|Dear Washington,||Philadelphia 27th Feby 1797|
Your letter of the 22d inst., as also one of the first, have been duly received. The affectionate sentiments contained in them, are highly pleasing to me. But that which affords a still higher gratification, is to hear that you are not only attentive to your studies, but pleased with them also. Hence, I draw the most agreeable presages, that you will reward my cares & anxieties to see you a polished scholar, & a useful member of society, by persevering with assiduity & steadiness in the course you are now in. It will be the source, through life, from whence your most pleasing & happy reflexions will flow; and when the results are compared with the conduct of the idle, & dissipated youth, of whom too many examples are to be seen, they will afford you abundant cause for heart felt rejoicings.
I am unacquainted with the design, or tendency of the Whig Society, of which you say you have become a member; of course I can express no opinion thereon; but as youth always require the experience of age, my advice to you is to enter into no Societiy while you are at college that is not sanctioned by the Professors; and in a particular manner by the President thereof; whom I would wish you to consider always in the light of a friend, as well as a Preceptor.
I have confidence that your expences will always be reasonable, & proper; & when that is the case, they will never be disputed. The amount of Doctr Smiths account is, or immediately will be paid to his order; and as you will want the means of transporting yourself to Mt Vernon during the vacation, get that Gentleman to form an estimate of them, that the money may be sent to you before I leave this City. Your Grand Mamma will be attentive to the articles you left here.
As the Curtain of my Political life is about to drop, I am, as you may suppose, a good deal hurried in the closing scenes of it; if no other evidences of it could be given, the hurry with which this letter is written, & the many interlineations which are to be found therein, would ascertain the fact. As early in next week as I can possibly prepare for it, my journey for Mount Vernon will commence: Where we shall expect to see you immediately after the Vacation, that you may remain with your friends there as long as the time allowed for it, will permit. Your Grand Mamma, Sister & the rest of the family are all well—so are Mr Law & Mr Lear, both of whom are now in this City. I wish you a continuance of health and am Very affectionately Yours always
ViHi: Custis Papers.