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This article is taken from PN Review 236, Volume 43 Number 6, July - August 2017.

From Chetham’s Library
6: A Letter from George Washington
Michael Powell
A letter from American President George Washington to his agent Robert Cary Washington 1760

IMAGE: A letter from American President George Washington to his agent Robert Cary (Washington, 1760). Photograph © Chetham’s Library, 2017.

THE PREVIOUSLY unknown letter of George Washington to his London agent Robert Cary is not especially significant in terms of its content. It is no more than a note made on 28 April 1760 concerning the shipping of tobacco from his farm in Virginia. Whilst similar business letters of Washington can be found at his home in Mount Vernon, it is a rare occurrence for an uncollected letter of the first President to turn up in the USA, still less in downtown Manchester, UK.

It was given to the Library only a few months ago as part of a large collection of papers belonging to the Heywood family of Manchester and Salford. The Heywoods are a remarkable family. One of them, Peter, known as Lantern Heywood, was said to have arrested Guy Fawkes in the act of attempting to blow up James VI and the Houses of Parliament. Another Peter was a sixteen-year-old midshipman on HMS Bounty and ended up staying in Tahiti with the mutineers. In Manchester, few families can lay greater claim to having shaped the city’s history than the Heywoods. Benjamin Heywood (later knighted) was MP for Lancashire at the time of the Great Reform Act of 1832. Before that he was largely responsible for creating the Mechanics Institute of Manchester, which today ...

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