laws favouring the Episcopal Church, one of them, an elder of a 
church near Hampton, pursued his mission with great fearfulness and 
prudence. Whereupon an old-fashioned Episcopalian gentleman 
of the true Federal politics, with a three-cornered hat, powdered 
hair, long queue and white top-boots, observing him approach very 
cautiously one day as if afraid tho' desirous to speak, rose and en- 
couraged the elder to come forward, saying that he himself was 
already with him, as he was clear for giving all a fair chance — 
there were many roads to heaven, and he was in favour of letting 
every man take his o^vn way; but of one thing he was sure, no 
gentlemati would choose any but the Episcopal — meaning thereby 
none of the country gentry.' " 

In family tradition "the old Colonel" has always been iden- 
tified as the protagonist of this incident. One of his kin, who 
knew him, remarked on hearing that a member of the family 
had become a Presbyterian: "Uncle Cary will turn over in his 
grave!" His real religion is, however, illustrated by the fol- 
lowing codicil to his will : 

"Not to neglect my good nephew the Reverend James Henderson, 
I give him, to put him in stock of what is essential to a clerical 
Christian and gentleman, the Vioo part of a grain of gratitude and 
charity, being more than I am persuaded he at present possesses; 
and I entreat him to render all the profits of the 'Mountain Plains' 
to Mary Andrews, from whose family he derived all his conse- 

Mr. Henderson was not of the Cary blood, but husband of 
Colonel Cary's wife's niece. "Mountain Plains" was a Blair 
estate long in litigation. For Mary Andrews, see ante, note 38. 

40 Ferdinando Fairfax (1769-1820) of Shannon Hill in Jef- 
ferson County, younger son of Bryan Fairfax of Towlston, 


ning a career (afterwards so brilliant and success- 
ful) in the humble preliminary of attendance on 
the county courts, and was frequently in Wil- 
liamsburg. He was a fascinating man, and one 
of his accomplishments was a fine natural voice: 
a Mrs. Eyre of the Eastern Shore was famous 
in duets with him. At dinner he sang, 

"Come, then, rosy Venus, and drop 
From thy myrtle one leaf in my cup," 

holding his glass towards the lady, who, with a 
charming smile, responded by throwing the petal 
of a flower into the glass of wine. 

married his cousin Elizabeth Blair Cary, youngest daughter of 
"the old Colonel." There were in all five intermarriages of the 
Cary and Fairfax names in Virginia during the eighteenth and 
nineteenth centuries, besides others of the Connection. 

The exotic name Ferdinando has been reproduced in the 
Fairfax family in almost every generation since Sir Thomas 
Fairfax (1521-1598) brought it back from the wars in the Low 
Countries and gave it to one of his sons. Colonel and Mrs. 
Washington stood as "gossips" at the christening of this Ferdi- 
nando, who returned the compliment by acting, with his father, 
as one of the Principal Mourners at the funeral of the ex- 
President. His uncle George William Fairfax, being head of 
the family and childless, preferred him to his elder brother 
Thomas, who became ninth Lord Fairfax, and having ofFered in 
1783 to bear the expense of Ferdinando's education at "Prince 
Town College, which my friend Mr. Laurens says is in the 
greatest repute, ... if the State will permit an absentee to do 
so," ultimately left him all his property, thus stirring Sally 
Cary to make provision out of her own considerable estate for 
the elder brother who was her favorite. 

Among other things of this inheritance of Ferdinando Fairfax 
was a portrait of the old Lord Fairfax, of Greenway Court, the 
Proprietor of the Northern Neck, which had hung at the old 


The vocal music, although probably unscien- 
tific, must have been better than the instrumental. 
There were harpsichords and spinnets, "jangled, 
out of tune, and harsh," and a few pianos. Miss 
Polly Carter (Mrs. Tucker's daughter) had one, 
a grand piano; and a sweet piano had been re- 
cently bought for Miss Jane Cary, who had died 
the year before. The musical faculty, so to speak, 
of the place was in a state which made improve- 
ment hopeless. An old French pastry cook 
named Bassener was the music teacher, and to 
judge from the books which were extant forty 
years ago, he might also have been the composer. 
The Battle of Prague was a new and fashion- 
able piece, and the songs in vogue were of the 
softly sentimental kind. But ignorance is bliss: 
those good people took as much pleasure in the 
strumming of their rosy belles as we do in the 
really fine music of the best pianists. 

But to return to Mr. Wirt. It is related that in 
one of those dreary county court rides in company 
with Dabney Carr (brother of Mrs. Jane Cary 
and nephew of Mr. Jeflferson), Mr. Wirt is said 
to have reined up his horse with a question: 

Belvolr. It is a charming picture attributed to Sir Joshua 
Reynolds and so identified by modern experts. Ferdinando 
Fairfax presented it to the Alexandria-Washington Lodge of 
Masons, of which he was a member, and it has since hung in 
their lodge-room at Alexandria surrounded by relics of Wash- 
ington. A copy made in 1916 by the gracious permission of the 
Lodge now hangs at the new Belvoir. Another copy is in the 
courtroom at Fairfax Court House. 


'What money have you?" The answer and an 
inspection of his own purse brought the con- 
viction that between them they had not enough 
to pay tavern fare, and a return home would be, 
therefore, advisable. A pause ensued, broken by 
Mr, Wirt, who said: "Come on, we'll trust to 
luck; faint heart wins nothing; have patience; 
1 shall live to be Attorney General, and you'll be 
one of the Judges of the Supreme Court." Mr. 
Wirt fulfilled his own prophecy and Dabney 
Carr was Judge of the Court of Appeals in Rich- 
mond. The latter was a valued friend of the 
Cary family twenty years later. 

While enumerating the notables of Williams- 
burg, Mrs. Paradise must not be forgotten.""^ 
Her husband had been appointed by Mr. Jeffer- 
son to a consulate abroad. At this period she 
was a widow, rather foreign, a person of some 
taste; fascinating, but very peculiar. She had a 
fancy to keep in a very neat parlor a very neat 
coach; and being fond of dress, she was apt to 
borrow for inspection any new article of dress 
which rumor announced the arrival of. It began 

■11 Mrs. Paradise was Lucy Ludwell, daughter of Hon. Philip 
Ludwell (1716-1767) of Greenspring. Her husband, John 
Paradise (i 743-1 795), born at Salonica of an English father 
and a Greek mother, was celebrated as a linguist and a member 
of Dr. Johnson's circle in London, and is to be met with in all 
the contemporary English memoirs. In the account of him in 
the Dictionary of National Biography there are collected some 
highly entertaining particulars of his wife, which seem to con- 
firm the character given to her in the text. 

to be whispered about that things lent in this way 
were not promptly returned, and, above all, not 
returned in their original purity and freshness. 
It was perilous to lend and equally perilous to 
refuse; for in this community the most self-sac- 
rificing courtesy and compliance was the law, 
obedience to which was put to a very severe test 
by Mrs. Paradise. A stylish lady received from 
foreign parts a very handsome bonnet. She wore 
it in anxious triumph, and in a few days the 
inevitable message came from Mrs. P. The tur- 
baned damsel gave "Missis' compliments, and 
she would take it very kind if that there new 
bonnet war lent her." The bonnet was sent, and 
in the evening and for some successive evenings 
it was sent for and the answer returned: "Missis 
hasn't quite done with it." At last the bonnet 
was returned utterly dilapidated, and the woman 
confessed not only that "Missis" had worn it all 
day, but that she had worn it all night; in point 
of fact, had made a night-cap of it! On every 
other subject her mind was clear and her ways 
like other people's, except in the idiosyncrasy of 
wearing clothes that were not her own. Mrs. 
Paradise was not, however, the only exotic Wil- 
liamsburg had known. One of our old aunts 
remembered that on one occasion in Williams- 
burg some wild youths had worried the pet lap- 
dog of a Lady Betty Somebody, who was very 
wrathful, and at a distinguished tea-table, when 
the matter came up for discussion, my lady de- 


clared that "a person who could torment a harm- 
less brute must have a dommed black heart — as 
black as heel!" 

Those old days at Williamsburg, with the 
close intimacies, the community of interests, feel- 
ing, opinion, taste, and other simple habits, 
which apparently made out of high and low one 
family, had a charm for those who shared them. 
In using the phrase "high and low" it is not 
meant that very inferior persons were admitted 
to social equality with the highest class: but, of 
course, there were many who came on sufferance 
and were illiterate and vulgar. Mrs. Wilson 
Jefferson Cary, who was a cultivated woman ac- 
customed to the best society on this side of the 
Atlantic, was thought a pedant because she spoke 
pure English, and, for instance, called "aspara- 
gus" as it is spelt, when "sparrow-grass" was the 
local name.^^ There were very few popular 
books, very little reading, and an infinite deal of 
gossip over the cards after the early tea-table, 
which was spread long before sunset. Perhaps 

42 Mrs. Virginia Cary, as she was known in after years, al- 
ways impressed people as the superior person she undoubtedly 
was. She was the author of several published books, the most 
widely known being Letters on Female Character : addressed to 
a Young Lady on the Death of her Mother (Richmond, 1828), 
which went through two editions. One of her daughters-in-law, 
a lady of equally strong character but blessed with a refreshing 
sense of humor, who was never quite able to submit to Mrs. 
Virginia Gary's rule, used to tell with relish in later years how 
she had once treated the virtuous and didactic Letters as Becky 
Sharp had treated Johnson's "Dixonary" on a celebrated oc- 


people did not think more of good eating then 
than now, but they talked of it more, for topics 
were scarce. The writer remembers some per- 
sons who were of the old set, whose whole con- 
versation turned upon this and matters of the 
same range of thought, if thought it may be 
called, which allies man so closely with the lower 
order of animals,^'^ but this was the lowest 
stratum of society, although two of the persons 
referred to were an M. C. from the Williams- 
burg district and his wife. It would be wrong to 
name them, although, as there were no descend- 
ants, no harm could be done: but they were 
friends of our grandfather and we will tread 
lightly on their ashes. 

Those who have seen the old village of Wil- 
liamsburg, with its white houses set in large 
gardens, its level turfy environs, all embowered 
and green, as travellers describe Damascus, may 
easily picture to themselves the quiet humdrum 
and yet the kindly social life of this early time, 
with the prestige of its renown as the seat of 
Colonial government, its old church built of im- 
ported brick, its Capitol and its Aristocracy. 

43 The piquant pen of the writer was not altogether exempt 
from her own reproach in this respect; e.g., after the manner 
of the diaskeuast of the Odyssey, in discussing the weather in 
Virginia at the end of the eighteenth century, she records sol- 
emnly: "In the cold winter of '95 the wine was constantly 
frozen in the bottle, the very cheese cakes and jellies were stiff 
frozen in the pantries." 





Colonel Wilson Gary of Ceelys described 
himself on the title-pages of several of his books 
as "G. & M. 1719, Trin. Coll. Cant. 1722" (he is 
enrolled on the Trinity books as ''de Virginia in 
India Occidentali'l) ^ indicating his terms of 
study at William and Mary College and subse- 
quently at Trinity College, Cambridge. This ex- 
perience at Cambridge^^ undoubtedly awakened 

■1^ Wilson Gary's terms at Trinitj^ College, Cambridge, fell in 
the midst of the celebrated Richard Bentley's stormy master- 
ship of that college, the fame of which has been trumpeted 
beyond the boundaries of scholarship by the rhetoric of De Quin- 
cey and Macaulay. This fact enables us to visualize the en- 
vironment of the young Virginian at college, although none of 
his home letters has survived. We have also a more definite 
illustration. A sympathetic son of Trinity, Sir Richard Jebb, has 
sketched into his life of Bentley a graphic picture of the under- 
graduate life of the time: 

"The most distinctive among the older buildings of the University 
had long been such as we now see them; already for nearly two 
centuries the chapel of King's College had been standing in the 
completeness of its majestic beauty; the charm of the past could 
already be felt in the quadrangles and cloisters of many an ancient 
house, in pleasant shades and smooth lawns by the quiet river, in 
gardens with margins of bright flowers bordering time-stained 
walls, over which the sound of bells from old towers came like an 
echo of the middle age, in all the haunts which tradition linked 
with domestic memories of cherished names. It was only the en- 
vironment of the University that was decidedly unlike the present. 
In the narrow streets of the little town, where feeble oil-lamps 
flickered at night, the projecting upper stories of the houses on either 


in him the taste for good literature which is evi- 
dent throughout his life in his importation to 
Virginia of the current English books recom- 
mended by the Gentlenian's Magazine, for 
which he was a steady subscriber. In this way 
he accumulated a considerable library which 
was supplemented by the books he had inherited 

side approached each other so nearly overhead as partly to supply 
the place of umbrellas. The few shops that existed were chiefly 
open booths, with the goods displayed on a board which also served 
as a shutter to close the front. That great wilderness of peat-moss 
which once stretched from Cambridge to the Wash had not yet been 
drained with the thoroughness which has since reclaimed two thou- 
sand square miles of the best corn-land in England; tracts of fen 
still touched the outskirts of the town; snipe and marsh-fowl were 
plentiful in the present suburbs. To the south and southeast the 
coimtry was unenclosed, as it remained, in great measure, down to 
the beginning of this century. A horseman might ride for miles 
without seeing a fence. 

"The broadest difference between the University life of Bentley's 
time and of our own might perhaps be roughly described by saying 
that, for the older men, it had more resemblance, both in its rigours 
and in its laxities, to the life of a monastery, and, for the younger 
men, to the life of a school. The College day began with morning 
chapel, usually at six. Breakfast was not a regular meal, but, from 
about 1700, it was often taken at a coffee-house where the London 
newspapers could be read. Morning lectures began at seven or 
eight in the College hall. Tables were set apart for different sub- 
jects. At 'the logick table' one lecturer is expounding Duncan's 
treatise, while another, at 'the ethick table,' is interpreting Puffen- 
dorf on the Duty of a Man and a Citizen; classics and mathematics 
engage other groups. The usual College dinner-hour, which had 
long been 11 a.m., had advanced before 1720 to noon. The after- 
noon disputations in the Schools often drew large audiences to hear 
'respondent' and 'opponent' discuss such themes as 'Natural Phi- 
losophy does not tend to atheism,' or 'Matter cannot think.' Evening 
chapel was usually at five; a slight supper was provided in hall at 
seven or eight; and at eight in winter, or nine in summer, the 
College gates were locked. All students lodged within College 
walls. Some tutors held evening lectures in their rooms. Discipline 
was stern. The birch-rod which was still hung up at the butteries 
typified a power in the College dean similar to that which the 
fasces announced in the Roman Consul; and far on in the seven- 
teenth century it was sometimes found to be more than an austere 
symbol, when a youth showed himself, as Anthony Wood has it, 
'too forward, pragmatic, and conceited.' Boating, in the athletic 
sense, was hardly known until about 1820, and the first record of 


from his father, sometime Rector of William 
and Mary, and from his father-in-law. Colonel 
John Pate of Poropotank. It was in the atmo- 
sphere of this library that Sally Cary and her 
sisters grew up. It appears from their subse- 
quent correspondence that they acquired an ap- 
petite for sound literature, as Captain Cary 
asserts. It does not appear, however, that their 
brother, Wilson Miles Cary, "the old Colonel," 
had any such appetite, or spent much time in the 
library he inherited from his father. He did not 
elect to follow his father's example and go to 

cricket in its present form is said to be the match of Kent against 
England in 1746; but the undergraduates of Bentley's day played 
tennis, racquets, and bowls; they rang peals on church-bells; they 
gave concerts; nay, we hear that the votaries 'of Handel and 
Corelli' (the Italian violinist) were not less earnest than those of 
Newton and Locke. In Bentley's Cambridge the sense of a cor- 
porate life was strengthened by continuous residence. Many Fel- 
lows of Colleges, and some undergraduates, never left the 
University from one year's end to another. An excursion to the 
Bath or to Epsom Wells was the equivalent of a modern vacation- 
tour. No reading-party had yet penetrated to the Lakes or the 
Highlands. No summer fetes yet brought an influx of guests; the 
nearest approach to anything of the kind was the annual Stur- 
bridge Fair in September, held in fields near the Cam, just outside 
the town. The seclusion of the University world is curiously illus- 
trated by the humorous speeches which old custom allowed on cer- 
tain public occasions. The sallies of the academic satirist were to 
the Cambridge of that period very much what the Old Comedy was 
for the Athens of Aristophanes. The citizens of a compact common- 
wealth could be sufficiently entertained by lively criticism of domes- 
tic affairs, or by pointed allusions to the conduct of familiar persons. 
"In relation to the studies of Cambridge the moment of Bentley's 
arrival was singularly opportune. The theories of Descartes had 
just been exploded by that Newtonian philosophy which Bentley's 
Boyle Lectures had first popularised; in alliance with Newton's 
principles, a mathematical school was growing; and other sciences 
also were beginning to flourish. Between 1702 and 1727 the Uni- 
versity was provided with chairs of Astronomy, Anatomy, Geology 
and Botany; while the academic study of Medicine was also placed 
on a better footing. George I. founded the chair of Modern His- 
tory in 1724." 


England to complement his Colonial education, 
as he might so well have done before 1750; and 
although a few books of his purchase survive, 
with his signature on the title-page after the 
manner of his father, he was certainly not what 
is called "a great reader." He took his part in 
public affairs, being a Burgess from Elizabeth 
City County and Warwick at intervals from 
1759 fo 1795, Colonel and County Lieutenant 
1762-1766, a member of the Virginia Conven- 
tion of 1776 (see Grigsby's Virginia Conven- 
tion)^ Naval Officer of the Lower James 1760- 
1776 (when, from political scruples, he volun- 
tarily resigned an office worth £1,000 per an- 
num). Visitor of the College of William and 
Mary in 1800, and for most of the years of his 
long life presiding magistrate of the County 
Court of Elizabeth City. Such were the offices 
which, held from father to son during the long 
course of five generations, gave the Carys their 
consequence in the Colony: the badge of a rank 
founded originally on the individual energy of 
the first two Miles Carys, both stirring men, and 
backed up by prudent marriages and the posses- 
sion of land, as has ever been the case in the mak- 
ing of an aristocracy. These public duties spelled 
public trust and the obligation which inheres to 
honor, but they did not involve laborious routine 
or rigorously protracted effort. Plantation work 
on the other hand was exclusively in the hands of 


plenipotentiary overseers. It may be fairly said 
then that "the old Colonel's" ordinary daily life 
was without occupation. Like most country gen- 
tlemen in this plight, he kept a faithful journal. 
Judged by the vigor of his animadversions upon 
human character, revealed in the twenty-six spicy 
codicils to his will, and considering his intimate 
contact with all the Revolutionary worthies in 
Virginia, this journal should have proved to a 
later generation to be a vital picture of the criti- 
cal period of American history, but alas! it turns 
out to be a jejune essay in meteorology. The 
leisure which might have been devoted to his- 
torical or other studies in the Ceelys library was 
consumed in diligent and minute observations 
of the weather P^ 

"The old Colonel's" son, Wilson Cary of 
Richneck, as he is known in the family records, 
gave promise of literary tastes as well as a strong 
intellectual force, but he died too young to have 
any important influence upon his grandfather's 
library: though it does appear that he took an 
interest in it, for he removed the books from his 
father's house at Ceelys to his great-grand- 
father's estate known as Richneck, where he 
lived, and during this period the Richneck book- 
plate again makes its appearance in a number of 
the volumes. 

45 This interest yields a flash of compact humor. He begins 
a letter to his son: "My dear Wilson: After a long silence and 
a hard frost, I have received yours," etc. 


Like any other organic thing, a library which 
ceases to grow is beginning to decay. It is prob- 
able that from the day of the death of Wilson 
Cary of Richneck in 1793 the Ceelys library 
steadily and progressively diminished in size. 
Returned once more to Ceelys or divided be- 
tween that house and the town house in Wil- 
liamsburg, the library no longer had a master. 
Books borrowed by friends or broken by the 
carelessness of servants are seldom returned in- 
tact to their shelves unless the owner has a strong 
interest in them. "The old Colonel" was spon- 
taneously generous: the present Editor has seen 
representatives of the Ceelys library bearing his 
ex dono in at least one old Virginia house of 
another family and doubtless there are others. 
By these common methods of reduction the 
Ceelys library grew less from year to year. It 
had other interesting vicissitudes. During the 
war of 1 8 12 all the Cary family papers, plate, 
portraits, the more valuable china, etc., were re- 
moved from Ceelys and Williamsburg to the 
up-country plantation house at Carysbrook in 
Fluvanna, to save them from possible capture or 
destruction by the British. With them went the 
Ceelys library also. There it was when on No- 
vember 26, 1826, the house at Carysbrook was 
destroyed by fire. The following graphic de- 
scription of that event has survived : 


"We returned from the mountains the last week 
of October expecting to pass a quiet winter at home. 
My room was over my mother's and here one day 
I sat absorbed in a book, when her voice rang in a 
startling peal from the stairfoot. I opened the door 
and she reiterated, 'The house is on fire !' 'What 
house?' I asked in bewilderment. 'This house! 
Rouse yourself and save what you can !' I ran down 
the stairs and out on the rear lawn: the smoke was 
issuing from a point in the roof, where the two 
gables of the odd old structure came together with- 
out exactly joining. The lawn was thronged with 
colored people who were rushing frantically about, 
there being as yet no authoritative person to direct 
them. I darted back up stairs into the room nearest 
mine where a guest lodged, whose child was attended 
by a little negro girl. At a glance the cause of the 
fire was revealed and the hopelessness of extinguish- 
ing it: the fender had been removed, a brand had 
rolled out on the floor, which was burned to coal in 
a space of several square feet, while the flames had 
darted across to the old fashioned dormer windows 
and thence had traversed over two apartments wrap- 
ping the roof by this time in a sheet of flame. I 
threw on two buckets of water, all that was at hand, 
and then went to a bureau, the contents of which I 
put into the skirt of my dress and gathering it up 
soon lodged the articles in a far corner of the lawn. 
... I then went down to the front lawn where our 
good manager was now hard at work, his voice ring- 
ing above the din, controlling and organizing the 
hitherto frantic efforts of the colored people, some 


forty of whom had come almost instantly to the spot. 
No water was at hand, the river was within two 
hundred feet, but there were no buckets or apparatus 
of any kind: it was utterly futile to attempt to save 
the house which was enveloped in one blaze of fire 
in ten minutes after the first wreath of smoke became 
visible; and yet amid the suffocation of smoke and 
the heat of flames that crackled and roared as they 
were urged on by the sharp November wind, these 
faithful creatures went on undaunted in the effort to 
save everything. One man remained in my bedroom 
until the danger from the burning roof became immi- 
nent and the air was rent by cries of 'Save yourself, 
the roof will fall!' Another mounted a ladder with 
the purpose of cutting away the burning rafters, a 
purpose from which he was only deterred by the 
voice they were accustomed under all circumstances 
to obey. Under this organized control they suc- 
ceeded in rescuing the principal part of the contents 
of the house, including china, glass, etc., many of the 
books and some of the family portraits. . . . We 
were all taken to my Uncle's neighboring house^^ 
(then closed in the absence of the family) and there 
the kindness and forethought of our servants ar- 
ranged every detail of comfort. The minutest article 
had been remembered : the cook carried over the river 

46 "The old Colonel," writing on March 28, 1787, to Thomas 
Jefferson, then in France, reports upon "two fine boys with red 
heads, Wilson Jefferson Cary and Miles Cary," the grandsons 
of the one and the grandnephews of the other. This Miles Cary 
was the uncle to whose house, "Oak Hill," the Carysbrook 
family removed after the fire. His grandson, Colonel Wilson 
Miles Cary of Richmond, and his sons are now (1916) the 
worthy representatives of the Ceelys Carys in Virginia. 


even the dinner which had been prepared in vain. 
... At that time no one thought of the food those 
hungry flames had found, the loss of which has since 
been lamented. Laid away in boxes and defaced by 
mildew were stores of old letters, books and family 
archives which had been left in an oubliette in the 

The books so preserved, constituting a part of 
the original Ceelys library, are still extant. Cap- 
tain Cary tells how, in his childhood, they ar- 
rived at his father's house at Haystack in Balti- 
more County, Maryland, and records his excited 
interest in unpacking the cases and setting the 
books up again on shelves, adding: "I have thus 
always constituted myself their curator from my 
earliest recollections." He had the books rebound 
and repaired. The present Editor recalls how the 
Captain would take them down from his library 
shelves and refer to them lovingly and respect- 
fully as authority for some obscure point of eigh- 
teenth-century history then a subject of high 
debate between us. They are now once more en- 
tombed in packing-cases, in a storage warehouse, 
but being good books and experienced in the 
ways of mortal men, they are patiently awaiting 
another resurrection. 

As an evidence of the intellectual concerns of 
men of education in eighteenth-century Virginia, 
the surviving remnants of the Ceelys library have 
a certain intrinsic interest; and as these were the 



books on which Sally Cary was brought up, it is 
deemed not inappropriate to preserve here the 
appended list. It will be noted that the Ceelys 
library today consists of sound editions (some of 
them editiones principes) of ninety-nine stand- 
ard works, mostly published during the eigh- 
teenth century and embracing, as the diverse 
subjects of the interests of a Virginia household, 
agriculture, botany, hygiene, travel, poetry, his- 
tory, biography, law. Church of England divin- 
ity, antiquities, the fine arts, philosophy both 
intellectual and political and of a distinctly lib- 
eral tendency, literary essays and criticism, 
romance, the art of war, and finally one of the 
earliest editions of Edmond Hoyle's Treatise on 
the Game of JVhist. Books on field sports are 
curiously lacking; this may be characteristic, but 
we must account for other gaps, such as the great 
names which are at the foundation of all English 
education, Shakespeare and Milton, not to speak 
of the novelists of the age, Defoe, Richardson, 
Fielding, Smollett, Sterne, Goldsmith, by the 
gradual process of depredation to which allusion 
has been made, for these w^ould be the books in 
most frequent demand. This conjecture is borne 
out by the following provision in Colonel Wilson 
Cary's will, dated October lo, 1772: "I desire 
my Executors will send to England for the fol- 
lowing Books, all lettered and bound in calf, 
viz: The Spectators, Pamela, Clarissa and Sir 


mijiHmmiimilllin aiUJ^ 

Charles Grandison, which said books I give to 
my granddaughter Sarah Cary."^' 


Sharrock: History of Vegetables. 1672. i vol. Inscribed: 
Miles Gary. Richneck book-plate. 

Robert Sharrock (1630-1684), Archdeacon of Westminster, was, 
says Wood {Atlienae Oxon.), "accounted learned in divinity, 
in the civil and common law, and very knowing in vegetables 
and in all pertaining thereto." This book, which was pub- 
lished in 1660, is one of the earliest English books on botany 
as distinguished from the herbals. The copy is of the third 

Bishop Burnet: Letters of Travel. 1686. 2 vols. In- 
scribed: Miles Gary. Richneck book-plate. 

A contemporary edition of a book of enduring charm and en- 
tertainment, even though today English-speaking people are 
not as vitally interested in "exposures" of the Roman Church 
as they were when Bishop Burnet wrote. 

Oldham: Poems and Translations. 1686. i vol. Inscribed: 
Wilson Gary, 1726. 

John Oldham (1653-1683) is principally remembered for his 
Satire against Virtue, which was thought daring and rather 
agreeably wicked when published, though it is commonplace 
enough today. As a poet he had merit. Pope was certainly 
under literary obligation to him, as Dryden was to Edward 

An Historical Account of the Memorable Actions of the 
Most Glorious Monarch William HI. i68g. 1 vol. In- 
scribed: Tho. Milner-Miles Gary. 

A contemporary glorification of the establishment in England 
of Macaulay's "Protestant Hero." 

'^'^ This Sally Gary was "the old Coloners" first child. Born 
in 1762 and reputed a girl of rare beauty and parts, she married 
at sixteen Captain Thomas Nelson of Yorktown, second son of 
the Secretary, and died in childbed a year later, 

"A lovely being scarcely formed or moulded, 
A rose with all its sweetest leaves yet folded." 


■i |^ i " < Vi ^pt^feig 

Poetical Miscellanies. 1693. i vol. Inscribed: John Pate. 

Hale: Pleas of the Crown. 1694. l vol. Inscribed: Miles 

Sir Matthew Hale (1609-1676) should not, but perhaps does, 
derive his most enduring fame from this popular because con- 
venient book. First published in 1678 and going through many 
editions, it is now considered to be an inaccurate digest of the 
criminal law. 

Scott: Christian Life, Vol. I, Part II. 1700. Inscribed: 
Wilson Cary. 

Dr. John Scott (1639-1695), Rector of St. Giles-in-the-Fields, 
was accounted a moving preacher. This book of private devo- 
tions went through many editions. 

Enchiridion Clericale, or Clerks Precedents. 1701. I vol. 
Inscribed: Wilson Cary, 

A convenient handbook for the public officer. 

Echard: Ecclesiastical History: Christ to Constantine. 1702. 
I vol., folio. Inscribed: John Pate, 1706. Richneck book- 

Laurence Echard (1670-1730) was the author of several ex- 
tensive histories which were esteemed in their day, including 
one of England and one of Rome (which is also included in 
the Ceelys library). This cop\' belonged to Colonel John Pate 
of Poropotank. 

Poetical Miscellanies. 1703. i vol. Inscribed: John Pate, 
Miles Cary, John Cary, Mary Cary, Philipson. 

Kennett: Romae Antiqiiae Notitia, or the Antiquities of 
Rome. 1704. I vol. Richneck book-plate. 

Basil Kennett (1674-1715) was a miscellaneous writer of 
repute. This solid book, first published in 1696, went through 
many editions. 

de Piles: The Art of Painting, with the Lives and Char- 
acters of above 300 of the most eminent Painters. 1706. I 
vol. Inscribed : Wilson Cary. 

A translation of Roger de Piles' standard work. 

Bayle: Historical and Critical Dictionary. 1 7 10. 4 vols., 

To find a copy of the earliest English translation of Pierre 
Bayle's famous and stimulating but sceptical Dictionnaire his- 


torique ct critique in a Virginia plantation house, side by side 
with so many volumes of conventional divinity, is surely an 
evidence of the enlightenment of its proprietors. 

Hugo Grotius: The Truth of the Christian Religion. 171 1. 
I vol. Richneck book-plate. 

One of the numerous editions of Clement Barksdale's transla- 
tion of Grotius' popular and comfortable argument for the 
divine origin of the religion of Christ. 

Blackmore: Creation, a philosophical poem demonstrating the 
Existence and Providence of God. 1712. i vol. 

Sir Richard Blackmore (d. 1729) was one of Queen Anne's 
physicians and a poet as well. Creation was warmly praised 
by Addison in the Spectator (No. 339), and Dr. Johnson 
prophesied that this poem alone "if he had written nothing else 
would have transmitted him to posterity as one of the first 
favorites of the English Muse." Such are the perils of con- 
temporary literary criticism! 

Dryden : Juvenal. 1713. i vol. Inscribed: Wilson Cary, 
G. & M. 1719, Trin. Coll. Cant. 1 722. 

Echard : Roman History. 1713-20. 5 vols. 

The Lay Monastery. 1714. i vol. Richneck book-plate. 

These uninspired essays, intended as a sequel to the Specta- 
tors, were published by Sir Richard Blackmore, author of 

Miscellaneous Poems. 1714-22. 3 vols. Richneck book- 

Dryden : Eclogues of Virgil. 1716. l vol. Inscribed : Wil- 
son Cary, 17 19. 

Logick, or the Art of Thinking. 171 7. i vol. 

This is John Ozell's translation from Pierre Nicole (1625- 
1695), the Jansenist, who collected the material for Pascal's 
Les Pro'vinciales and is so frequently quoted by Mme. de 
Sevigne. Ozell (d. 1743) was a voluminous writer, who col- 
lided with Pope and had the honor of being gibbeted in the 

Ray: The Wisdom of God Manifested in the Works of the 
Creation. 171 7. i vol. Richneck book-plate. 

John Ray (1627-1705) is justly esteemed the father of scientific 
botany in England by reason especially of his Catalogus 

Plantarum Angliae and other scientific studies. His Creation, 
published in 1691, went through many editions. It was one of 
the early efforts to reconcile what is known, by those who con- 
fuse dogmatic theology with religion, as the conflict of science 
and religion. 

The Bishop of Bangor's Answer, etc. 17 18. i vol. Rich- 
neck book-plate. 

This is one of Bishop Hoadly's big guns in the "Bangorian 
Controversy" which rent the Church of England at the begin- 
ning of the eighteenth century. Hallam says, pathetically, that 
after reading much of the literature produced on both sides, he 
felt unable to state the principle in controversy. Bishop Hoadly 
was backed by the Whigs as a "Low" Churchman on the plat- 
form that "the Gospel of Jesus Christ hath not utterly deprived 
men of the right of self defense." The Virginians who remem- 
bered Governor Berkeley must have read such doctrine with 

^ The Wanderer. 17 18. l vol. Inscribed: Wilson Gary, 
- Trin. Coll. 1722. Fox, "a Virginian." 

A collection of essa\'s, and no relation to Mme. d'Arblay's 
famous novel, which, of course, was much later in date. 

"" The Turkish Spy. 1718. 6 vols., Nos. i, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8. 

This popular book, which was originally written in Italian by 
John Paul Marana, was supposed to be a collection of "Letters 
writ by a Turkish Spy, who lived five and forty years undis- 
covered at Paris." It went through many editions during the 
eighteenth century. 

Bishop Burnet: Abridgment of the History of the Reforma- 
tion of the Church of England. 1719. 3 vols. Richneck 

A standard book today. 

"*■ Don Quixote. 1719. 4 vols. Richneck book-plate. 

"^ CoUey Cibber: Ximena, or the Heroick Daughter. 17 19. i 
vol. Inscribed: Wilson Gary, Trin. Coll. 1722. 

This tragedy, which owes something to Le Cid, was first acted 
at Drury Lane, December 28, 1712, and again in 1718, when it 
is probable that young Wilson Gary was present. 

Rowe: Poetical Works. 1720. i vol. Richneck book- 

Nicholas Rowe (1674-1718) was made Poet Laureate in 1715 
in succession to Nahum Tate. 


Potter: Archaeologia Graeca, or the Antiquities of Greece. 

1720. I vol. Inscribed: Wilson Gary, Trin. Coll. & G. & 
M. 1719-1721. 

John Potter (1674-1747) was successively Bishop of London 
and Archbishop of Canterbury. This excellent book, first pub- 
lished in 1697, went through several editions. As an authority 
it was not displaced until the appearance of Dr. William 
Smith's dictionaries. 

Miscellaneous Poems. 1721. i vol., No. 2. Inscribed: 
Wilson Gary, Trin. Goll. Gant. 1722. 

A New Miscellany of Original Poems ... by Mr. G. 

1 72 1. I vol. Richneck book-plate. 

This was one of the several editions of the collected poems of 
George Granville, Baron Lansdowne (1667-1735). Dr. John- 
son says that Granville "had no ambition above the imitation 
of Waller, of whom he has copied the faults and very little 
more." Despite this Olympian judgment, the present Editor, 
who had never before met "Mr. G.," passed a pleasant hour 
with this book. 

Parnell's Poems. 1721. l vol. Inscribed: Wilson Gary, 
Trin. Goll. 1722. 

This is the first collective edition of Parnell and was published 
by Pope. There is also among these books a copy of another 
edition, that of 1758, so that it may be assumed that Parnell 
was a favorite at Ceelys. Thomas Parnell (1679-1718) owes 
much of the merit of his verse to revision by Pope. 

Burnet: Sacred Theory of the Earth. 1722. i vol. Rich- 
neck book-plate. 

Thomas Burnet (1635-1715), Master of the Charterhouse, pub- 
lished this book originally in Latin, and some years after the 
appearance of the English translation, in 1689, Steele and Addi- 
son both wrote enthusiastic Spectators (Nos. 143 and 146) 
about it. The theory was that the earth was a shell which was 
crushed at the deluge when the waters rushed out, and the 
equator was diverted from its original coincidence with the 
ecliptic. The book went through many editions, largely by 
reason of its stately eloquence. 

Lucan's Pharsalia. 1722. i vol. Richneck book-plate. 
This was Nicholas Rowe's version. 

Locke's Works. 1722. 2 vols., Nos. 2, 3, folio. Richneck 

Here is another palpable evidence of clear thinking at Ceelys 
in Colonel Wilson Cary's day. ^ 


Laws of Virginia (abridgment) to 1720. 1722. i vol. 
Richneck book-plate. 

Gordon: Tacitus. 1728. 2 vols., folio. Inscribed: Wilson 
Gary, 1728. 

This is the first edition of the standard eighteenth-century 
translation. It attempts to reproduce the salt of the original by 
an affected style. Thomas Gordon (d. 1750) was a corpulent 
Scot who made his living with his pen in London. He is sup- 
posed to be the Silenus of Pope's line: 

"Where Tindal dictates, and Silenus snores." 

The Tatler. 1728-40. 4 vols., Nos. i, 2, 4, 5. 

V^oltaire: Life of Charles XIL 1732. i vol. 

The first English edition of one of the most delightful of books 
published in despite of the French censor. Charles XII had 
died in 1718. 

Laws of Virginia, ed. Wm. Parks. 1733. i vol., folio. 

Bishop Burnet's History of his Own Time. 1734. i vol., 
No. 2. Inscribed : Alex^ Hamilton. 

The original edition of a book which has steadily grown in 

value and reputation since its appearance. 

Memoirs of the Due de Villars. 1735. i vol. Inscribed: 
Wilson Gary. 

Memoirs of Turenne. 1735. i vol. Inscribed: Wilson 
Gary, 1740. 

These memoirs of two great soldiers were published imme- 
diately after de Villars' death in 1734. 

Boerhaave: Aphorisins concerning the Knowledge and Gure 
of Diseases. 1735. i vol. Inscribed : yV'ihon CdiXy, i^^o. 

Hermann Boerhaave (1668-1738), Dutch physician and man 
of science, raised the fame of the medical school of his Uni- 
versity of Leyden to the first rank in Europe. Peter the Great 
studied under him. This is the original English translation of 
his famous A phorismi, which was first published in 1709. 

Gongreve's Plays. 1735. i vol. 

Congreve died in 1729 and this was one of the collective edi- 
tions published on the wave of interest due to that event. 


Desfontaines : History of Poland. 1736. i vol. 

This book was published just after the father-in-law of Louis 
XV, Stanislaus Leszczynski, had failed in his attempt to main- 
tain himself as King of Poland and had retired to his petty 
court in Lorraine. It seeks to justify the French policy. 

Memoirs of the Marquis de Feuquieres. 1736. i vol. In- 
scribed: Wilson Gary, 1740. 

This is the contemporary English translation of the celebrated 
Memoires sur la guerre of the French General Antoine Ma- 
nasses de Pas (1648-1711). This book, originally published in 
171 1, was considered by Frederick the Great and the soldiers 
of the eighteenth century as the standard work on the art of 
war as a whole. 

Present State of Great Britain. 1736. i vol. 

A political tract of the days of the waning of Sir Robert Wal- 
pole's power and of a time when the "present" state of Great 
Britain was as uninteresting as ever it has been. 

An Enquiry into the Life and Writings of Homer. 1736. 
I vol. Inscribed : Wilson Gary. 

Published anonymously and exciting a lively discussion at the 
time, this essay seems to have been written by Dr. Thomas 
Blackwell, the younger (1701-1757), Principal of Marischal 
College in Aberdeen, though Gibbon attributes it to Bishop 

The Universal Spectator. 1736. 4 vols. Inscribed: Henry 
Stonecastle of Northumberland. Wilson Gary. 

Chamberlen: Life of Queen Anne, 1738. i vol., folio, 

Paul Chamberlen, the author of this book, was a hack writer 
of no merit. He is of interest, however, as the son of Paul 
Chamberlen, M.D. (1635-1717), and grandson of Peter Cham- 
berlen (d. 1631), the celebrated accoucheurs who attended 
queens and brought princes into the world. They were the 
first to use the short midwifery forceps. 

Memoirs of PoUnitz, 1739. 4 vols. Inscribed: Wilson 
Gary, 1740. 

Karl Ludwig Pollnitz (1692-1775), German adventurer and 
favorite of Frederick the Great, published his Memoires in 
1734, and this is the English translation. They are a lively but 
unreliable picture of various European courts, and were popu- 
lar for their account of the private life of Augustus the Strong, 
Doubtless the book was kept under lock and key at Ceelys. 


The Duke of Ormonde's Letters. 1739. 2 vols. 

"A Collection of original Letters and Papers concerning the 
Affairs of England 1641-1660 found among the Duke of Or- 
monde's Papers." Published by Thomas Carte. 

Adlerfeldt: Military Memoirs of Charles XII, King of 
Sweden. 1740. 3 vols. Inscribed: Wilson Miles Gary. 

Gustavus Adlerfeldt was gentleman of the bedchamber of 
Charles XII and his book was much esteemed for its fidelity. 
Morley says that Napoleon, in the campaign of 1812, coming 
to various places which Voltaire had occasion to describe, 
found his account weak and inaccurate and threw it aside in 
favor of Adlerfeldt. This is the original English edition. 

Ovid : Epistolae cum Versione Latina et Notis Anglicis a 
N. Bailey. 1744. i vol. Richneck book-plate. 

N. Bailey (d. 1742) was the lexicographer whose etymological 
English dictionary was the standard at the beginning of the 
eighteenth century. Dr. Johnson made an interleaved copy the 
foundation of his own dictionary. 

Butler: Hudibras. 1744. 

This is Dr. Grey's edition which is still considered standard. 

King: An Historical Account of the Heathen Gods and 
Heroes. 1745. I vol. Inscribed: Wilson Gary. 

This book, first published in 1710, by Dr. William King (1663- 
1712), was the standard on its subject until superseded by mod- 
ern studies. Dr. King has the honor of being named and 
attacked by Bentley in his famous Dissertation on Phalaris. 

Hoyle: A Short Treatise on the Game of Whist, etc. 1746. 
I vol. 

This is the sixth edition of a famous book which was originally 
published in 1742 and promptly multiplied. By a single essay, 
Edmond Hoyle (1672-1769) made of his name a standard of 
law. Statesmen and judges may well envy such a fame. 

The Universal History. 1747. 18 vols. 

A compilation of industry rather than art, this publication may 
be assigned to the class of Sir Walter Raleigh's "History of 
the World." The complete work ran to sixty-five heavy and 
dull volumes. 

Hill's Arithmetic. 1750. i vol. /n^m*^'^^.- Wilson Gary. 

Such is the power of the name of a successful school-book that 
we have here, under the name of Hill, a late and much revised 


representative of a treatise originally published in 1600 by 
Thomas Hill and then entitled: "The Arte of Vulgar Arith- 
meticke . . . devided into two bookes . . . whereunto is added 
a third Booke. Newly collected, digested and in some parts 
devised by a welwiller to the Mathematicals." 

Laws of Virginia, ed. W. Hunter. 1752. i vol., folio. 

Lord Orrery: Remarks on the Life and Writings of Dr. 
Jonathan Swift. 1752. i vol. Inscribed: Wilson Miles 
Gary, June 11, 1756. 

The original edition of a famous book. 

Hutcheson on Beauty and Vertue. 1753. i vol. Inscribed: 
Wilson Miles Gary. 

The philosopher Francis Hutcheson (1694-1746) published 
originally in 1725 his "Inquiry into the Original of our Ideas 
of Beauty and Vertue, etc." He adopted and developed the 
"moral sense" doctrine of Lord Shaftesbury in contrast to the 
egoistic utilitarianism of his time. 

Bellamy: The Family Preacher. 1754. 2 vols. Inscribed: 
Wilson Gary, Rebecca Gary. 

The Rev. Daniel Bellamy died 1788. This book contains mild 
and pleasant discourses for every Sunday throughout the year. 
It was apparently a favorite with "the old Colonel's" second 

Trenchard and Gordon : The Gato Letters. 1755. 3 vols. 
A collection of vigorous Whig political pamphlets attacking 
the High Church party, by John Trenchard (1662-1723) and 
Thomas Gordon, originally published in 1724 and often re- 

The Guardian. 1756. l vol., No. 2. Inscribed: Gaptain 
Story of 47th Regt. 

The Adventurer. 1756. 4 vols. Inscribed: Wxhon C^Lvy. 

The Rambler. 1756. 4 vols. Inscribed : Wihon C?Lvy. 

Pope's Iliad. 1756. i vol.. No. 2. Book-plate of John 

The original edition was published in 1715. 

The Gonnoisseur, 1757. i vol.. No. 2. Inscribed: Wilson 


The Polite Companion: or Wit a la Mode, adapted to the 
Recreation of all Ranks and Degrees from the Prince to the 
Peasant. 1757. i vol. Inscribed : Wilson Cavy. 

Maxwell: The Practical Husbandman. 1757. i vol. In- 
scribed: Wilson Gary. 

Robert Maxwell (1695-1765) was a leader in the Society of 
Improvers in the Knowledge of Agriculture in Scotland, which 
was established in 1723 and did so much to introduce intensive 
farming practice, for all that Sir Walter Scott sneers at it. 
This is the original edition of one of Maxwell's books of agri- 
cultural essays. 

Mackenzie: The History of Health and the Art of Preserv- 
ing It. 1759. I vol. Inscribed: Wilson Gary. 

James Mackenzie (1680-1761), who was educated as a physi- 
cian both at Edinburgh and Leyden, produced in this volume a 
book of curious learning. He was a friend of Lady Mary 
Wortley Montagu, and this edition owes to her its chief inter- 
est, in an appendix containing "A Short and Clear Account of 
the Commencement, Progress, Utility and Proper Management 
of Inoculating the Small Pox as a valuable branch of Prophy- 

Walpole: Royal and Noble Authours. 1759. 2 vols. 

The original edition of a delightful book which despite its 
merit owes its chief fame perhaps to the author's violation of 
Sneer's injunction in The Critic, "No scandal about Queen 
Elizabeth, I hope?" 

Douglass: A Summary, historical and political, of the first 
Planting, progressive Improvements and present State of the 
British Settlements in North America. 1760. 2 vols. 

This is the first London edition of the Summary of Dr. William 
Douglass (1691-1752), a Scots physician who emigrated to 
Boston and there began the publication of his book. It is 
inaccurate, as might be expected of one whose professional 
energy was devoted to opposition of inoculation for smallpox. 
Douglass was not in sympathy with the political sentiments of 
the colonists, and said so. 

Robertson: History of Scotland. 1761. 2 vols. 

The original edition of this book of enduring value was pub- 
lished in 1759. 

The British Plutarch. 1762. 6 vols., Nos. 3, 4, 8, 10, 11, 
12. Inscribed: Wilson Gary. 

The original edition of Thomas Mortimer's (1730-1810) Eng- 
lish biographical dictionary. 

Fawkes: Complete Family Bible. 1762. i vol., No. 2, folio. 
Inscribed: Wilson Gary. 

In this volume Captain Cary found a valuable but incomplete 
family record in the MSS. of Colonel Wilson Cary and his son 
Colonel Wilson Miles Cary. 

Buchanan: History of Scotland. 1762. 2 vols. 

This is Bond's standard translation of the Rertim Scoticantm 
Historia of the celebrated George Buchanan (i 506-1 582) wlio 
was tutor not only to King James I, but to a much more agree- 
able person, Michel Montaigne. 

Nelson : Companion for the Festivals and Fasts of the Ghurch 
of England. 1762. i vol. 

Dr. Johnson said of this book that it is "a most valuable help 
to devotion, and which has had, I understand, the greatest sale 
of any book ever printed in England, except the Bible." 

Miscellaneous Poems. 1762. i vol. Inscribed: Wilson 

Watts: Logic. 1763. i vol. 

An edition of a treatise originally published in 1725 by Dr. 
Isaac Watts (i 674-1 748), the hymn-writer. 

Duhamel: The Elements of Agriculture. 1764. i vol. In- 
scribed: Wilson Gary. 

This is Philip Miller's translation of the justh' famous Ele- 
ments d'agriculture of Henri Louis Duhamel du Monceau 
(1700-1782), a book of much more than curious interest today. 

The Chinese Spy. 1765. 4 vols., Nos. 2, 3, 5, 6. Inscribed : 
Wilson Gary. 

A translation of the ingenious and entertaining Lettres chi- 
no'ises, discussing contemporary political and social conditions 
in Europe, by the Marquis d'Argens (1704-1771). 

The Reverie. 1767. i vol.. No. 2. Inscribed: Wilson 
Miles Cary. 

Chrysal, or the Adventures of a Guinea. 1767. 3 vols. In- 
scribed: Wilson J. Cary. 

A social satire attributed to the dramatist Charles Johnson 
( 1 679-1748), who figures in the Dunciad. 

Locke on the Human Understanding. 1768. 2 vols. 

The Douglas Trial. 1769. l vol. Inscribed :^\\sonyii\ts 


A contemporary account of the litigation over the Douglas 
estates between the Duke of Hamilton and Archibald Stewart, 
involving the legitimacy of the birth of the latter, which was 
established by the House of Lords. 

Laws of Virginia. 1769. i vol., folio. 

Ray on Truth. 1773. i vol. Inscribed: Wilson Miles 

This essay in theology is probably by Benjamin Ray (1704- 
1760), the antiquary. 

Don Quichotte. 1773. 6 vols. Inscribed: "Thos. Jefferson 

to Virginia Cary." 

This was, probably, a wedding present to Mrs. Wilson Jeffer- 
son Cary. 

Beattie: Essay on Truth, 1773. 

This is the ponderous lucubration which was intended definitely 
to confound the scepticism of Hume. First published in 1770, 
it went through several editions, but is difficult to read today. 
The author was Dr. James Beattie (1735-1803), who is best 
known as the author of "The Minstrel." 

Brydone: A Tour through Sicily and Malta, in a series of 
letters to William Beckford, Esq., of Somerly in Suffolk. 
1773- Inscribed: Elizabeth Skipwith. 

The original edition of a delightful book of travel which has 
often been republished. Patrick Brydone (1736-1818) was 
traveling tutor to a son of William Beckford of Somerly, to 
whom the letters were addressed. While doubtless of the same 
Jamaica family, he is not to be confused with his contemporary 
Alderman Beckford or his son, the author of "Vathek." 

Adam Smith: The Wealth of Nations. 1776. 
The cd'itio princeps. 

Le Sage: The Adventures of Gil Bias. 1790. 4 vols. 
An early edition of Smollett's translation. 

Vattel : The Law of Nations. 1792. 

A translation of the work of the Swiss jurist which was orig- 
inally published in 1758. 

Richard Starke: Office and Authority of a Justice of the 
Peace. 1 794. 

Lava's of Virginia, ed. Davis. 1794. i vol., folio. 

Hinchlif¥e: Sermons. 1796. i vol. Richneck book-plate. 
John Hinchliffe (1731-1794), Bishop of Peterborough, was 
publicly and strongly in favor of conciliation with the Amer- 
ican colonists, saying: "There is no earthly government but in 
a great measure is founded on opinion. When once a whole 
mass of the people think themselves oppressed, it is the wisest 
because it is the only safe way for those who govern to change 
their system." 

In addition there are many pamphlet'numbers 
of the Gentleman's and London magazines and 
the Annual Register, for all of which Colonel 
Wilson Cary subscribed from at least as early as 
1737 (when Samuel Johnson was beginning his 
career in London by contributing to the first- 
named periodical, just as Edmund Burke began 
his career by contributing to the last-named, 
when it was founded in 1758) to his death in 
1772; but they are generally mutilated and show 
evidence of depredation by successive genera- 
tions of children, who have cut out many of the 
engravings. Perhaps in this way these volumes 
served a substantial end of education, for who 
can say what indelible impressions children ob- 

tain in such occupations, terrible as they seem to 
a mere book-lover? Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes 
used to say that children should be allowed to 
play with good books from earliest infancy — that 
something in addition to the bindings is sure to 
rub ofif of them! 


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