Despite Washington’s expressed belief in non-interference in the romantic lives of others, he was considerably less restrained in the advice he gave to his seventeen-year-old grandson George Washington Parke Custis in June 1798.
At the time of the following signed letter, located in the Custis Papers at the Virginia Historical Society, Custis was a student at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland. He had enrolled there in March after having left the College of New Jersey at Princeton the previous October under less than favorable conditions. Custis’s academic career, thus far, was a disappointment to his family and caused his grandfather much concern. Now a possible romantic entanglement threatened the young man’s already tenuous pursuit of an education. This letter is part of a series; more information can be found on the “Washington’s Advice on Love and Marriage” page. Please also see related documents below.