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College of Liberal Arts 

Boston University 



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Letter from the Trustees of the Alexandria Academy, Acknowledging 
Washington's Endowment, Dec. 17, 1785 




from the 

Original Manuscript Sources 

Prepared under the direction of the United States 

George Washington Bicentennial Commission 

and published by authority of Congress 

John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor 

Volume 28 

December 5, 1784-August 30, 1786 

United States 

Government Printing Office 



>W 3b, W 

OCTOBER, 1938 


(The Commission expired December 31, 1934) 

President of the United States 

Vice President of the United States 
Speaker of the House of Representatives 

United States Senate 

SlMEON D. Fess,* Vice Chairman 

Arthur Capper 

Carter Glass 

Millard E. Tydings 


House of Representatives 

Willis C. Hawley 

John Q. Tilson 

Joseph W. B yrns * 

R. Walton Moore 


Presidential Commissioners 

Mrs. Anthony Wayne Cook 

Mrs. John Dickinson Sherman * 

Henry Ford 


George Eastman * 
New York 

Executive Committee 

The Senate and House 

C. Bascom Slemp 
Mrs. Anthony Wayne Cook 
Joseph Scott 

C. Bascom Slemp 

Wallace McCamant 

Albert Bushnell Hart 

Joseph Scott 


Prof. Albert Bushnell Hart 

Representative Sol Bloom 

Executive Secretary 
William Tyler Page 

* Deceased. 



Dr. J. Franklin Jameson, Chairman* 
Chair of American History and Chief of Manuscripts Division 
Library of Congress 

Professor Randolph G. Adams 

Librarian William L. Clements Library 

University of Michigan 

President J. A. C. Chandler* 
William and Mary College 

President Tyler Dennett 
Williams College 

Dr. Charles Moore 
Chairman United States Commission of Fine Arts 

George W. Ochs-Oakes, Esq.* 

Editor New York Times 

Brigadier General John M. Palmer 
United States Army, Retired 

Dr. Victor H. Paltsits 

Chief of American History Division 

and Chief of Manuscripts Department 

New York Public Library 

* Deceased. 





To Chevalier de La Luzerne, December 5 1 

Visit to France — Prospect of war in Europe — Treaty with the Six 
Nations — Acknowledgments to the King and Queen of France. 

To Henry Knox, December 5 3 

Correspondence — Westward tour — Potomac and James Rivers navi- 
gation — Treaty with the Six Nations — Lafayette's departure. 

To Governor George Clinton, December 8 . . . . 6 

Letters from France — Tree seeds. 

To Marquis de Lafayette, December 8 .... . 6 

Parting from Lafayette — Friendship. 

To George Plater, Charles Carroll, John Cadwalader, 

and Samuel Chase, December 11 8 

A nephew's Principio stock. 

To George Mason, December 13 8 

A loan needed by his brother. 

To the President of Congress, December 14 ... 9 

Treaty with the Six Nations — His election — British retention of the 
western posts — Navigation of the Potomac and James Rivers — Mine 
rights — Sale of western lands. 

To Richard Claiborne, December 15 12 

Unable to speculate on his proposition and unwilling to mislead by 
hazarding an opinion. 

To George Chapman, December 15 13 

Sentiments on education. 

To Thomas Blackburn, December 19 14 

Meeting of commissioners at Annapolis. 

To Reverend William Gordon, December 20 14 

Thanks for fish — Colonel Ward's passion. 

To Lieutenant Governor Beverley Randolph, Decem- 
ber 20 15 

The meeting at Annapolis. 

To Melancton Smith, December 20 16 

Arrival of plated ware — Account with Mr. Parker. 



To Marquis de Lafayette, December 23 17 

The meeting at Annapolis — Lafayette made a citizen of Maryland. 

To James Madison, December 28 18 

Proceedings of the Annapolis commissioners — -Tolls and toll rates — 
Lack of time for accomplishment. 

To the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Vir- 
ginia, December 28 20 

Report of the Annapolis meeting on Potomac navigation — Feeling in 


To Reverend Jeremy Belknap, January 5 22 

His history of New Hampshire. 

To the Secretary at War, January 5 23 

Correspondence — Feels the want of exercise — The meeting at An- 
napolis — Private adventurers to aid in the Potomac navigation — Intends 
to build at Alexandria — -Asks the prices of limestone — Lafayette. 

To Samuel Chase, January 5 26 

Forwarding copies — Maryland public schools. 

To George Augustine Washington, January 6 . 27 

Sending clothes — His return — Lack of news — Seeds. 

To Charles Carroll, of Carrollton, January 10 . . . 29 

Extension of Potomac navigation. 

To John Filson, January 15 30 

Map- of Kentucky — Map of the western territory — Potomac naviga- 

To Thomas Johnson, January 17 31 

Subscription books for the Potomac navigation — James River. 

To Samuel Chase, January 17 32 

Passage of the Potomac Bill by the Virginia Legislature. 

To John Fitzgerald and William Hartshorne, Jan- 
uary 18 32 

Papers of the Potomac navigation — Printing of the Virginia act — 
General arrangements. 

To Benjamin Harrison, January 22 34 

The gift of shares by the Assembly in the Potomac and James Rivers 
companies — Grateful for the proof of good opinion and affection — ■ 
Wishes his actions to be wholly free and not suspected of being influ- 
enced by other motive than the public good — Shares may be considered 
a pension — Asks for advice. 



To William Grayson, January 22 37 

Books and papers of the Potomac Company — Virginia's gift of navi- 
gation shares — Doubt of how it will be considered — Asks advice — 
Aspen, yew, and hemlock shoots. 

To Bushrod Washington, January 22 38 

Payment of Ryan's note — An ordinance of 1776. 

To Matthew Campbell, January 22 39 

Plaster of Paris — Purchase price. 

To Thomas Clarke, January 25 40 

Thanks for a gold-headed cane. 

To Sir James Jay, January 25 41 

Lady Huntingdon's communications — Christianizing the Indians — 
Method — Her plan will be sent to the President of Congress. 

To Mrs. Patience Wright, January 30 44 

Her letter — Pier son's bust. 

To Joseph Wright, January 30 45 

Receipt of the bust. 

To iEneas Lamont, January 31 45 

Dedication of his works — Is not a marshal of France. 

To Elias Boudinot, January 31 46 

Orchard grass seed. 

To Governor William Paca, January 31 46 

Forwarding a copy of the printed act of Virginia respecting the 
Potomac navigation. 

To Udny Hay, January 31 ... 47 

Sends a certificate. 

To Robert Morris, February 1 48 

Opening the Potomac and James Rivers navigation — Toll charges — 
Morris's subscription — The Potomac navigation and that of the Sus- 
quehanna — Commerce with the west — Transportation charges. 

To Clement Biddle, February 1 55 

Orchard grass seed — Dunlap and Claypoole's papers — Need of a 
miller — A business matter. 

To Robert Lewis & Sons, February 1 57 

A drunken miller — -Need of a competent one. 

To Clement Biddle, February 2 58 

Answer to a letter. 

To Otho Holland Williams, February 2 59 

Expense of Cincinnati diplomas. 



Agreement with Benjamin Dulany and Wife, Febru- 
ary 4 60 

To Battaile Muse, February 5 62 

Whiting's bonds — Payment of taxes by tenants. 

To Benjamin Vaughan, February 5 62 

Dr. Price's commendation — The chimney piece from his father. 

To Samuel Vaughan, February 5 63 

The chimney piece. 

To Benjamin Lincoln, February 5 64 

Mr. Porter — Cheese and cranberries — Potomac navigation. 

To David Humphreys, February 7 65 

Letters that must be written — Health — Potomac and James Rivers 
navigation — War in Europe — Letters from Humphreys. 

To the President of Congress, February 8 67 

Assemblies of Virginia and Maryland pass acts for inland naviga- 
tion — The scheme of the Countess of Huntingdon — Refers the papers 
to him, and gives his own views — Temporary and permanent seat of 

To Marquis de Lafayette, February 15 71 

Navigation of the Potomac and James Rivers — Virginia Legislature's 
gift embarrassing — Subscriptions — Need of an engineer — Canals — 
Jackass from Spain — Seeds from Kentucky — Livingston's cipher — 
French subscribers. 

To Charles Lee, February 20 76 

French's and Dulany's land — Changes suggested in the convey- 
ance — The deed. 

To Thomas Jefferson, February 25 77 

Acts of Virginia and Maryland for the Potomac navigation — Sub- 
scriptions — Value as an investment — Foreign subscribers — Embarrass- 
ing act of the Virginia Legislature — Asks advice. 

To George William Fairfax, February 27 81 

Lady Huntingdon's letter — Case of Mrs. Briston — Wishes he and 
Mrs. Fairfax would return to Virginia — Belvoir — Present drudgery — 
Accounts — Potomac and James Rivers navigation acts — Embarrassing 
act of the Virginia Legislature — Wishes deer. 

To the Countess of Huntingdon, February 27 . . . 86 

Delay of her letters — Her plan for introducing religion among the 
Indians — Lands for emigrants. 

To Governor Patrick Henry, February 27 ... 89 

Act of the legislature presenting shares in the Potomac and James 
Rivers companies — Embarrassment — Asks Henry's opinion. 



To Mrs. Hannah Moore, February 28 91 

Mrs. Savage's will. 

To Henry Knox, February 28 91 

Introductory letters for Mr. Swan — Finances not equal to building 
in Alexandria — Limestone — Potomac and James Rivers navigation — 
Embarrassing gift of the Virginia Legislature — British and the St. 
Croix River — Composition for walks. 

To James Keith, March 1 94 

His court-martial sentence. 

To Charles Mclver, March 1 95 

His plan. 

To Reverend William Gordon, March 8 96 

Miniature cuts — Du Simitiere's likenesses — Col. John Laurens's char- 
acter — Recollection of the surrender of Fort Washington — Preserva- 
tion of young plants — War between the Austrians and Dutch. 

To Reverend John Witherspoon, March 8 . . . 98 

Mr. Bowie's wish to write Washington's memoirs — Condition of his 

To John Filson, March 15 100 

Map of Kentucky. 

To Mrs. Sarah Bomford, March 15 101 

Mrs. Savage's will — Hannah Moore — Doctor Savage. 

To Mathew Carey, March 15 103 

His newspaper. 

To Frederick Weissenfels, March 15 . . . . . 104 

Pain that deserving officers are not provided for — Certificate. 

To Jacob Gerhard Diriks, March 15 105 

Inability to write a letter to Count de Maasdam — Certificate. 

To Arthur Lee, March 15 106 

Treaty with the western Indians — Ceded lands. 

To Hugh Williamson, March 15 107 

Rumsey's boat — The Indian treaty and ceded lands — Compact and 
progressive seating of them — Marking off a new State. 

To the President of Congress, March 15 108 

The Indian treaty — Progressive seating of the ceded lands — Navi- 
gation of the Mississippi. 

To Edmund Randolph, March 19 109 

Ryan's note. 



To John Har vie, March 19 no 

Ejectment of tenants on Pennsylvania land — Information of legal 
status desired — Colonel Crawford's proceedings — Title — Question of 

To Sir Edward Newenham, March 20 115 

His coming to America — Roads in the south — Transportation. 

To John Francis Mercer, March 27 117 

Financial straits — Requests money due from his father's estate. 

To John Craig, March 29 118 

Value of land in the Monongahela country. 

To Lucretia Wilhemina Van Winter, March 30 ... 119 

Her poem — Has been only an instrument in the hands of Providence. 

To Bushrod Washington, April 3 120 

Has written to the Attorney General about Ryan's note — Dismal 
Swamp meeting. 

To Charles Thomson, April 5 121 

Report of the Commissioners supervising the British embarkation 
at New York. 

To Governor George Clinton, April 5 122 

Delay in obtaining a bill of exchange. 

To Christopher Richmond, April 6 123 

Difference in audit of his Continental certificates. 

To James Duane, April 10 123 

Rutgers versus Waddington — Evils of local and independent poli- 
cies — The 5 percent impost — Personals. 

To James Duane, April 10 125 

Freedom of the city of New York. 

To the Mayor, Recorder, Aldermen, and Commonalty 

of the City of New York, April 10 ... 126 

To Doctor John Walker, April 10 127 

Meeting of the Dismal Swamp Company. 

To Thomas Freeman, April 11 128 

Wishes a detail of his proceedings — Persons with knowledge of 
Colonel Crawford's proceedings. 

To Robert Lewis & Sons, April 12 129 

Joseph Davenport's terms as a miller — Roberts — The mill. 

To Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer, April 12 ... 130 

Payment of certificates — The bill of exchange. 



To Charles Washington, April 12 131 

Irregularity of the post — Mr. Balch's letter — School expenses. 

To Marquis de Lafayette, April 12 132 

Mr. Duche — His chances of employment. 

To Governor George Clinton, April 20 133 

Delay in writing — Sends a second bill of exchange — State of the 
account — Oriskany purchase — Lime trees, nuts, etc. — Balm and pines — ■ 
Loss of vines — Potomac and James Rivers navigation. 

To Mathew Carey, April 20 136 

Willingness to render a service. 

To William Grayson, April 25 136 

Consideration of his letter — Report of the committee of Congress 
on the disposal of the western lands — Chances of stock jobbing in 
township sales — Other observations. 

To Chevalier de La Serre, May 12 139 

Accident to his letter — His request for a recommendation. 

To Marquis de Lafayette, May 12 140 

Chevalier de La Serre. 

To Francis Hopkinson, May 16 140 

At the beck of portrait painters — Mr. Pine. 

To Clement Biddle, May 16 141 

His failure — Trouble caused by Washington's commissions — Grass 
seeds and miller — Dunlap and Claypoole's gazettes — Payment of his 

To Thomas McKean, May 16 142 

Mr. Pine. 

To Governor William Paca, May 18 143 

Introducing Mr. Pine. 

To Christopher Richmond, May 19 ..... . 143 

Subscription books of the Potomac Company. 

To Nathanael Greene, May 20 144 

Approves his declining a duel with Gunn — Greene's affair with 
Banks — Back lands — Intelligence from Europe — Subscriptions to the 
Potomac Company — Virginia's gift of shares. 

To William Fitzhugh, May 21 146 

Mr. Boulton to finish the large room — Turpentine, etc. — Offers the 
service of his jacks. 

To Jacquelin Ambler, May 22 148 

Subscriptions to the Potomac Company. 



To Tench Tilghman, May 23 148 

Colvill's legacy to Miss Anderson — Confused condition of Washing- 
ton's papers — Applications made to him — Efforts to get a secretary — 
Reverend Mr. West — Needs pine plank. 

To John Swan, May 23 150 

Colonel Colvill's estate — His recollection. 

To Burwell Bassett, May 23 151 

Disappointed in not seeing him in Richmond — Return of George 
Augustine Washington — His attentions to Fanny Bassett — Washing- 
ton's attitude. 

To Governor David Parry, May 25 153 

Thanks for kindness shown his nephew. 

To Robert Lewis & Sons, May 25 153 

Discharge of William Roberts — Delay in Davenport's coming. 

To William Minor, May 27 154 

His charges for what was not done in the schooling of Lawrence 

To John Har vie, May 31 155 

Claim of the heirs of Michael Cresap to the Round Bottom — Pro- 
tests against the issue of a patent. 

To Tench Tilghman, June 2 157 

Mr Falconer's terms — Need for a secretary — What is expected of one. 

To David Stuart, June 5 159 

Invitation to dinner. 

To James Rumsey, June 5 159 

Ryan's debt — The house building at Bath — Rumsey's boat — Potomac 

To William Carmichael, June 10 160 

Spanish jackasses — British trade restrictions. 

To William Goddard, June 11 162 

Publication of the manuscripts of General Lee — Washington's dif- 
ference was on public, not private, grounds — Will not recriminate. 

To Edmund Richards, June 15 163 

His inquiry. 

To Samuel Powel, June 15 163 

Doctor Moyes — Wishes information of an author. 

To Robert Howe, June 15 164 

Pleased at Congress dealing honorably by Howe. 



To William Minor, June 16 165 

Lawrence Posey's school expenses — General Roberdeau as umpire. 

To the Secretary at War, June 18 166 

Congratulations upon his appointment as Secretary at War — Knox's 
sentiment on the gift of the Potomac and James Rivers shares — Con- 
gress and the western posts — Suggestions for depositories — Distribution 
of troops. 

To Barbe Marbois, June 21 169 

De Corny's bill — Navigation of the Mississippi. 

To John Rumney, June 22 170 

A joiner — Flagstone ordered — Stowage care needed. 

To William Grayson, June 22 172 

Congress and sale of the western lands — The permanent seat of 
government — Soldiers should receive what is their due — Potomac 
Navigation Company. 

To the President of Congress, June 22 173 

The ordinance for sale of lands in the western territory — The 
Macaulay Grahams — Inadequacy of the powers of Congress. 

To Richard Boulton, June 24 175 

His creditors — His delay — Injuries sustained. 

To Governor Patrick Henry, June 24 176 

Sunken lands of Albermarle Sound — Unable to increase his expenses 
at this time. 

To Thomas Montgomerie, June 25 177 

Qualifications of the assistant wanted — Mr. Shaw. 

To Reverend Stephen Bloomer Balch, June 26 . . . 178 

Nephews wish to attend a Georgetown dancing school. 

To Thomas Montgomerie, June 30 178 

Mr. Shaw's expectations — Term of service. 

To the Countess of Huntingdon, June 30 180 

Her request for western lands for emigrants. 

To William Washington, June 30 181 

Thanks for kindness to his nephew — Acorns, nuts, etc. 

To William Blake, June 30 182 

Seeds of the palmetto royal. 

To George William Fairfax, June 30 182 

Copies of receipts — Pictures and Mr. Pine — Disposition of the Brit- 
ish court — Commercial policy of Great Britain — Likely to unite the 
States — Potomac navigation — Wishes to improve his methods of farm- 
ing, and would like to obtain an English farmer — Personal mentions. 



To Charles Vancouver, June 30 188 

Declines his dedication. 

To James Rumsey, July 2 188 

Handbill of the Potomac Company — Mentioned his name to the 
company as manager of construction. 

To Robert Hanson Harrison, July 3 190 

Reason for not appointing Mr. Brisco. 

To William Shaw, July 8 190 

His terms of pay accepted. 

To Thomas Corbin, July 8 191 

Colonel Fairfax's letter — Invitation to Mount Vernon. 

To the President of Congress, July 9 192 

Introducing Mr. Dorham. 

To Thomas Smith, July 14 192 

Proclamation — Posey's bond — Act of Virginia Assembly — Survey of 
land — Crawford's proceedings — Mr. Wilson's readiness to serve. 

To Alexander White, July 14 196 

Fraunces's letters — His demand against General Lee's estate. 

To William Fitzhugh, July 14 197 

Richard Boulton — Payment for lock, glue, etc. — Guinea grass seed. 

To Israel Shreve, July 15 199 

Ohio and Kanawha lands — Terms. 

To Tench Tilghman, July 17 199 

Payment for plank — Papers in the Pennsylvania land suit. 

To Samuel Powel, July 19 200 

Election to the Agricultural Society. 

To George Weedon, July 23 . . 201 

Bill of exchange — Colonel de Corny. 

To David Humphreys, July 25 . . 202 

His letters — Wishes to see the plague of war banished from the 
earth — Has neither talents nor leisure to write commentaries on 
the Revolution — Humphreys's qualifications — Domestic intelligence — 
Inland navigation schemes — Mississippi and the Ohio. 

To Marquis de Lafayette, July 25 205 

Correspondence — Increase and multiply — Progress of the Potomac 
navigation — Commercial policy of Great Britain towards America — ■ 
Results in the States — Ordinance for disposing of lands in the western 
territory — The Spanish jacks from Cadiz and Malta and French 
hounds — Seeds from the west for Versailles — Marriage of George Au- 
gustine Washington, and Francis Bassett — Picture of the Lafayette 



To Clement Biddle, July 27 211 

Money from Gilbert Simpson — Work on the Potomac navigation. 

To Battaile Muse, July 28 212 

Leases in Frederick County — Mr. Snickers promises — Accounts ar- 

To Edmund Randolph, July 30 214 

Disposition that will be made of the shares voted him by the As- 
sembly — Probable interpretations of his conduct — The James River 

To Noah Webster, July 30 216 

Letters of recommendation. 

To William Bailey, August 2 ........ 217 

Articles for George and Lawrence Washington. 

To John Sedgwick, August 8 217 

No writ has issued against the executors of the estate of Sedgwick's 
father — Payment of bonds. 

To Edmund Randolph, August 13 218 

The Potomac and James Rivers improvements — Wishes them to pro- 
gress equally — His subscriptions — Presidency of the James Company — 
Claim against his western lands — Expectations. 

To The Sheriff of Hampshire County, August 15 . . 221 

The widow of Michael Cresap. 

To Benjamin Ogle, August 17 221 

Offer of fawns. 

To Clement Biddle, August 17 . 222 

Money for Mr. Boudinot — A housekeeper. 

To Tench Tilghman, August 17 223 

Ship from China — Purchase of articles — Cincinnati china — Nan- 

To Thomas Ridout, August 20 224 

Wine and sundries — Letters and packages. 

To Jean Baptiste, Baron de Secondat, August 20 . 225 

Wine and walnuts. 

To Baron de Montesquieu, August 20 226 

Invitation to visit. 

To Van Drillon, August 22 226 

Admission to the Society of the Cincinnati. 



To James McHenry, August 22 227 

Lafayette's character — The Longchamp case — The powers of Con- 
gress — Reasons for increasing them — Policy of the southern mem- 
bers — Unreasonable jealousies — A war of imposts — A navigation act — 
One nation today and thirteen tomorrow. 

To the President of Congress, August 22 230 

La Barbier's drama — European intelligence — Great Britain and the 
western posts — Navigation of the Mississippi — No cement to the union 
but interest — Paper money in Virginia. 

To William Grayson, August 22 232 

Hounds from Lafayette — Jefferson's ideas on coinage — Always a 
friend to adequate congressional powers — The ordinance for the sale 
of western lands — Potomac navigation work. 

To Battaile Muse, August 22 235 

Clover seed — Wheat and the purchase price — Alexandria price — 

To John Rawlins, August 29 ........ 237 

Finish of a new room. 

To Tench Tilghman, August 29 238 

Bargains desired — Jaconette muslin — Chinese — Papers sent Smith — 
Rawlins's ability. 

To Arthur St. Clair, August 31 239 

The change in the institution of the Cincinnati — Happy over St. 
Clair's appointment. 

To Doctor John Cochran, August 31 240 

His care of the hounds — His request for a recommendation. 

To Reverend William Gordon, August 31 .... 241 

Forwards memoir from a Member of Congress — Lafayette. 

To Marquis de Lafayette, September 1 242 

Good wishes — Mr. Adams and the British retention of the western 
posts — Hounds — Marquis de St. Simon and the Cincinnati — The Span- 
ish jacks — Copies of Lafayette's letters — Potomac work commenced. 

To Marie Gabriel Eleanor, Comte d'Oilliamson, Sep- 
tember 1 245 

Thanks for hounds. 

To David Humphreys, September 1 246 

Indians — Congress, coinage, and corn — Medal. 

To Lamar, Hill, Bissett & Co 247 

Madeira shipment. 



To Thomas Newton, Junior, September 3 . . . . 248 

Confused condition of his papers — Statement of the account be- 
tween them — Drought — Debt due from Balfour & Baran. 

To Chevalier de La Luzerne, September 5 . . . . 250 

Effort of mercantile interests to give controlling power to Congress — 
Great Britain's restraint of trade — Disposal of the western lands — 
Indian treaty — Coinage — Situation in Europe. 

To David Henley, September 5 252 

Their charge for servants' clothing. 

To Marquis de Chastellux, September 5 253 

Compliments — Pleasure at the prospects of European peace — Po- 
tomac and James Rivers navigation. 

To Comte de Rochambeau, September 7 255 

The French Cincinnati — Rural amusements — American affairs. 

To Clement Biddle, September 7 256 

Need of a steward — Mr. Fraunces. 

To Samuel Fraunces, September 7 257 

Need of a steward. 

To John de Neufville, September 8 258 

Reported desire to obtain a loan for the Dismal Swamp Com- 
pany — Money and labor needed. 

To Governor Patrick Henry, September 10 ... 260 

An appointment to the Potomac Company 

To Thomas Johnson and Thomas Sim Lee, Septem- 
ber 10 . . . . . 260 

Purchase of servants for the Potomac Company — Work at Seneca 
and Shenandoah. 

To Thomas Smith, September 10 261 

The Ohio lands — Washington's tide — Report that the defendants 
are moving off the land. 

To William Hartshorne, September 14 263 

Colonel Fitzhugh's subscription. 

To Tench Tilghman, September 14 263 

Arrival of Mr. Rawlins — Muslin for Mrs. Washington. 

To Edmund Randolph, September 16 264 

Declines the presidency of the James River Company — Surveys be- 
tween the James and Kanawha — Hire of slaves and an engineer — 
Plans of the Potomac Company — Results of Rumsey's discovery — 
Locks — Cost of miners — Subscriptions for the James River project. 



To Battaile Muse, September 18 267 

Inattention to tenants — The situation — Thompson's lease — Advan- 
tage taken — Power of attorney. 

Power of Attorney, September 18 270 

To Levi Hollingsworth, September 20 271 

His letter — Mud as manure — Donaldson's hippopotamus. 

To Thomas Freeman, September 22 272 

Lease for Jonathan Johnson. 

To Captain de Genevy de Pusignan, September 25 . 273 

Inability to comply with his request in regard to the Cincinnati. 

To J. L. Le Barbier, Junior, September 25 274 

His drama. 

To Benjamin Franklin, September 25 274 

His return to America. 

To Barbe Marbois, September 25 275 

Congratulations on his appointment. 

To Otho Holland Williams, September 25 ..... . 275 

Miscarriage of Cincinnati diplomas. 

To Vicomte D'Arrot, September 25 276 

His letter — British continuing to hold the western posts. 

To Jean Antoine Houdon, September 26 277 

His arrival- — Will be glad to see him at Mount Vernon. 

To Thomas Jefferson, September 26 278 

Houdon — Subscriptions to the Potomac and James Rivers compa- 
nies- — Dismal Swamp surveys — Disposition of his Potomac and James 
shares — Kentucky — Bushnell's torpedo in 1776. 

To Richard Varick, September 26 281 

Rutgars versus Waddington — Varick's health. 

To Benjamin Franklin, September 26 282 

Houdon's arrival. 

To the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, September 27 . 283 

His return — Appointment as Secretary for Foreign Affairs. 

To Jonathan Trumbull, October 1 283 

Death of his father — Sympathy. 

To George Mason, October 3 285 

The assessment bill in the Virginia Assembly. 



To John Page, October 3 286 

Friendship — Importation of Germans — Loan for the Potomac Com- 
pany in Holland. 

To Lucretia Wilhemina Van Winter, October 5 . . . 287 

Miscarriage of his letter. 

To Charles Armand-Tufnn, October 7 288 

His prospect of a command — Tranquillity in America — Is against 
the profession of arms. 

To James Warren, October 7 289 

Friendship — Weakness of the Confederation — -Refusal to give power 
to government — Prospects — Foreign commerce — Trade — An agricul- 
tural society — Potomac and James Rivers navigation. 

To Thomas and Mrs. Blackburn, October 10 . . . . 292 

A wedding invitation. 

To Thomas Freeman, October 16 292 

Ohio and Kanawha lands — The mill and Mr. Simpson — At a loss 
to decide if Simpson has moved — -Captain Crawford — Baggage — 
Statement of account. 

To Arthur Donaldson, October 16 296 

His hippopotamus. 

Certificate to John Fairfax, October 26 296 

To John Fairfax, October 26 297 

Instruction for a journey to Boston to bring back the Spanish jack- 

To Lieutenant Governor Thomas Cushing, October 27 . 300 

Mr. Fairfax to bring the Spanish jackasses to Mount Vernon. 

To Governor Patrick Henry, October 29 302 

Appointment of Colonel Neville — Cut between Elizabeth River and 
North Carolina waters. 

To James Madison, October 29 302 

Thanks for his management of the gift of navigation shares — Will 
thank him for further information. 

To Governor Patrick Henry, October 29 303 

Thanks to the Assembly for the Potomac and James shares — His 
uniform policy not to receive pecuniary recompense for public service — 
Wishes to be allowed to apply the shares to some object of a public 

To David Humphreys, October 30 . 305 

Houdon's mission — Poem — Lassitude in government. 



To George Gilpin, November i 306 

His scow. 

To Samuel Powel, November 2 306 

Cape of Good Hope wheat. 

To Edmund Randolph, November 5 307 

Proceedings of the Potomac Company sent him. 

To Marquis de Lafayette, November 8 308 

Houdon's stay — Doctor Franklin — Copying of Lafayette's letters. 

To George Chapman, November 10 309 

Need of a tutor for his step grandchildren — Terms, etc. 

To George William Fairfax, November 10 ... . 310 

Education of the Custis children — A preceptor wanted — Require- 
ments and wages — Gentlemen of the cloth — Progress of the naviga- 
tion companies — His wish for a trained farmer — Fairfax's estate. 

To William Fitzhugh, November 11 314 


To George William Fairfax, November 11 .... 314 

A tutor from New England. 

To John Marsden Pintard, November 18 315 

Citron, lemons, and onions. 

To Charles Vaughan, November 18 316 

Rum — Sends flour. 

To John Rumney, November 18 317 

Selection of flagstones — House joiner. 

To Lund Washington, November 20 318 

The plans of George Augustine Washington — Overseer at Mount 
Vernon — A grateful sense of his services. 

To Reverend Stephen Bloomer Balch, November 22 319 

Expense of his nephews in Georgetown — Bills for board, etc. — 
Nephews brought to Alexandria. 

To William Bailey, November 22 320 

Removal of his nephews to Alexandria — Expense. 

To Mrs. Daniel Dulany, November 23 320 

Present of the horse "Blueskin." 

To Doctor William Brown, November 24 ... 321 

Formation of the Alexandria Academy — A future matter. 



To Sir Edward Newenham, November 25 ... 322 

Ireland's opposition to British restrictions — Precedents are dangerous 
things — Situation in Ireland — Danger of an aerial voyage — Mr. Thorpe, 
the stucco worker. 

To Lawrence Kortright, November 25 324 

Impress of vessels in 1776 — The sloop Hester. 

To Chevalier John Paul Jones, November 25 . . . 325 

Captains Stack and Macarthy and the Cincinnati. 

To Wakelin Welch, November 28 326 

Watch for Mrs. Washington. 

To Samuel Vaughan, November 30 326 

Mirabeau's pamphlet on the Cincinnati — Purpose of the Society — 
Rum for Jamaica. 

To David Stuart, November 30 328 

Commerce powers of Congress — Separation of eastern and western 
Virginia — Other matters — Canal at Great Falls. 

To Tench Tilghman, November 30 330 

Mr. Rawlins and the new room — Cost — Only one jackass survived 
the voyage from Spain. 

To John Rawlins, November 30 332 

Cost of his plan exceeds his expectation — Work to be done. 

To Governor Patrick Henry, November 30 ... 333 

The cut from Elizabeth River to Albemarle Sound — The Dismal 
Swamp — Potomac and James Rivers navigation — Cost of road work. 

To James Madison, November 30 335 

Revision of the laws — Reference to Congress of the regulation of 
a commercial system — Public faith — Port and assize bills — Pennsyl- 
vania and internal improvements. 

To Comte de Rochambeau, December 1 338 

Friendship — Franklin's election to Governor — State of affairs — 
Commercial treaty with Great Britain. 

To Charles Simms and David Stuart, December 3 . 339 

Petition of the Potomac Company. 

To Charles Carroll and Thomas Stone, December 3 . 340 

Petition of the Potomac Company. 

To Battaile Muse, December 4 341 

Collection of rents. 

To Comte de Damas, December 5 342 




To Louis Guillaume Otto, December 5 342 


To Richard Thomas, December 5 343 

Edmund Richards under a delusion. 

To Louis Dominique Ethis de Corny, December 5 . . 344 

Receipt and lack of Cincinnati diplomas. 

To Reverend William Gordon, December 5 .... 344 

The memoir — Lafayette at Barren Hill — -Troop movements — Pres- 
ent of a fish and flower roots. 

To Thomas Smith, December 7 346 

Trespass actions and ejectments — Has not viewed the defendants as 
wilful and obstinate sinners. 

To Captain Thomas Bibby, December 10 347 

Invitation to Mount Vernon. 

To David Stuart, December 10 348 

Purchase of corn necessary — Prices on the Eastern Shore or in New 
Kent and King William. 

To Clement Biddle, December 11 349 

Payment for Cary's and Oswald's newspapers — Sheet copper. 

To the Secretary at War, December 11 350 

British retention of the western posts — The Society of the Cincin- 
nati — Limestone. 

To Alexander Hamilton, December 11 351 

Prejudice against the Cincinnati carried to an unreasonable length — 
Fears of the people not yet removed — Baron Steuben. 

To Battaile Muse, December 16 353 

Tenant accounts — Rents — Neglect experienced — Payments — Vacant 
lots — Advertisement — Lots on Chattins Run — Wheat agreement. 

To the Trustees of the Alexandria Academy, Decem- 
ber 17 356 

His intentions to endow a school in Alexandria for orphan chil- 
dren — Offers an annuity — Suggestions on its application. 

To Noah Webster, December 18 . . . . . . 358 

His offer — Education of the children, aid in correspondence and 
keeping accounts — Sketches of American policy. 

To Benjamin Harrison, December 18 359 

Act of the General Assembly permitting disposal of the donated 
navigation stock. 



Pass for Pedro Tellez, December 19 359 

To Count Florida Blanca, December 19 360 

Thanks to the King for the Spanish jackasses. 

To Francisco Rendon, December 19 360 

Return of Pedro Tellez — His journey to New York. 

To William Carmichael, December 19 362 

His thanks for the Spanish jackass — Pedro Tellez. 

To John Francis Mercer, December 20 362 

His delay in payment — Washington's want of money. 

To Lund Washington, December 20 363 

George Augustine Washington — The mill — Taxes. 

To Thomas Johnson, December 20 364 

Potomac Company business — Hire of Negroes and purchase of serv- 
ants — Spanish chestnuts. 

To David Stuart, December 24 366 

Oats contract — Interest on loan certificates. 

To Samuel Powel, December 27 367 

Requests agricultural information. 


To Battaile Muse, January 5 367 

Isaac Jenny's land on Chattin's Run — Boundaries — Landon Carter 
and the Ashby's Bent land — Clover seed — Butter. 

To Tench Tilghman, January 7 369 

Agrees to Rawlins's terms to finish the new room. 

To Catherine Macaulay Graham, January 10 . 370 

Flattered by her letter — Pier journey to New York. 

To James Mercer, January 20 371 

Courses of lots — Doctor Gordon's advertisement. 

To Diego de Gardoqui, January 20 . . 372 


To John Francis Mercer, January 30 373 

Payment — Mr. Pine. 

To James Rumsey, January 31 374 

His mechanical boat — Houses at Bath. 



To Battaile Muse, February 4 375 

Butter — Indulgence to tenants — Abner Grigg and others — Jenny's 
lines — Clover seed — Fauquier rents — Muse's powers to act. 

To David Stuart, February 5 378 

Oats — Corn from York River. 

To Benjamin Lincoln, February 6 379 

The fitness of Mr. Lear — Duties to be performed by him — Fresh 
water from salt. 

To William Lyles& Co., February 8 380 

A she ass from Surinam — Flour, etc., in payment. 

To George Savage, February 8 381 

Oats — Corn from Pamunky. 

To William Lyles & Co., February 10 382 

A she ass from Surinam — Mr. Branden. 

To Samuel Branden, February 10 382 

A jackass from Spain — Purchase of a she ass in Surinam — Flour 
in payment. 

To Clement Biddle, February 10 383 

Boots, shoes, and other articles desired — Payment for gazettes. 

To William Hartshorne, February 20 384 

Payment of transportation charges for the Spanish jackass — Captain 
Pearce's charge. 

To Robert Townsend Hooe, February 21 .... 386 

Misunderstanding over employing hands to drain the Great Dismal 

To Robert Edge Pine, February 26 386 

Portraits received. 

To Joseph Hawkins, February 27 387 

Mr. Booth's character. 

To William Hunter, February 27 388 

Money for Mr. Pine. 

To Governor Patrick Henry, March 5 388 

Declination of felons by the Potomac Company. 

To John Francis Mercer, March 6 389 

Payment to bearer. 

To John Murray & Co., March 8 389 

Contract for herrings. 



To Battaile Muse, March 8 390 

Impartial justice to tenants— Other rental matters — Collection of 
certain accounts. 

To Hugh Holmes, March 10 391 

Naming his child after Washington. 

To Samuel Purviance, March 10 392 

The settlements on the Kanawha — Navigation of the stream — Con- 
venient points of settlement — Political consequences— Nature of the 
soil — Importance of the Great Kanhawa River. 

To William Drayton, March 25 394 

Honor conferred by the South Carolina Agricultural Society. 

To John Augustine Washington, March 27 ... 395 

His overseer's apprehensions — Absentee tenants — Corn. 

To Sir Edward Newenham, March 30 396 

Expectation of his visit. 

To John Fitzgerald and George Gilpin, March 31 . . 397 

Brindley and Harris view the Great Falls — Suggestions — A profes- 
sional mail much wanted — Mr. Brindley may be available. 

To Reverend Timothy Dwight, April 1 399 

Thanks for his poem, "Conquest of Canaan." 

To Lieutenant Governor Thomas Gushing, April 5 . 399 

Obligation for his attention to the Spanish jack — The expense. 

To Charles Carroll, Robert Morris, and Samuel Powel, 

April 5 400 

Rev. David Griffith's wish to borrow. 

To Henry Lee, April 5 401 

Correspondence — Progress of canal and locks at the Great Falls — 
Success assured— Conduct of the States — The Jay-Littlepage pamphlet. 

To David Ramsay, April 5 403 

Thanks for his history of the Revolution in South Carolina. 

To Thomas Newton, Junior, April 9 403 

Wine received — State of the account — Flour sale at Norfolk. 

To Benjamin Lincoln, April 10 405 

Agreement with Mr. Lear. 

To William Washington, April 10 405 

Acorns and young trees — Palmetto seeds. 

To Jonathan Trumbull, April 10 406 

His contemplated tour — -Acknowledgment for Mr. Dwight. 



To Robert Morris, April 12 407 

The Philadelphia Quakers and their attempt to free Mr. Dalby's 
slave — Mischievous and illegal conduct of their society — He is himself 
strong in favor of abolishing slavery — Oppressive features of the anti- 
slavery movement. 

To Bushrod Washington, April 13 409 

Use of "Royal Gift." 

To Noah Webster, April 17 409 

Instructor for the children. 

To John Armistead, April 17 410 

Payment of a debt — Washington's need of money. 

To William Hartshorne, April 19 410 

Seeds, buckwheat and flaxseed. 

To Reverend William Gordon, April 20 411 

Lund Washington's retirement — Subscriptions to Gordon's history. 

To Benjamin Lincoln, April 20 412 

Doctor Gordon's subscription paper. 

To Thomas Brereton, April 20 . 413 

Mrs. Savage's estate. 

To Martin Cockburn, May 3 414 

Truro taxables — A Negro tailor. 

To Thomas Smith, May 8 414 

Valentine Crawford's debt. 

To Thomas Cresap, May 8 415 

Is not a member of the Ohio Company. 

To Thomas Freeman, May 8 415 

Sale of Mrs. Crawford's Negroes. 

To Marquis de St. Simon, May 10 416 

His membership in the Cincinnati. 

To Thomas Ringgold Tilghman, May 10 . . . 417 

Discharge of the debt to his brother — Regard for his brother. 

To Marchionesse de Lafayette, May 10 417 

Delay in receipt of her letter — Tokens of regard from the young 

To Reverend Joseph Eckley, May 10 419 

The Boston Independent Chronicle and Doctor Gordon. 



To Marquis de Lafayette, May 10 420 

Lafayette's European tour — Policy of Great Britain towards the 
States — People must feel before they will see — Impost and commercial 
regulation — A proposed meeting of commissioners from the States — 
General convention talked of — British occupation of the western ports — 
The Maltese and Spanish jacks — Philanthropic scheme of the marquis 
and his Cayenne estate — Abolition of slavery in the States — Jefferson — 
Invitation to America. 

To Battaile Muse, May 12 425 

Loss by delay of his wheat. 

To John Rumney, May 15 426 

Receipt of flagstones. 

To William Frisbie Fitzhugh, May 15 426 

The Spanish jack — Sheep. 

To George Taylor, Junior, May 18 427 

Apples and oysters. 

To Robert Lewis & Sons, May 18 428 

Miller Davenport — Roberts and liquor. 

To Clement Biddle, May 18 428 

Seeds — Young's works — A debt — Lewis & Sons account — Gazettes — 
Glass and linen. 

To the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, May 18 . . . . 430 

The Littlepage controversy — Errors to be corrected in the national 
government — More wickedness than ignorance in our councils — Igno- 
rance and design difficult to combat — Public virtue has departed. 

To Neil Jamieson, May 20 432 

Debt due for flour. 

To John Marsden Pintard, May 20 ...... . 433 

Vine slips — Negotiations with Morocco. 

To Thomas Ridout, May 20 . 433 

Wine — Poor quality claret. 

To Henry L. Charton, May 20 . . 434 

Description of his Ohio and Kanawha lands — Terms upon which 
he would sell. 

To Governor William Moultrie, May 25 439 

Mr. Brindley's services — Canals — A French engineer. 

To Samuel Powel, May 25 441 

Farmyard essay — Premium for the best barnyard. 

To Alexander Steel, May 25 442 

Doctor Shiell — Steel's war services. 



To Joseph Jones, May 25 443 

Meeting of the Assembly. 

To Thomas Newton, Junior, May 26 443 

Flour sent. 

To Joseph Brown, May 30 444 

Arrival of prints. 

Agreement with James Bloxham, May 31 . . . 444 

As farmer and manager. 

To the Secretary at War, June 1 447 

Inability to speak with precision on a Cincinnati matter — Major 
L'Enfant's proceedings. 

To Mrs. Mary Briston, June 2 448 

Her petition. 

To Thomas Ringgold Tilghman, June 4 449 

His offer of services. 

To Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer, June 4 449 

His report. 

To James Tilghman, June 5 450 

Death of Tench Tilghman — His correspondence with the New 
York committee — Sympathy for Asgill's position — Falsity of the gibbet 
story — Asgill defective in politeness. 

To John Rumney, June 5 453 

Cost of the flagstones. 

To John Fitzgerald, June 5 453 

Purchase of servants for the Potomac Company. 

To William Frisbie Fitzhugh, June 5 454 

Purchase of ewe lambs — The Spanish jack. 

To Benjamin Lincoln, June 7 454 

Bill of exchange for Doctor Gordon — Mr. Lear's arrival. 

To Thomas Bedwell, June 7 455 

A recommendation to South Carolina. 

To Charles Mclver, June 7 456 

Declines recommending him. 

To Marquis de Lafayette, June 8 456 

Hams sent to Madame Lafayette. 

To Sir Edward Newenham, June 10 457 

State of America — His visit — Tharp and Rawlins. 



To Governor William Moultrie, June 14 458 

Mr. Brindley. 

To Henry Lee, June 18 459 

Arthur Young's observations on husbandry — Rains — Indian corn — 
Navigation of the Mississippi — Questions prematurely urging opening 
of the navigation. 

To Mrs. Sampson Darrell, June 18 461 

Title to Hite's land — Requests a search for Hite's bond. 

To Pierre Francois Cozette, June 19 462 

Declines a painting of Louis XV. 

To Nicholas Pike, June 20 463 

Satisfaction felt at the progress of the arts and sciences but must 
decline the dedication proposed. 

To David Humphreys, June 20 464 

His return to America — No need for horses. 

To Clement Biddle, June 21 464 

Delay of his letter — Sends a copy. 

To Joseph Dashiell, June 21 465 

Post and rails — Cypress wanted. 

To Thornton Washington, June 22 466 

Tide to Hite's land. 

To George William Fairfax, June 26 467 

Letters — Mr. Pine's success — English deer — Seeds and shrubs from 
Mrs. Fairfax — James Bloxham — Letters of introduction. 

To Richard Sprigg, June 28 470 

A puppy and grass seeds — His jenny. 

To Doctor William Brown, June 30 471 

Boys and girls at the Alexandria Academy. 

To George William Fairfax, June 30 . . . . . . 471 

Lack of leisure — Report on the trust committed to him from 1773 — 
Details — Balance — Belvoir fire — Furniture — Record of letters. 

To Battaile Muse, July i 478 

Worth of flour. 

To William Frisbie Fitzhugh, July 2 478 

Horse and jackass breeding — Magnolio — Ewe lambs — Barley. 

To Thomas Johnson, July 8 480 

Date of meeting of the Potomac Company. 



To Edmund Randolph, July 12 480 

Daughters of Michael Cresap. 

To James Tilghman, July 20 481 

The Asgill affair — Col. Thomas Colville's estate — Miss Anderson. 

To Henry L. Charton, July 22 . 482 

Drafts showing the shape of his land tracts. 

To Battaile Muse, July 25 483 

Seed wheat. 

To Henry Lee, July 26 483 

Books received — Cincinnati china on sale at New York — Navigation 
of the Mississippi — General Greene's death. 

To William Grayson, July 26 485 

Small attendance in Congress, and its cause — Connecticut claims to 
western lands — The land ordinance — Infraction of the treaty by the 
States — The British and the western posts. 

To Mauduit Du Plessis, July 28 487 

His merits — Invitation to Mount Vernon. 

To Thomas Smith, July 28 488 

Occupants of land in Washington County — People's attitude — Suit 
against squatters — Posey's warrant — Records. 

To Clement Biddle, July 30 491 

Loss through depreciation — Leather for Negroes' shoes. 

To Comte de Rochambeau, July 31 492 

His letters — Cessation of wars — Treaty with Prussia — British con- 
tinue to hold the western posts. 

To Due de Lauzun, July 31 494 

Mr. Michau's visit to America. 

To Baron de Holkendorfr", July 31 494 

Can have no agency in matters of a public nature — Admittance to 
the Cincinnati. 

To Antoine Felix Wuibert de Mezieres, July 31 . . . 495 

Regret at not being able to promote individual interests of die 
Army — Payment of his certificates — Engineer corps. 

To Wakelin Welch, July 496 

Directs sale of bank stock — Interest on funds — Only desires equal 
treatment with others — Debts and the war. 

To Battaile Muse, August i 498 

Advertisement sent to the printer — Flour — Hite's claim — Colonel 
Fairfax's land papers — Seed. 



To Chevalier de la Luzerne, August i 499 

Conduct of the States — Impost granted — Conditions — Unfavorable 
picture of America current in Europe — The attitude of the British — 
Advantage to France. 

To the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, August 1 . . . 501 

Violation of the treaty — Work for the future — The fear of investing 
Congress with adequate powers — Requisitions a farce — Tendency to 
monarchical government — His own interest in public affairs — Neglect 
of his recommendations. 

To Thomas Jefferson, August 1 504 

Costume of Houdon's statue — Domestic intelligence — Deaths of 
Greene, McDougall, and Tilghman. 

To Thomas Marsden Pintard, August 2 506 

Loss of articles — Wine from Searle & Co. 

To Lamar, Hill, Bissett & Co., August 3 507 

Madeira wine. 

To Wakelin Welch, August 5 507 

Shipment of articles of husbandry. 

To Wakelin Welch, August 5 508 

Articles to be shipped. 

To William Peacey, August 5 509 

Letters from James Bloxham — His wife, plows, etc., to be sent over. 

To Arthur Young, August 6 510 

Opening a correspondence — Agriculture a favorite amusement — 
System in the United States — Young's Annals — Plows and seeds de- 
sired — Plowman's wages — A bailiff obtained. 

To Charles Armand-Tuffin, August 10 514 

His marriage — The visit to Europe. 

To John Francis Mercer, August 12 515 

Suit on bonds — Tobacco bill — Want of money. 

To Theodorick Bland, August 15 516 

His humorous account — Humphreys's poem — American agricul- 
ture — Paper currency. 

To Marquis de Lafayette, August 15 518 

Irksome nature of Washington's correspondence — Nations governed 
by interest — Mutual interests of America and France — Basis of a com- 
merce between the two countries — The arrogant expectations of Brit- 
ain — Quality and prices of French goods — General reflections on com- 
merce — Late treaties favor a liberal policy — Personal mentions. 



To Marquis de Chastellux, August 18 . . . . . . 522 

Thanks for his "Travels" — Mention of Washington — Humphreys's 
poem — Conditions in America. 

To Metcalf Bowler, August 19 524 

His treatise on agriculture. 

To Thomas Newton, Junior, August 19 524 

Sale of flour. 

To Thomas Hutchins, August 20 525 

Empress of Russia's desire to obtain an Indian vocabulary. 

To the Secretary at War, August 21 526 

Forwards a petition. 

To Jonathan Loring Austin, August 23 526 

His July 4 oration. 

To Reverend John Witherspoon, August 23 ... 526 

Pohick church and Mr. Wilson. 

To James Hill, August 29 527 

His delay in sending his accounts — Thomas Newton's account — Ne- 
cessity of receiving his accounts. 

To Diego de Gardoqui, August 30 528 

Vicuna wool — -Jackass from the King. 


The following symbols have been used to denote the place of 
deposit of Washington letters not found in draft or letter-book 
form in the Washington Papers in the Library of Congress: 

Indicating that the letter is in Washington's 

own handwriting * 

Chicago Historical Society [ CH. H. S. ] 

Clements Library, University of Michigan r C. L. ] 

Connecticut Historical Society [ C. H. S. ] 

Harvard College Library [ HV. L. ] 

Haverford College [ HD. C. ] 

Historical Society of Pennsylvania [H. S. P.] 

Huntington Library [ H. L. ] 

John Carter Brown Library, Rhode Island [J. C. B.] 

Maine Historical Society [M. H. S.] 

Maryland Historical Society [MD. H. S.] 

Massachusetts Historical Society [MS. H. S.] 

J. P. Morgan Library [M. L.] 

New Hampshire Historical Society [ N. H. H. S. ] 

New York Historical Society [N.Y.H.S.] 

New York Public Library [ N. Y. P. L. ] 

New York State Library [ N. Y. S. L. ] 

Rhode Island Historical Society [ R. I. H. S. ] 

Rhode Island Society of the Cincinnati [R.I.S.C] 

Society of the Cincinnati [ S. C. ] 

University of Chicago Library [ U. C. L. ] 

University of Pennsylvania Library [U.P.] 

Virginia Historical Society [ V. H. S. ] 

Virginia State Library [ V. S. L. ] 





Mount Vernon, December 5, 1784. 

Sir: Your early attention to me after your arrival at the Court 
of Versailles, amidst scenes of gaiety and the gratulations of 
friends, does me great honor, and excites my warmest acknowl- 
edgments. That your august Sovereign, his amiable consort, 
and the Princes his brothers, should deign to interest themselves 
in, and wish to be acquainted with the circumstances of my life, 
is one of the most flattering incidents of it; and affects my sensi- 
bility beyond any expression I have of my feelings. If any thing 
could overcome the present difficulties which impede my de- 
sires to pay my respectful homage at your Court, it would be 
the wish which you say these august personages have been 
pleased to express to see me there, and the welcome reception I 
should meet from the nation at large, especially from those 
characters to whom I have the honor of a personal acquaint- 
ance; but I fear my vows and earnest wishes are the only trib- 
ute of respect I shall ever have it in my power to offer them in 

It gave me great pleasure to learn from your letter (of the 
12th. of Septr.) that the sword which had been so lately 
sheathed, was likely to remain in the scabbard for some time, 
other information according with appearances, seem rather to 
indicate an approaching storm in the United Netherlands; 
8701 1 


which, in its consequences, might touch the torch, which would 
kindle the flames of a general War in Europe. How far British 
policy may yield to Irish claims, is not for me to determine. 
The first, it should seem, have had too much of civil conten- 
tions to engage, without some respite, in fresh broils; and the 
other is too near, and too much divided among themselves, to 
oppose effectually without foreign aid, especially maritime. 
But I know not enough of their politic's, or their expectations, 
to hazard an opinion respecting the issue of their disputes. 
That they slumbered during the favourable moment, none I 
think can deny, and favourable moments in war, as in love, 
once lost are seldom regained. 

We have lately held a treaty with the Six Nations at Fort 
Stanwix, advantageously it is said for the United States, tho' 
the issue of it is not pleasing to that of New York. The Com- 
missioners were by the last accounts, proceeding via Fort Pitt, 
to Cayahoga to a Meeting of the Western Tribes, who every 
now and then have bickerings with our Settlers on the Ohio, 
in which lives and property have been lost. At the eclairisse- 
ment which is about to be had with them, it is to be hoped a 
proper understanding will take place, the cause of discontent 
removed, and peace and amity perfectly reestablished. 

The honor of your correspondence I shall ever set a high 
value upon, and shall thank you for the continuation of it; the 
occurences of Europe cannot come thro' a better informed 
channel, nor from a more pleasing pen. Such returns as can 
flow from the cottage of retirement, I will make you: these in- 
deed will be inadequate; but to a mind generous as yours is, 
there is more pleasure in conferring than in receiving an 

If Sir, the name of your Sovereign has been committed to 
your letter by his approbation or authority, you will know how 


far my respectful acknowledgments are due, and can be offered 
with propriety. I wish not to obtrude myself; nor to step over 
that line which custom has drawn, altho' feeling more respect 
and veneration for the King and Queen of France than I have 
powers to utter, I should in that case rest more on your abilities 
and their goodness to disclose them, than upon my own faint 
endeavours. To the military characters with whom I have the 
honor of an acquaintance, I present my best wishes and affec- 
tionate regards; at the same time that I never can too often 
repeat to you the assurances of the esteem and attachment with 
which I have the honor, etc. 1 


Mount Vernon, December 5, 1784. 

My Dr. Sir: Apologies are idle things: I will not trouble you 
with them; that I am your debtor in the epistolary way I ac- 
knowledge, and that appearances indicate a disposition to 
remain so, I cannot deny; but I have neither the inclination nor 
the effrontery to follow the example of great men or St — s to 
withhold payment altogether. To whatever other causes there- 
fore my silence may be attributed, ascribe it not, I beseech you 
to want of friendship, for in this, neither time nor absence can 
occasion a diminution; and I regret that fortune has placed us 
in different States and distant climes, where an interchange of 
sentiments can only be by letter. 

When your letter of the 26th. of July came here, I was upon 
the eve of a tour to the Westward which ended in the neigh- 
bourhood of Fort Pit, altho' my original plan took in the Great 
Kanhawa. I found from information, that the Indians were in 
too discontented a mood to render it prudent for me to run the 

1 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


risk of insult: to see the condition of the property I had in that 
Country, and the quality of my Lands, were all the objects 
I had in view. Those in the vicinity of Fort Pitt (for which I 
have had patents more than ten years) I found in possession 
of people who set me at defiance, under the claim of pre- 
occupancy. Another year, and I may find the rest seized under 
the like pretext; but as the land cannot be removed, altho' the 
property may be changed, I thought it better to return, than to 
make a bad matter worse by hazarding abuse from the Savages 
of the Country. 

I am now endeavoring to stimulate my Countrymen to the 
extension of the inland navigation of the rivers Potomac and 
James, thereby, and a short land transportation, to connect the 
Western Territory by strong commercial bands with this. I 
hope I shall succeed, more on account of its political impor- 
tance than the commercial advantages which would result 
from it, altho' the latter is an immense object: for if this Coun- 
try, which will settle faster than any other ever did (and chiefly 
by foreigners who can have no particular predilection for us), 
cannot, by an easy communication be drawn this way, but are 
suffered to form commercial intercourses (which lead we all 
know to others) with the Spaniards on their right and rear, or 
the British on their left, they will become a distinct people from 
us, have different views, different interests, and instead of add- 
ing strength to the Union, may in case of a rupture with either 
of those powers, be a formidable and dangerous neighbour. 

After much time spent (charity directs us to suppose in duly 
considering the matter) a treaty has at length been held with 
the Six Nations at Fort Stanwix: much to the advantage it is 
said of the United States, but to the great disgust of that of New 
York: fruitlessly, it is added by some, who assert that the Dep- 
uties on the part of the Indians were not properly authorized to 


treat. How true this may be, I will not pretend to decide; but 
certain it is in my opinion, that there is a kind of fatality attend- 
ing all our public measures, inconceivable delays, particular 
States counteracting the plans of the United States when sub- 
mitted to them, opposing each other upon all occasions, torn 
by internal disputes, or supinely negligent and inattentive to 
everything which is not local and selfinteresting and very often 
short sighted in these, make up our system of conduct. Would 
to God our own Countrymen, who are entrusted with the man- 
agement of the political machine, could view things by that 
large and extensive scale upon which it is measured by foreign- 
ers, and by the Statemen of Europe, who see what we might be, 
and predict what we shall come to. In fact, our federal Govern- 
ment is a name without substance: No State is longer bound 
by its edicts, than it suits present purposes, without looking to 
the consequences. How then can we fail in a little time, becom- 
ing the sport of European politics, and the victims of our own 

I met the Marqs. de la Fayette at Richmond, brought him to 
this place, conducted him to Annapolis, saw him on the road 
to Baltimore, and returned. About the middle of this month he 
expected to embark at New York for France. He tells us that 
Mrs. Knox was about to add to your family, we hope 'ere this 
we may congratulate you both on a son, or daughter, according 
to your desires. Mrs. Washington joins me in every good senti- 
ment of esteem, regard and friendship, I am, etc. 

P. S. Had you an agreeable tour to the Eastward ? Are the 
State Societies 2 in the New England Governments making any 
moves towards obtaining Charters? If they are, with what 
success ? s 

1 Of the Cincinnati. 

2 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 



Mount Vernon, December 8, 1784. 

Dear Sir: When the Marqs. de la Fayette left this place, he 
expected to embark abt. the 14th. or 15th. Instt. on board the 
Nymph frigate, at New York, for France. Therefore, as this 
event may have taken place before this letter gets that far, I 
take the liberty of putting the enclosed packet under cover to 
you, with a request, if he should have Sailed, to forward it by 
the fiirst French Packet which follows. 

In looking into Millers Gardeners Dictionary, I find, besides 
transplanting, that the Pine-tree and ever greens of all kinds, 
are to be raised from the Seed. As this may be an easier way of 
helping me to the balm of Gilead, Spruce, White pine, or Hem- 
lock, than by Stolks, I would thank your Excellency when it 
may be convenient (if it is not too late in the Season for it) to 
forward me some of these Seeds; especially the first, extracted 
from the Cone, and put up in Sand. A thimble ful or two of 
each would suffice, and this might, at any time, come by the 
Stage, first to the care of Colo. Biddle in Philadelphia, who 
would forward it to me. Mrs. Washington joins me in best 
wishes for Mrs. Clinton, yourself and all the family. With 
great truth etc. 4 


Mount Vernon, December 8, 1784. 
My Dr. Marqs: The peregrination of the day in which I 
parted with you, ended at Marlbro': the next day, bad as it was, 
I got home before dinner. 5 

* From a photostat of the original kindly furnished by John Gilbert, of Philadelphia. 
'Washington parted from Lafayette at Annapolis, apparently on December i, and 
reached Mount Vernon on December 2. 


In the moment of our separation upon the road as I travelled, 
and every hour since, I felt all that love, respect and attachment 
for you, with which length of years, close connexion and your 
merits have inspired me. I often asked myself, as our carriages 
distended, 6 whether that was the last sight, I ever should have 
of you ? And tho' I wished to say no, my fears answered yes. I 
called to mind the days of my youth, and found they had long 
since fled to return no more; that I was now descending the 
hill, I had been 52 years climbing, and that tho' I was blessed 
with a good constitution, I was of a short lived family, and 
might soon expect to be entombed in the dreary mansions of 
my father's. These things darkened the shades and gave a 
gloom to the picture, consequently to my prospects of seeing 
you again : but I will not repine, I have had my day. 

Nothing of importance has occurred since I parted with you ; 
I found my family well, and am now immersed in company; 
notwithstanding which, I have in haste, produced a few more 
letters to give you the trouble of, rather inclining to commit 
them to your care, than to pass them thro' many and unknown 

It is unnecessary , I persuade myself to repeat to you my Dr. 
Marqs. the sincerity of my regards and friendship, nor have I 
words which could express my affection for you, were I to at- 
tempt it. My fervent prayers are offered for your safe and pleas- 
ant passage, happing meeting with Madame la Fayette and 
family, and the completion of every wish of your heart, in all 
which Mrs. Washington joins me, as she does in complimts. to 
Capt. Grandchean and the Chevr. 7 of whom little Wash:n 
often speaks. With every sentimt. wch. is propitious and en- 
dearing, I am, etc. 8 

6 A questionable error of the copyist; "distanced" seems more likely to have been 
the word written by Washington. 
7 Chevalier Caraman. 
8 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 





Mount Vernon, December n, 1784. 
Sir: The Gentn. who will have the honor of presenting this 
letter to you is a Nephew 9 of mine; heir to a Brother who was 
one of the Principio Company, and to whose Will I was ap- 
pointed an Exr., the Circumstances put it out of my power to 
qualify. He is about to offer a petition to your honble. Assem- 
bly for his part of the Sales of the property of that Company. 
The petition is explanatory of the justice on which it is founded, 
and so full that it leaves nothing for me to add; further, than 
as it was by a mis-information, or mis-conception that his pro- 
portion of the Bonds got into the hands of the Intendant, so I 
am perswaded it only requires to be known, to obtain an order 
for the assignment of them to him, as the Act of your Assembly 
reserved his interest therein absolutely and clearly; and only 
a punctilio of the Intendant the cause of the delay; which, for 
the reasons assigned in the petition, is exceedingly injurious to 
my Nephew. You will excuse me I hope, for the freedom of 
this address; and do me the justice to believe that I am, etc. 10 


December 13, 1784. 
Dr. Sir: My brother John 11 is much in want of four, five or six 
hundred pounds which he is desirous of borrowing on Interest. 
If it is in your power to supply him I will become security for 

8 William Augustine Washington, son of Augustine ("Austin"), of Westmoreland, 
and a half-nephew 

10 From a photostat of the original through the kindness of Judge E. A. Armstrong, 
of Princeton, N. J. 

"John Augustine Washington. 


the fulfilment of his agreement. He seems to have little expec- 
tation that money in these times, can be had at the common 
interest; and his own words will best express what he is willing 
to allow. 

I believe I mentioned to you before (when he was last up) that I was 
willing to receive ninety pounds for an hundred, and pay interest for 
the latter sum from the date, provided I could be allowed to retain the 
principal two years. If I could receive 4, 5, or 6 hundred pounds on these 
terms, it would be a real convenience and happiness for me; because it 
would enable me to observe that punctuality in dealing I always wished 
to do, and without which I am miserable. If you cou'd prevail upon Colo. 
Mason, or any other Gentieman to furnish me with the above sum on 
these terms, you would confer a very great favor, and I would attend at a 
time to be appointed to give Bond and receive the money. 

To this, I can add nothing but my wishes for his success, an 
expression of my own inclination to have supplied his want, if 
I had been in circumstances to have it done. I am, etc. 12 


Mount Vernon, December 14, 1784. 
Dear Sir: The letter which you did me the honor to write to 
me on the 20th. of last month, only came to my hands by the 
post preceding the date of this. For the copy of the treaty held 
with the Six Nations at Fort Stanwix, you will please to accept 
my thanks. These people have given I think, all that the United 
States could reasonably have required of them; more perhaps 
than the State of New York conceives ought to have been asked 
from them by any other than their own Legislature. I wish 
they were better satisfied. Individual States opposing the meas- 
ures of the United States, encroaching upon the territory of 

"From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 
13 Richard Henry Lee. 


each other; and setting up old and obsolete claims, is verifying 
the prediction of our enemies, and is truly unfortunate. If the 
Western tribes are as well disposed to treat with us as the Six 
Nations have been; and will cede a competent District of Land 
No. West of the Ohio to answer our present purposes; it will be 
a circumstance as unexpected; as pleasing to me; for it was 
apprehended that they would agree to the latter reluctantly, if 
at all: but the example of the northern Indians who (if they 
have not reliquished their claim) have pretentions to a large 
part of those Lands; may have a powerful influence on the 
Western gentry, and smooth the way for the Commissioners 
who have proceeded to Cayahoga. 

It gave me pleasure to find by the last Gazettes, that a suffi- 
cient number of States had assembled to form a Congress, and 
that you were chosen to preside in it, 14 on this event be pleased 
to accept my compliments of congratulation. To whatever 
causes the delay of this meeting may have been ascribed, 15 it 
most certainly has an unfavourable aspect; contributes to lessen 
(at present too low) the dignity and importance of the federal 
government, and is hurtful to our national character in the eyes 
of Europe. 

It is said (I do not know how founded) that our Assembly 
have repealed their former act respecting British debts. If this 
be true, and the State of New York has not acted repugnant to 
the terms of the Treaty, the British Government can no longer 
hold the western Posts under that cover; but I shall be mistaken 
if they do not entrench themselves behind some other expedi- 
ent to effect it; or will appoint a time for surrendering them 
of which we cannot avail ourselves; the probable consequence 
of which will be the destruction of the works. 

"Lee was elected President of Congress on November 30. 

"Congress was to have assembled October 30, but did not succeed in organizing 
until November 30. 


The Assemblies of Virginia and Maryland have now under 
consideration the extension of the inland navigation of the 
rivers Potomac and James, and opening a communication be- 
tween them and the Western waters: they seem fully im- 
pressed with the political as well as the commercial advantages 
which would result from the accomplishment of these great 
objects; and I hope will embrace the present moment to put 
them in train for speedy execution. Would it not at the same 
time be worthy of the wisdom and attention of Congress, to 
have the western waters well explored, the navigation of them 
fully ascertained, accurately laid down, and a complete and per- 
fect map made of the Country; at least, as far westwardly as 
the Miamies running into the Ohio and Lake Erie; and to see 
how the waters of them communicate with the river St. Joseph 
which empties into the Lake Michigan, and with the Wabash ? 
I cannot forbear observing here, that the Miami Village in 
Hutchins map, if it, and the waters here mentioned are laid 
down with any degree of accuracy, points to a very important 
post for the Union. The expence attending this undertaking 
cou'd not be great, the advantages would be unbounded; for 
sure I am, nature has made such an ample display of her boun- 
ties in those regions, that the more the Country is explored, the 
more it will rise in estimation, consequently, the greater might 
the revenue be to the Union. Would there be any impropriety 
do you think sir, in reserving for special sale, all Mines, miner- 
als and Salt springs in the general Grants of Land belonging 
to the United States. The Public, instead of the few knowing 
ones, might in this case derive the benefits which would result 
from the sale of them, without infringing any rule of justice 
that occurs to me, or their own laws, but on the contrary 
inflict a just punishment upon those, who in defiance of the 
latter, have dared to create enemies, and to disturb the public 


tranquillity, by roaming over the country, marking and survey- 
ing the valuable spots in it, to the great disquiet of the Western 
Tribes of Indians, who have viewed these transactions with 
jealous indignation. To hit upon a happy medium price for 
the Western Lands, for the prevention of monopoly on one 
hand; and not discouraging useful settlers on the other, will no 
doubt require consideration, but should not employ too much 
time before it is announced. The spirit for emigration is great, 
people have got impatient, and tho' you cannot stop the road, it 
is yet in your power to mark the way; a little while and you will 
not be able to do either. It is easier to prevent, than to remedy 
an evil. I shall be happy in the continuation of your corre- 
spondence, and with every sentiment of great esteem etc. 16 


Mount Vernon, December 15, 1784. 
Sir: I have received your letter of the 17th. ulto. It would in- 
terfere with no views of mine, to give you a field to speculate 
in, if I was sufficiently Master of the business, and had leisure 
for these kind of communications: but the truth is, I do not 
turn my thoughts to matters of that sort, and if I did, the busi- 
ness in which you want to be informed is too much in embryo, 
and depends too much on contingencies, to speak to with any 
degree of certainty at this time. First, because Acts of the As- 
semblies of Virginia and Maryland, must be obtained to incor- 
porate private Adventurers to undertake the business. 2d. the 
Company must be formed before anything can be done. 3d. an 
actual survey of the waters, by skilful Engineers, (or persons 
in that line) must take place and be approved before the points 
at which the navigation on the different waters can be ascer- 

18 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


tained, as proper to end, or commence the water transportation. 
From Fort Cumberland to the Yohioghany is one of the Por- 
tages in contemplation, and from some place higher up the No. 
river, 17 most convenient to the navigable part, or such part as 
can be made so, of the Cheat river, is another portage talked of; 
but whether either, neither or both may be attempted does not 
lie with me to determine, and therefore I should be unwilling 
to mislead any one by hazarding an opinion, as my knowledge 
of that Country goes more to the general view of it, and to 
general principle, than to the investigation of local spots for 
interested purposes. I am, etc. 18 


Mount Vernon, December 15, 1784. 

Sir: Not until within a few days have I been honor'd with 
your favor of the 27th. of Septr. 1783, accompanying your 
treatise on Education. 

My sentiments are perfectly in unison with yours sir, that the 
best means of forming a manly, virtuous and happy people, will 
be found in the right education of youth. Without this foun- 
dation, every other means, in my opinion, must fail; and it gives 
me pleasure to find that Gentlemen of your abilities are devot- 
ing their time and attention in pointing out the way. For your 
lucubrations on this subject which you have been so obliging as 
to send me, I pray you to accept my thanks, and an expression 
of the pleasure I felt at the declaration of your intention to de- 
vote a further portion of your time in so useful a study. 

Of the importance of education our Assemblies, happily, 
seem fully impressed ; they establishing new, and giving further 

"The North Branch of the Potomac. 
"From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

"Formerly master of the grammar school at Dumfries, Va., and at this time master 
of the academy at Inchdrewer, near Banff, North Britain. 


endowments to the old Seminaries of learning, and I persuade 
myself will leave nothing unessayed to cultivate literature and 
useful knowledge, for the purpose of qualifying the rising gen- 
eration for patrons of good government, virtue and happiness. 
I have the honor, etc. 20 


Mount Vernon, December 19, 1784. 
Dr. Sir: The Express who brought me the resolves of our 
Assembly, and is going to Annapolis with dispatches for Govr. 
Paca, informs me that he deliver'd others to you. It only re- 
mains therefore for me to add, that Thursday next, the 23d. is 
the day appointed for the Commissioners to meet at Annap- 
olis. 21 I shall go to our Court tomorrow, and proceed from 
thence. 22 I am, etc. 20 


Mount Vernon, December 20, 1784. 
Dear Sir: I am indebted to you for several letters, and am as 
much so for the Fish you kindly intended, as if it had actually 
arrived, and I was in the act of paying my respects to it at table, 
the chance, however, of doing this would be greater, was it at 
Boston, than in Yorktown in this State, where I am informed 
it was landed at the time the Marqs. de la Fayette did, who 
proceeded from thence to Richmond, where I met him, and 
conducted him to Annapolis on his way to New York; the place 
of his intended embarkation for France, about the middle of 
this month. 

20 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

21 Blackburn became ill and did not attend. 

22 On December 19 Washington also wrote a brief note to Governor Paca, notifying 
him that he would be in Annapolis at the time appointed. A copy of this letter is in 
the "Letter Book" in the Washington Papers. 


I am glad to hear that my old acquaintance Colo. Ward 23 is 
yet under the influence of vigorous passions. I will not ascribe 
the intrepidity of his late enterprize to a mere flash of desires, 
because, in his military career he would have learnt how to dis- 
tinguish between false alarms and a serious movement. Char- 
ity therefore induces me to suppose that like a prudent general, 
he had reviewed his strength, his arms, and ammunition before 
he got involved in an action. But if these have been neglected, 
and he has been precipitated into the measure, let me advise 
him to make the first onset upon his fair del Toboso, with vigor, 
that the impression may be deep, if it cannot be lasting, or fre- 
quently renewed. 

We are all well at this time except Miss Custis, who still feels 
the effect, and sometimes the return of her fever. Mrs. Lund 
Washington has added a daughter to her family. She, Child 
and husband are well, and become house-keepers at the dis- 
tance of about four miles from this place. 

We have a dearth of News, but the fine weather keeps us 
busy, and we have leisure for cogitation. All join in best wishes 
for you, Doctr. and Mrs. Stuart are of those who do it. I am, 
etc. 24 


Alexandria, December 20, 1784. 
Sir: The letter you did me the honor to write to me the 15th 
Inst, was not delivered until late yesterday Evening. I filled the 
Blank in the letter to Govr. Paca and forwarded it; and am now 
on my way to Annapolis. I named the 22d., which at the rate 
your Express travels, is as soon as the Govr. can lay your letter 

23 Col. Joseph(?) Ward. 

24 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


before the Assembly of Maryland and Commns. be appointed 
to meet those from this State. Genl. Gates will attend; and I 
have given Colo. Blackburne notice of the time and place. 

As soon as the business of the meeting is finished a report 
shall be made. I have the honr. etc. 25 


Mount Vernon, December 20, 1784. 

Sir: Your letter of the 27th. of October came to my hands the 
14th. inst:, the box of Plate is not yet arrived. 

It would have been very obliging in you, and would have 
done me an essential kindness, had you as soon as this Box ar- 
rived at New York (which you say was the latter part of sum- 
mer) given me notice thereof by post; altho' there might have 
been no opportunity at that time, or in any short time there- 
after to forward the package to me: for having been assured 
by Mr. Parker (before I left New York last year) that I might 
look for this Plate in the Spring; having, in answer to a letter 
I wrote to him early in the summer, been informed of some 
disappointment to his expectation of it; and having heard 
soon after, that that Gentlen. was under peculiar embarrass- 
ment, and not a word from him since, I gave up every idea of 
having my commission complied with by him, and supplied 
myself, not fourteen days ago, in another way. I now have 
both setts, neither of which can be disposed of, one having been 
used, and the other having my Crest and arms on it. 

When I was at New York, altho' I could not get Mr. Parker, 
from his then hurry, to render me a full and complete trans- 
cript of my Accots.; yet he gave me a short statement of the 
debit and credit of my dealings with him by which there is a 

From a photostat of the draft in the Chicago University Library. 


balance of ;£ 65.5.5 York Curry, due to me, this sum I left in his 
hands declaredly and by agreement to be applied towards pay- 
ment for the Plate his brother was to get for me. If you will be 
pleased (if Mr. Parkers books are in your possession) to ex- 
amine into this matter, or if they are not, will make out an ac- 
count with this credit, at the current exchange, I will cause it 
to be paid. To do it in Alexandria, if you have any Agent or 
correspondent there, would be more convenient for me, as I 
have no dealings either in New York or London at this time. 
In this case I shou'd be glad to have the original Bill sent with 
the Accot. If the business cannot be closed in this manner I will 
endeavour to accomodate myself to your wishes in any other 
way I am able. lam, etc. 28 


Annapolis, December 23, 1784. 

My Dr. Marqs. You would scarcely expect to receive a letter 
from me at this place: a few hours before I set out for it, I as 
little expected to cross the Potomac again this winter, or even 
to be fifteen miles from home before the first of April, as I 
did to make you a visit in an air Balloon in France. 

I am here however, with Genl. Gates, at the request of the 
Assembly of Virginia, to fix matters with the Assembly of this 
State respecting the extension of the inland navigation of Poto- 
mac, and the communication between it and the Western 
waters; and hope a plan will be agreed upon to the mutual satis- 
faction of both States, and to the advantage of the Union at 

It gave me pain to hear that the Frigate la Nymph, grounded 
in her passage to New York, we have various accots. of this 

26 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


unlucky accident, but I hope she has received no damage, and 
that your embarkation is not delay'd by it. 

The enclosed came to my hands under cover of the letter 
which accompanies it, and which is explanatory of the delay it 
has met with. I can only repeat to you assurances of my best 
wishes for an agreeable passage and happy meeting with 
Madame la Fayette and your family, and of the sincere attach- 
ment and affection with which, I am, etc. 

PS. You and your heirs, Male, are made Citizens of this State 27 
by an Act of Assembly. You will have an official Accot. of it, 
this is by the by. 28 


Annapolis, December 28, 1784. 

Dear Sir: I have been favored with your letter of the nth. 

The proceedings of the conference, and the Act and resolu- 
tions of this Legislature consequent thereupon (herewith trans- 
mitted to the Assembly) are so full, and explanatory of the 
motives which governed in this business, that it is scarcely 
necessary for me to say any thing in addition to them; except 
that, this State seem highly impressed with the importance of 
the objects wch. we have had under consideration, and are very 
desirous of seeing them accomplished. 

We have reduced most of the Tolls from what they were 
in the first Bill, and have added something to a few others, 
upon the whole, we have made them as low as we conceived 
from the best information before us, and such estimates as 
we had means to calculate upon, as they can be fixed, without 

^Maryland and also Virginia made Lafayette a citizen. 

28 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

On December 23 Washington wrote a brief letter to Baron Montesquieu, Marquis 
de la Brede, aide to Chevalier de Chastellux, introducing John Ridout, of Annapolis. 
A copy of this letter is in the "Letter Book" in the Washington Papers. 


hazarding the plan altogether. We made the value of the com- 
modity the governing principle in the establishment of the 
Tolls; but having had an eye to some bulky articles of produce, 
and to the encouragement of the growth and Manufacture of 
some others, as well as to prevent a tedious enumeration of the 
different species of all, we departed from the genl. rule in many 

The rates of tollage as now fixed, may still appear high to 
some of the Southern Gentlemen, when they compare them 
with those on James River; but as there is no comparison in the 
expence and risk of the two undertakings, so neither ought 
thereto be in the Tolls, I am fully perswaded that the Gentle- 
men who were appointed, and have had this matter under con- 
sideration, were actuated by no other motives than to hit (if 
they could do so) upon such a happy medium as would not be 
burthensome to indivs. or give jealousy to the public on one 
hand, nor discouragement to adventures on the other. To se- 
cure success, and to give vigor to the undertaking, it was judged 
advisable for each State to contribute (upon the terms of private 
Subscribers) to the expence of it; especially as it might have a 
happy influence on the minds of the Western Settlers and it 
may be observed here, that only part of this money can be called 
for immediately, provided the work goes on; and afterwards, 
only in the proportion of its progression. 

Though there is no obligation upon the State to adopt this (if 
it is inconvenient, or repugnant to their wishes) yet I should be 
highly pleased to hear that they had done so, (our advantages 
will, most assuredly, be equal to those of Maryland and our pub- 
lic spirit ought not, in my opinion, to be less) ; as also the reso- 
lutions respecting the roads of Communication; both of which, 
tho they look in some degree to different objects, are both 
very important; that by the Yohiogany (thro' Pensylvania) 


is particularly so for the Fur and Peltry of the Lakes, because 
it is the most direct rout by which they can be transported; 
whilst it is exceedingly convenient to the people who inhabit 
the Ohio (or Alligany) above Fort Pitt; the lower part of the 
Monogahela; and all the Yohiogany. 

Matters might perhaps have been better digested if more 
time had been taken, but the fear of not getting the report to 
Richmond before the Assembly would have risen, occasioned 
more hurry than accuracy; or even real dispatch. But to alter 
the Act now, further than to accommodate it to circumstances 
where it is essential ; or to remedy an obvious error if any should 
be discovered will not do. The Bill passed this Assembly with 
only 9 dissenting voices; and got thro' both Houses in a day, 
so earnest were the members of getting it to you in time. 

It is now near 12 at Night, and I am writing with an Aching 
head, having been constantly employed in this business since 
the 22d. without assistance from my Colleagues; Genl. Gates 
having been Sick the whole time, and Colo. Blackburn not 
attending. But for this I would be more explicit. I am etc. 

I am ashamed to send such a letter, but cannot give you a 
fairer one. 29 


Annapolis, December 28, 1784. 
Pursuant to the Resolves of the Honble. the Senate and Ho. 
of Delegates, and conformably to the direction of the Executive 
authority of the State of Virginia, we repaired to the City of An- 
napolis, and held a conference with the Gentlemen appointed 

20 From a photostat of the original kindly furnished by George A. Ball, of Muncie, Ind. 


by the Legislature of Maryland; the result of which is contained 
in the Inclosure No. i. 30 

In consequence of the opinion given by the Conference the 
Legislature of Maryland have passed the Act inclosed, No. 2. 
and the Resolves No. 3. 

It may be necessary for us to explain the reason for the pro- 
vision in the Act. "that if Subscriptions should be taken in; or 
a meeting of Subscribers directed by the Legislature of Virginia 
at different times, different from those in the Act, then there 
should be a meeting at the time appointed by Virginia; and 
subscriptions made at times by them appointed, should be re- 
ceived". It was thought by the Conf errees to be most proper to 
appoint certain times in the Act, but as it was doubtful whether 
the Act would get to Virginia in time to be adopted at the 
present Session of the Assembly, it was judged necessary to 
make a provision to accomodate the Scheme to an Act to be 
passed by Virginia, or the next Session of their assembly, with- 
out the necessity of having recourse again to the Legislature of 
Maryland, but it is the opinion of the Conferrees that an Act 
upon Similar principles to that passed by Maryland might, if 
possible be passed by the Assembly of Virginia at this Session; 
this would give Speedy beginning to the Work, and an opper- 
tunity of embracing the present favorable state of things for 
accomplishing the views of the two States. 

The Act appears to us, from every consideration we can give 
it, to be founded on just and proper principles, and to be calcu- 
lated to answer in every respect the purposes for which it is 
designed; we conceive it a duty therefore to declare that it 
meets our entire approbation. 

30 The inclosures are not now found in the Washington Papers. The report of the 
proceedings of the Commissioners (inclosure no. i) is printed in Corra Bacon-Foster's 
Potomac Route to the West, p. 45. 


The reasons why this Act has not the Signature of the chief 
magistrate are, because he is not present, and because it wants 
not this formality to give it validity. 

We should do injustice to our feelings were we not to add 
that we have been happy in meeting Gentlemen of liberallity 
and candour, impressed with the importance of accelerating 
the purpose of the Legislature of Virginia of opening a free and 
easy intercourse with the Western territory, and for the exten- 
sion of inland Navigation; and, that, there has been a perfect 
accordance of Sentiment in the Legislature of the State. 

Respectfully submitted by Go: Washington and Horatio 
Gates. 31 [C.L.] 


Mount Vernon, January 5, 1785. 32 
Revd. Sir: A few days ago, under cover from Mr. Hazard of 
Philada., I was honored with your favor of the 19th. of July, 
and the first volume of your history of New Hampshire. For 
both I pray you to accept my thanks: but my acknowledge- 
ments are more particularly due for your favourable expres- 
sion, in the former, of my past endeavors to support the cause 
of liberty. The proof you have given of your approbation of 
this, is interesting. I receive it with gratitude, and am with 
great respect, Revd. Sir, etc. 33 

81 Washington signed for Gates. 

In 1784, or an approximate date, Washington drew up a tabular statement of "A 
List of the United States Loan Office certificates, in possession of, and belonging to 
George Washington. Payable in Virginia" and also of those payable in Maryland and 
"at the United States Office." This showed holdings amounting, both principal and 
interest, to $28,930, which, in specie value, at the depreciation rate, amounted to 
$8,002.92. A photostat of this, in the Washington Papers, was kindly furnished by 
Alfred C. Chapin, of New York City. 

^In the "Letter Book" in the Washington Papers, this date is wrongly copied as 

33 Washington forwarded this letter in care of Ebenezer Hazard, to whom he wrote 
a brief, explanatory note, Jan. 5, 1785. This note is entered in the "Letter Book" in 
the Washington Papers. 



Mount Vernon, January 5, 1785. 

My dear Sir: About the beginning of last month I wrote you 
a pretty long letter, and soon after, received your favor of the 
23d. of November. It is not the letters from my friends which 
give me trouble, or adds ought to my perplexity. I receive them 
with pleasure, and pay as much attention to them as my avoca- 
tions will admit. 

It is references of old matters with which I have nothing to 
do. Applications, which oftentimes cannot be complied with. 
Enquiries, which would employ the pen of a historian to satisfy. 
Letters of compliment, as unmeaning perhaps as they are trou- 
blesome, but which must be attended to. And the common- 
place business, which employs my pen and my time; often 

Indeed, these with company, deprive me of exercise, and 
unless I can obtain relief, may be productive of disagreeable con- 
sequences. I already begin to feel the effect. Heavy, and pain- 
ful oppressions of the head, and other disagreeable sensations, 
often trouble me. I am determined therefore to employ some 
person who shall ease me of the drudgery of this business. At 
any rate, if the whole of it is thereby suspended, I am resolved 
to use exercise. My private concerns also, require infinitely 
more attention than I have given, or can give, under present cir- 
cumstances. They can no longer be neglected without involv- 
ing my ruin. This, my dear Sir, is a friendly communication; 
I give it in testimony of my unreservedness with you, and not 
for the purpose of discouraging your letters; for be assured 
that, to corrispond with those I love is among my highest grati- 
fications, and I perswade myself you will not doubt my sin- 
cerity when I assure you, I place you among the foremost of 


this class. Letters of friendship require no study, the communi- 
cations are easy, and allowances are expected, and made. This 
is not the case with those which require re-searches, consid- 
eration, recollection, and the de — 1 knows what to prevent 
error, and to answer the ends for which they are written. 

In my last I informed you that I was endeavouring to stimulate 
my Countrymen to the extension of the inland Navigation of 
our rivers; and to the opening of the best and easiest communi- 
cation for Land transportation between them and the western 
waters. I am just returned from Annapolis to which place I was 
requested to go by our Assembly (with my bosom friend Genl. 
G — tes, who being at Richmond contrived to edge himself into 
the Commission) for the purpose of arranging matters, and 
forming a Law which should be similar in both States, so far 
as it respected the river Potomack, which seperates them. I 
met the most perfect accordance in that legislature; and the 
matter is now reported to ours, for its concurrence. The two 
Assemblies (not being in Circumstances to undertake this busi- 
ness wholly at the public expence) propose to incorporate such 
private Adventurers as shall associate for the purpose of ex- 
tending the navigation of the River from the tide water as far 
up as it will admit Craft of ten Tons burthen, and to allow 
them a perpetual toll and other emoluments to induce them to 
subscribe freely to a Work of such magnitude; whilst they 
have agreed (or, I should rather say, probably will agree, as the 
matter is not yet concluded in the Virginia Assembly) to open, 
at the public expence, the communication with the Western 
territory. To do this will be a great political work. May be 
immensely extensive in a commercial point, and beyond all 
question, will be exceedingly beneficial for those who advance 
the money for the purpose of extending the Navigation of the 
river, as the tolls arising therefrom are to be held in perpetuity, 
and will encrease every year. 

1785] LIMESTONE 25 

Rents have got to such an amazing height in Alexandria, that 
(having an unimproved lot or two there) I have thoughts, if 
my finances will support me in the measure, of building a 
House, or Houses thereon for the purpose of letting. 

In humble imitation of the wise man, I have set me down to 
count the cost; and among other heavy articles of expenditure, 
I find lime is not the smallest. 

Stone lime with us, owing to the length of (Land) transpor- 
tation comes very high at that place. Shell lime, from its weak- 
ness, and the consequent quantity used, is far from being low. 
These considerations added to a report that this article may be 
had from your State by way of Ballast, upon terms much easier 
than either can be bought here, inclines me without making an 
apology, to give you the trouble of enquiring from those who 
might be disposed to enter into a contract therefor, and can 
ascertain the fact with precision, 

ist. At what price by the Bushel, a quantity of slaked stone 
lime could be delivered at one of the Wharves at Alexandria 
(freight and every incidental charge included), or to a Lighter 
opposite to my own House. 

2d. At what price burnt lime stone, but unslaked (if it be safe 
to bring such) could be delivered as above. 

3d. At what price unburnt lime stone, could be delivered at 
the latter place. 

In the last case, it might I should suppose, come as Ballast 
very low. In the Second, it might also come as Ballast, and (tho' 
higher than the former, yet) comparatively, cheap, if the dan- 
ger of waters getting to it, and its slaking and heating in the 
Hold, would not be too great. In the first case, there would 
be no certainty of its goodness, because lime from the late 
judicious experiments of a Mr. Higgens, should be used as 
soon as it is slaked; and would be still better, if it was so, imme- 
diately after burning; as Air as well as water, according to his 


observations, weakens and injures it. Your information upon 
these points from those who might incline to Contract, and on 
whom dependance could be placed, would much oblige me; 
and the sooner I get it the better, as my determination is 

Our amiable young friend the Marquis de la Fayette could 
not be otherwise than well pleased with his reception in Amer- 
ica. Every testimony of respect, affection and gratitude has 
been shewn him, wherever he went; if his heart therefore 
has not been impressed with these expressions (which I am far 
from supposing) the political consequence which he will de- 
rive from them must bear them in his remembrance, and point 
to the advantages wch. must flow. 

You informed me that Mrs. Knox had got another, but left 
me to guess, boy or girl. On the birth of either Mrs. Washing- 
ton and I sincerely congratulate you both; and offer our best 
wishes for you all hoping the good health which Mrs. Knox 
and the Children enjoyed at the time your letter was written, 
may be of long continuance. The report of my coming to 
Boston was without foundation; I do not, at this time, know 
when, or whether ever, I may have it in my power to do this, 
altho' to see my compatriots in War, would be great gratifica- 
tion to my mind. With every sentiment of esteem etc. 



Mount Vernon, January 5, 1785. 

Dear Sir: Receive my thanks for your favor of 31st. ulto., and 
for the copies therewith enclosed: they will answer my pur- 
poses equally with the fairest that could be made. 

When I found your Express at Mount Pleasant, and was un- 
able to procure another in Marlbro', I commenced one myself, 


got home before dinner, and dispatched one of my servants 
to Hooes ferry immediately. He placed the packet into the 
hands of the Express there waiting, before nine o'clock next 
morning: on Friday with ease the business might have been 
laid before the Assembly of this State, yet sitting I believe. 
When I hear from thence, I will with pleasure communicate 
the result. 

The attention which your assembly is giving to the estab- 
lishment of public schools, for the encouragement of literature, 
does them great honor: to accomplish this, ought to be one 
of our first endeavours; I know of no object more interesting. 
We want something to expand the mind, and make us think 
with more liberallity, and act with sounder policy, than most of 
the States do. We should consider that we are not now in lead- 
ing strings. It behooves us therefore to look well to our ways. 
My best wishes attend the Ladies of your family. I am, etc. 34 


Mount Vernon, January 6, 1785. 
Dear George: As Soon as I got your letter announcing your 
intention of spending the Winter at Charleston I wrote you by 
Post, under cover to Colo. Willm. Washington, and sometime 
after by Mr. Laurens, by whom also I forwarded the articles of 
clothing you desired might be sent to you; there can be little 
doubt (as the Post now goes regularly) of both getting to hand. 
I need not therefore repeat any part of the contents of those 
Letters. I had the pleasure to hear yesterday from Colo. Parker 
of Norfolk, that you had left the Island of Bermuda with en- 
creased health. I flatter myself the mildness of a Southern 
Winter will perfectly restore you in addition to this, a trip in 

M From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


the Packet to Philadelphia when you determine to return to 
Virginia, may be of Service; this, at a proper Season wd. be I 
conceive the easiest, cheapest, and best method of getting back 
as the Stage from Philadelphia comes to Alexandria twice a 
week regularly. You would by this means avoid the dreary 
roads, and bad accomodation, which is to be encountered I 
am told, all through North Carolina. 

Since my last Colo. Bassett has been here and brought up 
Fanny, who is now with us. She has been unwell all the Fall, 
as most others in this Country have been; she is not yet re- 
covered, but the change of Air and exercise will soon give her 

We have nothing new in this Quarter, our Assembly has 
been sitting since the middle, or last of October; but we have 
little information of what they have done. A plan is now on 
foot for improving and extending the Navigation of this River 
by private Subscription and opening a good road between it 
and the nearest Western Waters. I hope it will succeed; as the 
Assemblies of this State and Maryld. seem disposed to give it 
their Countenance. 

If it is not too late in the Season to obtain them, I wish you 
would procure for me in So. Carolina a few of the Acorns of 
the live Oak, and the Seeds of the Evergreen Magnolia; this 
latter is called in Millers Gardeners dictionary greater Mag- 
nolia, it rises according to his Acct. to the height of Eighty 
feet or more, flowers early, and is a beautiful tree; there is an- 
other Species of the Magnolia of which I wish to get the Seeds, 
it is called the Umbrella tree; but unless these Seeds grow in 
cones and the Cones are now on the Trees there is no chance 
of obtaining them at this Season; in which case prevail on Colo. 
Washington, or some acquaintance on whom you can depend, 
to supply me next Seed time. 


The Acorns and Seeds of every kind should be put in dry 
Sand as soon as they are gathered : and the box which contains 
them might (if no oppertunity offers to Alexandria) be sent 
either to Mr. Newton of Norfolk or to Colo. Biddle of Phila- 
delphia, with a request to forward it safely and by the first 

If there are any other trees (not natives with us) which, 
would be ornamental in a grove or forest and would stand our 
climate, I should be glad to procure the Seeds of them in the 
way above mentioned. All here unite in best wishes for you; 
and Mrs. Washington joins me in compliments to Colo. Wash- 
ington and Lady, and other friends of our Acquainte. 

With great esteem etc. 

PS. Your Father and family were well some little time ago, 
and I have heard nothing to the contrary Since. 35 


January 10, 1785. 

Sir: Immediately after my return from Annapolis, I wrote 
to some Gentlemen of my acquaintance in the Assembly of 
this State, suggesting the expediency of a conference between 
Delegates of their Body and yours, on the extension of the in- 
land navigation of the river Potomac, and its communication 
with the Western waters. When I receive an answer, I will 
communicate the contents of it to you. I am, etc. 

P. S. Are you likely Sir, to ascertain soon, to whom I am to 
pay the balance which is due for the land I bought of the 
deceas'd Mr. Clifton s6 under the decree of our high Court of 
Chancery? 37 

35 From a photostat of the original through the kindness of Judge E. A. Armstrong, 
of Princeton, N. J. 
30 William Clifton. 
37 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 



Mount Vernon, January 15, 1785. 

Sir: I have been favored with two letters from you: 38 that 
which was first written came last to hand, and neither of them 
long since. Your history and map of Kentucke I have not yet 
seen. For the honor you have done me in the dedication of 
them, you will please to accept my acknowledgments; and for 
the favourable sentiments you have been so polite as to express 
for me in both your letters, you have my thanks. 

It has long been my wish to see an extensive and accurate 
map of the Western Territory set on foot, and amply encour- 
aged: but I would have this work founded upon actual surveys 
and careful observations, any thing short of these is, in my 
opinion, not only defective and of little use, but serve as often 
to mislead as to direct the examiner. My sentiments upon this 
subject are well known to many members of Congress, and 
to the Legislature of the State in which I have the honor to live : 
but what steps will be taken by both, or either, to accomplish 
this useful undertaking, is not for me to say. 

Altho' I possess a pretty general knowledge of the Ohio and 
its waters between Fort Pitt and the Gt. Kanhawa, and have 
some parts of that Country laid down from actual surveys; yet 
they are not so connected, nor founded with such precision as 
to incline me to suffer my name to be given as the author of 
them, or any information in a map or topographical descrip- 
tion of the Country, that would not stand the test of future 

That the river Potomac communicates by short portages 
(which may be improved to great advantage) with the Yoho- 

38 Of Nov. 30, 1784, and Dec. 4, 1784, both of which are in the Washington Papers. 


ghaney and Cheat rivers, (branches of the Monongahela) for 
the countries East and West of the Apalachian mountains, as 
James river also does with the waters of the Great Kanhawa, 
none can deny: and that these will be the channels thro' which 
the trade of the Western Country will principally come, I have 
no more doubt of myself, than the States of Virga. and Mary- 
land had, when within these few days, they passed Laws for 
the purpose of extending and improving the navigation of 
those rivers, and opening roads of communication between 
them and the western waters. 

Whenever business or inclination may bring you to this part 
of the Country, it would give me pleasure to see you. I am, etc. 39 


Mount Vernon, January 17, 1785. 

Dear Sir: Yesterday, and not before, I received authentic in- 
formation, that the Assembly of this State had passed a similar 
Act and resolutions with those of your Legislature, and have 
fixed upon the 8th. of Feby. to open Books for the purpose of 
receiving subscriptions in the City of Richmond and Towns 
of Alexandria and Winchester: which Books are to be kept 
open until the 10th. day of May following. They have granted 
equal sums towards the navigation and roads, with your As- 
sembly. I have pleasure in giving you this information, noth- 
ing remains now but to act with dispatch and vigor. 

I presume official notice of the passing of this act, and attend- 
ant resolutions, will be made by the Executive of this State to 
your Governor, but lest thro' the hurry of business it may be 
delayed, I will take care that he shall have advice of it, as soon 
as copies can be taken; that if promulgation is necessary, and 

89 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


he thinks proper to act upon private information, it may not 
be wanted. 

Our Assembly have passed a similar Law for the purpose of 
opening and improving the navigation of James river and a 
communication between it, and the nearest Western waters. 
With great esteem and regard, I have the honor, etc. 40 


Mount Vernon, January 17, 1785. 

Dear Sir : The irregularity of the post, occasioned by the frost, 
prevented my hearing with certainty what the Assembly of this 
State had done with the Potomac Bill, until yesterday. I have 
now the pleasure to inform you that they have adopted the one 
which passed your Legislature, and come to similar resolu- 
tions respecting the road of communication with the river 
Cheat, and the application to the State of Pennsylvania for 
another to Yohioghaney. They have also passed a similar act 
for improving and extending the navigation of James river. 

As you expressed a desire to know what the Assembly of this 
State had done, or were about to do respecting an establishment 
for the teachers of religion, I do myself the honor to enclose you 
a copy of their proceedings in that matter; and am, etc. 40 


Mount Vernon, January 18, 1785. 
Gentln. At my return from Alexandria yesterday afternoon, 
I found the letters and papers herewith enclosed. 41 I sent the 
whole, as well private as public, the former for your satisfac- 
tion, the latter for you to act upon. 

40 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Taper s. 

"The papers sent with this letter are listed in the "Letter Book" in the Washington 


As these, with the Maryland act and resolutions which I left 
in the hands of Mr. Lee 42 for the purpose of communicating 
them to the Gentn. in town (well wishers to the inland naviga- 
tion of the river &c.) contain all the information on the subject, 
I could give, I beg leave to refer you to them. 

All the papers, except the Virginia Act, which are necessary 
for Mr. Richards 43 to strike printed copies from, I should be 
glad to have returned to me in the course of two or three days, 
as I shall have letters to write, and other matters to do, in con- 
sequence thereof. It should be intimated to the printer that 
the Bill is an original paper, and spared indulgently from the 
Clerks office: great care therefore should be taken that no 
scratches or blots are suffered to be made thereon. The number 
of copies to be struck will depend upon you Gentleman, the 
time for promulgation, and obtaining subscriptions is short, 
the former therefore should be as extensive and diffusive as the 
nature of the case will admit. With what materials the Man- 
agers at the City of Richmond and town of Winchester are to 
commence their operations, does not seem very clear; it rests 
with you therefore I conceive, to put things in motion, at least 
by opening a correspondence with the Gentlemen at these 
places, fixing a plan. It appears to me also, that a notification 
of the passing of this act and consequent resolutions should go 
immediately to the Executive of Maryland, from some quarter; 
otherwise that State may take umbrage, and think advantage 
on the score of subscriptions, is meant to be taken of her Citi- 
zens. From our Governor, such intimation ought, in my opin- 
ion, to be given; but it does not appear by anything before us, 
that it either has been, or is intended to be done. Therefore as 

^Charles Lee. He acted as clerk of the Alexandria meeting at which the Potomac 
Company was organized. 

George Richard. He was publisher of The Virginia Journal and Alexandria Ad- 
vertiser, Alexandria, Va. 


the Acts and resolutions of both Assemblies are now with you, 
if you will cause a comparative view to be taken of them, and 
note the alterations, that I may write with exactitude, I will 
communicate the matter to Govr. Paca, lest there should be 
neglect or delay on the part of our Executive, or if you will do 
it, it may answer the same purpose. 

How far Mr. Maddison might have intended the paper No. 
3 44 for the public eye, I know not ; I would have no copies there- 
fore taken of it, as communication of its contents might come 
better from those who are to act under it. I have the honor, etc. 

P. S. If a printed Copy of the Virginia Act could be soon 
obtained, I would enclose one of them to the Governor of 
Maryland, and a copy of the corrispondent resolutions of this 
State to that of Maryland; which would be the fullest and best 
information he cou'd receive unofficially. 45 


Mount Vernon, January 22, 1785. 
My dear Sir: It is not easy for me to decide by which my 
mind was most affected upon the receipt of your letter of the 
6th. inst., surprise or gratitude: both were greater than I have 
words to express. The attention and good wishes which the 
Assembly have evidenced by their act for vesting in me 150 
shares in the navigation of each of the rivers Potomac and 
James, are more than mere compliment; there is an unequivo- 
cal and substantial meaning annexed. But believe me sir, not- 
withstanding these, no circumstance has happened to me since 
I left the walks of public life, which has so much embarrassed 
me. On the one hand, I consider this act, as I have already 

44 A paper by Madison " Respecting the Jurisdiction &c of Potomac." 
45 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 
48 Speaker of the House of Delegates, Virginia. 

1785] GIFT OF STOCK 35 

observed, as a noble and unequivocal proof of the good opinion, 
the affection, and disposition of my Country to serve me; and 
I should be hurt, if by declining the acceptance of it, my refusal 
should be construed into disrespect, or the smallest slight upon 
the generous intention of the country : or, that an ostentatious 
display of disinterestedness or public virtue, was the source of 
the refusal. On the other hand, it is really my wish to have my 
mind, and my actions which are the result of contemplation, 
as free and independent as the air, that I may be more at lib- 
erty (in things which my opportunities and experience have 
brought me to the knowledge of) to express my sentiments, 
and if necessary, to suggest what may occur to me, under the 
fullest conviction, that altho' my judgment may be arraigned, 
there will be no suspicion that sinister motives had the smallest 
influence in the suggestion. Not content then with the bare 
consciousness of my having, in all this navigation business, 
acted upon the clearest conviction of the political importance 
of the measure; I would wish that every individual who may 
hear that it was a favorite plan of mine, may know also that I 
had no other motive for promoting it, than the advantage I con- 
ceived it would be productive of to the Union, and to this State 
in particular, by cementing the Eastern and Western Territory 
together, at the same time that it will give vigor and encrease 
to our commerce, and be a convenience to our Citizens. 

How would this matter be viewed then by the eye of the 
world; and what would be the opinion of it, when it comes to 

be related that G W n exerted himself to effect this work, 

and G. W has received 20,000 Dollars, and ^5,000 Sterling 

of the public money as an interest therein ? Would not this in 
the estimation of it (if I am entitled to any merit for the part 
I have acted; and without it there is no foundation for the 
act) deprive me of the principal thing which is laudable in my 


conduct ? Would it not, in some respects, be considered in the 
same light as a pension ? And would not the apprehension of 
this make me more reluctantly offer my sentiments in future ? 
In a word, under what ever pretence, and however customary 
these gratuitous gifts are made in other Countries, should I not 
thence forward be considered as a dependant ? One moments 
thought of which would give me more pain, than I should re- 
ceive pleasure from the product of all the tolls, was every farth- 
ing of them vested in me : altho' I consider it as one of the most 
certain and increasing Estates in the Country. 

I have written to you with an openness becoming our friend- 
ship. I could have said more on the subject; but I have already 
said enough to let you into the State of my mind. I wish to 
know whether the ideas I entertain occurred to, and were ex- 
pressed by any member in or out of the House. Upon the 
whole, you may be assured my Dr. Sir, that my mind is not a 
little agitated. I want the best information and advice to settle 
it. I have no inclination (as I have already observed) to avail 
myself of the generosity of the Country: nor do I want to ap- 
pear ostentatiously disinterested (for more than probable my 
refusal would be ascribed to this motive) or that the Country 
should harbour an idea that I am disposed to set little value 
on her favours, the manner of granting which is as flattering, 
as the grant is important. My present difficulties however shall 
be no impediment to the progress of the undertaking. I will 
receive the full and frank opinions of my friends with thank- 
fulness. I shall have time enough between the sitting of the 
next Assembly to consider the tendency of the act, and in this, 
as in all other matters, will endeavor to decide for the best. 

My respectful compliments and best wishes, in which Mrs. 
Washington and Fanny Bassett (who is much recovered) join, 
are offered to Mrs. Harrison and the rest of your family. It 


would give us great pleasure to hear that Mrs. Harrison had 
her health restored to her. With every sentiment of esteem, re- 
gard and friendship. I am, etc. 47 


Mount Vernon, January 22, 1785. 

Dear Sir : Your letter, with the Books, Potomac bill and other 
papers, did not reach this until past eleven o'clock on Monday 
forenoon; at which hour having set off for Alexandria, I did 
not receive the dispatches until my return in the evening. The 
next morning I forwarded the Bill to Messrs. Fitzgerald, Harts- 
horn to act upon, and to get a number of copies struck for pro- 
mulgation, and the benefit of those who might wish to become 
subscribers. For the trouble you have had with the Books and 
for your care of the letters and papers which accompanied 
them, you will please to accept my thanks. 

It would have given me much satisfaction if, instead of pur- 
suing the rout thro' Frederick, you had resolved to have taken 
this road to the seat of Congress: besides the pleasure of seeing 
you, I wished to have had some conversation with you on the 
subject of the late generosity of the Assembly towards me; for I 
will freely confess to you my dear sir, that no circumstance 
has happened to me since I quited the walks of public life that 
has given me more embarrassment, than the act vesting me with 
150 shares in the tolls of each of the rivers Potomac and James. 
On the one hand I consider this instance of the regard and at- 
tention of my native State as more than a mere compliment: 
this evidence of her good opinion and wishes to serve me is un- 
equivocal and substantial, it has impressed me with sentiments 

47 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


of the deepest gratitude, and I should be hurt, if I could think 
that my non-acceptance . . . 48 

Did you not my good Sir tell me when I had the pleasure of 
spending an evening with you at Dumfries, that you either had 
or could procure me some Scions of the Aspin tree ? Are there 
any young shoots which could he had of the Yew tree, or Hem- 
lock (for I do not now recollect which of these it is) that grows 
on the Margin of Quantico Creek ? Plantations of this kind are 
now become my amusement and I should be glad to know 
where I could obtain a supply of such sorts of trees as would 
diversify the scene. With great esteem and regard, I am, etc. 49 


Mount Vernon, January 22, 1785. 

Dear Bushrod: The enclosed letter was brought here some 
days ago. I desire you will present Mr. Ryan's note to him for 
payment; which, if not immediately made, or such assurances 
as you can rely on, that he will make in a very short time, return 
it to me or Mr. Rumsey, 50 if he is in Richmond, as I do not 
incline to transfer the debt from him to Ryan. It was not my 
intention to receive an order upon any one, for the Sum con- 
tained in the Note. It was sent about the time it became due to 
Mr. Henderson 51 (one of the Members for this Country) to 
receive for me, who not having an oppertunity of presenting it 
(on Acct. of Mr. Ryans indisposition at Petersburgh) returned 
it to me a few days since. 

As you are now at the fountain head of information, I should 
be glad if you would examine into, and send me a Copy of 

48 The omitted portion is practically the same as Washington's letter to Benjamin 
Harrison, the same date as this letter (Jan. 22, 1785), q. v. 
49 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 
m James Rumsey. 
"Richard Henderson. 


some Ordainance which must have passed (according to Colo. 
Crawfords letter to me) at the Session next preceeding the 20th. 
of Septr. 1776. (which is the date of that letter). 

There are some other little matters which I wanted you to do 
for me in Richmond, but they have escaped my recollection at 
this moment; when they occur again, I will write, the Ordi- 
nance above, may be necessary in the prosecution of my Eject- 
ments over the Mountains, as Colo. Crawford in his letter to 
me says, It passed with an eye to such cases as mine, upon his 

All here join in best wishes for you, and I am etc. 52 


January 22, 1785. 

Sir : Understanding that Mr. Wilson of Alexandria was em- 
power 'd to sell the plaister of Paris which you had just sent to 

that place, I informed him by Mr. L. W 53 of the mistake 

under which a vessel load of it had been landed at my wharf, 
but that, as it was there, I was willing to pay for it at the same 
rate as that which was in Alexandria should sell. To this, some 
considerable time after (if my memory serves) he answered, 
that the matter must be settled with you. 

It now remains for me sir, to bring you acquainted with the 
exact state of this matter, and on which you may depend. On 
my return from Richmond in Novr. last, Mr. Graham 54 in- 
formed me that you had received (I think he said) about 50 tons 
of this stone, and asked if I wanted any of it. I answered that 
I might take a little of it, at any rate, merely for experiment 
as a manure; but that taking a large quantity, would depend 

62 From a photostat of the originally kindly furnished by William Smith Mason, of 
Evanston, 111. 

83 Lund Washington. 

M Robert(?) Graham, of Fairfax, Va. 


altogether upon the price of it, of which he was to know the 
lowest, and give me an account. Under this idea, and wait- 
ing for this information, I left no direction concerning this 
matter when I accompanied the Marquis de la Fayette to An- 
napolis, during my absence there, the plaister arrived: those 
about me not knowing what to do in the matter, and suppos- 
ing, I presume, that I had ordered it, suffered it to be landed: 
which I most assuredly would not have done; had I been at 
home, at any thing like the price mentioned in Mr. Grahams 

The plaister is yet on my wharf in the order it was first 
landed, except that I had the powdered part of it, the virtue of 
which (if it ever possessed any as a manure) I presume must 
have been nearly exhausted, put into casks. I am yet willing 
to take it at whatever price that which is in Alexandria shall 
sell; or at any reasonable price to be agreed upon between our- 
selves, or by others on our behalf. More I think under the cir- 
cumstances I have related, no person will think I ought to pay. 
Twelve Dollars per ton, I never can consent to give; nor do I 
think you would desire it, when I inform you that before the 
war, I got all I wanted from Fitzhughs 55 in Maryland for dig- 
ging out of the Bank; and that it never was, nor can be con- 
sidered as of much more value than lime-stone, being of the 
nature of it. lam, etc. 56 


Mount Vernon, January 25, 1785. 
Sir: In your name and behalf Mr. Laurens, 5S as he passed 
thro' this State last month on his way from the seat of Congress 

55 William Fitzhugh. 

M From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

67 Of London. 

68 Henry Laurens. 


to Charleston presented me a very handsome gold headed 
Cane; and accompanied it with such favorable sentiments of 
your good wishes towards the American revolution, and the 
flattering opinion you entertained of me, as to induce me, con- 
trary to my usual custom, to accept of it. With this acknowl- 
edgment thereof, I beg you to receive my thanks for so evincive 
a mark of your esteem and approbation, and the assurances of 
my being, Sir, Yrs. etc. 59 


Mount Vernon, January 25, 1785. 

Sir: By means of the frost, and the consequent interruption 
of the Post, your favor of the 20th. of December did not come 
to my hands until the 17th. instant. It is to be regretted that 
Lady Huntingtons communications were not earlier made to 
the several Legislatures to whom they were addressed; for if 
the circumstances of any will allow them to be adopted, it will 
be found that a year will have been lost by the delay. In some 
States, they must have reached the Executive after the Assem- 
blies were up; in others, would get there towards the close of 
them, when fresh matters are rarely attended to, and some 
Sessions (as in this State) holden but once a year. 

I am clearly in sentiment with her Ladyship, that Christianity 
will never make any progress among the Indians, or work any 
considerable reformation in their principles, until they are 
brought to a state of greater civilization; and the mode by 
which she means to attempt this, as far as I have been able to 
give it consideration, is as likely to succeed as any other that 
could have been devised, and may in time effect the great and 
benevolent object of her Ladyships wishes : but that love of ease, 

69 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


impatience under any sort of controul, and disinclination to 
every kind of pursuit but those of hunting and war, would 
discourage any person possessed of less piety, zeal and philan- 
throphy than are characteristick of Lady Huntington. 

Of all the States to which her Ladyships addresses are gone, 
New York I believe is the only one that now possesses unlo- 
cated lands in such quantities, and so contiguous to any Indian 
settlement, as to subserve her Ladyships plan of emigration; 
and whether that State can accommodate them to her and their 
satisfaction, you can determine with more precision than I. 
No part of the Western Territory of Pennsylvania is very con- 
tiguous to the habitations of the Indians, and if I mistake not, 
is besides otherwise appropriated. Virginia is not more con- 
venient to them than Pennsylvania, and in her cession to the 
United States she was obliged to reserve Lands No. West of 
the Ohio to fulfil her own engagements to the military of the 
State: nothing then, in my opinion can be expected from her. 
And North Carolina having also made a similar cession is I 
believe, equally incapacitated to grant any great quantity of 
land in a body, or much in parcels. It is my opinion therefore, 
that Lady Huntington's proposals would come more properly 
before the United States, than any one, or more of them indi- 
vidually; and it is my sentiment clearly, that besides the pious 
and humane purposes which are in view, and of which we 
should never lose sight, motives of a political nature, should 
have considerable influence, because such a migration as her 
ladyship proposes must be an acquisition to any Country. There 
are but two reasons which my imagination suggests that can be 
opposed to it : the first is, the pressing Debts of the United States 
which may call for all the revenue which can be drawn from 
the most advantageous sale of their lands, and the discontents 
which might flow from discrimination; if peculiar exemptions 


in the original purchase, or indulgencies thereafter, are ex- 
pected in favor of the class of Settlers proposed by the plan. 
And secondly, (which may have more weight) the prejudices 
of Monarchical people when they are unmixed with republi- 
cans, against those who have separated from them, and against 
their forms of Government; and this too in the vicinity of a 
British one, viz: Canada. Whether these are to be placed in 
competition with the charitable design of the plan, considered 
in a religeous point of view; or the great good which may result 
from the civilization of numerous tribes of Savages when meas- 
ured on the political scale, becomes the wisdom of the honor- 
able body to weigh with attention. 

If they should decide in favor of the measure, valuable Lands 
with respect to fertility of soil, salubrity of climate and other 
natural advantages might, in one body, and in any quantity 
may be reserved for the purposes of such emigration, until the 
result of her Ladyship, endeavors to obtain them, could be 
known; and this too either in the vicinity of the Indian towns, 
or at such convenient distance from them as might be most 
agreeable to the emigrants, there being no settlements or ap- 
propriations (except the reservation in favor of the Virginia 
line of the Army) to my knowledge in all the Country No. 
West of the Ohio, that could interfere therewith. 

As I am well acquainted with the President of Congress, I 
will in the course of a few days write him a private letter on this 
subject giving the substance of Lady Huntington's plan 60 and 
asking his opinion of the encouragement it might expect to 
receive from Congress if it should be brought before that 
honorable body. Were you to do the same with your brother 
Mr. John Jay now in Congress, and than whom none can judge 
better of the propriety of the measure, or give greater support 

80 Under date of Feb. 8, 1785, in the Washington Papers. 


to it if it should ultimately come before that supreme Council 
of the nation, it might lay the foundation which might be serv- 
iceable hereafter. 

Without reverberating the arguments in support of the hu- 
mane and benevolent intention of Lady Huntington to chris- 
tianize and reduce to a state of civilization the Savage tribes 
within the limits of the American States, or discanting upon the 
advantages which the Union may derive from the Emigration 
which is blended with, and becomes part of the plan, I highly 
approve of them, and having, tho' concisely, touched upon the 
material parts of your letter, it only remains for me to express 
my good wishes for the success of such a measure, and to assure 
you that wherein I can be instrumental to its execution, my best 
endeavours may be commanded. I have the honor, etc. 81 


Mount Vernon, January 30, 1785. 

Madam : By what means it came to pass, I shall not undertake 
to devise; but the fact is, that your letter of the 8th. of December 
1783, never got to my hands until the 12th. of the same Month 
in the year following. This will account for my not having 
acknowledged the receipt of it sooner; and for not thanking 
you as I now do, before, for the many flattering expressions con- 
tained in it. 

If the Bust which your Son has modelled of me, should reach 
your hands, and afford your celebrated Genii any employment, 
that can amuse Mrs. Wright, it must be an honor done me. and 
if your inclination to return to this Country should overcome 

61 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

On January 27 Washington wrote a brief note to Gov. William Moultrie, introduc- 
ing Count Castiglioni, an Italian nobleman. This letter is in the Long Island Histori- 
cal Society. 


other considerations, you will, no doubt, meet a welcome re- 
ception from your Numerous friends: among whom, I should 
be proud to see a person so universally celebrated; and on 
whom, Nature has bestowed such rare and uncommon gifts. 
I am, etc. 62 


Mount Vernon, January 30, 1785. 

Sir: It has so happened that your Card of Septr. 1st, with the 
Bust which accompanied it, did not get to my hands until 
sometime in the course of last month : and that a letter from 
your good mother dated Deer. 8th. 1783, only reached me the 
12th. of last December. 

For the first you will please receive the united acknowledge- 
ments and thanks of Mrs. Washington and myself. The large 
one she prays may give you no uneasiness or hurry; your con- 
venience in the execution will be most agreeable to her wishes. 

In answer to the second, I give you the trouble of forwarding 
the enclosed letter when you may have occasion to write to 
England, our best wishes attend you; and I am, etc. 63 


Mount Vernon, January 31, 1785. 

Sir: The interruption of the Post by the frost, withheld your 
letter of the 31st. Ulto. from me until within a few days. 

The liberty you have taken in dedicating your Poetical 
Works to me, does me honor. The conditions upon which you 
offer them to the Public are generous, evincive of their purity, 

82 From a photostat of the original in the British Museum, Additional Manuscript 

03 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


and conscious worth. I shall with pleasure therefore take a few 
copies of the bound and lettered Books, when they are ready 
for delivery. 

It behoves me to correct a mistake in your printed address, 
"To the patrons of the fine Arts" I am no Marshall of France, 64 
nor do I hold any Commission, or fill any Office under that 
Government, or any other whatever. I am etc. [h.s.p.] 


Mount Vernon, January 31, 1785. 

My Dr. Sir : Under a full persuasion that my letter of Novr., 
to you, had miscarried, I wrote to you again by the last post, 
and recited the contents of it. After having done this, I was 
honored with your favor of the 14th. of last month. 

At the same time that I thank you for your attention to my 
request respecting the Orchard grass seed; I have to lament 
that it should be the means of taking from you what you had 
provided for your own use; and to pray, if it is not now too late, 
that you would not forward it to Colo. Biddle, or at most, not 
more than part of it. I can only repeat the assurances of my 
last, in which Mrs. Washington (who does not enjoy very 
good health) joins, of the good wishes and sincere esteem and 
regard with which, I am, etc. 65 


Mount Vernon, January 31, 1785. 
Sir: Altho' I have no doubt, but that your Excellency has 
been, or will be informed of the Act of the Virginia Assembly 

w Lamont's preface is probably partially responsible for the existence of the misstate- 
ment that Washington was a marshal of France. 

60 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


respecting the Potomac navigation, from the Governor of the 
State; yet, as the Act could not be printed at Richmond for the 
benefit of the Managers in time, and was brought to Alexan- 
dria for that purpose. And as a pressure of other public matters 
may possibly have delayed the Official communication. I do 
myself the honor of enclosing one of the copies which was 
struck at the above place, and which only came to my hands 
to be forwarded by this post. If it should be the first that you 
receive, you will have it in your power to make such use of it 
as you shall think proper : if it should follow the Official one, I 
have but to pray that it may be considered as an evidence of my 
good wishes to the undertaking, and not as an officious interfer- 
ence in the business of the Executive. I have the honor, etc. 66 


Mount Vernon, January 31, 1785. 

Sir: The interruption of the Post, by the frost, will occasion 
a delay of this answer, which otherwise would have been 

Not being able to decypher the name of the Merchant in 
London, to whose care you desired my letter to your brother 
might be addressed, I send the enclosed certificate 67 for him, 
under cover to you. 

I thank you for your kind and friendly wishes, and with 
Mrs. Washington's compliments to Mrs. Hay and yourself, 
and a return of friendly sentiments, I am, etc. 68 

66 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

67 A copy of this certificate, dated Feb. 1, 1785, is in the "Letter Book" in the Wash- 
ington Papers, to the effect that " Neither directly, nor indirectly to my knowledge or 
belief, did I ever obtain the least information of the state of the British forces, or other 
concerns of theirs in Canada, from Mr. Charles Hay, a subject of Great Britain under 
that Government." 

68 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 



Mount Vernon, February i, 1785. 

Dear Sir: I have been favored with your letter of the first of 
last month, by Doctr. Gilpin and Mr. Scott. 69 Mr. Colby, they 
informed me remained indisposed at Baltimore. It will always 
give me pleasure to see any Gentleman of your introduction. 
No apology therefore need ever accompany it. 

Having begun a letter to you, I will take the liberty of sug- 
gesting a matter for your consideration; which, if it strikes you, 
in the important light it does me, and it is likely to be realized, 
you may profit by: if it does not, I hope at the same time 
that you may arraign my foresight, or charge me with being 
too sanguine, you will do justice to my motives: these, let me 
assure you, are friendly and pure. 

No doubt, before this letter can have reached you, you will 
have heard, that the States of Virginia and Maryland have 
enacted laws for the purposes of opening and extending the 
navigations of the rivers Potomac and James, as far as is prac- 
ticable; and communicating them by good roads with the 
nearest navigable waters (for inland craft) to the Westward; 
the first, to be undertaken by corporate companies with public 
aids: the other at public expence. 

The tolls which are granted to encourage the first of these, 
are in my judgment, fully adequate to the purpose, as a candid 
man, I think them too high, considering the harvest which the 
public is preparing for the adventures in that undertaking, by 
opening a communication between the Atlantic and Western 
Territory: but the importance of the object, considered either 
in a commercial or political point of view is so great, the com- 

68 From the West Indies. 



bination of favourable circumstances at this epocha so many, 
and the abilities of the two States under their present pressure 
of debts, so incompetent to a work of this sort (even if it had 
been judged the best mode), that to commence it without delay 
it was thought best to offer a productive field to those who are 
disposed to labour therein. And if I live to see the issue, I will, 
if it does not prove so, acknowledge myself more mistaken than 
I ever was before, in any speculative point. 

I do not advance this doctrine my good sir, with a view to 
stimulate you to become a subscriber. If I was disposed to do 
this at the hazard of deception, I see not the occasion for it in 
the case before us; for it is more the expectation at present, that 
a redundency than a deficiency, will take place upon the open- 
ing of subscriptions for this river : And because your own judg- 
ment and convenience can best determine to what amount, or 
whether to subscribe anything towards the execution of this 
plan. There are some things however, of which some men have 
better opportunities to form opinions than others; and of the 
intercourse which this work is likely to open between the tide 
water of this river and the greatest extent of back Country 
within the United States. I have as good means to judge from 
as most men, and every proof that nature, and reflection upon 
its bountious gifts can adduce, to convince me that there is no 
field for commerce equal to it, if extent of Country, population, 
and produce with the conveniences of transportation, are essen- 
tial to the encouragement and support of it. But these want to 
be embraced. This however, will not much longer be the case, 
a Mercantile eye is penetrating, and the first capital House, that 
is established may form connexions, and lay a sure foundation 
of trade to the greatest possible extent from the upper sea 
ports of this river. 


No man who has any knowledge of the river Potomac, har- 
bours a doubt of the practicability of its navigation from the 
great Falls to Fort Cumberland, (about 200 miles) and for 40 
miles higher; and it is but very few only who have any doubt 
of the practicability of opening it from the great Falls, (in- 
clusive) to tide water, which is under 9 miles. The acts I have 
spoken of are to encourage and authorise these; and, as I have 
observed before, sufficient priviledges and immunities are 
granted for the purpose. 

From Fort Cumberland, a good road may be had to the 
Turkey foot, or three branches of the Yohoghaney, which will 
not I am told, exceed thirty miles. From thence the navigation 
to Fort Pitt, about 75 miles further, altho' there is one fall in the 
way, can be made good at a very moderate expence. By going 
up the No. branch of Potomac bout 40 miles above Fort Cum- 
berland, a portage may be had with the Cheat river, which will 
not exceed 20 miles of good road, from hence to the Mononga- 
hela by land or water may be about 25 miles more. We are then, 
as in the case of the Yohoy. communication, open to the dif- 
fusive navigation (more extensive perhaps than is to be met 
with in any Country upon Earth) in its natural state, of the 
whole western Territory. And if I am not misinformed with 
respect to the carrying places between Cayahoga (a water of 
Lake Erie) and big beaver, and Muskingum, which disem- 
bogue into the Ohio at different points; there is no rout so short, 
so easy and attended with so little expence, as those I have just 
mentioned, to bring all the Fur and Peltry of the Lakes, even 
from that of the Wood, to tide water. One of them (by the 
Yohoghaney) is shorter by more than 150 miles, than that to 
either Albany or Montreal: and the way open at seasons, when 
the others are block'd, and is besides more independent of the 
interference of foreign powers; 


That the greatest part, if not all the produce of the Ohio and 
its waters as low as the Falls, if a better channel cannot be found 
for part of it by way of the Gt. Kanhawa and James river to 
Richmond; or as low as the little Kanhawa, admitting this, I 
have very little doubt. It is true that there are some branches 
of the Alleghaney above Fort Pit, which communicate pretty 
nearly with the waters of Susquehanna, which by great exer- 
tion and expence, may be made use of at certain seasons of the 
year, but droughts in Summer, and Ice in Winter will render 
them of little value. 

But to place things in a less favourable point of view, I will 
grant that a communication between the Kiskeminetas Mo- 
ghulbughkitum, or Toby's Creek (waters most favourable for 
it) and the Susquehanna shall be opened, and that all the pro- 
duce convenient thereto, shall be transported that way to the 
Markets below: that the Gt. Kanhawa shall be found free from 
obstructions, and easy both in its navigation, and communica- 
tion with James river, and that all the province below the 
mouth of the former, and as far up the Ohio as the Little Kan- 
hawa, shall be transported that way : there yet remains the thick 
settlement of the Ohio, between Fort Pitt and Wheeling, all the 
Settlement of the Monongahela, and all that of Yohioghany, 
which constitute a very large majority of the Inhabitants West 
of the Laurel hill, to bring their produce to the Markets of this 

In admitting this, I admit, in my opinion a good deal; but if 
the plan for opening the navigation of Potomac should succeed, 
of which I have not the smallest doubt, I will go further and 
venture an assertion which I think is founded in fact; that with- 
out any support from the Western Territory, there is no place 
within my knowledge to which so much produce will, from the 
nature of things, be brought, as to the highest shipping port on 


this river. That this may not appear as mere assertion, I will 
give you my reasons. 

At present Baltimore not only receives the greatest part of the 
produce of Frederick County (Maryland) and the Counties 
above it on the No. side of Potomac, but a great deal also of that 
which is raised on the south side; and this thro' a long land 
transportation : besides which, the produce of that rich and ex- 
tensive Country, between the blue ridge and Alleghany moun- 
tains, for at least 200 miles So. West of the Potomac, is (or such 
part of it as will bear land transportation; carried partly 
to Alexandria, and the towns below it on this river, partly to 
Fredericksburgh and Falmouth on Rappahannock, partly 
to Richmond and Petersburgh, and some part also to Hanover 
town, the highest navigation upon York river. But let the bene- 
fits arising from water transportation, be once felt, and then 
see, if men possessed of the spirit of Commerce and large capi- 
tals should settle at the shipping ports at the head of this river, 
whether an atom of it will cross the Potomack for Baltimore; 
whilst every thing within its vortex on the No. side will be 
sucked into, and be transported by water. In like manner the 
Shannondoah will intercept every article 200 miles from its 
mouth, and water bear it to the Markets at the head of this river. 
In Septembr. last I was on the Shannondoah, near or quite 150 
Miles from its mouth, and was told by well informed Gentle- 
men living thereon that the navigation of it might be improved, 
and rendered fit for inland craft at the smallest expence imagin- 
able, the distance here mentioned. In a word, the Shannondoah 
which runs thro' the richest tract of Country in this State, the 
South branch of Potomac, which may, with great ease be made 
navigable 100 miles, and the intermediate streams of lesser note 
which pour into Potomac; will not only bring the land trans- 
portation of every farmer and Planter in that Country, within 


the short distance of fifteen or twenty miles, but in the upper 
and more remote parts of it, induce hundreds and thousands of 
them to cultivate articles from the growth of which they have 
been entirely discouraged by the length and expence of land 
transportation, except in the article of live stock which will 
carry itself to market, attempting to raise no more than will sup- 
ply their own necessities. On the other side of the river, the 
Conogoge and Monocasy, tho' of less importance, will be im- 
proved to great advantage. 

The mercantile interest of Baltimore affect to treat the ex- 
tension of the navigation of Potomac as a chimerical plan; but 
you may be assured Sir, that from the Great Falls, which are 
within eight or nine miles of tide water, to Fort Cumberland, 
there is no more difficulty or uncertainty in the execution, com- 
paratively speaking, than there is in bringing water to a Mill by 
a common race: of nothing more therefore is ever effected, the 
object notwithstanding is immense, when the field into which 
it leads is considered. But I have no doubt of the practicability 
of accomplishing the whole if properly undertaken. 

In one or two places of this letter, I have observed that to 
make proper advantages of this navigation, and the extensive 
commerce it opens a door to; it requires a large capital as well 
as a Commercial spirit. I will explain myself. 

Alexandria and Georgetown are the highest shipping Ports 
of this river (if the latter can be call'd one) ; the trade of George- 
town, I am but little acquainted with; but if I have formed a 
right idea of the former, it abounds in small dealers: Men who 
import, or purchase their goods in the Country upon credit, 
consequently obtain them under very great disadvantages: the 
former class too for the most part, go to one Market, chiefly to 
England, for every article they purchase; by which means, such 
manufactures as Holland, Germany, France &ca. could supply 


upon much better terms, (being of their own production) come 
with accumulated charges. These added to House rent, which 
is high in Alexandria, and sinks deep into the profits of a 
small capital, occasion considerable advance of the price of 
Goods, the consequence of which is, that the retail dealers in the 
interior parts of the Country, are induced to go, indeed are in 
a manner driven, to Baltimore or Philadelphia for their goods. 
How otherwise is this fact, and the transportation of the staple 
and other produce of this country, to those markets to be ac- 
counted for ? The navigation of this river is equal, if not supe- 
rior to any in the Union. Goods, I presume may be imported 
into it, and the produce of the Country exported from it, upon 
as advantageous terms, as they can from either Philadelphia, 
Baltimore or any other place, which evinces the truth of my 
observation, or that the traders of Alexandria are not content 
with the profits of their fellow labourers in the places I have 
named. But would either of these any longer exist if large 
whole-sale Stores, upon the most advantageous terms, were es- 
tablished in that place ? And the produce of the back Country 
brought thither by water, for one fourth of what it is now by 
land, or a sixth, perhaps tenth, (according to the distance it is 
carried) of what it can be transported to Baltimore ? 

At present every farmer who lives on the West side of the 
blue ridge verging upon Shenandoah, gives I am told one third 
of his wheat for bringing the other two thirds to any shipping 
port. Tobacco costs at least 40/ a Hhd., and other things in pro- 
portion. A little higher up, and the expence of transportation 
to a prohibition of the culture of them; tho' the land is better 
adapted, than any other in the State for the cultivation of them. 
But if water transportation is effected, that which now costs a 
'A, may be delivered for 6d. or less a bushel, and where the 
expence of carriage has hitherto discouraged the growth of it 


altogether, it will be raised in great quantities, and so with re- 
spect to Tobo. and other articles. 

Having given you this statement of the matter which has 
fallen under my observation, and which is not exagerated in 
any instance intentionally, I leave you to compare it with other 
information and your own observations, if you have oppor- 
tunities of making any and drawing your own conclusions. I 
have no other objects in view, but to promote a measure which 
I think is pregnant with great public utility, and which may at 
the same time, be made subservient to extensive private advan- 
tages. Were I disposed to encounter present inconvenience for 
a future income, I would hazard all the money I could raise 
upon the navigation of the river. Or had I inclination and 
talents to enter into the commercial line, I have no idea of a 
better opening than the one I discanted upon to make a for- 
tune. But the first has no charms for me, and the other I never 
shall engage in. My best respects and good wishes, with which 
Mrs. Washingtons are united, are offered to Mrs. Morris and 
the rest of your family; and I am, etc. 

P. S. I send you a copy of the Bill 70 passed by the two States, for 
opening and extending the navigation of the river Potomac. 71 


Mount Vernon, February i, 1785. 

Dear Sir: In a letter of the 14th. of Deer, from Mr. Boudinot 

(which only came to my hands by the last Post) he informs me 

that he should send Six bushls. of the Orchard grass Seeds to 

your care for my use. If this has been done, I pray you not 

70 The engrossed bill, which passed the Virginia House of Delegates, was lent to 
Washington to save time in getting copies printed. He returned it to the Clerk of the 
House, John Beckley, in a brief note, dated Feb. 5, 1785. 

"Both the letter and a copy of this note to Beckley are in the "Letter Book" in the 
Washington Papers. 


to forego the first opportunity of forwarding it to me, as it 
ought to be Sowed as soon as the ground can be prepared, 
which I am now getting in order for its reception. 

It do not know how to account for it, but so the fact is, that 
altho' I am a Subscriber to Messrs. Dunlap and Claypoole's 
Packet and daily Advertiser, I do not get one paper in five of 
them, was I to say one of ten, I should be nearer the mark. 
Once I wrote to Mr. Claypoole on this subject, but he never 
vouchsafed to give me an answer, and since I have been worse 
served. If I recollect right, this letter was accompanied with 
one to you requesting payment of my subscription; lest a 
tardiness in this respect, on my part, might occasion the om- 
missions on his. I now ask the same favor of you, and pray also, 
that you would be so obliging as to enquire into, and let me 
know the cause of my disappointments, which I have regretted 
the more, since their publication of Cookes voyages; having 
never been able to get a bound and lettered sett of them. 

Be it remembered that, if the fulfilment of these requests of 
mine, places you in advance for me, it is because I cannot get a 
statement of the acct. between us, that I may know how the 
Balle. stands. 

You talked of coming to Virginia, and I assure you I should 
be very glad to see you; but it seems as if it would end in talk. 

I have received a Cask of clover Seeds and a box with a cast 
(from Mr. Wright) unaccompanied by a letter or Invoice. I 
do not know therefore whether to expect the English grass 
seed of which you gave me hopes, or not. We have heard of 
Mrs. Shaws marriage, on which occasion please to offer her 
mine, and Mrs. Washingtons compliments of congratulation, 
at the sametime present our best wishes for Mrs. Biddle and 
your family. I am etc. 

PS. Be so good as to let the enclosed go safe to Messrs. 
Lewis's, it is to request them to provide me a good Miller of 


which I am much in want, and in the doing of which, if you 
could contribute, it would render me an essential Service. 

Since writing the foregoing, I have recollected a matter of 
business which I intended when you came here to have asked 
the favor of you to negotiate for me. I now enclose it, and 
would thank you for getting it settled if it is to be done, at 
the proper Office in Philadelphia. The endorsements upon the 
cover of the Papers (which was made at the time they were 
put into my hands) contain all the light I can throw upon the 
business. 72 I pray you to take care of it with the rest of the Pa- 
pers and let me have it again with whatever settlement is made, 
or decision is come to; as I have no copy, or other Memm. by 
which I can settle an acct. with Gilbert Simpson, or John Johns 
relative to this matter. I am as above. [h.s.p.] 


Mount Vernon, February i, 1785. 

Gentn: You may think me very troublesome; and the reason 
I assign for it, which is, an opinion that you can serve me better 
than any other, no good apology for the liberty I take. 

My Miller (Wm. Roberts) is now become such an intoler- 
able sot, and when drunk so great a Madman, that, however 
unwilling I am to part with an old Servant (for he has been 
with me fifteen years) I cannot with propriety or common 
justice to myself bear with him any longer. I pray you once 
more therefore, to engage and forward a Miller for me as soon 
as you may have it in your power, and whatever engagement 
you shall enter into on my behalf I will religeously fulfill. I do 
not stipulate for the wages; Altho' my mill (being on an indif- 
ferent stream, and not constant at work) can illy afford high 

"Biddle's answer (Mar. 7, 1785) does not explain this business. 


wages. My wish is to procure a person who understands the 
manufacturing business perfectly, and who is sober and honest, 
that I may even at the expence of paying for it, have as little 
trouble as possible with him. If he understood the business of 
a Mill-wright and was obliged by his agreement to keep the 
Mill in repair, so much the better. Whatever agreement you 
may enter into on my behalf, let it be reduced to writing and 
specifically declared, that there may be no misconception or 
disputes thereafter. 

The House in which he will live is a very comfortable one 
and within 30 yards of the Mill (which works two pair of 
stones, one pair french Bur's), there is a small Kitchen con- 
venient thereto, and a good Garden under paling. There is a 
Cowpers 73 shop within a hundred yards of the mill, with three 
negro Cowpers, which will also be under the direction of the 
miller, whose allowance of meat, flour, and priviledges of every 
kind, I would have ascertained to prevent after claims. I do 
not object to the mans having a family, a wife I shou'd wish 
him to have, but I wou'd it not be too large. At any rate be 
so good as to let me hear from you, that I may know on what 
to rely, as it is not safe for me to entrust my business any 
longer in the hands of Wm. Roberts. It only remains now to 
ask your forgiveness for this trouble and to assure you that I 
am Gentn. Yr. etc. 74 


Mount Vernon, February 2, 1785. 
Dear Sir: The Writer 75 of the inclosed letter, in person and 
character, is entirely unknown to me. I have been at a loss 


74 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Tapers. 

76 Aeneas Lamont. 


therefore to determine what notice to take of it. At length I 
concluded to write the answer which is also enclosed; and to 
request the favor of you to send it to him, or return it to me, 
as you should just [sic] best from the result of your enquiries; 
or from your own knowledge of the author, or his Works. 
If he is a man of decent deportment, and his productions de- 
serving encouragement, I am very willing to lend him any aid 
he can derive from the proposed dedication, if he conceives a 
benefit. His letter and proposals you will please return me. 
and Seal the letter to him, if it is forwarded to the Address. 
I am, etc. [h.s.p.] 


Mount Vernon, February 2, 1785. 

Dr. Sir: Your letter of the 24th. ulto. with eighty three Di- 
plomas 76 came to my hands on Monday last. I have signed and 
returned them to Colo. Fitzgerald to be forwarded to you. 

It would be hard indeed upon Majr. Turner 77 and Captn. 
Claypoole 78 not only to give them the trouble of producing the 
Diplomas, but to saddle them with the expence of it also. Was 
there no provision made therefore at the General Meeting ? Do 
not the minutes of that Meeting devise some mode of pay- 
ment? I well remember that the matter was agitated, but I 
forgot what, or whether any conclusion was come to: and 
recollect also that I desired Genl. Knox when difficulties arose 
with respect to the business which had been entrusted to Majr. 
L'Enfant to suggest, that the sum which I had proposed to 
subscribe for the purposes of the Society might be applied 
to any uses the Meeting should direct; but what the result of 

"Of the Society of the Cincinnati. 

"Maj. George Turner, formerly of the First South Carolina Regiment. 

18 Capt. Abraham George Claypoole, formerly of the Third Pennsylvania Regiment. 


it was, I know not. It was observed at that time, that there was 
money in the hands of the Treasurer General, but not having 
the proceedings to refer to, and a bad memory to depend upon, 
these things appear like dreams to me. With great esteem and 
regard I am, etc. 79 


February 4, 1785. 

The agreement between Mr. Dulany, in behalf of himself 
and Mrs. Dulany (his wife) of the one part, and G. Washing- 
ton of the other part, is for an exchange of Lands upon the 
following conditions. 

Mr. and Mrs. Dulany are to give all the Land which the 
latter has a right to, in reversion, at the demise of Mrs. French 80 
her Mother, and which Danl French Esq her father died pos- 
sessed of by many of several purchases which he made at 
sundry times from Osborne and others out of a Patent granted 
by the Lord Culpeper Proprietor of the Northn. Neck to Colo. 
Nicholas Spencer and Lieutt Colo. John Washington, the 1st. 
day of March 1674 for 5000 Acs. on Potomack River, between 
little Hunting Creek and Ipsewassan, now commonly called 
and known by the name of Dogue Creek, which said several 
purchases are now bounded by the Lands of the sd. G Wash- 
ington, a small tract of 150 Acres belonging to the Heirs of 
Harrison Manley deceased, the said Dogue Creek, and Poto- 
mack River, containing by the sevl. Deeds of conveyance 
Acres, be the same more or less. 

In lieu of this, the said G Washington is to give the Land 
which he holds on Great Hunting Creek, by purchase from 

"From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 
80 Mrs. Penelope French. 


Messrs. Adam, Dow and Mclver, for Acres be the same 

more or less, it being the Land which the said Dow is in the 
tenure and occupation of, as a Tenant at Will. 

But inasmuch as the Lands which are to be conveyed by Mr. 
and Mrs. Dulany are reversionary only, and at present are held, 
and may continue to be so held, by Mrs. French under the Will 
of her deceased husband during her natural life, which may 
prevent the said G Washington from obtaining possession, or 
enjoying any benefit therefrom under this exchange during 
that period. It is agreed between the parties, and is expressly 
to be declared, that until the said G Washington, his heirs &ca. 
shall arrive to the full and absolute possession of the above 
Lands (now only obtained in reversion) by the demise of Mrs. 
French or by a full and absolute conveyance without further 
compensation on the part of the said G Washington from her 
who at present is the rightful owner thereof, the said Mr. Du- 
lany, his Heirs &ca. is to pay into the said G Washington his 
Heirs &ca. the annual Sum of One hundred and twenty pounds 
Specie, or the value thereof; being the present Rent which is 
paid by the said Dow for the Land given by the said G Wash- 
ington for the reversionary right of that which is to be con- 
veyed by Mr. and Mrs. Dulany. 

Conformably to this Statement of the Agreement between 
Mr. Dulany and G W, Mr. Lee will draw proper, and effectual 
instruments of writing, for ratifying, and confirming the same, 
so as to render the exchange final and binding, upon the par- 
ties; that a record thereof may be had. 

NB. The first Rent to be paid by Mr. Dulany, his heirs, or 
&ca. will become due and payable on the first day of Jany; 
which shall be in the year 1787. The growing rent for the year 
1785, and the rent which is now due for the year past, the said 
G Washington is to look to the present tenant, Mr. Dow for 
the payment thereof. [ h. s. p. ] 



Mount Vernon, February 5, 1785. 

Sir: I have lately received two letters from you, one of the 
14th and the other of the 25th of last month. 

The Bonds which you have taken from Mr. Whiting 81 had 
better remain in your hands until they are discharged and by 
the time you propose to be at Belvoir in April I will endeavor 
to prepare a proper Rental for you if it shall be in my power 
from the pressure of other matters. 

It was always my intention and ever my expectation that 
the Tenants should pay the taxes of their own Lotts, but if the 
Leases neither expresses nor implies it I do not suppose there 
is anything else to compel them, consequently Mr. Whiting 
must be allowed such sums as he has actually paid; look how- 
ever at his Lease and judge yourself of the fact as I speak 
more from what ought to be perhaps than what really is, and 
do not want to enter into an improper litigation of the matter. 
I am etc. 

P. S. Mrs. Washington begs you would get from some of 
my Tenants, or others, 10 or a dozen lbs. of good hackled Flax 
for her. 82 


Mount Vernon, February 5, 1785. 
Sir: I pray you to accept my acknowledgment of your polite 
letter of the 31st. of October, and thanks for the flattering ex- 
pressions of it. These are also due in a very particular manner 

81 Henry Whiting. 

^This "Letter Book" text in the Washington Papers has been checked against that 
printed in the Washington and Tilghman sale catalogue (Birch's Sons, Philadelphia, 
1892) and justifiable changes made accordingly. The P. S. is not in the "Letter 
Book " copy. 


to Doctr. Price, 83 for the honble mention he has made of the 
American General in his excellent observations on the impor- 
tance of the American revolution addressed, "To the free and 
United States of America," which I have seen and read with 
much pleasure. 

Captn. Haskell in the Ship May arrived at Alexandria a few 
days ago; but a frost which at present interrupts the navigation 
of the river, has prevented my sending for the Chimney piece: 
by the number of cases however, I greatly fear it is too elegant 
and costly for my room, and republican stile of living. I regret 
exceedingly that the politeness of your good Father should 
have overcome my resolution, and thereby occasion the trou- 
ble and difficulty which this business seems to have involved. 
Nothing could have been more remote from my intentions 
than to give this, and I earnestly, but in vain, entreated Mr. 
Vaughan to countermand his order for the shipment of it. I 
have the honor, etc. 84 


Mount Vernon, February 5, 1785. 

Dr. Sir: I have the honor to inform you that the Chimney 
piece is arrived, and by the number of Cases (ten) too elegant 
and costly by far I fear for my room, and republican stile of 
living, tho' it encreased the sense of my obligation to you for 
it. The Ship arrived at her Port just as this second frost set in, 
so that it has not been in my power to send up for these cases 
by water; and I would not hazard the transportation of them by 
land, nine miles. 

They were accompanied by a very polite letter from your 
Son Benjamin Vaughan Esqr. of London, to whom under 

83 Rev. Richard Price, English nonconformist minister and author. 
84 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


cover with this, I have acknowledged the receipt, with thanks 
for the favourable expression of it. I hope Mrs. Vaughan and 
your family enjoy good health, to whom with Mrs. Washing- 
ton's compliments, I pray to be presented in respectful terms. 
With great esteem and regard, I am, etc. 85 


Mount Vernon, February 5, 1785. 

My Dr. Sir: Not until within these few days have I been 
favored with your letter of the 18th. of Octr. introductory of 
Mr. Porter. I beg you to be assured that I shall have pleasure 
in shewing him every civility in my power while he makes this 
region the place of his residence; as I shall to any other, to 
whom you may give letters recommendatory. 

A few days ago I received from on board some vessel in the 
harbor of Alexana. two cheese's and a barrel (wrote thereon 
Major Rice) 86 of Cranberries, unaccompanied by letter, but said 
to be a present from you. If this be the fact I pray you to accept 
my thanks for this token of your recollection, or to offer them 
to Majr. Rice, if the barrel came from him. 

We have nothing stirring in this quarter worthy of observa- 
tion, except the passing of two Acts by the Assemblies of Vir- 
ginia and Maryland (exactly similar) for improving and 
extending the navigation of the river Potomac from tide water, 
as high up as it shall be found practicable, and communicating 
it by good roads with the nearest navigable waters to the West- 
ward: which acts in their consequences, may be of great po- 
litical, as well as commercial advantages: the first to the con- 
federation, as it may tie the Settlers of the Western Territory 

85 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 
88 Maj. Nathan Rice. He was formerly aide to General Lincoln. 


to the Atlantic States by interest, which is the only knot that 
will hold. Whilst those of Virginia and Maryland will be more 
immediately benefited by the large field it opens for the latter. 
Books for receiving subscriptions are to be opened at Alexan- 
dria and other places the 8th. instant, and continue so until the 
10th. of May; as the navigable part of the business is to be 
undertaken by a company to be incorporated for the purpose. 
With great truth and sincerity I am, etc. 87 


Mount Vernon, February 7, 1785. 
My dear Humphreys: In my last, by the Marquis de la 
Fayette, I gave you reason to believe that when I was more at 
leizure, you should receive a long letter from me; however 
agreeable this might be to my wishes, the period it is to be 
feared, will never arrive. I can with truth assure you, that at 
no period of the war have I been obliged to write half as much 
as I now do, from necessity. I have been enquiring for some- 
time past, for a person in the character of Secretary or clerk 
to live with me; but hitherto unsuccessfully. What with letters 
(often of an unmeaning nature) from foreigners. Enquiries 
after Dick, Tom, and Harry who may have been in some part, 
or at sometime, in the Continental service. Letters, or certifi- 
cates of service for those who want to go out of their own State. 
Introductions; applications for copies of Papers; references of 
a thousand old matters with which I ought not to be troubled, 
more than the Great Mogul, but which must receive an an- 
swer of some kind, deprive me of my usual exercise; and with- 
out relief, may be injurious to me as I already begin to feel the 
weight, and oppression of it in my head, and am assured by 

87 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


the faculty, if I do not change my course, I shall certainly sink 
under it. 

After this preamble, which is not founded in fiction, you 
cannot expect much from me; nor indeed have I ought to relate 
that should claim much attention. All our assemblies have 
had long sessions, but I have not heard of any very important 
acts; none indeed more pregnant of political consequences, or 
commercial advantages, than two which have passed the Legis- 
latures of Virginia and Maryland, for improving and extend- 
ing the navigations of Potomack and James River as far as is 
practicable; and communicating them by short and easy roads 
with the Navigable waters to the Westward. I have sent Mr. 
Jefferson a copy of the act respecting the river Potomack, but 
can neither inform him, nor you, of the issue, as it depends 
wholly upon the subscription of what we have very little of, 

If we are to credit newspaper accounts, the flames of war in 
Europe are again kindling: how far they may spread, neither 
the Statesman or soldier can determine; as the great governor 
of the Universe causes contingencies which baffle the wisdom of 
the first, and the foresight and valor of the Second. 

All I pray for, is, that you may keep them among yourselves. 
If a single spark should light among the inflameable matter 
in these States, it may set them in a combustion, altho' they 
may not be able to assign a good reason for it. 

I have received but two short letters from you since your 
arrival in France. The first at your place of debarkation. The 
second from Paris. Your third, [sic] altho' (in the beginning 
of this letter I assured you, and endeavoured to give reasons for 
it, which in the conclusion you see are invalidated) I am not 
able to write long ones to you, will not be altogether so laconic, 
a short transcript of your diary (for I have no doubt of your 


keeping one) would be amusing to me, although I can give you 
nothing in return for it. but your own feelings, I am sure, have 
told you long ere this that there is more pleasure in confering, 
than receiving obligations. 

Mrs. Washington enjoys but indifferent health. My nephew 
Geo. A. Washington has been buffetting the seas from clime to 
clime, in pursuit of health, but, poor fellow ! I believe in vain. 
At present, if alive, I expect he is at Charleston. All the rest of 
my family are perfectly well, and join me in best wishes for 
you, with My dear Humphreys yr. etc. 

P. S. Whilst I was in the act of enclosing this, yr. letters of 
the 30th. of Sept. and nth. of Nov. were put into my hands; 
judge ye then, if I have leizure to write commentaries. 88 


Mount Vernon, February 8, 1785. 
Dear Sir: Since my last, I have had the honor to receive your 
favors of the 26th. of Deer, and 16th. of January. I have now 
the pleasure to inform you, that the Assemblies of Virginia and 
Maryland have enacted Laws, of which the enclosed is a copy; 
they are exactly similar in both States. At the same time and 
at the joint and equal expence of the two Governments, the 
sum of 6666 2/3 Dollars are voted for opening and keeping in 
repair a road from the highest practicable navigation of this 
river, to that of the river Cheat or Monongahela, as commis- 
sioners (who are appointed to survey and lay out the same) shall 
find most convenient and beneficial to the Western Settlers : and 
have concurred in an application to the State of Pennsylvania 
for permission to open another road from Fort Cumberland 

88 The text is from the Washington-Humphreys copies in the American Antiquarian 
Society, Worcester, Mass., furnished through the kindness of the librarian, R. W. G. 


to the Yohoganey, at the three forks or Turkey foot. A similar 
Bill to the one enclosed, is passed by our Assembly, respecting 
the navigation of James river, and the communication betv/een 
it and the waters of the great Kanhawa, and the Executive 
authorised by a resolve of the Assembly to appoint Commis- 
sioners to examine and report the most convenient course for 
a canal between Elizabeth river and the waters of Roanoke; 
with an estimate of the expence: and if the best communica- 
tion shall be found to require the concurrence of the State of 
No. Carolina thereto, to make application to the Legislature 
thereof accordingly. 

Towards the latter part of the year 1783 I was honored with 
a letter from the Countess of Huntington, briefly reciting her 
benevolent intention of spreading Christianity among the 
Tribes of Indians inhabiting our Western Territory; and ex- 
pressing a desire of my advice and assistance to carry this char- 
itable design into execution. I wrote her Ladyship for answer, 
that it would by no means comport with the plan of retirement 
I had promised myself, to take an active or responsible part in 
this business; and that it was my belief, there was no other way 
to effect her pious and benevolent designs, but by first reducing 
these people to a state of greater civilization, but that I wou'd 
give every aid in my power, consistent with the ease and tran- 
quility, to which I meant to devote the remainder of my life, 
to carry her plan into effect. Since that I have been favored 
with other letters from her, and a few days ago under cover 
from Sir James Jay the papers herewith enclosed. 

As the plan contemplated by Lady Huntington, according to 
the outlines exhibited, is not only unexceptionable in its design 
and tendency, but has humanity and charity for its object; and 
may I conceive, be made subservient to valuable political pur- 
poses, I take the liberty of laying the matter before you for your 


free and candid sentiments thereon; the communication I make 
of this matter to you sir, is in a private way, but you are at full 
liberty to communicate the plan of Lady Huntington, to the 
members individually; or officially to Congress, as the impor- 
tance and propriety of the measure may strike you. My reasons 
for it are these: ist. I do not believe that any of the States to 
whom she has written (unless it may be New York) are in cir- 
cumstances, since their cession of Territory, to comply with the 
requisition respecting emigration; for it has been privately 
hinted to me, and ought not to become a matter of public noto- 
riety, that notwithstanding the indefinite expressions of the 
Address respecting the numbers or occupations of the emi- 
grants, which was purposely omitted to avoid giving alarms in 
England, the former will be great, and the useful artisans 
among them, many. 2d Because such emigration, if it should 
effect the object in view, besides the humane and charitable 
purposes which would be thereby answered, will be of im- 
mense political consequence; and even if this should not 
succeed to her Ladyships wishes, it must nevertheless, be of 
considerable importance from the encrease of population by 
orderly and well disposed characters, who would at once form 
a barrier and attempt the conversion of the Indians without in- 
volving an expence to the Union. I see but one objection to a 
compact, unmixed and powerful settlement of this kind, if it 
is likely to be so, the weight of which you will judge. It is, (and 
her Ladyship seems to have been aware of it, and endeavours to 
guard against it) placing a people in a body upon our exterior, 
where they will be contiguous to Canada, who may bring with 
them strong prejudices against us, and our form of Govern- 
ment, and equally strong attachments to the country and Con- 
stitution they leave, without the means, being detached and 
unmixed with Citizens of different sentiments, of having them 


eradicated. Her Ladyship has spoken so feelingly and sensibly, 
on the religeous and benevolent purposes of the plan, that no 
language of which I am possessed, can add aught to enforce her 
observations. And no place I think bids so fair to answer 
her views as that spot in Hutchin's map, mark'd Miami Village 
and Fort, from hence there is a communication to all parts by 
water and at which, in my opinion we ought to have a Post. 

Do not think it strange my good Sir, that I send you the orig- 
inal papers from Lady Huntington. Many, mistakenly, think I 
am retired to ease and that kind of tranquility which would 
grow tiresome for want of employment; but at no period of my 
life, not in the eight years I served the public, have I been 
obliged to write so much myself, as I have done since my retire- 
ment. Was this confined to friendly communications, and to 
my own business, it would be equally pleasing and trifling: but 
I have a thousand references of old matters with which I ought 
not to be troubled; but which, nevertheless, must receive some 
answer; these, with applications for certificates, copies of Or- 
ders &c. &c. &c. deprive me of my usual and necessary exercise. 

I have tryed, but hitherto in vain, to get a Secretary or Clerk, 
to take upon him the drudging part of this business : that you 
might not wonder at my parting with original papers on an 
important subject, I thought it incumbent upon me to assign 
the reason, and I beg you to be assured, that I have no other 
motive for it. 

Please to accept my thanks for the pamphlet you sent me, and 
for the resolutions respecting the temporary and permanent 
seat of Government. If I might be permitted to hazard an opin- 
ion of the latter, I would say, that by the time your Federal 
buildings on the banks of the Delaware, along the point of 
triangle, are fit for the reception of Congress; it will be found 


that they are very improperly placed for the seat of the Empire, 
and will have to undergo a second edition in a more convenient 
one. If the union continues, and this is not the case, I will agree 
to be classed among the false prophets, and suffer for evil pre- 
diction. The letter for the Marqs. de la Fayette, I pray you to 
forward by the Packet. With great esteem and regard, I 

am etc. 89 


Mount Vernon, February 15, 1785. 

My Dr. Marqs. I have had the pleasure to receive your affec- 
tionate letter of the 21st. of December, dated on board the 
Nymph Frigate in the harbour of New York; and felt all that 
man could feel from the flattering expression of it. 

My last to you, if I recollect right, was dispatched from An- 
napolis; whither I went at the request of this State to settle 
a plan (to be mutually adopted by the Legislatures of both 
States) for improving and extending the navigation of the 
river Potomac as far as it should be found practicable, and for 
opening a road of communication therefrom, to the nearest 
navigable water to the westward. In both, I happily succeeded. 
The Bill, of which I send you a copy, was prepared at that time, 
and has since passed both Assemblies in the usual forms, and 
must speak for itself. The road of communication is to be 
undertaken on public account, at the joint and equal expence 
of the two States. Virginia has passed a similar Act to the one 
enclosed, respecting James river, and its communication with 
the waters of the Great Kanhawa, and have authorized the 
Executive to appoint Commissioners to examine, and fix on 

BD From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


the most convenient course for a canal from the waters of 
Elizabeth river, in this State, to those passing thro' the State 
of No. Carolina; and report their proceedings therein, with an 
estimate of the expence necessary for opening such Canal, to 
the next General Assembly. 

Hence my dear Marquis you will perceive that the exertions 
which you found, and left me engag'd in, to impress my Coun- 
trymen with the advantages of extending the inland naviga- 
tion of our rivers, and opening free and easy communications 
with the Western Territory (thereby binding them to us by 
interest, the only knot which will hold) has not been employ 'd 
in vain. The Assembly of this State have accompanied these 
Acts with another, very flattering one for me, but which has 
been productive of infinitely more embarrassment than pleas- 
ure. This Act directs the Treasurer of the State to subscribe fifty 
shares in each of the navigations, Potomac and James, for my 
use and benefit, 90 which it declares is to be vested in me and 
my heirs forever: generous as this Act is, the reasons assigned 
for it, with the flattering, yet delicate expression thereof, ren- 
ders it more valuable than the grant itself; and this it is which 
perplexes me. It is not my wish, nor is it my intention, to accept 
this gratuitous gift, but how to decline it with out appearing 
to slight the favors of my Country, committing an act of disre- 
spect to the Legislature, or having motives of pride, or an 
ostentatious display of disinterestedness ascribed to me, I am at 
a loss : but will endeavour to hit upon some expedient before the 
next Session, to avoid these imputations. This was the closing 
Act of the last, without my having the most distant suspicion 
that such a matter was in contemplation; nor did I ever hear 
of it until it had passed, and the Assembly had adjourned. 

90 This may be an error of the "Letter Book" copyist. The act directed the sub- 
scription of 50 shares in the Potomac Navigation Co. and 100 shares in the James 
River Navigation Co. 



With what readiness the subscription Books will fill, is not 
in my power at this early stage of the business, to inform you ; in 
general, the friends to the measure are sanguine; but among 
those good wishes are more at command, than money, conse- 
quently it is not only uncertain of whom the company may 
consist, but (as its existence depends upon contingenices) 
whether there will be one or not. therefore at this moment we 
are all in the dark respecting this and other matters. One thing 
however is certain, namely, if a company should be established 
and the work is undertaken, a skilful Engineer, or rather a 
person of practical knowledge will be wanted to direct and 
superintend it. I should be glad therefore my Dr. Sir you 
would bear this matter in your mind, that if the company 
when formed should be disposed to obtain one from Europe, 
I should prefer France, proper characters may be applied to, 
without loss of time. You will readily perceive My Dr. Marqs. 
that this is more a private intimation of mine, than an author- 
ized request, consequently how improper it would be to raise 
the expectation of any Gentleman to the employment, without 
being able to give him the appointment. If a company should 
be formed, it will be composed, no doubt of many men, and 
these of many minds; and whilst myself and others may be 
disposed to go to France for an Engineer, the majority may 
incline to send to England for one, on account of the language, 
and from an opinion that there is greater similarity between 
the inland navigation of that Kingdom and the improvements 
which are intended here, than prevails between any in France 
and them; whilst others again may turn their Eyes towards 
Holland. The nature of our work, as far as I have been able 
to form an opinion of it, will be first, at the principal falls of 
the river to let Vessels down by means of Locks, or, if Rumsey's 
plan should succeed, by regular or gradual slopes, in either 
case, the bad effect of Ice and drift wood in floods, are to be 


guarded against. 2d. As the Canals at these places will pass 
thro' rocky ground, to be able to remove these with skill and 
facility, and to secure the Canals when made. 3dly. in other 
parts of the river, the water will require to be deepened, and in 
these places the bottom generally is either rock under water, 
or loose stone of different sizes; for it rarely happens that 
Sand or Mud is to be found in any of the shallow parts of the 
River. I mention these things because it is not the man who 
may be best skilled in Dikes; who knows best how to conduct 
water upon a level, or who can carry it thro' hills or over 
Mountains, that would be most useful to us. 

We have had a mild winter hitherto, and nothing new that 
I recollect, in the course of it; for I believe Congress had deter- 
mined before you left the Country, to fix their permanent seat 
in the vicinity of Trenton; and their temporary one at New 
York. The little Sprig at Annapolis, to whose nod so many 
lofty trees of the forest had bowed, has yielded the Sceptre. 

thursday last placed it at the feet of Mr. M: who perhaps 

may wield it with as much despotism as she did. 

If I recollect right, I told you when here, that I had made 
one or two attempts to procure a good Jack Ass from Spain, to 
breed from. Colo. Hooe, or rather Mr. Harrison, was one of 
the Channels thro' which I expected to be supplied; but a day 
or two ago the former furnished me with the enclosed extract 
from the latter. As it is not convenient for me to pay such a 
price, I have desired Colo. Hooe to countermand the order, and 
the same causes induce me to pray, that if these are the prices of 
a good Jack (and no other I would have) that you would de- 
cline executing the commission I gave you of a similar kind. 

I will use my best endeavours to procure the seeds (from 
Kentucky) which are contained in your list; but as the dis- 


tance at which I live from that country is great, and frequent 
miscarriages of them may happen, you must prepare yourself 
for delay. 

I will write as you desire, to Gary 91 the late Printer of the 
Volunteer Journal in Ireland. Bushrod Washington, sensible 
of your polite invitation, but unable to avail himself of it, wrote 
you a letter of grateful acknowledgments and thanks; which 
letter I sent under cover to the President of Congress with a 
request to deliver it to you, but you had sailed: I presume he 
has since forwarded it to you. 

I am possessed of the Cypher 92 which was used by Mr. Liv- 
ingston whilst he was Secretary of foreign affairs; if therefore 
he had not different ones, I can when necessary, correspond 
with you in his. 

Every body of this family, and those who are connected with 
it, join in the most sincere and affectionate wishes for you and 
yours, with the most affectionate of your friends 

P. S. If it should so happen that the subscriptions for opening 
the navigations of the rivers Potomac and James should not 
(from the want of money here) fill in the time required by the 
Acts, do you think that there are persons of your acquaintance 
in France who might incline to become adventurers in it ? I 
give it as my decided opinion to you that both are practicable 
beyond all manner of doubt: and that men who can afford to 
lay a little while out of their money, are laying the foundation 
of the greatest returns of any speculation I know of in the 
world. 93 

91 Mathew Carey. 

2 There are several undated ciphers in the Washington Papers, grouped at the end of 
the year 1783. One is Maj. Benjamin Tallmadge's cipher and another is Robert Mor- 
ris's; but none of them are labeled as Robert R. Livingston's cipher. 

03 From the " Letter Book " copy in the Washington Papers. 



Mount Vernon, February 20, 1785. 

Dear Sir: My Servant did not return with your letter, and the 
Papers therewith, until Nine o'clock last night; so that I have 
scarcely had time to read the several Conveyances. In that 
from Mr and Mrs Dulany to me there is a capitol error, the 
Land held by the deceased Mr. French, under the Proprietors 
Deed to Stephens and Violet, is no part of the Land exchanged. 
The original grant to Spencer and Washington, comprehends 
all the land Mr. and Mrs. Dulany is to give for mine; and these 
are held by purchases from Richd. Osborne (the quantity I 
know not) Arbuthnot for 150 Acres; Manley for 68 acres; and 
John Posey for 136 Acres. 

If it is not essential to recite the quantities of Land had from 
each of the persons, with the dates of the several transfers of 
them, in order to give valuation to the Deed of Conveyance 
from Mr. and Mrs. Dulany; I see not the least occasion for it, on 
any other Acct.; because, if they convey all their right to the 
Land within Spencer and Washingtons Patent, it gives all I 
want, and cannot in the remotest degree affect any other Land 
they have, because they hold none other, within several Miles 
of it. and because it would be sufficiently descriptive, as the Pat- 
ent of Spencer and Washington is well known, and the bound- 
aries of it will admit of no alteration, having the River, Hunting 
Creek and Ipsawassen (or Dogues Creek) and a strait line be- 
tween the two last for its limits. 

For these reasons I should think, if at the end of the mark 
No. 1 line 29, you were to add " by means of sundry purchases 

Brother of "Light Horse Harry." He was naval officer for the Southern Potomac, 
U. S. Collector of Customs, Alexandria, Va., in 1789, and Attorney General of the 
United States from 1795 to 1801. 


by him made from Richard Osborne, the Executrix of Thos. 
Arbuthbot, John Manley, John Posey &ca. containing in Spen- 
cers moiety of the said Patent " (if it is necessary to specify the 
quantity) "by estimation about 500 acres of Land, be the same 
more or less ". it wd. make the matter sufficiently clear for the 
precise quantity can only be ascertained by a strict investigation 
of lines and actual measurement; as part of Mr Frenchs pur- 
chases run into Washingtons moiety of the Patent, which can 
not be affected, tho' to ascertain the different lines, and rights, 
would give trouble, and was one inducement for me to make 
the exchange. 

In whatever manner you Judge best, draw the Deed accord- 
ingly, all I pray is, that it may be ready for the Court, this day. 
nothing else brings me up, and it is inconvenient to leave home. 
Besides, Mrs. Washington, tho' not very well, will attend, in 
order to make a finish of the business. With much esteem &ca. 
I am etc. 

P. S. As the Land I get, comes by Mrs. Dulany would it not 
have been right to have given her the same interest in the Tract 
I convey ? this by the by, only. And should not there have been 
a note of the interliniation respecting the amt. of the rent, in 
that Deed ? or do you mean that it is not to be considered as an 
interlineation ? My taking a Lease from Mrs. French of her life 
Estate, if she should be disposed to give me one, upon the 
paymt. of an annual rent, cannot be considered as a compliance 
on the part of Mr Dulany and discharge of that proviso which 
is to extinguish his Rent ? [h.s.p.] 


Mount Vernon, February 25, 1785. 
Dear Sir: I had the pleasure to find by the public Gazettes 
that your passage to France had been short, and pleasant. I have 


no doubt but that your reception at Court has been equally 
polite, and agreeable. 

I have the honor to inclose you the copy of an Act which 
passed the Assemblies of Virginia and Maryland at the close of 
their respective Sessions; about the first of last month. The 
circumstances of these States, it is said, would not enable them 
to take the matter up, altogether, on public ground; but they 
have granted at the joint and equal expence of the two, 6666 2/3 
dollars for the purpose of opening a road of communication 
between the highest navigation of the Potomac, and the river 
Cheat; and have concurred in an application to the State of 
Pensylvania for leave to open another road from Fort Cumber- 
land or Wills Creek, to the Yohiogany, at the three forks, or 
Turkey foot. 

Besides these joint Acts of the States of Virginia and Mary- 
land; the former has passed a similar law respecting the naviga- 
tion of James river, and its communications with the Green 
brier; and have authorized the Executive to appoint Commis- 
sioners, who shall carefully examine and fix on the most con- 
venient course for a Canal from the Waters of Elizabeth River 
in this State, to those passing through the State of North Caro- 
lina; and report their proceedings therein, with an estimate of 
the expence necessary for opening the Same, to the next Gen- 
eral Assembly; and in case they shall find that, the best course 
for such canal, will require the concurrence of the Sate [sic] of 
North Carolina in the opening thereof, they are further author- 
ized and instructed to signify the same to the said State, and to 
concert with any person or persons who may be appointed on 
the part thereof, the most convenient and equitable plan for the 
execution of such work; and to report the result to the General 

With what Success the Books will be opened, I cannot, at this 
early stage of the business, inform you; in general the friends 


of the measure are better stocked with good wishes than 
money; the former of which unfortunately, goes but a little 
way in works where the latter is necessary, and is not to be had. 
and yet, if this matter could be well understood, it should seem 
that, there would be no deficiency of the latter, any more than 
of the former; for certain I am, there is no speculation of which 
I have an idea, that will ensure such certain and ample returns 
of the money advanced, with a great, and encreasing interest, as 
the tolls arising from these navigations; the accomplishment of 
which, if funds can be obtained, admits of no more doubt in my 
mind, under proper direction, than that a ship with skilful Mar- 
iners can be carried from hence to Europe. What a misfortune 
therefore would it be, if a project which is big with such great 
political consequences, commercial advantages, and which 
might be made so productive to private Adventurers should 
miscarry; either from the inability of the two States to execute 
it, at the public expence, or for want of means, or the want of 
spirit or foresight to use them, in their citizens. Supposing a 
danger of this, do you think, Sir, the monied men of France, 
Holland, England or any other Country with which you may 
have intercourse, might be induced to become Adventurers in 
the Scheme? Or if from the remoteness of the object, this 
should appear ineligable to them, would they incline to lend 
money to one, or both of these States, if there should be a dispo- 
sition in them to borrow, for this purpose ? Or, to one or more 
individuals in them, who are able, and would give sufficient 
security for the repayment ? At what interest, and on what con- 
ditions respecting time, payment of interest, &ca. could it be 
obtained ? 

I forsee such extensive political consequences depending on 
the navigation of these two rivers, and communicating them by 
short and easy roads with the waters of the Western territory, 
that I am pained by every doubt of obtaining the means for 


their accomplishment : for this reason, I also wish you would 
be so obliging as to direct your enquiries after one or more 
characters, who have skill in this kind of work; that if Com- 
panies should be incorporated under the present Acts, and 
should incline to send to France, or England for an Engineer, 
or Man of practical knowledge in these kinds of works, there 
may be a clue to the application. You will perceive tho' my dear 
Sir, that no engagement, obligatory or honorary can be entered 
into at this time, because no person can answer for the deter- 
mination of the Companies, admitting their formation. 

As I have accustomed myself to communicate matters of dif- 
ficulty to you, and have met forgiveness for it, I will take the 
liberty, my good Sir, of troubling you with the rehearsal of one 
more, which has lately occurred to me. Among the Laws of the 
last Session of our Assembly, there is an Act which particularly 
respects myself; and tho' very flattering, is also very embarrass- 
ing to me. This Act, after honorable, flattering, and delicate 
recitals, directs the treasurer of the State to Subscribe towards 
each of the Navigations fifty Shares for my use and benefit; 
which it declares, is to be vested in me and my heirs forever. It 
has ever been my wish, and it is yet my intention, never to re- 
ceive any thing from the United States, or an individual State 
for any Services I have hitherto rendered, or which in the course 
of events, I may have it in my power to render them hereafter 
as it is not my design to accept of any appointment from the 
public, which might make emoluments necessary: but how to 
decline this act of generosity without incurring the imputation 
of disrespect to my Country, and a slight of her favors on the 
one hand, or that of pride, or an ostentatious display of disinter- 
estedness on the other, is the difficulty. As none of these have 
an existence in my breast, I should be sorry, if any of them 
should be imputed to me. The Assembly, as if determined that 

1785] ADVICE ASKED 81 

I should not act from the first impulse, made this the last act of 
their Session; without my having the smallest intimation or 
suspicion of their generous intention. As our Assembly is now 
to be holden once a year only, I shall have time to hit upon some 
expedient that will enable me to indulge the bent of my own 
inclination, without incurring any of the imputations before 
mentioned; and of hearing the sentiments of my friends upon 
the subject; than whose, none would be more acceptable than 

Your friends in our Assembly will have been able to give you 
so much better information of what has passed there, and of the 
general state of matters in this Commonwealth, that a repeti- 
tion from me is although unnecessary, and might be imperfect. 
If we are to credit News paper Accts. the flames of war are again 
kindled, or are about to be so, in Europe. None of the sparks, 
it is to be hoped will cross the Atlantic and touch the inflame- 
able matter in these States. I pray you to believe that with 
sentimts. of great esteem, etc. 95 


Mount Vernon, February 27, 1785. 
My Dr. Sir: In a letter of old date, but lately received, from 
the Countess of Huntington, she refers me to a letter which her 
Ladyship says you obligingly undertook to forward to me: 

85 From the original in the Jefferson Papers. 

Jefferson answered (July 10): "My wishes to see you made perfectly easy by re- 
ceiving those just returns of gratitude from our country, to which you art entitled, 
would induce me to be contented with saying, what is a certain truth, that the world 
would be pleased with seeing them heaped on you, and would consider your receiv- 
ing them as no derogation from your reputation, but I must own that the declining 
them will add to that reputation, as it will shew that your motives have been pure and 
without any alloy, this testimony however is not wanting either to those who know 
you or who do not. I must therefore repeat that I think the receiving them will not in 
the least lessen the respect of the world if from any circumstances they would be con- 
venient to you. the candour of my communication will find its justification I know 
with you." Jefferson's letter is in the Washington Papers. 


never having received one from her to the purport she men- 
tions, there can be no doubt but that this letter with your cover 
to it, have met the fate of some of mine to you; as I have wrote 
several within the last twelve or eighteen months, without any 
acknowledgement of them from you. 

The only letters I recollect to have received from you since 
my retirement are dated the 9th. of Deer. 1783, and 10th. of June 
1784. the first, relates to the heir of Mr. Bristons, the second, to 
a case with pictures, which you were so obliging as to commit 
to the care of the Revd. Mr. Bracken; and which has not yet 
got to hand. In Novr. last at Richmond, I happened in com- 
pany with this gentleman who told me it was then in his pos- 
session at Wmsburgh, and that it should be forwarded by the 
first safe conveyance to this place, for your kind and polite atten- 
tion in this matter, I pray you to receive my thanks. 

As soon as your letter of the 9th. of Deer., above mentioned 
(accompanied by one from Mrs. Briston, and the memorial 
from the Excors of the Will of her deceased husband) came to 
my hands, I transmitted them to the Govr., who laid them be- 
fore the Assembly which was then sitting: but what the result 
of it was, I have never yet heard, precisely. This case was in- 
volved in the general confiscation of British property, which 
makes discrimination difficult. How far the Law on national 
ground is just, or the expediency of it in the political scale, wise 
and proper, I will not undertake to determine; but of this I am 
well convinced, that the most wretched management of the 
sales has pervaded every State, without I believe a single excep- 
tion in favor of any one of them. 

I cannot at this moment recur to the contents of those letters 
of mine to you which I suspect have miscarried; further than 
that they were all expressive of an earnest wish to see you and 
Mrs. Fairfax once more fixed in this country; and to beg that 


you would consider Mt. Vernon as your home until you could 
build with convenience, in which request Mrs. Washington 
joins very sincerely. I never look towards Belvoir, without 
having this uppermost in my mind. But alas! Belvoir is no 
more! I took a ride there the other day to visit the ruins, and 
ruins indeed they are. The dwelling house and the two brick 
buildings in front, underwent the ravages of the fire; the walls 
of which are very much injured : the other Houses are sinking 
under the depredation of time and inattention, and I believe 
are now scarcely worth repairing. In a word, the whole are, or 
very soon will be a heap of ruin. When I viewed them, when I 
considered that the happiest moments of my life had been spent 
there, when I could not trace a room in the house (now all 
rubbish) that did not bring to my mind the recollection of 
pleasing scenes, I was obliged to fly from them; and came home 
with painful sensations, and sorrowing for the contrast. Mrs. 
Morton 96 still lives at your Barn quarter. The management of 
your business is entrusted to one Muse (son to a Colonel of that 
name, 97 whom you cannot have forgotten), he is, I am told, a 
very active and industrious man; but in what sort of order he 
has your Estate, I am unable to inform you, never having seen 
him since my return to Virginia. 

It may be and I dare say is presumed that if I am not returned 
to my former habits of life, the change is to be ascribed to a 
preference of ease and indolence to exercise and my wonted 
activity: But be assured my dear Sir, that at no period of the 
War have I been obliged myself to go thro' more drudgery in 
writing, or have suffered so much confinement to effect it, as 
since what is called my retirement to domestic ease and tran- 
quillity. Strange as it may seem, it is nevertheless true, that I 

80 Wife of Rev. Andrew Morton. 
97 Col. George Muse. 


have been able since I came home, to give very little attention 
to my own concerns, or to those of others, with which I was 
entrusted. My Accounts stand as I left them near ten years ago; 
those who owed me money, a very few instances excepted, 
availed themselves of what are called the tender Laws, and paid 
me off with a shilling and sixpence in the pound. Those to 
whom I owed, I have now to pay under heavy taxes with specie, 
or its equivalent value. I do not mention these matters by way 
of complaint, but as an apology for not having rendered you a 
full and perfect statement of the Acct. as it may stand between 
us, 'ere this. I allotted this Winter, supposing the drearyness of 
the season would afford me leisure to overhaul and adjust all 
my papers (which are in sad disorder, from the frequent hasty 
removals of them, from the reach of our trans-atlantic foes, 
when their Ships appeared) : but I reckoned without my host; 
Company, and a continual reference of old military matters, 
with which I ought to have no concern; applications for Certifi- 
cates of service &c, copies of orders and the Lord knows what 
besides, to which whether they are complied with or not, some 
response must be made, engross nearly my whole time. I am 
now endeavoring to get some person as a Secretary or Clerk to 
take the fatigueing part of this business off my hands. I have 
not yet succeeded, but shall continue my enquiries 'till one shall 
offer, properly recommended. 

Nothing has occurred of late worth noticing, except the re- 
newed attempts of the Assemblies of Virginia and Maryland to 
improve and extend the navigation of the river Potomac as far 
as it is practicable, and communicating it by good roads (at the 
joint and equal expence of the two States) with the waters of 
the amazing territory behind us. A copy of this Act (exactly sim- 
ilar in both states) I do myself the honor to enclose you. One 
similar to it passed the Legislature of this State for improving 


and extending the navigation of James river, and opening a 
good road between it and Green-briar. These acts were accom- 
panied by another of the Virginia Assembly, very flattering 
and honorable for me, not more so for the magnitude of the 
gift, than the avowed gratitude, and delicacy of its expression, 
in the recital to it. The purport of it is, to vest ioo shares (50 in 
each navigation) 98 in me and my heirs forever. But it is not 
my intention to accept of it; altho', were I otherwise disposed, I 
should consider it as the foundation of the greatest and most 
certain income that the like sum can produce in any specula- 
tion whatever. So certain is the accomplishment of the work, if 
the sum proposed should be raised to carry it on, and so incon- 
ceivably will the tolls increase by the accumulating produce 
which will be water borne on the navigation of these two 
rivers, which penetrate so far and communicate so nearly, with 
the navigable waters to the Westward. 

At the same time that I determine not to accept this generous 
and gratuitous offer of my Country, I am at a loss in what man- 
ner to decline it, without an apparent slight or disrespect to the 
Assembly on the one hand, or exposing myself to the imputation 
of pride, or an ostentatious display of disinterestedness on the 
other, neither have an existence in my breast, and neither would 
I wish to have ascribed to me. I shall have time however to think 
of the matter, before the next session ; for as if it was meant that 
I should have no opportunity to decline the offer at the last, it 
was the closing act thereof, without any previous intimation, or 
suspicion in my mind, of the intention. Admitting that Com- 
panies should be incorporated for the purposes mentioned in 
the Act, do you conceive my good Sir, that a person perfectly 
skilled in works of this sort, could be readily obtained from 
England? And upon what terms ? 

98 See note to Washington's letter to Marquis de Lafayette, Feb. 15, 1785, ante. 


It is unnecessary I persuade myself, to use arguments to con- 
vince Mrs. Fairfax and yourself, to the sincere regard and at- 
tachment and affection Mrs. Washington and I have for you 
both, or to assure you how much, I am, etc. 

P. S. Do you think it would be in your power, with ease and 
convenience, to procure for me, a male and female Deer or two, 
the cost of transportation I would gladly be at. If I should ever 
get relieved from the drudgery of the pen, it would be my wish 
to engage in these kind of rural amusements, raising of shrub- 
beries &c. After what I have said in the body of this letter, I will 
not trouble you with an apology for such a scrawl as it now 
exhibits, you must receive it, my good Sir, as we have done bet- 
ter things, better for worse." 


Mount Vernon, February 27, 1785. 

My Lady: The very polite and obliging letter which you did 
me the honor to write to me on the 8th. of April by Sir James 
Jay, never came to my hands until the 17th. of last month, and 
is the best apology I can make for a silence, which might other- 
wise appear inattentive, if not disrespectful, to a correspond- 
ence which does me much honor. 

The other letter which your Ladyship refers to, as having 
passed thro' the medium of our good friend Mr. Fairfax has 
never yet appeared; and it is matter of great regret, that letters 
are so often intercepted by negligence, curiosity or motives 
still more unworthy. I am persuaded that some of my letters 
to Mr. Fairfax, as well as his (covering your Ladyships) to me, 
have miscarried, as I have never received an acknowledgment 
of some of mine to him, tho' long since written. 

"From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


With respect to your humane and benevolent intentions to- 
wards the Indians, and the plan which your Ladyship has 
adopted to carry them into effect, they meet my highest appro- 
bation; and I should be very happy to find every possible en- 
couragement given to them. It has ever been my opinion, since 
I have had opportunities to observe, and to reflect upon the 
ignorance, indolence and general pursuits of the Indians, that 
all attempts to reclaim, and introduce any system of religeon 
or morality among them, would prove fruitless, until they 
could be first brought into a state of greater civilization; at 
least that this attempt should accompany the other, and be en- 
forced by example : and I am happy to find that it is made the 
ground work of your Ladyships plan. 

With respect to the other parts of the plan, and the prospect 
of obtaining Lands for the Emigrants, who are to be the instru- 
ments employed in the execution of it, my letter to Sir James 
Jay in answer to his to me on this subject, will convey every 
information, which is in my power, at this time to give your 
Ladyship; and therefore I take the liberty of enclosing a tran- 
script of it. Agreeably to the assurance given in it, I have writ- 
ten fully to the President of Congress, with whom I have a 
particular intimacy, and transmitted copies of your Ladyships 
plan, addresses and letter to the several States therein men- 
tioned, with my approving sentiments thereon. I have in- 
formed him, that tho' it comes to him as a private letter from 
me; it is nevertheless optional in him to make it a matter of 
private communication to the members individually, or offi- 
cially to Congress, as his judgment shall dictate; giving it as 
my opinion, among other reasons, that I did not believe since 
the cession of Lands by individual States to the United States, 
any one of them (except New York) was in circumstances, 
however well inclined it might be, to carry your Ladyships 
plan into effect. 


What may be the result of your Ladyships Addresses to the 
States of North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania and New 
York, individually; or of my statemt. of the matter in a friendly 
way to the President of Congress for the united deliberation of 
the whole, is not for me to anticipate, even were I acquainted 
with their sentiments. I have already observed, that neither of 
the States (unless Nw. York may be in circumstances to do 
it) can in my opinion furnish good Lands in a body for such 
emigrants as your Ladyship seems inclin'd to provide for. That 
Congress can, if the treaty which is now depending with the 
Western Indians should terminate favourably and a cession of 
Lands be obtained from them, which I presume is one object 
for holding it, is certain; and unless the reasons which I have 
mentioned in my letter to Sir James Jay should be a lot or bar, 
I have not a doubt but that they would do it; in which case, 
any quantity of Land (within such cession or purchase) might 
be obtained. If, ultimately, success should not attend any of 
these applications, I submit as a dernier resort, for your Lady- 
ships information and consideration, a Gazette containing 
the terms upon which I have offered several tracts of Land (the 
quantity of my own in that country, and which lie as convenient 
to the Western Tribes of Indians as any in that territory (apper- 
taining to an individual State), as your Ladyship may perceive 
by having recourse to Hutchins's Evans's, or any other map of 
that Country, and comparing the descriptive Lands therewith; 
and being informed that Virginia has ceded all her claim to 
lands No. West of the Ohio, to the United States, and that the 
Western boundary of Pennsylvania is terminate by a meridian 
which crosses the river but a little distance from Fort Pitt. 

It will appear evident, from the date of my publication, that 
I could not at the time it was promulgated, have had an eye to 
your Ladyships plan of emigration; and I earnestly pray that 

1785] LAND VALUES 89 

my communication of the matter at this time, may receive no 
other interpretation than what is really meant, that is, a last (if 
it should be thought an eligible) resort. I have no doubt but 
that Lands, if to be had at all, may be obtained from the United 
States, or an individual State, upon easier terms than those 
upon which I have offered mine; but being equally persuaded 
that these of mine, from their situation and other local advan- 
tages, are worth what I ask, I should not incline to take less for 
them, unless the whole by good and responsible characters 
(after an Agent in their behalf had previously examined into 
the quality and conveniency of the land) should be engaged 
upon either of the tenures that are published; especially as 
these Lands, from their particular situation, must become ex- 
ceedingly valuable, by the Laws which have just passed the 
Assemblies of Virginia and Maryland for improving and ex- 
tending the navigation of Potomac, as high as is practicable, 
and communicating it with the nearest western waters by good 
roads: and by the former Assembly to do the same thing with 
James river, and the communication between it and the Great 
Kanhawa, by means of which the produce of the settlers on 
these Lands of mine, will come easily and cheaply to market. 
I am, etc. 1 


Mount Vernon, February 27, 1785. 
Dear Sir: I have had the honor to receive your Excellency's 
letter of the 5th. enclosing the Act of the Legislature for vest- 
ing in me and my heirs, fifty shares in the navigation of each 
of the rivers Potomac and James. 2 For your trouble and at- 
tention in forwarding the Act, you will please to accept my 

^rom the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

2 The act is in the Washington Papers under date of Jan. 5, 1785. 


thanks; whilst to the Assembly for passing it, these with all 
my gratitude, are due. I shall ever consider this Act as an 
unequivocal, and substantial testimony of the approving voice 
of my Country for the part I have acted in the Amn. theatre, 
and shall feast upon the recollection of it as often as it occurs 
to me; but this is all I can, or mean to do. It was my first 
declaration in Congress after accepting my military appoint- 
ment, that I would not receive any thing for such services as 
I might be able to render the cause in which I had embarked. 
It was my fixed determination when I surrendered that ap- 
pointment, never to hold any other office under Government, 
by which emolument might become a necessary appendage: 
or, in other words, which should withdraw me from the neces- 
sary attention which my own private concerns indispensably 
required: nor to accept of any pecuniary acknowledgment, 
for what had passed; from this resolution, my mind has never 
yet swerved. The Act therefore, which your Excellency en- 
closed, is embarrassing to me. On the one hand I shall be 
unhappy if my non-acceptance of the shares should be con- 
sidered as a slight of the favor, (the magnitude of which, I 
think very highly of) or disrespectful to the generous inten- 
tion of my Country. On the other I should be equally hurt 
if motives of pride, or an ostentatious display of disinterested- 
ness should be ascribed to the action. None of these have exist- 
ence in my breast, and none of them would I have imputed 
to me, whilst I am endulging the bent of my inclination by 
acting independant of rewards for occasional and accidental 
services. Besides, may not the plans be affected; unless some 
expedient can be hit upon to avoid the shock which may be 
sustained, by withdrawing so many shares from them? 

Under these circumstances, and with this knowledge of my 
wishes and intention I would thank your Excellency for your 


frank and full opinion of this matter, in a friendly way, as 
this letter to you is written and I hope will be considered. I 
am, etc. 3 


Mount Vernon, February 28, 1785. 
Madam,: I received your favor of the 20th. of January, some 
considerable time after the date of it. I have never received, 
nor have I ever heard any thing of Mrs. Savages Will, since 
your deceased husband put it into my hands, and then re- 
claimed it in December 1783 as I passed through Baltimore 
on my way to Virginia, to be sent (for I could see no propriety 
in any thing else) to the Executors named therein, to act under. 
I am Madam Yr. etc. 3 


Mount Vernon, February 28, 1785. 
My dear Sir: Your favor of the 31st. Ulto. came to my hands 
by the last Post, enclosed are letters under flying Seals to Count 
de Rochambeau and the Marqs. de Chartellux (late Chevr.) 
introductory of Mr. Swan. 4 Also certificates for Lieutts. Sea- 
ver 5 and Henley. 6 if these will answer the purposes designed 
I shall think nothing of the trouble, but be happy in having 
given them. 

3 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

4 A member of the Massachusetts Legislature. Copies of Washington's notes of intro- 
duction to Rochambeau and Chastellux are in the "Letter Book" in the Washington 
Papers, dated Feb. 28, 1785. 

c Lieut. James Sever (Seaver), of Jackson's Continental Regiment, in which he had 
served to June 20, 1784. He afterwards became a captain in the United States Navy, 
and in 1785 wished a certificate to aid him in obtaining a position in the Dutch service. 

6 Lieut. Samuel Henley. He is ranked as a captain in the Ninth Massachusetts Regi- 
ment, and was retired in January, 1783. He hoped to enter the Russian service. 


Upon Summing up the cost of my projected building in 
Alexandria, I found my finances not equal to the undertaking; 
and have thereupon suspended, if not altogether declined it. 
Notwithstanding, if any Vessel should be coming hither from 
that part of your state where the Limestone abounds, and 
where it is to be obtained at a low price, and would bring it at a 
low freight, unburn'd. or if in this State it could be brought 
hither from Boston as Ballast, or at a low freight, I should be 
glad to get some; in either of these ways. I use a great deal of 
lime every year, made of the Oyster shells, which, before they 
are burnt, cost me 25 a [sic] 30/ pr. hundred Bushels; but it is 
of mean quality, which makes me desirious of trying Stone 

The Assemblies of Virginia and Maryland passed laws be- 
fore their adjournment, for improving and extending the Nav- 
igation of this River as far as it shall be found practicable; a 
copy of which (for they are exactly the same in both States) I 
send you; they also gave a sum of money for the purpose of 
opening, and keeping in repair, a good road of communication 
between the Eastern and Western Waters. And this State 
passed a Similar Act respecting James River, and the Com- 
munication with Green Brier (a branch of the Great Kan- 
hawa) which opens equally advantageously to another part of 
the Western territory; shares in either or both of which, in my 
opinion, presents a monied men the most certain, and lucra- 
tive Speculation of wch. I can have any idea. 

The State of Virginia accompanied these proceedings with 
another Act, which particularly respected myself; and tho' 
generous in the extreme, is rendered more valuable by the flat- 
tering, yet delicate expression of its recitals. It directs their 
Treasurer to subscribe for my use and benefit, one hundred 
shares (50 in each Navigation); which it declares vested in 
me and my heirs for ever. But I can truly aver to you, my dear 

1785] ST. CROIX RIVER 93 

Sir, that this Act has given me more pain than pleasure. It 
never was my inclination, nor is it now my intention, to accept 
anything pecuniary from the public: but how to decline this 
gift without appearing to slight the favors (which the assembly 
ascribe to a sense of gratitude) of my Country, and exhibiting 
an act of seeming disrespect to the Legislature on the one hand, 
or incurring the imputation of pride, or an ostentatious display 
of disinterestedness on the other, is my embarrassment, but I 
must endeavor to hit upon some expedient before the next 
Session (for I had not the smallest intimation of the matter 
before the rising of the last) to avoid any of these charges, and 
yet follow the bent of my wishes; which are to be as independ- 
ent as the Air. I have no body to provide for, and I have 
enough to support me through life in the plain, and easy style 
in which I mean to spend the remainder of my days. 

I thank you for the particular acct. which you have given me 
of the different Rivers to which the British have given the 
names of St. Croix; I shall be much mistaken if they do not 
in other matters, as well as this, give us a good deal of trouble 
before we are done with them, and yet, it does not appear to 
me, that we have wisdom, or national policy enough to avert 
the evils which are impending. How should we, when con- 
tracted ideas, local pursuits, and absurd jealousy are continu- 
ally leading us from those great and fundamental principles 
which are characteristic of wise and powerful Nations; and 
without which, we are no more than a rope of Sand, and shall 
as easily be broken. 

In the course of your literary disputes at Boston (on the one 
side to drink Tea in Company, and to be social and gay, on the 
other, to impose restraints which at no time ever were agree- 
able, and in these days of more liberty and endulgence, never 
will be submitted to) I perceive, and was most interested by, 
something which was said respecting the composition for a 


public walk; which also appeared to be one of the exceptionable 
things. Now, as I am engaged in works of this kind, I would 
thank you, if there is any art in the preparation, to communi- 
cate it to me. whether designed for Carriages, or walking. My 
Gardens have gravel walks (as you possibly may recollect) in 
the usual Style, but if a better composition has been discovered 
for these, I should gladly adopt it. the matter however which 
I wish principally to be informed in, is, whether your walks 
are designed for Carriages, and if so, how they are prepared, 
to resist the impression of the Wheels. I am making a serpen- 
tine road to my door, and have doubts (which it may be in your 
power to remove) whether any thing short of solid pavement 
will answer. 

Having received a letter from Majr. Keith 7 (dated at New 
York) and not knowing where to direct my answer, I take the 
liberty of putting it and the Papers wch. it enclod under cover 
to you, as he was of the Massachusetts State, and I presume only 
came to New York on business. He is one, among numberless 
others, who want me to do inconsistent things, namely to an- 
nul, or rather do away, the effect of his Court Martial. The 
other letter 8 for a Mr. Palmer, be so good as to put into a 
channel for delivery. 

Mrs. Washington joins me in affectionate regards for Mrs. 
Knox, and the rest of the Family, and I am etc. [ms.h.s.] 


Mount Vernon, March i, 1785. 
Sir: However much I may wish to see every slur wiped 
from the character of an officer who early embarked in the 

7 Maj. James Keith. 

8 A draft or copy not now found in the Washington Papers. 

"Formerly major in the Eighth Massachusetts Regiment. 


service of his Country; and however desirous I may be to alle- 
viate his misfortunes, it is nevertheless incumbent on me to 
have regard to consistency of conduct in myself. With what 
propriety then could I, a private Citizen, attempt to undo 
things which received my approbation as a public officer, and 
this too without the means of information, as the proceedings 
of Courts Martial are not with me : but if the case was other- 
wise, I could neither answer it to myself or Country, to retread 
the ground I have laboriously passed over, was a door of this 
kind once opened, I should be overwhelmed with applications 
of a similar nature; for I cannot agree that either the judg- 
ment of the Court Martial, or the approbation of it proceeded, 
as you suppose, from the policy of offering a victim to appease 
the clamors of the populace. It is unnecessary however to go 
into arguments upon the subject when, admitting there was 
error, redress can only be had from the supreme Council of 
the nation, or to the State to which you belong. I am sorry 
it has been your lott to be brought before a Court, much more 
so for the issue, and if I could with propriety place you in 
the full enjoyment of every thing you wish, I shou'd have 
pleasure in doing it, but it is not in my power in the present 
instance. I am, etc. 10 


Mount Vernon, March i, 1785. 
Sir: Whilst I was at Richmond in November last, I received 
a letter and extracts from you on the subject of emigration. 
It was put into my hands at a time when I was much engaged, 
accompanied by many other papers, which with them were 
put by and forgotten, until your second letter reminded me 

10 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


of them. As I do not clearly comprehend your plan, and if 
I did, as a discussion of it by letter would be tedious and less 
satisfactory, if you will be at the trouble of calling upon me 
at any time when I am in Alexandria, or of riding down here; 
I will give you my sentiments with freedom and candour, 
when I more fully understand it. I am, etc. 11 


Mount Vernon, March 8, 1785. 

Dr. Sir : Since my last to you, I have been favored with sev- 
eral of your letters, which should not have remained so long 
unacknowledged, had I not been a good deal pressed by mat- 
ters which could not well be delayed; and because I found a 
difficulty in complying with your request respecting the pro- 
files; the latter it is not in my power to do now, satisfactorily. 
Some imperfect miniature cuts I send you under cover with 
this letter, they were designed for me by Miss D'Hart of Eliza- 
bethtown, and given to Mrs. Washington; who in sparing 
them, only wishes they may answer your purpose. For her 
I can get none cut yet. If Mr. Du' Simitire is living, and at 
Philada., it is possible he may have miniature engravings of 
most, if not all the military characters you want, and in their 
proper dresses: he drew many good likenesses from the life, 
and got them engraved at Paris for sale; among these I have 
seen Genl. Gates, Baron de Steuben, &c, as also that of your 
hble servt. The Marqs. de la Fayette had left this before 
your request of his profile came to hand. 

You ask if the character of Colo. John Lawrens, as drawn 
in the Independant Chronicle of the 2d of Deer, last, is just. 
I answer, that such parts of the drawing as have fallen under 
my own observation, is literally so; and that it is my firm 

"From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


belief his merits and worth richly entitle him to the whole 
picture : no man possessed more of the amor patrice, in a word, 
he had not a fault that I ever could discover, unless intrepidity 
bordering upon rashness could come under that denomination; 
and to this he was excited by the purest motives. 

The order 12 alluded to in my private letter, a copy of which 
you requested, I now send. You might have observed, for I 
believe the same private letter takes notice thereof, that it was 
consequent of a resolve of Congress, that Fort Washington 
was so pertinaceously held, before the Ships passed that Post. 
Without unpacking chests, unbundling papers &ca., I cannot 
come at to give you a copy of that resolve; but I well remember 
that after reciting the importance of securing the upper navi- 
gation of the Hudson, I am directed to obtain hulks, to sink 
them for the purpose of obstructing the navigation, and to 
spare no other cost to effect it. Owing to this the Posts of Forts 
Washington and Lee, on account of the narrowness of 
the river, some peculiarity of the channel, and strength of the 
ground at these places, were laboriously fortified; owing to 
this we left Fort Washington strongly garrisoned, in our rear, 
when we were obliged to retreat to the White plains; and 
owing to this, also, Colo. Magaw, who commanded at it, was 
ordered to defend it to the last extremity. But when, maugre 
all the obstructions which had been thrown into the chan- 
nel, all the labour and expence wch. had been bestowed on the 
works, and the risks we had run of the garrison theretofore, 
the British Ships of War had, and could pass those Posts, it 
was clear to me from that moment, that they were no longer 
eligible, and that that on the East side of the river ought to be 
withdrawn whilst it was in our power: in consequence thereof 

"See Washington's letter to Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene, Nov. 8, 1776 (vol. 6, 
p. 257). (See also Washington's letter to John Augustine Washington, Nov. 6, 1776, 
p. 244, of the same volume.) 


the letter of the 8th. of Novr. 1776, was written to Genl. Greene 
from the White plains; that Post and all the troops in the 
vicinity of it being under his orders. I give this information, 
and I furnish you with a copy of the order for the evacuation 
of Fort Washington, because you desire it, not that I want to 
exculpate myself from any censure which may have fallen on 
me by charging another. I have sent your recipe for the pres- 
ervation of young plants to the Alexandria printer; and wish 
the salutary effect which the author of the discovery, in the 
annual register has pointed to, may be realized : the process is 
simple and not expensive which renders it more valuable. 

Some Accots. say, that matters are in train for an accommo- 
dation between the Austrians and Dutch; if so the flames of 
war may be arrested before they blaze out and become very 
extensive; but admitting the contrary, I hope none of the 
sparks will light on American ground, which I fear is made 
up of too much combustible matter for its well-being. 

Your young friend 13 is in high health, and as full of spirits 
as an egg shell is of meat. I informed him I was going to 
write to you, and desired to know if he had any commands; 
his spontaneous answer, I beg he will make haste and come 
here again. All the rest of the family are well, except Mrs. 
Washington, who is too often troubled with bilious and chol- 
icky complaints, to enjoy perfect health; all join in best wishes 
for you and yours with Dr. Sir, &c. 14 


Mount Vernon, March 8, 1785. 
Revd. Sir: From the cursory manner in wch. you expressed 
the wish of Mr. Bowie 15 to write the Memoirs of my life, I was 

"George Washington Parke Custis. 

"From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

"John Bowie. 


not, at the moment of your application and my assent to it, 
struck with the consequences to which it tended: but when I 
came to reflect upon the matter afterwards, and had had some 
conversation with Mr. Bowie on the subject; I found that this 
must be a very futile work (if under any circumstances it could 
be made interesting) unless he could be furnished with the in- 
cidents of my life, either from my papers, or my recollection, 
and digesting of past transactions into some sort of form and 
order with respect to times and circumstances: I knew also 
that many of the former relative to the part I had acted in the 
war between France and G: Britain from the year 1754, until 
the peace of Paris; and which contained some of the most 
interesting occurrences of my life, were lost; that my memory 
is too treacherous to be relied on to supply this defect, and admit- 
ting both were more perfect, that submitting such a publica- 
tion to the world whilst I continue on the theatre, might be 
ascribed (however involuntarily I was led into it) to vain 

These considerations prompted me to tell Mr. Bowie, when I 
saw him at Philada. in May last, that I could have no agency 
towards the publication of any Memoirs respecting myself 
whilst living: but as I had given my assent to you (when asked) 
to have them written, and as he had been the first to propose it, 
he was welcome if he thought his time would not be unprofit- 
ably spent, to take extracts from such documents as yet re- 
mained in my possession, and to avail himself of any other 
information I could give; provided the publication should be 
suspended until I had quitted the stage of human action. I 
then intended, as I informed him, to have devoted the present 
expiring winter in arranging all my papers which I had left at 
home, and which I found a mere mass of confusion (occa- 
sioned by frequently shifting them into trunks, and suddenly 


removing them from the reach of the enemy) ; but however 
strange it may seem it is nevertheless true, that what with com- 
pany; referrences of old matters with which I ought not to be 
troubled, applications for certificates, and copies of orders, in 
addition to the routine of letters which have multiplied greatly 
upon me; I have not been able to touch a single paper, or trans- 
act any business of my own, in the way of accts. and during the 
whole course of the winter; or in a word, since my retirement 
from public life. 

I have two reasons, my good sir, for making these communi- 
cations to you, the first is, by way of apology for not complying 
with my promise in the full extent you might expect, in favor 
of Mr. Bowie. The second is, not knowing where that Gentle- 
man resides I am at a loss without your assistance, to give him 
the information respecting the disordered state of my papers, 
which he was told should be arranged, and a proper selection 
of them made for his inspection, by the Spring. Upon your 
kindness therefore I must rely to convey this information to 
him; for tho' I shou'd be glad at all times, to see Mr. Bowie here, 
I should be unhappy if expectations which cannot be realized 
(in the present moment) shou'd withdraw him from, or cause 
him to forego some other pursuits which may be more advan- 
tageous to him. My respects if you please to Mrs. Witherspoon. 
I have the honor, etc. 16 


Mount Vernon, March 15, 1785. 
Sir : It was but a few days ago that I was f avor'd with your 
letter of the 8th. of Feby. accompanied by your Map and his- 
tory of Kentucke, for which you will please to accept my 

"From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

1785] MRS. SAVAGE'S WILL 101 

thanks. Those which you expect were handed to me by Mr. 
Page 17 of Rosewell, are not yet arrived; nor have I heard any- 
thing from that gentleman respecting them. 

Previous to the receipt of the above letter, I had written to 
you and addressed my letter to the care of Mr. Dunlap printer 
in Phila., taking it for granted you must have received it 'ere 
this, I beg leave to refer to its contents, as aught I could say 
on this subject would be only repetition. I am, etc. 18 


Mount Vernon, March 15, 1785. 

Madam: I have had the honor to receive your favor, and 
duplicate, of the 8th. of Octor. from Lisle in Flanders. I have 
also seen the Will of the deceased Mrs. Savage. 

In December 1783 on my quitting public life, and as I was 
returning to my own home; I met at Baltimore, in Maryland a 
Mr. Moore, who shewed me this Will; and as it appeared to 
be the original (for I perfectly recollected the writing of Mrs. 
Savage), I told him it ought to have been placed in the hands 
of the Executors therein named, that it might be recorded and 
acted upon, instead of bringing it to this Country, and pro- 
posed to transmit it to them myself for this purpose : he placed 
it in my hands accordingly, but in less than half an hour re- 
claimed it; adding that as he was about to sail for Ireland, he 
would take it there himself. As I knew not by what means 
he became possessed of this testament, I knew no right by 
which I could withhold it from him, and therefore returned 
it; with a request that he would furnish me with a copy thereof, 
which was done some considerable time thereafter. From that 

: John Page. 

s From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


period I heard nothing further of Mr. Moore, the Will or 
anything respecting it, until last month; when I received a 
letter dated Jan: 20th. 1785, from a person at Baltimore sub- 
scribing herself, "Hannah Moore", of which the enclosed is 
a copy, upon the receipt whereof I informed the writer, that 
neither the Will, or any accot. of it, had reached my hands; 
nor had I heard a tittle of it since. 

I confess there is something in this transaction which car- 
ries with it the face of mistery. How it should have happened 
that Mr. Moore whose name is not once mentioned in the 
will should become possessed of it: that his widow should be 
enquiring after it, with the eagerness of a person deeply inter- 
ested therein; and that the Executors, who really are so, first as 
principal legatees, and 2dly. as residuary Legatees, shou'd never 
have written a line on the subject, or made the most distant en- 
quiry after the only property from whence they could derive 
benefit themselves, or administer it to others agreeably to the 
testators directions, is unaccountable to me upon any other 
principle, than that of the Will's never having yet got into their 

After assuring you Madam, that I should be happy to render 
you any services my situation will admit of; I must beg leave 
to inform you, that you mistake the case entirely, when you 
suppose that it is in my power to dispose of any part of the 
deceased Mrs. Savage's property. All that her Trustees could 
have done, even in her lifetime; was to recover the annuity, 
which was as unjustly, as ungenerously withheld from her by 
Doctr. Savage her husband: but with respect to the disposal 
of it afterwards, we had no more authority than you: now 
she has made an absolute distribution of it herself by Will, 
which her Executors herein named, are to see duly executed. 
Every lawful and equitable claim therefore, which you may 


have had against Mrs. Savage in her lifetime, must now be 
presented to her Executors; for it is they, and they only, (or the 
Laws if they refuse) who can now do you justice. From 
the words of the Will it would seem to me that the legacy 
which Mrs. Savage has left you, does not preclude any just 
charge you may have had against her for board &c, if it was 
known to be your intention to make it: but this is a matter of 
which I have not the smallest cognizance, it must be settled 
between you and the Exors of her Will, when the money can 
be recover'd from the Estate of Doctr. Savage, who is also dead. 
In what state the Suit is, I am unable to inform you. My 
situation before Peace was established, and engagements since 
have obliged me to depend wholly upon Mr. Fairfax 19 (the 
other Trustee) to prosecute it; who, besides the shutting of 
the Courts at one time, and the litigiousness of them at all 
times, has had all the villainy of Dr. Savage, and the chicanery 
of his lawyers to combat. The Doctr., rather than fulfill an 
engagement, which generosity, justice, humanity and every 
other motive which should have influenced an honest mind, 
had recourse to stratagem, and every delay, to procrastinate 
payment; altho' from report, he has made an immense fortune. 
I have the honor, etc. 20 


Mount Vernon, March 15, 1785. 

Sir: It was my intention, so soon as I understood you meant 

to become the publisher of a Newspaper at Philadelphia, to 

have requested that your weekly production might be sent 

to me. I was the more pleased with this determination when, 

10 Bryan Fairfax. 

50 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


by a letter from my friend the Marqs. de la Fayette, I found he 
had interested himself in your behalf. 

It has so happened that my Gazettes from Philada., whether 
from inattention at the printing or post offices, or other causes, 
come very irregularly to my hands; I pray you therefore to fold 
it like, and give it the appearance of a letter, the usual covering 
of your Newspapers will do. I have sometimes suspected that 
there are persons who having stronger desires to read News- 
papers than to pay for them, borrow with a pretty heavy hand: 
this may be avoided by deception, and I know of no other way. 
I am, etc. 21 


Mount Vernon, March 15, 1785. 

Sir : I was favored with your letter of the 21st. of Feby., by the 
last Post. It never fails to give me pain when I hear of the suf- 
ferings of a deserving Officer; in which light I always consid- 
ered you. It ever has been amongst my first wishes, that the 
circumstances of the public had been such as to have prevented 
the great loss which both officers and Soldiers have sustained 
by the depreciation of their certificates; and that each State 
would do something for those of their respective lines: but 
having many to provide for, and few places or things to be- 
stow; it is a matter of little wonder that many, very many, 
deserving characters should go unnoticed, or, to speak more 
properly, unprovided for. 

It has ever been a maxim with me, and it gives regularity 
and weight to my certificates, to ground them upon the testi- 

21 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

The text of the original, said to be in Worcester College, Ohio, varies somewhat 
from this letter, the last sentence being "It has sometimes occurred to me, that there 
are persons who wishing to read News Papers, without being at the expence of pay- 
ing for them, make free with those which are addressed to others. Under the garb 
of a letter, it is not presumeable this liberty would be taken." 


mony of the Genl. officers under whom the applicant had 
served : this brings with it dates and circumstances with which 
I am oftentimes unacquainted. In your case it is indispensably 
necessary; for you having been long out of the Continental line 
of the army, I cannot speak with precision as to facts. If there- 
fore, as you have been in the service of the State of Nw. York 
you will forward to me the testimonial of Govr. Clinton, I will 
gladly accompany it with a certificate of mine, if you think any 
weight can be added thereby; to do which can only be attended 
with a little delay, as the letters will come and go free from 
Postage. With esteem and regard, I am etc. 22 


Mount Vernon, March 15, 1785. 

Sir: Your letter of the 24th. of January came duly at hand; 
but being written in French (a language I do not understand) 
some time elapsed before an opportunity presented to get it 
translated. This I hope will be received as an apology for the 
delay of my answer. 

However much your merits deserve recommendation, and 
however pleasing it might be to me to offer my testimony to 
such facts as have come to my knowledge, respecting the serv- 
ices you have rendered to these States, yet to comply with your 
request of a letter to the Count de Maasdam, 23 would be in- 
consistent with the line of conduct I have prescribed for my 

It is a maxim with me Sir, to take no liberties with exalted 
characters to whom I am not personally known, or with whom 
I have had no occasion to correspond by letter; but if you 
shou'd think a certificate of service from me can avail you in 

22 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 
23 General in the army of the United Netherlands. 


any degree, and you would please to furnish me with your 
appointmts. and places of services (as they have not been much 
under my immediate command) I shall have pleasure in fur- 
nishing one. 

If circumstances had permitted, I should have been happy 
in the honor of a visit from you. I have a grateful sense of the 
polite and flattering expression of your letters; and with best 
wishes for you in your future pursuits, I have the honor etc. 24 


Mount Vernon, March 15, 1785. 

Dr. Sir: I had the honor to receive a letter from you dated at 
Carlisle the 19th. of Novr. last, which should not have re- 
mained unacknowledged until this time, if I had known of 
any opportunity of addressing a letter to you in the Western 

I have now heard of your passing thro' Philada. on your way 
to Congress, and have been honor'd with a copy of your sec- 
ond treaty with the Western tribes of Indians, from the Presi- 
dent. I am pleased to find that the Indians have yielded so 
much; from the temper I heard they were in, I apprehended 
less compliance, on their part. This business being accom- 
plished, it would give me pleasure to hear that Congress had 
proceeded to the disposal of the ceded Lands at a happy me- 
dium price, in a District sufficient and proper for a compact 
State. Progressive seating will be attended with many advan- 
tages; sparse settlements with many evils. 

I congratulate you on your safe return: the season was in- 
clement and very unfit for the place and business you were 
engaged in. Mrs. Washington presents her compliments to 
you, and I have the honor, etc. 24 

M From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

1785] RUMSEY'S BOAT 107 


Mount Vernon, March 15, 1785. 

Sir: It has so happened, that your favor of the 19th. Ulto. 
did not come to my hands until the last mail arrived at Alex- 
andria. By the return of which, I have the honor to address 
this letter to you. 

Mr. McMeiken's explanation of the movements of Rum- 
seys's newly invented Boat, is consonant to my ideas; and war- 
ranted by the principles upon which it acts. The small manual 
assistance to which I alluded, was to be applied in still water; 
and to the purpose of steering the vessel. The counteraction 
being proportioned to the action, it must ascend a swift currt. 
faster than a gentle stream; and both, with more ease than it 
can move on dead water. But in the first there may be, and 
no doubt is, a point beyond wch. it cannot proceed without 
involving consequences which may be found insurmountable. 
Further than this I am not at liberty to explain myself; but if 
a model, or thing in miniature can justly represent a greater 
object in its operation, there is no doubt of the utility of the 
invention. A view of this model, with an explanation, re- 
moved the principal doubt I ever had in my mind, of the 
practicability of progressing against stream, by the aid of me- 
chanical Power; but as he wanted to avail himself of my in- 
troduction of it to the public attention, I chose, previously, 
to see the actual performance of the model in a descending 
stream, before I passed my certificate, and having done so, all 
my doubts were done away. 

I thank you, Sir, for your accot. of the last Indian treaty. 
I had received a similar one before, but do not comprehend by 
what line it is, our northern limits are to be fixed. Two things 
seem naturally to result from this Treaty. The terms on which 


the ceded lands are to be disposed of; and the mode of settling 
them. The first, in my opinion, ought not to be delayed. The 
second, ought not to be too diffusive. Compact and progres- 
sive Seating will give strength to the Union; admit law and 
good government; and foederal aids at an early period. Sparse 
settlements in several new States; or in a large territory for 
one State, will have the direct contrary effects, and whilst it 
opens a large field to Land jobbers and speculators, who are 
prouling about like Wolves in every shape, will injure the real 
occupants and useful citizens, and consequently, the public 
interest. If a tract of Country, of convenient size for a new 
State, contiguous to the present Settlements on the Ohio, is 
laid off, and a certain proportion of the land therein actually 
seated; or at least granted; before any other State is marked 
out and no lond suffered to be had beyond the limits of it; we 
shall, I conceive, derive great political advantages from such 
a line of conduct, and without it, may be involved in much 
trouble and perplexity, before any New state will be well or- 
ganized, or can contribute any thing to the support of the 
Union. I have the honor &c. [n.y.h.s.] 


Mount Vernon, March 15, 1785. 
Dear Sir: I have had the honor to receive your Excellency's 
favor of the 14th. of Feby., and pray you to receive my thanks 
for the copy of the treaty with the Western Indians, with which 
you were so obliging as to send me. From the accots. given me 
of the temper of these people were in last fall I did not expect 
such a cession of territory from the Tribes that met. The Shaw- 
nese are pretty numerous and among the most warlike of the 
Ohio Indians; but if the other tribes are in earnest and will 


observe the Treaty and a third treaty is concluded with the 
more southerly Indians, their spirit must yield, or they could 
easily be extirpated. 

The wisdom of Congress will now be called upon to fix a 
medium price on these Lands, and to point out the most ad- 
vantageous mode of seating them; so as that Law and good 
Governmt. may be administered and the Union strengthened 
and supported thereby. Progressive seating in my opinion 
is the only means by which this can be effected; and unless in 
the scale of politics, more than one new State is found neces- 
sary at this time, the unit I believe would be found more preg- 
nant with advantages than the decies; the latter, if I mistake 
not, will be more advancive of individual interest, than the 
public welfare. As you will have that untowardness, jealousy 
and pride, which are characteristic of the Spanish nation, to 
contend with; it is more than probable that Mr. Gardoque 25 
will give Congress a good deal of trouble respecting the naviga- 
tion of the Mississippi river. To me it should seem, that their 
true policy would lie in making New Orleans a free mart, in- 
stead of shutting the port, but their ideas of trade are very 
limitted. I take the liberty of putting a letter under your cover 
for Mr. Lee. 26 Mrs. Washington joins me in respectful com- 
pliments, and I am etc. 27 


Mount Vernon, March 19, 1785. 
Dr. Sir: Some considerable time ago I wrote a letter to 
my nephew, Bushrod Washington, and used the freedom of 

25 Diego de Gardoqui. He was Spanish envoy to the United States. 
28 Arthur Lee. 

27 This " Letter Book " copy varies considerably from the text printed by Ford, who 
does not state his source. 


addressing it to your care. At that time I conceived he was living 
at Richmond, but the establishment of circuit Courts it seems 
has changed his plan: he now intends to live at Fredericks- 
burg. Will you allow me the liberty my dear sir, to request the 
favor of you to open my letter to him, if it is yet in yr. posses- 
sion, and comply with a request therein, respecting a promis- 
ary note of Mr. Rian's, 28 if he is in Richmond; or cause it to be 
complied with if he is at Petersburgh. If my memory serves 
me, I have gone into the detail of the matter to my nephew. I 
will not trouble you therefore, with a repetition of it, nor will 
I take up your time with an apology for the trouble this must 
give you. Mrs. Washington unites in best wishes for yourself 
and Mr. Randolph with, Dr. Sir, &c. 29 


Mount Vernon, March 19, 1785. 

Sir: If I recollect right, I mentioned when I had the pleasure 
of seeing you at Mr. Jones's 30 the first of last October, that I was 
reduced to the necessity of bringing ejectments against sundry 
persons who had taken possession of a tract of Land which 
I hold, not far from Fort Pitt in the State of Pennsylvania, by 
Patent under this Governmt. for 2813 acres. 

I have lately received a letter from my Lawyer, Mr. Thos. 
Smith, of Carlisle requesting information on several points; 
the following are his own words, 

I am entirely unacquainted with the manner in which titles to Lands 
are acquired by improvement or occupancy, by the Laws and customs of 
Virginia. I suppose it must be under certain conditions and restrictions. 
I should be glad to have the Laws, if any, pointed out. Does the occupier 

28 Ryan. (See Washington's letter to Bushrod Washington, Jan. 22, 1785, ante.) 
20 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 
^Gabriel Jones, in the Shenandoah Valley. 


Forfeit his right of pre-emption, if he does not apply for an office right 
in a given time? If so, when? By what Laws? Or is it by the regu- 
lations established in the Land Office? A certified copy of such regula- 
tions if any, may be necessary. 

At the interview I had with that Gentleman in September, he 
told me it would be necessary to obtain a certified copy of the 
Surveyors return to the Land office, and of the date of the Warrt. 
upon which it was made. The latter I presume is in the hands 
of the Surveyor, but the date no doubt, is recited in the re- 
turn. Having (in the life time of Colo. Crawford, and by 
letter from him) received information that at the convention 
next before the 20th. of Septr. 1776, (the date of his letter) 
an ordinance passed for the purpose of saving equitable claims 
to the Western Lands, Mr. Smith requested some precise in- 
formation respecting this Ordinance, that is, how far it will 
apply in my case. 

After the many obliging acts of kindness I have received 
from you, and the generous terms upon which they have been 
rendered, I am really ashamed to give you more trouble; but 
as the dispute in which I am engaged is of importance, and 
a very ungenerous advantage has been taken of a situation in 
which I could not attend to my private concerns, or seek justice 
in due season, and as I believe no person can solve the queries 
of Mr. Smith, and give such accurate information on such 
points as can be made to subserve my cause as you, I am, how- 
ever reluctantly, compelled to this application. 

Mr. Smith's own words, which I have quoted, and his verbal 
application to me, wch. I have just now recited, will sufficiently 
apprize you of what has occurred to him; but I will go fur- 
ther, and take the liberty my good Sir, of giving you a state 
of the whole matter; from whence you will discover the points 
on which my opponents mean to hinge the success of their 


Colo. Crawford, a liver on Yohioghaney, an old and inti- 
mate acquaintance of mine, undertook to procure for me a 
tract of land in that Country; and accordingly made choice 
of the one, now in dispute, on the waters of Racoon and 
Millers runs, branches of Shurtees Creek, surveyed the same, 
amounting to 2813 acres, and purchased in my behalf the 
claim of some person to a part of the land, who pretended to 
have a right thereto. After this he built, or intended to build 
according to his own accot., and to the best of my recollection, 
(for the papers being in the hands of my Lawyer, I have mem- 
ory only, and that a bad one, to resort to) three or four cabbins 
on different parts of the tract, and placed one or more persons 
thereon to hold possession of it for my benefit. All this pre- 
ceeded the first view the present occupiers (my opponents) 
ever had of the Land, as they themselves have acknowledged 
to me, and which I believe can be proved. So far as it respects 
one cabbin there can be no doubt, because it remains to this 
day; and is acknowledged by them to have been on the land 
when they first came to it. They built another cabbin so close 
to the door of it, as to preclude the entrance of it : Crawford in 
his accot. of it to me, says, with a view to prevent occupation: 
they, on the other hand, say there was no inhabitant in the 
house at the time. Both may be right, for the fact is, as I have 
been informed, the owner being from home, this transaction 
took place in his absence. 

It may be well to observe here that Colo. Crawford was only 
acting the part of a friend to me; for at that time, tho' he was 
a Surveyor by regular appointment from the College of Wm. 
and Mary, it was for the local purpose of surveying the 200,000 
acres granted by Dinwiddie's Proclamation of 1754 to the 
Troops of the State, who were entitled to it as a bounty: but 
as I proposed to cover this survey with a military warrant as 

1785] TITLE TO LAND 113 

soon as circumstances would permit, these steps were prelimi- 
nary to obtain the Land. Accordingly, a Warrant which I 
obtained in consequence of a purchase from one Captain Posey 
(who under the British Kings proclamation of 1763 was en- 
titled to 3000 acres) whose Bond I now have bearing date the 
14th. of Octr. 1770, assigning to me all his right to land under 
it, was located thereon; and Colo. Crawford, after receiving 
a commission to act as Deputy to Mr. Thos. Lewis, made a 
return of this survey to his principal, who returned it to the 
Secretary's office, from whence a Patent issued signed by Lord 
Dunmore in June or July 1774, for 2813 acres, reciting under 
what right I became entitled to the Land. Hence, and from 
the repeated warnings, which it is said can be proved were 
given at the time my opponents were about to take possession 
of the Land, and afterwards, comes my title. 

The title of my opponents I know will be: 1st. That Craw- 
fords survey was illegal, at least, was unauthorized. 2d. That 
being a great land-jobber, he held, or endeavored to monop- 
olise under one pretence or other much land: and tho' (for 
they do not deny the fact to me in private discussion, altho' 
considering the lapse of time, deaths, and dispersion of people, 
I may find some difficulty to prove it) they were told this was 
my land; yet conceiving my name was only made use of as a 
cover, and in this they say they were confirmed, having (after 
some of the warnings given them) searched the Land office 
of this State without discovering any such Grant to me. 3d. 
That their possession of the Land, preceded my Patent or date 
of the Surveyors return to the Secretary's office; or even the 
date of Crawfords deputation under Lewis, before which, 
every transaction they will add, was invalid. 

But to recapitulate, the Dispute, if my memory for want 
of papers does not deceive me, may be summed up in these 


ist. In the year 1771, Crawford at my request looked out 
this Land for me, and made an actual survey thereof on my 

2d. Some person (not of the opponents) setting up a claim 
to part included by the survey, he purchased them out, built 
one cabbin, if not more, and placed a man therein to keep 
possession of the Land. 

3d. It was called my land, and generally believed to be so by 
every body, and under that persuasion was left by some, who 
uninformed of my right, had begun to build, before the pres- 
ent occupants took possession to the exclusion as I have related 
before of the person placed thereon by Crawford. 

4th. That sometime in Octr. 1773 according to their own 
accot., these occupants took possession. 

5th. That upon their doing so, and at several times there- 
after, they were notified of my claim and intention to assert 
my right. 

6th. That no survey was ever made of this Land, but the 
first one by Crawford. 

7th. That it is declared in the Surveyors return, to be con- 
sequent of a warrant granted by Lord Dunmore to Jno. Posey 
assigned to me. But whether this warrt. is dated before or 
after possession was taken by my opponents, I know not, but 
the Survey will shew this. 

8th. That after he received his deputation (which I believe 
was subsequent to their occupancy) he made a return of the 
survey to Mr. Lewis, who returned it to the Secretary's Office 
in the early part, I believe, of the year 1774, and a Patent issued 
without any caveat or opposition from these people. 

9th. I believe, because I never heard otherwise, that no office 
rights either in this State or that of Pennsylvania, were ever 
obtained by my opponents, resting their title upon possession. 


Under this statement of the matter, in which I have con- 
ceded everything I know, or which I think can be urged against 
my claim, I would thank you, as the matter will be deter- 
mined in another State, for such advice and information of 
Acts of Assembly, Acts of Convention, or rules of office which 
make to the point, as my long absence renders me quite an 
ignoramus in these matters, and as unfit for, as I am disinclined 
to controversies of this kind. 

If pre-occupancy will take place of legal right, under the 
circumstances here mentioned; it remains still a question how 
far the possession and improvements which were made in my 
behalf, previous to those of my opponents, will avail me; that 
is, under what title I should then claim the Land, and under 
that title how much of it I should hold, supposing one Cabbin 
only to have been built and occupied, by any rule of Office, or 
Act of Government. 

When I look back at the length of this letter, and consider 
how much trouble I am giving you, I must thro myself upon 
your goodness for an apology, whilst I assure you of the esteem 
and regard with which I am, etc. 31 


Mount Vernon, March 20, 1785. 

Dr. Sir: I regret very much that your letters of the 2d. and 
13th. of Octr. should have been withheld from me until this 
time, the last post only, from Richmond brought them to me. 

If you should have fulfilled your intention of embarking 
for this Continent at the early period proposed in the first of 
these letters, (and I hope no untoward accident has intervened 
to prevent it) this answer will come too late, and my silence 

31 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


will leave you in doubt respecting Horses, besides carrying 
with it the appearance of inattention. As there is a possibility 
however that this letter may yet find you in Ireland, I will re- 
late the mode of travelling in this Country, and submit to your 
own judgment the propriety of depending on it, or bringing 
Saddle or Carriage horses with you. 

From the Southern parts of this State, say from Norfolk, 
thro' Hampton, Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Alexandria 
which is within a few miles of this place, there is a regular 
Stage which passes thrice every week, it is neither of the best 
or worst kind. From Alexandria thro' the Metropolis of every 
State, Annapolis in Maryland excepted, which is a little to the 
right of the post road which goes thro' Baltimore. There is 
also a regular Stage to Portsmouth in New Hampshire, they 
are of a similar kind, and pass as often as those first mentioned ; 
so that not more than three intervening days can happen be- 
tween one Stage day and another. A person may therefore, at 
any time between the first of April and first of December, 
travel from Richmond (the metropolis of this State) to Boston, 
in ten or twelve days; and return in the same time. Between 
this State and Charleston (So. Carolina) no Stages are as yet 
established, and the Country for the most part being poor and 
thinly inhabited, accommodations of every kind, I am told are 
bad. So much for public convenience; and I do not think I 
should deceive you much, was I to add that Sir Edwd. Newen- 
ham would find no difficulty to get accommodated, in this and 
some other States, with the horses and carriages of private gen- 
tlemen, from place to place where inclination or business might 
induce him to go. 

What the expence of transporting horses to this country 
would be, I am unable to say; but I conceive they would not be 
fit for immediate use if they were brought if the voyage should 


be long, but at the same time that I deliver this opinion, I must 
add another, viz: that if you should bring horses, and might 
not incline to take them back again, you could, if they were 
young, likely and well bought, always sell them for their orig- 
inal cost and the charges of transportation; especially if they 
should happen to be of the female kind. 

I have not had the pleasure of seeing either Mr. Rutherford 
or Capt. Boyle: 32 but the latter accompanied your letters and 
packages (for which I pray you to accept my thanks) with a 
few lines, giving reasons for their detention, and information 
of his sailing in the course of a few days. I have in haste, wrote 
you this letter by return of the Post, hoping it may get to Rich- 
mond time enough to receive the conveyance by the Jane and 
Diana, that it may repeat to you if it should arrive in time, the 
pleasure I shall have in seeing you and your fellow travellers 
under my roof, and paying you and them every attention in my 

As the chances are against this letter's finding you in Ire- 
land, I will not at this time, touch upon the other parts of your 
several favors, but leaving them as matters for oral converse, 
beg that my respectful compliments in which Mrs. Washinton 
joins may be presented to Lady Newenham. With very great 
esteem, etc. 33 


Mount Vernon, March 27, 1785. 
Dr. Sir: Mr. Stone gave me your favor of the 20th. When I 
had the pleasure of seeing you at this place, I informed you 

32 Capt. John Boyle, jr. 

^From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

On March 20 Washington wrote briefly to Gov. Patrick Henry, forwarding this 
letter to Newenham, a copy of which is in the "Letter Book" in the Washington 


fully and truly of my want of money. I am at this moment 
paying 7 pr. Ct. interest for a pretty considerable sum which I 
borrowed in the State of Nw. York, thro' means of the Govr.; 
and not being able to obtain a surety of holding it for more 
than one year from the establishment of peace, I am in contin- 
ual fear, notwithstanding the high interest, of having it called in. 

After this declaration, it is unnecessary to add how acceptable 
it would be to me to receive payment of the money due to me 
from the Estate of your Father, or part of it: but to take it in 
small driblets from the hands of your Lawyers, would not an- 
swer the purpose as it is more than one considerable payment 
I have to make from this fund. If you should go to Congress, I 
should be glad if the money arising from the arrangement 
you have made, was order'd into the hands of your brother, or 
your attorney here; and he directed to pay it to me in such 
sums as I could apply in discharge of my own Debts; for the 
fact is, I shall receive with one hand and pay with the other, if 
I may be allowed to use the phrase, (but for which, it would 
not be required from you). If you do not go to Congress, I 
shall expect the same from yourself. 

My compliments, in which Mrs. Washington joins, are pre- 
sented to Mrs. Mercer. I am, etc. 34 


Mount Vernon, March 29, 1785. 
Sir: If I could give you any useful information on the subject 
of your letter to me, I would do it with pleasure; but, altho' I 
have a good general knowledge of the Western Country, I am 
very little acquainted with local situations, and less with those 
on the Susquehanna than any other. Monongahela, of which 

34 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


Cheat river is a branch, is gentle in its current, easy of naviga- 
tion, and besides, is supposed, either by the Cheat, or the Yohio- 
ganey (which is another branch of it) to approach nearest to, 
and to afford the best communication or portage with the 
Atlantic waters of any in all that extensive territory: conse- 
quently seats thereon, from this circumstance alone, must be 
valuable; but the quality of the Land is inferior to none, until 
you penetrate much further to the Westward, or much lower 
down the Ohio; and is besides much better settled than any part 
of the country beyond the Alleghaney Mountains. Upon what 
terms you could buy (to rent I presume you are not inclined, or 
the difficulty might be less) a Seat having such conveniences 
as you want, I am unable to inform you. The prices of Land 
there are rising every day, and if the plan which is now in con- 
templation for extending the navigation of the Potomac and 
opening roads of communication short and easy, between it 
and the waters above mentioned, should be effected, of which 
I have no doubt, the price will increase much faster. 
My complimts. and best wishes to Mrs. Craig, I am, etc. 35 


Mount Vernon, March 30, 1785. 

Madam: The honor which your pen has done me so far ex- 
ceeds my merits, that I am at a loss for words to express my 
sense of the compliment it conveys. 

The Poem, 36 in celebration of my exertions to establish the 
rights of my Country, was forwarded to me from Philada. by 
Mr. Vogels; to whom I should have been happy to have of- 
fered civilities, but he did not give me the pleasure to see him. 

35 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

36 A letter from Madam Van Winter and her brother, dated Apr. 10, 1784, is in the 
Washington Papers. 


At best I have only been an instrument in the hands of Provi- 
dence, to effect, with the aid of France and many virtuous fel- 
low Citizens of America, a revolution which is interesting to 
the general liberties of mankind, and to the emancipation of a 
country which may afford an Asylum, if we are wise enough 
to pursue the paths wch. lead to virtue and happiness, to the op- 
pressed and needy of the Earth. Our region is extensive, our 
plains are productive, and if they are cultivated with liberallity 
and good sense, we may be happy ourselves, and diffuse happi- 
ness to all who wish to participate. 

The Lady of whom you have made such honorable men- 
tion, is truly sensible of the obligation, and joins with me in 
wishing you every happiness which is to be found here, and met 
with hereafter. I have the honor, etc. 37 


Mount Vernon, April 3, 1785. 

Dear Bushrod: Your letter of the 20th. Ulto. did not come to 
my hands until the 31st. Whenever you have occasion to write 
to me from the line of the Post, always put your letter into the 
Mail, all other conveyances are uncertain; at best, irregular. 

Not expecting you were going to Richmond, I did, pre- 
viously to the receipt of your letter, write to the Attorney Gen- 
eral (to whose care my letter to you had been addressed) 
requesting him to open it; and so far as it respected the promis- 
sory Note of Ryan, to comply with my desire on that head. 
Being on the spot, you can be informed of the state of this mat- 
ter, and govern yourself accordingly. 

By the last Post I inclosed an Advertisement to Mr. Hayes 38 
(the Printer) requesting a meeting of the Proprietors of the 

"From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

38 James Hayes. He was publisher of The Virginia Gazette, or American Advertiser, 
Richmond, Va. 


Great dismal Swamp. The Servant by whom I sent it to Alex- 
andria got there after the Mail was dispatched; but meeting 
with the Stage, he says he put it into the hands of some body 
who promised to take care of it; as this may, or may not be the 
case, I beg you will make immediate enquiry, and in case of 
failure, desire him to insert the one herewith inclosed three 
weeks in his Gazette. And, as the notice will be short, to have 
it also published in some other Paper of general circulation. If 
nothing unforeseen should happed to prevent it, I expect to be 
in Richmond at the appointed time, and having no other busi- 
ness, should regret a disappointment. 

The Holly berries, Geese and Swan, are here, but no men- 
tion made of the Cotten. All here join me in best wishes for 
you. I am etc. 

P. S. Upon second thought I have sent the Advertisement to 
the Printer himself lest this letter should lye in the Post Office 

for want of your knowing it is there. The one inclosed for 
Doctr. Walker 39 endeavor to forward by some safe hand. 40 


Mount Vernon, April 5, 1785. 
Dear Sir: In the latter part of last Spring, the Commissioners 
appointed to attend the embarkations at New York, previous 
to the evacuation of the city, made a report of their proceed- 
ings to me, accompanied by a voluminous list of the Slaves 
which had left that place. Soon after having the pleasure of 
Mr. Reeds 41 company here, he informed me in conversation, 
that the list 42 1 had received was a duplicate of what had been 

39 Dr. John Walker. 

40 From a photostat of the original kindly furnished by Judge E. A. Armstrong, of 
Princeton, N. J. 

41 Jacob(?)Read. 

42 Not now found in the Washington Papers. 


sent to Congress; upon which I filed it with my public papers. 
By the last Post he says he had been under a mistake, and 
wished me to forward the papers which are in my hands, to 
Congress. This I most assuredly would have done, but they 
are too bulky for the mail, and liable to much injury from 
the nature of such a carriage. However I will wait your direc- 
tion, after acquainting you that two of the Commrs. Egbert 
Benson Esqr. and Lieut. Colo. Smith, with the Secretary Mr. 
Saml. Inches (and undoubtedly the papers from which the 
report, and proceedings were founded) are in N: York. If not- 
withstanding it is necessary to resort to me, the originals (for 
it is not in my power to make copies) shall be sent; altho it will 
make a chasm in my files, and disappoint many who apply to 
them for information respecting their negroes. I am, etc. 43 


Mount Vernon, April 5, 1785. 
Dr. Sir: A few days ago I had the pleasure to receive your 
favor of the 5th. ulto; your other letter of the 26th. of Deer. 
came duly to hand, and should not have remained so long 
unacknowledged had I not been in daily expectation of accom- 
panying my answer with a remittance: disappointment fol- 
lowed disappointment, but my expectation being kept alive, 
I delayed writing from one Post day to another until now, that I 
am assured by a Mercht. in Alexandria that I may depend 
upon a Bill, in a few days, upon a Mr. Sylvanus Dickinson of 
the City of Nw. York, for Two thousand five hundred Dollars. 
As it is probable I may receive it before the next weeks Post, 
I will on that occasion write you more fully: At present I will 
only add the sincere good wishes and best respects of Mrs. 

^From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


Washington to yourself, Mrs. Clinton and family, to which 
with much truth, mine are united. 

With great esteem, etc, 

P. S. Since writing the above, I have reed, the enclos'd Bill, 
the second shall be sent by next Post, when I shall be more 
particular. 44 


Mount Vernon, April 6, 1785. 

Sir: By the last Post Majr. Jenifer transmitted me an Acct. 
of my Continental Certificates as they had been Audited in 
your Office; by which there is a difference of ^64.14.7% short 
of my estimation of their value. 

This (for I did not go into the examination of figures) ap- 
pears to have originated from the times of calculating the de- 
preciation. I have always understood that depreciation was 
the same thro' the month, and if I did not misapprehend the 
Intendant, his ideas of it, accorded therewith. 

However, I only ask for information, and because I had cal- 
culated myself in this manner, for I want no other measure 
than what is given to others. I am etc. 

PS. How does yr. subscriptions to the Potomk. Navigation 
goon? 46 


Mount Vernon, April 10, 1785. 
Dear Sir: Enclosed you have my answer to the Acts of your 
Corporation, which I pray you to present. I thank you for the 
Arguments and judgment of the Mayor's Court of the City of 

" From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

45 Auditor, in the Intendant's office, of the State of Maryland. 

"From a photograph of the original in the State House, Annapolis, Md. 


New York in the Cause betwn. Elizabeth Rutgars and Joshua 
Waddington, 47 1 have read them with all the attention I could 
give the subject, and though I pretend not to be a competent 
judge of the Law of Nations, or the principle and policy of the 
Statute upon which the Action was founded; yet, I must con- 
fess, that reason seems very much in favor of the opinion given 
by the Court, and my judgment yields a hearty assent to it. 

It is painful, to hear that a State which used to be the fore- 
most in Acts of liberality, and its exertion to establish our 
fcederal system upon a broad bottom and solid ground is con- 
tracting her ideas, and pointing them to local and independent 
measures; which, if persevered in, must Sap the Constitution 
of these States (already too weak), destroy our National char- 
acter, and render us as contemptable in the eyes of Europe 
as we have it in our power to be respectable. It should seem as 
if the Impost of 5 pr Ct. would never take place; for no sooner 
does an obstinate State begin to relent, and adopt the recom- 
mendations of Congress, but some other runs restive; as if 
there was a combination among them, to defeat the measure. 

From the latest European Accts. it is probable an accommo- 
dation will take place between the Emperor 48 and the Dutch, 
but to reverberate News to a man at the source of intelligence 
would be idle, therefore Mum. 

The Dutch I conceive are too much attached to their pos- 
sessions and their wealth, if they could yield to the pangs of 
parting with their Country, to adopt the plan you hinted to 
Mr. Van Berckel. The Nations of Europe are ripe for Slavery; 
a thirst after riches, promptitude to luxury, and a sinking into 
venality with their concomitants, untune them for manly ex- 
ertions and virtuous Sacrifices. 

47 A few papers concerning the case of Elizabeth Rutgers vs. Joshua Waddington are 
in the Hamilton Papers (Legal), 1784, in the Library of Congress. 
"Emperor Joseph II, of Austria. 


I do not know from whence the report of my coming to 
Trenton could have originated, unless from a probability of 
my accompanying the Marquis de la Fayette as far as New 
York should have caus'd it; he pressed me to the measure, but 
the season was too much opposed to it, to obtain my consent. 

Mrs. Washington and myself, entertain a grateful sense 
of the kind recollection of us by you, Mrs. and Miss Duane, and 
the other branches of your family, and beg leave to present our 
Compliments to, and best wishes for, them all. 

With very great esteem, &c. 

P. S. If our Rocky-hill acquaintance, Mrs. Vanhorne, has 
removed (as she talked of doing) to the City of New 
York I pray you to recall me, in respectful terms, to her 
remembrance. [ n. y. h. s. ] 


Mount Vernon, April 10, 1785. 

Dear Sir: A few days since by Doctr. Lee, 49 1 had the honor 
to receive your favors of the 16th. of December from Trenton, 
and 10th. of March from the City of New York. The former 
enclosing an Address of the City, and the freedom thereof in 
a very handsome golden Box. 

For the flattering expression of the Address, and the honor 
which is confered on me by the freedom of the City, I enter- 
tain a grateful sense. I wish my powers were equal to my 
feelings, that I might express the latter in more lively terms 
than are contained in the enclosed answer. 

Let me beseech you, Sir, at the moment you shall have laid 
it before your Worshipful Board, to add the strongest assur- 
ances of the respect and attachment with which I have the 
honor to be, their, and your, Most Obedt. etc. [n.y.h.s.] 

49 Arthur Lee. 



[April 10, 1785] 
Gentlemen: I receive your Address, 50 and the freedom of 
the City with which you have been pleased to present me in a 
golden Box, 57 with the sensibility and gratitude which such dis- 
tinguished honors have a claim to. The flattering expression 
of both, stamps value on the acts; and call for stronger lan- 
guage than I am master of, to convey my sense of the obligation 
in adequate terms. 

To have had the good fortune amidst the viscissitudes of a 
long and arduous contest "never to have known a moment 
when I did not possess the confidence and esteem of my Coun- 
try." And that my conduct should have met the approbation, 
and obtained the affectionate regard of the State of New York 
(where difficulties were numerous and complicated) may be 
ascribed more to the effect of divine wisdom, which has dis- 
posed the minds of the people, harrassed on all sides, to make 
allowances for the embarrassments of my situation, whilst with 
fortitude and patience they sustained the loss of their Capitol, 
and a valuable part of their territory, and to the liberal senti- 
ments, and great exertion of her virtuous Citizens, than to any 
merit of mine. 

The reflection of these things now, after the many hours of 
anxious sollicitude which all of us have had, is as pleasing, as 
our embarrassments at the moments we encountered them, 
were distressing, and must console us for past sufferings and 

ro In the Washington Papers, Dec. 2, 1784, as is also the parchment Freedom of the 
City of New York. 

61 The gold box was disposed of at the sales made to members of the Washington 
family at Mount Vernon in 1802, shortly after the death of Mrs. Washington. Its 
present whereabouts is unknown to the editor. 


I pray that Heaven may bestow its choicest blessings on your 
City. That the devastations of War, in which you found it, 
may soon be without a trace. That a well regulated and beni- 
flcial Commerce may enrichen your Citizens. And that, your 
State (at present the Seat of the Empire) may set such exam- 
ples of wisdom and liberality, as shall have a tendency to 
strengthen and give permanency to the Union at home, and 
credit and respectability to it abroad. The accomplishment 
whereof is a remaining wish, and the primary object of all my 
desires. 52 [n.y.h.s.] 


Mount Vernon, April 10, 1785. 

Dear Sir : At the request of the Gentlemen who met in Rich- 
mond the day you parted with us, I have requested a meeting 
of the Proprietors of the Dismal Swamp in Richmond on 
Monday the 2d. day of May next, at which time and place I 
should be glad to see you as it is indispensably necessary to put 
the affairs of the Company under some better management. I 
hope every member will bring with him such papers as he is 
possessed of respecting this business. 

I wrote you a line similar to this, to go from Richmond; but 
Mr. Carter informing me that he is about to send a Servant 
into your neighbourhood I embrace the oppertunity as more 
certain to give you this information. I am etc. 53 

62 This letter came into the possession of one John Allen in the 1830's and was sold 
at auction in New York City in 1864. It was purchased by DeWitt C. Lent for $2,050. 
The mayor and aldermen sued for its recovery and secured possession. It passed into 
the custody of the New York Historical Society by gift from the city in 1873. The 
A. Df. S. is in the Library of Congress. The suit is reported in 5/ N. Y. Supreme Court 
Reports, January, 1868, p. 19. 

m From a photostat of the original kindly furnished by Dr. William C. Rives, of 
Washington, D. C. 

On April 10 Washington also forwarded a certificate of service to Frederick Weis- 
senfels, with a brief note. Copies of both the note and certificate are in the "Letter 
Book " in the Washington Papers. 



Mount Vernon, April n, 1785. 

Sir: Not having heard a tittle from you since I left Mr. Simp- 
sons in Septr. last; I wish for the detail of your proceedings 
in my business since that period, particularly with respect 
to applications, if any, for my Lands in your neighbourhood 
or elsewhere, and what has been done with the mill. I have 
obtained, some time since, a Patent for the round bottom above 
Captenon, 54 which may be rented upon the terms of my printed 

Mr. Smith (especially as he lives at a distance, and is only in 
the county at the assizes) should have every assistance in hunt- 
ing up the evidence necessary for the prosecution of my eject- 
ments in the Court of Washington, 55 particularly as they respect 
the improvements in my behalf, intecedent to the possession 
of the Land by the present occupants; and the notice given 
them of its being mine, at, or immediately after the Settlements 
made by them. Colo. John Stephenson, Mr. Marcs. Stephenson 
and Mr. Danl. Morgan are, I shou'd suppose, most likely to be 
acquainted with Colo. Crawfords proceedings in this business. 
It is of consequence to ascertain all the improvements which 
were made for my use and benefit previous to the settlements 
of the present possessions. Colo. Crawford in a letter to me 
says, he built four houses on different parts of the Land; or 
made four improvements of some kind : if this can be proved 
it would defeat my opponents upon their own ground. 

I should be glad to hear frequently from you. Letters lodged 
in the post office at Baltimore or Alexa., will not fail of getting 
safe to my hands. I am, etc. 58 

"Captening Creek. 

M Washington County, Pa. 

66 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

1785] A NEW MILLER 129 


Mount Vernon, April 12, 1785. 

Gentn: I have received two letters from you, one of the 8th. 
of March, the other of the 5th. inst : and thank you for both. 

I acquiesce readily to the conditional terms you have made 
on my behalf with Joseph Davenport: his wages are as high as 
the best Mills in this Country afTord, and the priviledges for 
which he stipulates shall be granted him; with this addition, 
that his fire wood shall be carted to his door at my expence, and 
he may raise poultry for his own eating at my cost; but under 
no pretence whatever to sell any. 

I wish the charge of removing him might be stipulated and 
made as reasonable as possible; otherwise the addition of it to 
wages and priviledges for a year only, will make him come 
high to me : for this reason if you entirely approve of him as a 
miller and man of character, I had rather the agreement should 
be for two years than one, if he is disposed to engage for that 
term. At present my Mill has the reputation of turning out 
superfine flour of the first quality: it commands a higher price 
in this country and the West Indies, than any other, and I 
should be unwilling it should lose this character from igno- 
rance or bad conduct. 

Roberts (my present Miller) for skill in grinding, and keep- 
ing a Mill in order, is inferior to no man: owing to this, to the 
times, and to the aversion I have to frequent changing of peo- 
ple, I have submitted for more than seven years to his imposi- 
tions: he is also a good Cooper and millwright, he has lived 
with me near fifteen years, during which period I have not 
paid a shilling for repairs. He came to me with a full grown 
apprentice; for both I only paid ^80 Pensa. Cury. per Ann: 
but during my absence he has been encreasing his wages and 


priviledges in proportion as he faltered in his services; so that 
I had determined (now that I could look a little into my own 
business, even if there had been an entire reformation in his 
conduct) to have reduced his wages and priviledges, or parted 
with him, to the very standard of your letter; which I believe is 
as high as the best, and most extensive manufacturing Mills in 
this State, afford. Mine is but a poor stream, wanting water 
near half the year: for this reason if Davenport (being a 
cooper) is to work at this business (there being a very good 
shop within fifty yards of the dwelling house and Mill) when 
he is not engaged in grinding, packing &c, I wish it to be speci- 
fied. In short, whatever is expected of either, by the other 
party, I pray may be explicitly declared, to avoid all desputes, 
misconceptions, after claims and uneasinesses. You know full 
well what ought to be expected from Davenport; and whatever 
you engage on my behalf, shall be religiously fulfilled. 

As you must have incurred expence on my accot. in this busi- 
ness, I am ready and willing to discharge it, with many thanks 
for the trouble you have been at to serve me; and if it should 
ever be in my power to render you any return, I should be 
happy in doing it. I am, etc. 57 


Mount Vernon, April 12, 1785. 
Dr. Sir: The post before last brought me your favor of the 
31st. The next day I waited upon Colo. Hooe with your order, 
but he was confined to his bed and unable to do business. Two 
days after he sent me a bill on New York for 2,500 Dollars, 
payable at 15 days sight, and gave me assurances that he would 
pay the balance shortly. In consequence, you have my receipt 

6 From the " Letter Book " copy in the Washington Papers. 


for ;£ 1069.1.7 specie, at the foot of the enclosed list. I have 
passed my receipt for a specie payment because you desired it; 
in full confidence however, that if the Bill should not be duly 
honored, or that I should meet with delay or difficulty in re- 
ceiving the money at Nw. York, or the balance; that it will be 
null, or have proper attention paid to the circumstances; for 
otherwise the interest of this money which was intended to pay 
a debt in Nw. York will cease, when a higher interest there 
will be accumulating that debt. 

I had taken up an idea, that depreciation was the same thro' 
the month, and had calculated my demand accordingly: Mr. 
Richmond varies the depreciation every day, by which his acct. 
and mine differ ^64-14-7-1/8. I suppose he is right, and that 
I must submit to the disappointment. 

I am exceedingly obliged to you for your ready and pointed 
attention to this business. Mrs. Washington and Fanny Bas- 
sett present their compliments to you, and I pray you to be as- 
sured of the sincere esteem and regard with which I am, etc. 58 


Mount Vernon, April 12, 1785. 

Dear Brother : The enclosed is the last letter I have had from 
your Son George, 59 why it is so, I cannot readily Acct., except 
for the irregularity of the Post Office, which seems to be under 
very bad management. Another letter of his, of the [muti- 
lated] to a young Lady of this family [mutilated] reason to 
look for him here the latter end of this, or beginning of next 

I lend our Nephew Geo: Steptoe Washington a horse Sad- 
dle and Bridle to visit his Mother, of which he seems desirous, 

58 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 
69 George Augustine Washington. 


it would be well for you to have attention to his return in time. 
Mr. Balch, Master of the Academy at which he is, speaks of 
him in favorable terms. 

Immediately upon receipt of the money I informed Mr. 
Balch that I was ready to discharge any Expences which had 
been incurred on Acct. of the Boys; the enclosed letter from 
him is the only answer I have got to it. As they have been 
there near Eight Months the Sum you sent me will not, I ex- 
pect, discharge what may be due for Schooling, Board and 
Clothing; I therefore wish to have more sent me as my own 
expenditures are too great to allow me to be in advance for 
them. I have desired Mr. Balch to receive the Boys into his 
own family again as soon as his house is in order for it. Mrs. 
Washington joins in love to my Sister and yr. family. And I 
am etc. 

How does yr. Subscriptions to the Potomk. Navigation 
goon? [H.L.] 


Mount Vernon, April 12, 1785. 

My dear Marqs. Your letter of the 15th. of Septr. last year, 60 
introductory of Mr. Duche, I had die honor to receive a few 
days since. 

However great that Gentleman's merits are, and however 
much I might be inclined to serve him, candor required me to 
tell him, as I now do you, that there is no opening (within my 
view) by which he could enter, and succeed in the line of his 
profession, in this Country. 

Besides being a stranger, and unacquainted with the lan- 
guage of these States, perfectly, many of them, to prevent an 

00 Not now found in the Washington Papers. 

1785] A PAYMENT MADE 133 

inundation of British Attorneys of which they were apprehen- 
sive, and of whose political principles they entertained not the 
most favorable sentiments; have passed qualifying Acts, by 
which residence and study in them for a specific time, is made 
essential to entitle a Lawyer to become a practitioner in our 
Courts of justice. 

Therefore, should Mr. Duche incline, notwithstanding, to 
settle, altogether, or spend any considerable portion of his time 
in this Country, his friends cannot serve him better than by 
obtaining for him some appointment in the Consular depart- 
ments; for the discharge of which, I presume he must be well 

With great attachment and the most affectionate regard I 
am etc. 81 


Mount Vernon, April 20, 1785. 

Dear Sir: I promised you a letter by the last Post, but it was 
not in my power to fulfill it; business not my own, and with 
which I really ought not to be troubled, engrosses so large a 
portion of my time (having no assistance) that which is essen- 
tial to me, is entirely neglected. 

I now send you Hooe and Harrisons second Bill upon Mr. 
Sylvanus Dickenson; altho' I hope, and expect the first will 
have been paid before it reaches. I also send you a statement 
of the payments, 62 as they ought to have been made to you, 
and should be obliged to you for comparing them with your 
own receipts, and for informing me of their correspondence. 
The money now remitted I wish to have placed to the credit 

81 From a photostat of the original kindly furnished by the Hon. Sol Bloom, of New 
York City. 

62 A photostat of this statement is in the Washington Papers. The original is in the 
Huntington Library. 


of my Bond, and the balance, if any, carried to that of the 
accot. sent me in December last. I should be glad also to have 
as early and long notice of the call for this last sum, as can 
knowingly and conveniently be given; for I find it (under 
my present circumstances) very difficult to raise money equal 
to the pressure of my wants; those who owed me before the 
commencement of hostilities, having taken advantage of my 
absence and the tender laws, to discharge their debts with a 
shilling or six pence in the pound : and those to whom I owed 
money, I have now to pay in specie at the real value. 

I have to thank you my dear Sir, for the duplicate Deed, 
and plan of our purchase in the Ochriskeney Patent; and pray 
you to take the trouble of doing with my moiety the same as you 
would do with your own at all times and in all respects. 

The lime trees which you were so obliging as to send me 
last November were unfortunate; they lay at Norfolk until 
the frosts were entirely over, and only came to my hands the 
18th. of Feby. I immediately planted, and have since been 
nursing them; they have yet the appearance of feeble life, but 
I have no expectation of their living. My thanks nevertheless 
are equally due for these, for the nutts, the corn and the pease; 
the last of which I sowed yesterday : if I am too late in doing 
it, the Spring (which has been the most unfavourable I ever 
knew), and not me, is to blame; if too early, it is from igno- 
rance and my neglect in not making the necessary enquiry for 
the proper season. The corn I shall begin to plant in a few 
days and will renew the seeds occasionally. 

I will rely upon your Excely. for the seeds of the Balm tree, 
White and Spruce Pine. I believe it is the most certain way 
of raising them: most of the trees evergreen, not sowed where 
they are to stand, or not raised in Nurseries and early trans- 
planted, are unsuccessful; and tho' our impatience will not 



suffer us to adopt the practice, it is the opinion of Miller (in his 
Gardeners Dy.) who seems to understand the culture of Trees 
equal to any other writer I have met with, that it is the most 
expeditious method of rearing them. As a quantity of these 
seeds would be bulky in the Cones, they would be equally good 
taken out and packed in dry sand; and is the method I would 
beg leave to recommend. To them I should be glad to have 
added some of the Hemlock, and indeed any other seeds of 
trees which are not common in this climate. I shall make 
no apology for the trouble I know this request must give you, 
because I persuade myself you will have pleasure in contribut- 
ing to an innocent amusement. I have planted within these 
few days many of the hickory nuts which you sent me, not 
doubting their successful growth here. Mrs. Washington de- 
sires me to present her compliments and thanks to you, for 
your care of the case of Grotto work, it came very safe. She 
also joins me very sincerely in congratulating Mrs. Clinton 
and yourself on her restoration to health, and in wishing it 
may be of long continuance. 

I am sorry for the loss of my Vines, they were of the first 
quality in France; and sent to me by one of the first char- 
acters in it, for abilities, respectability and his curious attention 
to these things. I was in hopes there had been an abundance, 
and that you would have participated in the fruit of them. 

As you are at the source of intelligence, it would be idle in 
me to reverberate what is brought by the packets, and we have 
little of a domestic nature worthy of attention. There are 
plans in agitation for improving and extending the inland 
navigation of this country; and opening roads of communica- 
tion between the heads of the rivers Potomac and James, and 
the western waters. They have received public countenance 
and support, but I cannot at this moment speak decisively to 


the issue, we flatter ourselves it will be favourable, but may be 
mistaken. Mrs. Washington joins me in very best wishes for 
you and all your family. With regard and attachment, I 
am, etc. 63 


Mount Vernon, April 20, 1785. 
Sir : I have received your letter of the 30th. Ulto. If it should 
ever be in my power to render you any Service, I should be 
ready, and happy to do it. With the Gentlemen of my ac- 
quaintance in Philadelphia, I persuade myself you stand as 
well, as my introduction could place you. If there are any 
here, to whom the mention of your case would be of any avail, 
I should have pleasure in doing it. I thank you for your kind 
offer of forwarding, with safety, the Gazettes of Philadelphia; 
but believe there will be no occasion for giving you the trouble 
at present. I am etc. 64 


Mount Vernon, April 25, 1785. 
Dr. Sir: I will not let your favor of the fifteenth, for which 
I thank you, go unacknowledged, tho' it is not in my power to 
give it the consideration I wish, to comply with the request 
you have made, being upon the eve of a journey to Richmond 
to a meeting of the Dismal Swamp company, which by my 
own appointment is to take place on Monday next; and into 
that part of the country I am hurried by an express which is 

63 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

64 From a facsimile of the original in the possession of Edward Carey Gardiner, pub- 
lished in "One Hundred and Fifty Years of Publishing, 1785-1935," kindly furnished 
by Lea & Febiger, of Philadelphia. 

65 Delegate to the Continental Congress from Virginia. 


just arrived with the accot. of the deaths of the mother and 
Brother of Mrs. Washington, in the last of whose hands (Mr. 
B. Dandridge) the embarrassed affairs of Mr. Custis had been 
placed, and call for immediate attention. 

To be candid, I have had scarce time to give the report of the 
Committee, 66 which you did me the honor to send me, a read- 
ing, much less to consider the force and tendency of it. If 
experience has proven that the most advantageous way of dis- 
posing of Land, is by whole Townships, there is no arguing 
against facts; therefore, if I had had time I shou'd have said 
nothing on that head: but from the cursory reading I have 
given it, it strikes me that by suffering each State to dispose 
of a proportionate part of the whole in the State, that there 
may be State jobbing: in other words that the Citizens of each 
State may be favored at the expence of the Union; whilst a 
reference of these matters to them has, in my opinion, a tend- 
ency to set up seperate interests; and to promote the independ- 
ence of individual States upon the downfall of the federal 
government, which in my opinion is already too feeble, much 
too humiliated and tottering to be supported without props. 

It is scarcely to be imagined that any man, or society of men, 
who may incline to possess a township, would make the pur- 
chase without viewing the Land in person or by an Agent. 
Wherein then lies the great advantage of having the sale in 
each State, and by State officers ? for from the same parity of 
reasoning, there should be different places in each State for the 
accommodation of its Citizens. Would not all the ostensible 
purposes be fully answered by sufficient promulgation in each 
State, of the time and place of Sale to be holden at the nearest 
convenient place to the Land, or at the seat of Congress. Is it 
not highly probable that those who may incline to emigrate, 

68 Of Congress. 


or their Agents would attend at such time and place? And 
(there being no fixed prices to the Land) would not be the 
high or low sale of it depend upon the number of purchasers 
and the competition occasioned thereby; and are not these 
more likely to be greater at one time and place than at thir- 
teen ? One place might draw the world to it, if proper notice 
be given : but foreigners would scarcely know what to do with 
thirteen, to which, or when to go to them. These are first 
thoughts, perhaps incongruous ones, and such as I myself 
might reprobate upon more mature consideration : at present 
however, I am impressed with them, and (under the rose) a 
penetrating eye, and close observation, will discover thro' vari- 
ous disguises a disinclination to add new States to the con- 
federation, westward of us; which must be the inevitable 
consequence of emigration to, and the population of that terri- 
tory: and as to restraining the citizens of the Atlantic States 
from transplanting themselves to that soil, when prompted 
thereto by interest or inclination, you might as well attempt 
(while our Governmts. are free) to prevent the reflux of the 
tide, when you had got it into your rivers. 

As the report of the Committee goes into the minutia, it is 
not minute enough, if I read it a right; it provides for the 
irregular lines, and parts of townships, occasioned by the in- 
terference with the Indian boundaries, but not for its inter- 
ference with Lake Erie, the western boundary of Pennsylvania 
(if it is governed by the meanders of the Delaware) or the 
Ohio river which separates the ceded Lands from Virginia, all 
of which involve the same consequences. 

I thank you for the sentiments and information, given me in 
your letter of the ioth. of March, respecting the Potomac navi- 
gation. My present determination is, to hold the shares which 
this State has been pleased to present me, in trust for the use 


and benefit of it: this will subserve the plan, encrease the public 
revenue, and not interfere with the line of conduct I had pre- 
scribed myself. I am, etc. 67 


Mount Vernon, May 12, 1785. 

Sir: The letter which you did me the honor to write to me 
the 20th. of last month, I found at this place when I returned 
from Richmond a few days ago; but it had been previously 
lost in the high way, and came to me open, and without a 
cover: by what means it met with this accident, I am unable 
to learn, a neighbour of mine picked it up in the condition I 
have mentioned, and sent it to me. 

I pray you to be assured Sir, that I should have great pleasure 
in presenting you with a letter to the Count de Vergennes if 
I cou'd suppose that my recommendation would have any 
weight at the Court of Versailles, and if I had ever opened a 
correspondence with the Minister thereof on a subject of this 
nature: but not having the vanity to suppose the first, and 
never having attempted the latter; I persuade myself I shall 
meet a ready excuse for not complying with your request in 
this instance. 

Not being under such delicate circumstances with my inti- 
mate acquaintance and friend the Marqs. de la Fayette, I have 
communicated your wishes to him; and as no language can do 
it more emphatically than your own, I have taken the liberty of 
enclosing your letter to me, to him. I have the honor, etc. 67 

6T From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

On April 29 Washington left Mount Vernon for Richmond, Va., which he reached 
on the evening of May 1. He left Richmond May 4, and arrived at Mount Vernon, 
May 6. 




Mount Vernon, May 12, 1785. 
My Dr. Marqs. The enclosed letter from the Chevr. de la 
Serre conveys a strong expression of his wishes; and as you 
are well acquainted with his merits, his connexions, and his 
intention of remaining in America, I persuade myself it is 
unnecessary for me to add more to recommend him to your 
favourable notice in the line he wishes, and which he finds 
most convenient for himself to walk in, if the present Consul 
of France, at Baltimore can be better provided for. I therefore 
submit his case and pretensions to that spirit which I know is 
ever ready to promote the happiness of others. It is unneces- 
sary to repeat the assurances of my affection and regard for 
you. You know they cannot be encreased, and will never 
diminish. Adieu Yrs. &ca. 69 


Mount Vernon, May 16, 1785. 

Dear Sir: In for a penny, in for a pound is an old adage. I 
am so hackneyed to the touches of the Painters pencil, that I am 
now altogether at their beck, and sit like patience on a Monu- 
ment whilst they are delineating the lines of my face. 

It is a proof among many others of what habit and custom 
can effect. At first I was as impatient at the request, and as 
restive under the operation, as a Colt is of the Saddle. The 
next time, I submitted very reluctantly, but with less flouncing. 
Now, no dray moves more readily to the Thill, than I do to 
the Painters Chair. It may easily be conceived therefore that 

69 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


I yielded a ready obedience to your request, and to the views 
of Mr. Pine. 

Letters from England, 70 recommendatory of this Gentleman, 
came to my hands previous to his arrival in America; not only 
as an Artist of acknowledged eminance, but as one who had 
discovered a friendly disposition towards this Country, for 
which, it seems, he had been marked. 

It gave me pleasure to hear from you. I shall always feel 
an interest in your happiness, and with Mrs. Washingtons 
compliments, and best wishes joined to my own, for Mrs. Hop- 
kinson and yourself, I am etc. 71 


Mount Vernon, May 16, 1785. 

Dr. Sir: I stand indebted to you for your several favors of 
the 7th. of March and 12th. and 19th. of April. 

Believe me, the first was not productive of more surprize 
than real concern: the account of your failure was as much 
regretted, as it was unexpected by me, and I feel for the causes 
of it, and for your present situation. You are sensible that my 
commissions have been more troublesome, than profitable to 
you, and as they are growing less, to continue them might add 
to your embarrassments, otherwise I do assure you I would 
continue them with pleasure. 

For the many friendly offices you have rendered me, I pray 
you to accept my thanks. The grass seeds are all at hand, tho' 

70 Washington's "Diary" states that these letters were from George William Fairfax, 
Gouverneur Morris, John Dickinson, Francis Hopkinson, and others. The last two, 
however, were not in England. Washington wrote brief acknowledgments to John 
Dickinson (May 1 6) and, presumably, to the others. A photostat of the letter to Dick- 
inson is in the Washington Papers. 

"The original, from a photostat of which this letter is taken, is stated to be in the 
New York Historical Society. A similar claim is made by the Wyoming Historical and 
Geological Society of Wilkes-Barre, Pa. This letter has been facsimiled many times 
and the different facsimiles are fairly numerous. 


late coming. Mr. Lewis has engaged me a Miller : the method 
you have taken to get the accot. concerning the Indian meal 
and flour adjusted, is perfectly agreeable to me; and I approve 
of what you have done respecting my letter to Mr. Lamont, 
the author of the Poems which were proposed to be dedicated 
to me. I have never received a paper from Messrs. Claypoole 
and Dunlap since your mention of their intention to forward 
them regularly, and think myself so ungenteelly treated in 
this business, by them, that I never mean to take another of 
their Gazettes. If they had really sent them, I can conceive no 
reason why they should not have got to hand as well as those 
from Carey's, and others from Boston. 

The balance of your accot. Currt. ,£2.3.0^2, 1 have given to 
Genl. Moylan, who will pay it to you, or your assignees. I 
have done the same with respect to Claypooles rect. for £3.15.0, 
cost of printing my advertisement. If you have not already 
paid his accot. for the Gazettes, do me the favor and justice to 
let him know (when it is done) that I am paying for what I 
have not had, and that it is my request the accot. may be closed 
between us; as I do not mean, unless I can be better satisfied 
than I am at present, to stand longer upon his books. 

Mrs. Washington joins me in every good wish for you, Mrs. 
Biddle and family, and we both hope that fortune may be 
more propitious to you in future. If it should ever be in my 
way to render you any services, I shou'd have pleasure in doing 

• t 72 

it. lam, etc. 


Mount Vernon, May 16, 1785. 
Sir: I had the honor to receive your letter of the 23d. Ulto. 
by Mr. Pine, 73 whose character as a historical and Portrait 

"From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 
"Robert Edge Pine. 


Painter, and as a friend to the rights of America, has been very 
favorably represented to me from England before he made 
his appearance in this Country. His present design, 74 if well 
executed, will do equal credit to his imagination and Pencil; 
and be interesting to America. I have the honor etc. [ h. s. p. ] 


Mount Vernon, May 18, 1785. 
Sir : Mr. Pine who will deliver this letter to your Excellency, 
is an artist of acknowledged eminence, and one who has given 
the world many pleasing and forcible specimens of genius: 
he is engaged in painting some of the interesting events of 
the late war; in the prosecution of which he finds it necessary 
to call at Annapolis. I take the liberty therefore of introducing 
him to your civilities, and of assuring you of the esteem and 
respect with which I am, etc. 75 


Mount Vernon, May 19, 1785. 

Sir: Your letter of the 10th. not getting to my hands 'till the 
15th., I had no opportunity of writing to you before the meet- 
ing of the subscribers on the 17th., at which I exhibited the 
list you sent me, which was received and acted upon. 

Agreeably to the Laws of the two States, the subscription 
books ought to have been at that meeting; after which all sub- 
scriptions are to be made with the President and Directors. 76 
If it should have happened therefore, that any names have 

"Pine's project was to paint portraits of the men who took a prominent part in the 
Revolution and to paint the principal of their movements. 
75 On May 1 8 practically the same letter was sent to Edward Lloyd, of Maryland. 
78 Of the Potomac Company. 


been entered on your Books subsequent, and in addition to the 
list you sent me; it would be proper for such subscribers to 
enter their names as the Law directs in the Book to be opened 
by the Directors, in order to give validity to their subscriptions 
and to prevent disputes; this, I presume, may be done by letter. 
I am, etc. 77 


Mount Vernon, May 20, 1785. 

My dr. Sir: After a long and boisterous passage, my Nephew 
G. A. Washington returned to this place a few days since and 
delivered me your letter of the 25th. of April. 

Under the state of the case between you and Capt : Gunn, 78 
I give it as my decided opinion that your honor and reputation 
will not only stand perfectly acquitted for the non-acceptance 
of his challenge, but that your prudence and judgment would 
have been condemnable for accepting of it, in the eyes of the 
world : because if a commanding officer is amenable to private 
calls for the discharge of public duty, he has a dagger always 
at his breast, and can turn neither to the right nor to the left 
without meeting its point; in a word, he is no longer a free 
agent in office, as there are few military decisions which are 
not offensive to one party or the other. 

However just Capt: Gunns claim upon the public might 
have been, the mode adopted by him (according to your accot.) 
to obtain it, was to the last degree dangerous. A precedent of 
the sort once established in the army, would no doubt have been 
followed; and in that case would unquestionably have pro- 
duced a revolution; but of a very different kind from that 
which, happily for America, has prevailed. 

"From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 
78 Capt. James Gunn, of the First Continental Dragoons. 


It gives me real concern to find by your letter, that you are 
still embarrassed with the affairs of Banks : I should be glad to 
hear, that the evil is likely to be temporary only; ultimately, 
that you will not suffer. From my Nephews account, this man 
has participated of [sic] the qualities of Pandora's box, and has 
spread as many mischiefs. How came so many to be taken 
in by him? If I recollect right, when I had the pleasure to 
see you last, you said an offer had been made you of back 
lands, as security or payment in part for your demand. I then 
advised you to accept it. I now repeat it, you cannot suffer by 
doing this, altho' the lands may be high rated. If they are 
good I would almost pledge myself that you will gain more 
in ten years by the rise in the price, than you could by accumu- 
lation of interest. 

The Marqs. de la Fayette is safe arrived in France, and 
found his Lady and family well. From his letters, those of 
the Chevr. de la Luzerne, Count de Rochambeau and others 
to me, dated between the middle and last of Feby., I think 
there will be no war in Europe this year, but some of the most 
intelligent of these writers are of opinion that the Emperial 
Court of Russia, will not suffer matters to remain tranquil 
much longer. The desire of the first to annex the Dutchy of 
Bavaria to its dominions in exchange for the Austrian pos- 
sessions in the Netherlands, is very displeasing, it seems, to the 
military powers, which added to other matters may kindle 
the flames of a general war. 

Few matters of domestic nature are worth the relation; 
otherwise I might inform you, that the plan for improving 
and extending the navigation of this river has met a favourable 
beginning. Tuesday last was the day appointed by Law for 
the subscribers to meet; 250 shares were required by law to 
constitute and incorporate the company: but, upon comparing 


the Books, it was found that between four and five hundred 
shares were subscribed. 

What has been done respecting the navigation of James river 
I know not; I fear little. 

This State did a handsome thing, and in a handsome man- 
ner for me; in each of these navigations they gave me, and 
my heirs forever, fifty shares: but as it is incompatible with my 
principles, and contrary to my declarations, I do not mean to 
accept of them. But how to refuse them, without incurring 
the charge of disrespect to the Country on the one hand, and 
an ostentatious display of disinterestedness on my part on the 
other, I am a little at a loss: time and the good advice of my 
friends must aid me, as the Assembly will not meet 'till Octor., 
and made this gratuitous offer among, if not the last act of 
the last Session, as if they were determined I should not resolve 
what to do from the first impulse. Mrs. Washington joins me 
in every good wish for you, and with sentiments of attachment 
and regard, I am, &c. 79 


Mount Vernon, May 21, 1785. 
Dr. Sir: Mr. Boulton 81 delivered me your letter of the 13th., 
last evening : I thank you for sending him to me. I have agreed 
with him to finish my large room, and to do some other work, 82 

79 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

80 Of Maryland. 

"Richard Boulton, of St. Mary's County, Md. 

82 Boulton was to begin work in about 3 weeks. In the Toner Transcripts in the 
Library of Congress is a copy of the agreement between Boulton and Washington, dated 
May 21, 1785, by the terms of which Boulton was to finish " the large room at the North 
end of the said Washingtons dwelling House (Mount Vernon) in a plain and elegant 
manner; either of Stucco, Wainscot, or partly of both as the said George Washington 
shall direct . . . that he will give a Cieling to the Piazza of plain Wainscot . . . and 
shall moreover Carve, Turn, Glaze, or Paint (inside work) if . . . required." 

1785] PAINTS, ETC. 147 

and have no doubt from the character given of him by you, 
that he will answer my purposes, as he has no one now to lead 
him into temptation, and will be far removed from improper 
associates unless he is at much pains to hunt them: it may 
therefore be expected that he will avoid the rock he has split 
upon lately. 

I thank you sincerely my good Sir, for the offer of such of 
your imported articles as you have not an immediate call for; 
and will take any proportion which will be most convenient 
for you to share, of the Spirit of Turpentine, oil and paints of 
all sorts, Lead, Sash, and pullies, of the different sorts and 
sizes of nails, as also the two plate brass Locks, if Mr. Boulton 
upon examination, shall think they will answer my room, and 
of the glass 8 by io. The large kind of glass does not suit my 
sashes (which are all made), and a marble slab (indeed two) 
I am already provided with. 

I have promised to send my waggon a cover'd one with lock 
and key) to Colo. Platers, 83 on some landing above, for Mr. 
Boulton's tools : all, or such part of the articles as I have enu- 
merated and you can spare, and the waggon can bring in ad- 
dition to the Tools, may accompany them; and the cost and 
charges of them shall be paid to your order. 

Mrs. Washington and the family join me in offering re- 
spectful compliments to, and best wishes for you and your 
Lady, and with very great esteem and regard, I am, etc. 

P. S. 'Ere this, I was in hopes of having had it in my power 
to have offered the service of a Jack, or two, of the first race 
in Spain, to some of your Mares, if you shou'd be inclined to 
breed Mules, but they are not yet arrived, another year, I shall 
be happy to do this. 84 

83 Col. George Plater, of St. Mary's County, Md. 

84 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 



Mount Vernon, May 22, 1785. 

Sir: I had the honor to receive your favor of the 12th. in time 
for the Meeting; and in consequence of the power given me by 
you, represented the State on the 17th. inst: 

I have the pleasure to inform you that the subscriptions 
(including those in behalf of the two States) amounted to 
upwards of four hundred shares; consequently the company 
became legally constituted and incorporated, a president and 
Directors were chosen, and the business, we persuade our- 
selves, will be advanced as fast as the nature of it will admit. 
I have the honor, etc. 86 


Mount Vernon, May 23, 1785. 
Dear Sir: The last Post brought me your letter of the 14th., 
inclosing one of the 30th. of April from Mr. Hollyday. As 
soon as it is in my power to refresh my memory by having re- 
currence to my Papers, I will write you, or Mr. Hollyday, more 
fully on the subject of the legacy in Colo. Colvils Will to Miss 
Anderson; 87 or person under whom she claims; for, strange as 
it may seem, it is nevertheless true, that I have not been able 
since my retirement, to arrange my Papers, or to attend, in the 
smallest degree, to my private concerns. The former, from 
the hurry with which they have been removed from Book 
cases into Trunks, and sent off to escape the ravages of the 
enemy, when their Vessels have appeared, are in great disorder. 

85 Treasurer of the State of Virginia. 

80 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

87 Miss Harriet Rebecca Anderson, of London. 


I allotted the last Winter for the adjustment of all these mat- 
ters; but never could command as much time as even to enter 
upon the business; and every matter and thing which re- 
spects the latter, are in the Situation I left them ten years ago. 
The numberless applications from officers of the several lines 
of the Army for Certificates of Service, recommendations, 
Copies of Orders, referrences of old matters, with which I 
ought not to be troubled, in addition to other corrispondencies 
in which my situation has involved me, confines me more to 
my writing Desk than I ever was at any period of my life; 
and deprives me of necessary exercise. These, with other causes, 
have produced the effect I have mentioned; which I feel more 
sensibly, as the business of others, with which I have been 
concerned, is involved; and is now, undergoing the same Sus- 
pension, as my own. For sometime past I have been (unsuc- 
cessfully) endeavouring to get a single man of good character, 
and decent appearance (for he will be at my Table and with 
my Company) to ease me of this burthen; and if you could 
recommend one of this description, who would not expect 
high wages (for these I cannot afford) I should be obliged to 
you for so doing. To suit me, he must be a person of liberal 
education, a master of composition, and have a competent 
knowledge of Accts.; for I have those of ten years standing, 
and the intermediate transactions, to overhaul and adjust. 

Will you ever come to see me? You may be assured that 
there are few persons in the World, whose visits would give 
more sincere pleasure at Mount Vernon than yours. Nothing 
could encrease the satisfaction of it more, than bringing Mrs. 
Tilghman with you; to whom, and to yourself, Mrs. Washing- 
ton joins in every good wish with Dr. Sir, etc. 

PS. Upon Second thoughts, it occurs, that the Revd. Mr. West 
of Baltimore, can do all that is necessary for Miss Anderson, 


without any agency of mine; at least may determine with 
precision what ought to be done. He is the Executor of his 
Brother, Mr. John West, who was the principal acting Ex- 
ecutor of Colo. Thos. Colvil. and has been, I am informed, as- 
siduously employed lately, in adjusting the concerns of that 

As I shall not write to Mr. Hollyday until I can do it more to 
the purpose than at present, I will rely upon your communi- 
cating what is here mentioned, to him. 

I am in want of two inch pine Plank. The man who is en- 
gaged to work for me, and who came lately from Baltimore, 
says he saw a good deal at that place, of the Eastern white Pine, 
which appeared to him to be seasoned and fit for my uses. If 
any Vessel should be coming round to Alexandria, and you 
could send me from two to 500 feet of it, you would oblige 
me. 88 Yrs. 89 [h.s.p.] 


Mount Vernon, May 23, 1785. 

Sir: The little share I had in the administration of Colo. 
Colville's Estate, and the time which have elapsed since I had 
any concern at all with the Affairs of it, render me very in- 
competent to give the information you require. 

Mr. John West deceased was the principal acting Executor 
of the Will of Colo. Colvill, and the Revd. Mr. West of Balti- 
more is the executor of John, and has I am told taken much 
pains to adjust the papers of his brother and the business of 
that Estate: from him therefore you may probably obtain 
more precise information of the assets, and of the claimants 

88 On July 6 Washington wrote briefly to Tilghman, acknowledging receipt of the 

^From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


therefor under the wild devises of the Will, than is in my 
power at this time to give you. 

All I recollect of the matter is, that the devises to certain 
persons in England; relations of the Testator, were so indefi- 
nite, and stirred up such a multitude of claims, that it was 
adjudged necessary for the safety of the Executor when 
the surplus Estate (if any) should be ascertained, to deposit the 
same in the hands of the Chancellor to be disposed of to 
the rightful owner, upon due proof of their identity before him. 
What may have been the surplus, if the accots. have been 
finally settled; what has been done with it, or under what pre- 
dicament it may have been placed by the Laws of this Gov- 
ernment, I have it not in my power, without a good deal of 
research, to inform you; not having been able to look into this 
business any more than into that which more immediately con- 
cerns my own, since my return to private life, for eight years 
previous to it, it is well known I could not. I am, etc. 90 


Mount Vernon, May 23, 1785. 
Dear Sir: It would have given me much pleasure to have 
seen you at Richmond; and it was part of my original plan 
to have spent a few days with you at Eltham, whilst I was in 
the lower parts of the country; but an intervention of cir- 
cumstances not only put it out of my power to do the latter, 
but would have stopped my journey to Richmond altogether, 
had not the meeting (the time and the place) been of my 
own appointing. I left company at home when I went away, 
who proposed to wait my return, among whom a Mr. Pine, 
an artist of eminence, came all the way from Philadelphia for 
some materials for an historical painting which he is about, 

90 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


and for which he was obliged to stay 'till I got back, which I 
did after an absence of eight days only. 

My Nephew G. Aug: Washington is just returned from his 
peregrination; apparently much amended in his health, but 
not quite free from the disorder in his breast. I have under- 
stood that his addresses to your Daughter were made with 
your consent; and I now learn that he is desirous, and she is 
willing to fulfill the engagement they have entered into; and 
that they are applying to you for permission therefor. 

It has ever been a maxim with me thro' life, neither to pro- 
mote, nor to prevent a matrimonial connection, unless there 
should be something indispensably requiring interference in 
the latter : I have always considered marriage as the most inter- 
esting event of one's life, the foundation of happiness or misery; 
to be instrumental therefore in bringing two people together 
who are indifferent to each other, and may soon become ob- 
jects of hatred; or to prevent a union which is prompted by 
mutual esteem and affection, is what I never could reconcile 
to my feelings; and therefore, neither directly nor indirectly 
have I ever said a syllable to Fanny or George upon the sub- 
ject of their intended connexion; but as their attachment to 
each other seems to have been early formed, warm and last- 
ing, it bids fair to be happy: if therefore you have no objection, 
I think the sooner it is consummated the better. 

I have just now informed them (the former thro' Mrs. Wash- 
ington) that it is my wish they should live here. 

It is unnecessary I hope to say how happy we should be to 
see you, her brothers, and any of her friends here upon this 
occasion (who can make it convenient and are disposed to 
come); all here join in best wishes for you, and with very 
sincere esteem etc. 91 

91 Ford's text varies in numerous points from this "Letter Book" copy in the Wash- 
ington Papers. He does not state his source. 

1785] THE NEW MILLER 153 


Mount Vernon, May 25, 1785. 

Sir: I have had the honor, lately, to receive your favor of the 
18th. of July last year. For the politeness with which your 
Excellency was pleased to receive my nephew G: A. Wash- 
ington, and for the distinguished marks of attention which 
you shewed him whilst he was in the Island of Barbadoes (for 
which he retains a grateful sense) I feel myself exceedingly 
obliged, and should be happy in opportunities to convince vour 
Excelly. of the impression they had made on me. 

My nephew, after a peregrination thro' many of the W. 
India Islands, spending some time in Bermuda, and the winter 
in Charleston (So. Carolina) returned home a few days ago, 
a good deal amended in his health, but not perfectly restored 
to it. I have the honor, etc. 93 


Mount Vernon, May 25, 1785. 

Gentn: In consequence of your letter of the 5th. of last 
month, I discharged Wm. Roberts from my Mill. It now is, 
and has been for some time past without a Miller ; and as Mr. 
Davenport from your Accot. would be ready to take charge 
of it in about three weeks (now seven), and not yet come, nor 
any reason given why he has not; I am apprehensive of some 

If this is the case I should be glad to know it as soon as pos- 
sible. One Baker, who referred to you for a character, and 
was employ'd by Colo. Biddle at his Mill at Georgetown, has 

92 Of Barbados, West Indies. 
From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


applied to me; but considering myself under engagement, I 
gave him no encouragement. A person who writes the en- 
closed letter has also offered, but I have given him no answer. 
Some others have likewise made application, but as I depended 
upon Davenport I asked for no character nor enquired into 
their qualifications. If Davenport should have disappointed 
me, would Baker answer my purpose ? Would Reynolds do 
better ? Or have you any other in view which you think pref- 
erable to both ? I am sorry to give you so much trouble with 
my affairs but hope you will excuse it. I am Gentn, etc. 94 


Mount Vernon, May 27, 1785. 
Sir: My objection to paying your account when here, was, 
now is, and, whether it is done or not, will be: that it comes 
neither under the letter nor spirit of my letter to Mr. Baker. 
My object was to give Lawce. Posey 95 a years schooling, to fit 
him for some of the better occupations of life: to do this, I 
agreed to pay his board also, both of which together, I was 
inform'd would amount at the free school, to £iy, Md. Curry. 
What followed? Why he neither went to the School, nor 
boarded with the person under whose care he was intended to 
be put, this by your own confession. Is it just, is it reasonable 
then that I should look bac\ to expences which had been in- 
curred previous to the date of my letter; nor even forward to 
what might be incurred, if the end which I had in view was 
not to be answered by it ? If the child did not go to the school 
nor derive the benefits which were intended him from it, 
could it be supposed I meant to pay for his board without; 

94 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Tapers. 
95 A son of John Posey. 


when his fathers House and eye were more proper than any 
other? Might he not as well have been at home with his 
father, as at any other place idle ? Upon these grounds it was 
and under this state I repeat it, that if there is a disinterested 
man upon Earth, who will say I ought to comply with your 
request, I will do it: and you may have the chusing of him or 
them; for it does not suit me to go from home on this business. 
[ am, &c. 96 


Mount Vernon, May 31, 1785. 
Sir: I am informed that a patent (in consequence of a Cer- 
tificate from Commrs. appointed to enquire into, and decide 
upon claims for settlement of the Western Lands) is about to 
issue to the heirs of Michl. Cresap, from the Land Office of 
this Commonwealth, for a tract of land on the river Ohio 
formerly in Augusta County, now commonly called and dis- 
tinguished by the [name of] Round bottom: against grant- 
ing which to the heirs of the said Cresap, I enter a Caveat for 
the following reasons; First, because this Land was discovered 
by me in the month of Octor. 1770, and then marked; which 
was before, as I have great reason to believe, the said Cresap, 
or any person in his behalf had ever seen, or had the least 
knowledge of the tract. Secondly, because I did at that time, 
whilst I was on' the Land, direct Captn. (afterwds. Colo.) 
Willm. Crawford to survey the same for my use, as a halfway 
place or stage between Fort Pitt and the 200,000 acres of land 
which he was ordered to survey for the first Virginia regi- 
ment agreeably to Govr. Dinwiddie's Proclamation of 1754. 
Thirdly, because consequent of this order he made the survey 

80 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


(this survey is either in the hands of the county Surveyor of 
Augusta, or with my agent in the Westn. Country: it is not 
to be found among my papers ; tho' I am sure of the fact, and 
will procure it if necessary) in the month of the year 

following for 587 acres, and returned it to me accordingly: 
and equally certain I am that it was made before Mr. Cresap 
or any person in his behalf had ever stretch'd a chain thereon, 
knew of, or, as I have already observed, had taken a single 
step to obtain the land. Fourthly, because subsequent of this 
survey; but previous to any claim of Cresaps, a certain Dr. 
Brisco possessed himself of the Land, and relinquished it, 
after I had written him a letter in the words contained in the 
inclosure No. i. 97 Fifthly, because upon the first information 
I received of Cresaps pretentions, I wrote him a letter, of 
which No. 2 is a copy. 98 Sixthly, because it was the practice 
of Cresap, according to the information given me, to notch a 
few trees, and sell as many bottoms on the river above the 
Little Kanhawa as he could obtain purchasers, to the disquiet 
and injury of numbers. Seventhly, Because the Commrs. who 
gave the Certificate under which his heirs now claim, could 
have had no knowledge of my title thereto, being no person 
in that District properly authorised; during my absence, to 
support my claim. Eighthly, Because the survey, which was 
made by Colo. Crawford, who was legally appointed by the 
Masters of Wm. and Mary College for the purpose of sur- 
veying the aforesaid 200,000 acres, is expressly recognized and 
deemed valid by the first section of the Act, entitled an Act, 
see the Act; as the same was afterwards returned by the sur- 
veyor of the county in which the Land lay. Ninthly and 
lastly, Because I have a Patent for the said Land, under the 

97 See Washington's letter to Dr. John Brisco, Dec. 3, 1772, ante. 
98 See Washington's letter to Michael Cresap, Sept. 26, 1773, ante. 


seal of the said Commonwealth signed by the Governr. in due 
form on the 30th. day of Octor. 1784; consequent of a legal 
Survey made the 14th. of July 1773 as just mentioned, and 
now of record in the Land Office. 

For these reasons I protest against a Patent's issuing for the 
Land for which the Commissioners have given a Certificate 
to the Heirs of Mr. Cresap so far as the same shall interfere 
with mine: the legal and equitable right thereto being in me. 

If I am defective in form in entering this Caveat, I hope to 
be excused, and to have my mistakes rectified, I am unaccus- 
tomed to litigations; and never disputed with any man until 
the ungenerous advantages which have been taken of the pe- 
culiarity of my situation, and an absence of eight years from 
my country, has driven me into Courts of Law to obtain com- 
mon justice. I have the honor, etc." 


Mount Vernon, June 2, 1785. 

Dr. Sir: As your letter of the 30th. ulto. did not reach me 
until late this afternoon, and as the Post goes from Alexandria 
at four o'Clock in the morning, I have scarcely a moment 
(being also in company) to write you a reply. I was not suf- 
ficiently explicit in my last: the terms upon which Mr. Fal- 
coner came to this Country are too high for my finances and 
(to you, my dear Sir, I will add) numerous expences. I do 
not wish to reduce his, perhaps well founded, expectations; 
but it behooves me to consult my own means of complying 
with them. 

I had been in hopes that a young man of no great expecta- 
tions might have begun the world with me, for about fifty 

"From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


or sixty pounds pr. ann: Virga. curry: but for one qualified in 
all respects to answer my purposes, I would have gone as far 
as £75, more would rather distress me. 

My purposes are these; to write letters agreeably to what 
shall be dictated; do all other writing which shall be entrusted 
to him; Keep accounts; examine, arrange and properly meth- 
odize my Papers which are in great disorder; ride, at my ex- 
pence, to do such business as I may have in different parts of 
this or the other States, if I should find it more convenient to 
send, than attend myself, to the execution thereof: And, which 
was not hinted at in my last, to initiate two little children (a 
girl of 6 and a boy of 4 years of age, descendants of the deed. 
Mr. Custis who live with me and are very promising) in the 
first rudiments of education: this, to both parties, would be 
mere amusement, because it is not my desire that the Children 
should be confined closely. If Mr. Falconer should incline to 
accept the above stipend, in addition to his board, washing 
and mending; and you (for I wou'd rather have your own 
opinion of the gentleman, than the report of a thousand others 
in his favor) upon a close investigation of his character, temper 
and moderate political tenets (for supposing him an English 
man, he may come with the prejudices and doctrines of his 
Country) should find him competent to the duties above men- 
tioned, the sooner he comes the better my purpose would be 

If I had had time, I might have added more; but to you it 
would have been unnecessary : you know my wants, you know 
my disposition, and you know what kind of a man would 
suit me. In haste I bid you adieu, with assurances of great 
regard, and sincere friendship, I am, &C. 1 

a From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

1785] HOUSE AT BATH 159 


Mount Vernon, June 5, 1785. 

Dear Sir: The celebrated Mrs. Macauly Graham. 2 and Mr. 
Graham her Husband 3 are here on a Visit. As I wish to shew 
them all the respect I can, I should be glad if you, Mrs. Stuart 
and your Sister, would come to morrow or next day, and dine 
with us. lam, etc. 

PS Come tomorrow if convenient. 4 


Mount Vernon, June 5, 1785. 

Sir: Your letter of the 10th. of March came safe, but not in 
a short time after the date of it. The reason which you have 
assigned for giving me an order on Mr. Ryan, is perfectly 
satisfactory. I wish that that or any other, expedient would 
have extracted from him what he owes you. From the Accot. 
given of his circumstances and conduct I fear you have incurred 
a bad debt with the manager of the Theatre. 

As the large house you was to build for me, 5 was in such 
forwardness at the date of the above letter, and as you expected 
to have had it raised by the first of May last; I am very well 
satisfied with the advance it has made, and that it should con- 
tinue, provided you can make it convenient to wait a while 
for your money; but I should be wanting in candor were I to 
give you assurances of speedy payment. The Kitchen and stable 

2 Catherine Sawbridge Macaulay Graham. 

3 Mrs. Graham's first husband had been Dr. George Macaulay; her second was 
William Graham. 

4 From a facsimile in Autograph Letters and Documents of George Washington in 
Rhode Island Collections, Historical Publication, Number Six, Providence, R. I., State 
Bureau of Information, 1932. p. 171. 

6 In Bath, or Warm Springs, Va. 


I would gladly have finished as soon as possible and what ever 
the cost of them amounts to, I will settle for without delay. 

It gives me much pleasure to find, by your letter, that you 
are not less sanguine in your Boat project, than when I saw 
you last; and that you have made such further discoveries as 
will render them of greater utility than was at first expected: 
you have my best wishes for the success of your plan. 

Inclosed are the proceedings of the Directors of the Potomac 
navigation. I pray you to have them set up at some public 
place. If the manager advertised for, can come well recom- 
mended, liberal wages will be given him. It were to be wished 
that the following qualities could be readily combined in the 
same person, integrity, abilities, indefatigable industry, and 
if he has not experimental knowledge of this particular kind 
of work, at least that he may be possessed of a genius which 
may soon fit him for it. 

Mr. Ryan's note is enclosed, and I am with great esteem, 
Sir, etc. 6 


Mount Vernon, June 10, 1785. 

Sir: It is with grateful pleasure I sit down to acknowledge 
the receipt of your favour of the 25th. of March covering a 
triplicate of your letter of the 3d. of December (which is the 
first that has been received), and a copy of the Count of Flor- 
ida Blanca's note to you. 

I feel myself under singular obligation to you sir, as the 
mean of procuring two Jacks of the first race, to be sent me; 
but my gratitude for so condescending a mark of esteem from 
one of the first crowned heads in Europe, calls for a better 
expression than I have, to make suitable acknowledgments to 

"From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


His Catholic Majesty; especially too as his Majesty's very val- 
uable present was accompanied by a sentiment of approbation 
which cannot fail of making a lasting impression on my mind, 
and of becoming very dear to my remembrance. 

It is to you Sir, I must stand further indebted for the manner 
of making known in terms most acceptable, the high sense I 
entertain of the King's goodness. The Jacks are not yet ar- 
rived, but I hope they soon will; and the accot. which you 
mean to transmit, of the mode of treating them for the prop- 
agation of mules, will be equally necessary and acceptable, for 
my management of them. 

Mr. Gardoqui is safely arrived at Philada. I have not had 
the honor of paying my compliments to him; but, as well 
for the respect I owe his sovereign, and his own great merit, as 
on acct. of your recommendation of him, I shall be happy in 
every opportunity which shall offer of shewing him all the 
attention in my power. 

Great Britain, viewing with eyes of chagrin and jealousy 
the situation of this country, will not, for sometime yet if 
ever, pursue a liberal policy towards it; but unfortunately for 
her the conduct of her ministers defeat their own ends : their 
restriction of our trade with them, will facilitate the enlarge- 
ment of Congressional powers in commercial matters, more 
than half a century wou'd otherwise have effected. The mer- 
cantile interests of this Country are uniting as one man, to vest 
the federal government with ample powers to regulate trade 
and to counteract the selfish views of other nations: this may 
be considered as another proof that this Country will ever 
unite in opposition to unjust or ungenerous measures, when- 
soever or from whomsoever they are offered. I have the 
honor, etc. 7 

'From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 



Mount Vernon, June n, 1785. 

Sir: On the 8th. inst: I received the favor of your letter of 
the 30th. of May: 8 In answer to it I can only say, that your 
own good judgment must direct you in the publication of the 
manuscript papers of Geni. Lee. I can have no request to 
make concerning the work. 

I never had a difference with that Gentleman but on public 
grounds, and my conduct towards him upon this occasion, was 
such only, as I conceived myself indispensably bound to adopt 
in discharge of the public trust reposed in me. If this pro- 
duced in him unfavourable sentiments of me, I yet can never 
consider the conduct I pursued, with respect to him, either 
wrong or improper; however I may regret that it may have 
been differently viewed by him, and that it excited his censure 
and animadversions. Should diere appear in Genl. Lee's writ- 
ings any thing injurious or unfriendly to me, the impartial and 
dispassionate world, must decide how far I deserved it from 
the general tenor of my conduct. 

I am gliding down the stream of life, and wish as is natural, 
that my remaining Days may be undisturbed and tranquil; 
and conscious of my integrity, I would willingly hope that 
nothing would occur tending to give me anxiety; but should 
any thing present itself in this or any other publication, I shall 
never undertake the painful task of recrimination, nor do I 
know that I should ever enter upon my justification. I con- 
sider the communication you have made as a mark of great at- 
tention, and the whole of your letter as a proof of your esteem. 
I am, &c. 9 

This letter is in the Washington Papers, as is also the printed prospectus of the pro- 
posed publication. Lee bequeathed his papers to Goddard and these were to have 
formed the basis of the work which Goddard never published. 
"From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

1785] AN INQUIRY 163 


Mount Vernon, June 15, 1785. 

Sir: Your letter of the 1st. of Feby. from Plymouth Dock, 
came safe. In explicit terms I assure you, that the information 
which I suppose you must have received respecting a Will, 
and the plantations of a Mr. Richd. Richards, is without the 
smallest foundation. I never heard of the man, his Will, or 
the Estate which you say was left in my hands, until your let- 
ter reached me: equally unacquainted am I with Lawyer 
Haines or Lawr. Briton, consequently can give you no satis- 
faction in any of the matters requested of me. 

If any such event as you speak of ever did happen with any 
of my name, it is unknown to me, it is not in my power there- 
fore to give you any clue by which you may pursue your 
enquiries, or I would do it with pleasure. I am, etc. 10 


Mount Vernon, June 15, 1785. 

Dr. Sir: I have been honored with your favor of the 25th. 
of April, but have not yet had the pleasure of seeing Doctr. 
Moyes; on the 22d. inst: I shall look for him. 

I pray you to be assured that it is unnecessary for you to 
apologize to me for the introduction of any Gentleman, of 
whom you entertain a favourable opinion: such as you conceive 
worthy of my civilities, will always meet a welcome reception 
at Mt. Vernon. 

I shall now my good Sir, give you a little trouble. A Gen- 
tleman whose person, whose name, 11 and whose character are 

10 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 
u Charles Vancouver. 


equally unknown to me has written me the enclosed letter, 
to which, as yet I have made no reply. The work if well exe- 
cuted would unquestionably be valuable and ought to be en- 
couraged; but the abilities of the author I am a stranger to, and 
it has been too often found that similar attempts, by persons 
whose reputations not established in the literary world, are 
founded in ignorance, or end in imposition: to encourage the 
first, or to give sanction to the latter would be alike disagree- 
able to me. I would beg therefore, if it is not likely to be 
attended with much trouble, that you would be so obliging as 
to give your own, and the sentiments of others on the Author 
and his performance, that I may be enabled to decide properly 
with respect to his request. 

My respectful Compliments and best wishes, in which Mrs. 
Washington joins, are presented to Mrs. Powel and yourself, 
and I am, Dr. Sir, etc. 12 


Mount Vernon, June 15, 1785. 

Dr. Sir: A few days ago Mr. Sitgreaves 13 gave me the pleas- 
ure of receiving your letter of the 4th. of May. It is the only 
one I recollect to have had from you since my return to private 

It gives me pleasure to hear that Congress have dealt hon- 
orably by you, and mean to do more; it is devoutly to be wished 
that they could do the same by all the officers whose meritori- 
ous services and sufferings have a just claim upon their grati- 
tude, and call loudly for their exertions. 

^From die "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

"John Sitgreaves. He was a Delegate to the Continental Congress from North 


As you are at the source of intelligence, anything I could 
say respecting foreign matters, would only be a reverberation 
of intelligence; and few things occur of a domestic nature 
worthy of recital. Mrs. Washington is in tolerable good health 
and joins me in compliments and best wishes for you, Mr. Lots 14 
family, and others of our old acquaintance. I am, etc. 15 


Mount Vernon, June 16, 1785. 
Sir: Your letter of the 14th. is this moment delivered to me. 
Moral obligations, or the obligations of humanity therefore 
induced me to bestow a years schooling on Lawce. Posey, and 
to effect it I was willing to incur the expence of a years board 
also; the same motives might have induced you, without mak- 
ing a charge of it against me, to have acted a similar part in 
other respects by the boy; for sure I am, my connexion with 
him was not stronger, nor legal honorary obligation greater 
on me than on any other mans to excite them. Schooling, I 
reiterate in this letter, as I urged in my former, was my object; 
consequently, if he did not go to the Free School in Queen 
Anne, (the place designed) as you yourself acknowledged to 
me, nor to any other School, for what purpose let me ask was 
I to pay ,£17? Was not his Fathers house, if time was to be 
misspent, the best place for him to waste it in ? Can it be sup- 
posed I ever had it in contemplation to board him out for the 
purpose of idleness ? If then the condition of my letter to Mr. 
Baker were never complied with, as you candidly confessed 
to me they were not when here, where is the justice of requir- 
ing £ 17, or an iota of it from me, when the compensation was 

"Abraham Lott, of New York City. 

15 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


expressly stipulated ? But I will be done. I am too much en- 
gaged in company and in business to go further into the detail 
of this matter. 

If Genl. Robardeau (whom you mentioned to me yourself 
in a former letter) will be so obliging as to undertake to deter- 
mine the point, I shall be perfectly satisfied with his decision. 
I shall expect however that both this letter, and my former to 
you which was directed to his care, and such papers as you 
exhibited to me, will be laid before him, one of which certified 
that Lawce. Posey was not at the Free school: another, in ef- 
fect that your charge was antecedent to the date of my letter to 
Mr. Baker, and a third, from Capt. Posey to you, which will 
serve to proove that he was a House-Keeper at Rovers-delight 
(as he call'd his place) at the time you want me to pay you for 
the boy's board, when he was not at school, nor ever derived the 
benefit which was the object of my benevolence. I am, etc. 17 


Mount Vernon, June 18, 1785. 

My dear Sir: I am quite ashamed to be so long deficient in 
acknowledging the receipt of your favors of the 24th. and 29th. 
of March, and 5th. of May; but an intervention of circum- 
stances (with the enumeration of which I shall not trouble 
you) have prevented it. 

It gave me great pleasure to hear of your appointment as 
Secretary at War. without a complimt., I think a better choice 
could not have been made, and though the Salary is low, it 
may, under the circumstances you mention, be considered 
as auxiliary. Inclosed is a certificate 18 of Service for Major 

10 Daniel Roberdeau. 

17 From the " Letter Book " copy in the Washington Papers. 

18 A copy of this certificate, dated June 18, 1785, is in the "Letter Book" in the 
Washington Papers. 

1785] WESTERN POSTS 167 

Sergeant, 19 of whose worth I have a high opinion; but for want 
of a more competent knowledge of the time of his entering the 
line of the Army, and of the Commissions he has borne, I could 
not be more particular. At any time this Summer, the Lime- 
stone would be useful to me; but the sooner it comes the greater 
benefit I shall derive from it, as the Walls for which I want it, 
are now in hand. The sentiment which you have dropped re- 
specting the appropriation of the shares which were intended 
for me, by the Assembly of this State, in the Navigations of 
the Rivers Potomack and James, is very pleasing; and would 
give me great pleasure to see it reallized. 20 

For want of a competent view of the designs of Congress re- 
specting the Western Territory; and not knowing how matters 
stand with Great Britain, respecting the Posts of Detroit and 
other places at present occupied by British Garrisons, on the 
American side of the Line; I feel an unfitness to answer your 
question respecting such Posts as may be proper for the pur- 
poses you mentioned; but under the ideas I hold at prest, I am 
inclined to think that if Garrisons are to be established within 
the limits and jurisdiction of any of the 13 States, the Fort Pitt, 
or Fort Mcintosh, 21 whichever shall be found most convenient 
and in best repair, would suit very well for a Post of deposits; 
from whence all the others should be supplied, and as it is my 
opinion that great part of the Fur and Peltry of the Lakes 
(when we shall have free access to them) will be transported by 
the Cayahoga and big beaver Creek, a Post at the mouth of, or 

19 Winthrop Sargent. 

20 Knox had written (March 24: "Perhaps my dear Sir you could intimate to the 
Legislature in a manner which would be clear of every indelicate imputation that 
should they think proper to apply the produce of this fund to the maintenance of 
Widows, and the support, and education of the children of those men of their own line 
who sacrificed their lives in defence of their Country, and of the maimed soldiers, that 
the measure would rear an eternal monument to the virtue of the Commonwealth of 
Virginia." Knox's letter is in the Washington Papers. 

21 On the Ohio River, 25 miles below Pittsburgh, Pa. 


at some convenient Post on the former, must be eligable. The 
spot marked Miami village and Fort in Hutchins's map, I 
have always considered as of importance, being a central point 
between Lake Erie, Lake Michigan, and the river Ohio; com- 
municating with each, by Water. To these the Falls of the 
Ohio, or some more convenient spot for the lower settlements, 
may be added. Whether this chain embraces territory enough, 
whether it goes far enough to the Southward to afford protec- 
tion to the back parts of Virginia the Carolinas and Georgia; or 
whether these are objects which are meant to be comprehended, 
are for those who are more behind the Curtain than I am, to 
determine. My opinion of the matter is, that I have described 
a sufficient extent of the Country to answer all our present pur- 
poses; beyond which, neither Settlements nor Locations of 
Land ought to be admitted; because a larger would open a 
more extensive field for Land jobbers and Speculators. Weaken 
our Frontiers, exclude Law, good government, and taxation to 
a late period, and injure the union very essentially in many 

At the conflux of the Great Kanhawa and Ohio, a Post might 
be established so as to answer beneficial purposes. Indeed it is 
the opinion of many, that it is a more eligable place than Pitts- 
burg. In time, if the navigation of the Kanhawa should be ex- 
tended, and an easy communication opened with James River, 
it may be so; but in the present state of things, considering the 
Settlements about the latter, and the sources from whence pro- 
ceed all the Supplies of that Country, it certainly is not. As a 
protection of the River, and the movements thereon, it is 

If I am right in my principles some such distribution as the 
following may not be ineligable for the 700 men which are 
ordered to be raised. At Fort Pitt, Fort Mcintosh, or the Mouth 


of big Beaver (being in the vicinity of a thick settlemt.) only 
ioo Men. Cayahoga, from whence a Detachment might occupy 
the carrying place between that water and big Beaver; being 
on the line, and most exposed, should have 200. Miami Fort, or 
Village and Dependencies, Do. Do. 200. At the Falls of the 
Ohio, or some spot more convt. and healthy, on that river 150. 
At the Conflux of the Great Kanhawa and Ohio for security of 
the River, protection of Trade, and covering emigrants, 50. 
Total 700. 

Mrs. Macauly Graham and Mr Graham, and others, have 
just left this, after a stay of about 10 days. A Visit from a Lady 
so celebrated in the Literary world could not but be very flatter- 
ing to me. 

Mrs. Washington joins me in best wishes for yourself, Mrs. 
Knox and family; with great truth and sincerity I am etc. 



[June 21, 1785] 
Sir: The last Post brought me the honor of your favor of the 
12th. inst: I am made happy by occasions which induce you to 
write to me, and shall take pleasure in rendering Mr. De 
Corney 22 any service in my power. I will immediately inform 
myself of the name and residence of the Treasurer of the So- 
ciety of the Cincinnati in this State, and transmit Mr. De Cor- 
ney 's Bill on Colo. Wadsworth 2S to him. 

I am obliged to you Sir, for the several communications in 
your letter. I wish something disagreeable may not result from 
the contentions respecting the navigation of the river Missis- 
sippi; the emigration to the waters thereof is astonishingly 

22 Louis Dominique Ethis de Corny. 

23 Jeremiah Wadsworth. 


great, and chiefly from a description of people who are not very 
subordinate to the Laws and Constitution of the States they go 
from; whether the prohibition of the Spaniards therefore is 
just or unjust, politic or impolitic, it will be with difficulty that 
a people of this class can be restrained from the enjoyment of 
natural advantages. It is devoutly to be wished that Mr. Gar- 
doqui would enter into such stipulations with Congress as may 
avert the impending evil, and be mutually advantageous to 
both nations. 

After the explicit declarations of the Emperor respecting 
the navigation of the Scheldt, and his other demands upon 
Holland, it should seem I think, as if he stood in a predicament 
not very desirable; for if he recedes, his foresight and judgment 
may be arraigned; and if he proceeds, his ruin may be involved. 
But possibly I am hazarding Sentiments from a superficial 
view of things, when it will appear ultimately that he has had 
important objects in view, and accomplished them. 

I take the liberty of addressing the enclosed letter to your 
care, and to assure you of the respect and esteem with which I 
have the honor, etc. 24 


Mount Vernon, June 22, 1785. 
Dr. Sir: I stand indebted to you for two letters, one of the 8th. 
of September, the other of the 9th. of Feby., the first should not 
have remained so long unacknowledged, but for the expecta- 
tion I had of the second, the second led me to expect a third, 
upon the receipt of which I meant to give you but one trouble 
by replying to them all at the same time. 

24 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. The original of this 
letter is said to be (1934) in the Historical Museum, Leningrad, U. S. S. R. 
25 Of Whitehaven, England. 


Permit me to thank you Sir, for your attention to my Com- 
missions: the joiner arrived safe, and I believe will fully answer 
your description and expectation of him; he gives great satisfac- 
tion, and seems well satisfied himself. The expence of his pas- 
sage, and your advance to him, has been paid to Mr. Sanderson. 26 

I delayed making choice of either of the samples of Flag- 
stone, until I had seen the Irish marble, and was made ac- 
quainted with the cost of it; but as it is not yet arrived, and I 
like the whitest and cheapest of the three samples wch. you 
sent me by Capt. Atkinson, I request the favor of you to forward 
by the first opportunity (with some to spare in case of breakage 
or other accidents) as much of this kind as will floor the Gallery 
in front of my house, which within the margin, or border that 
goes round it, and is already laid with a hard stone of the Coun- 
try, is 92 feet 7V2 inches, by 12 feet 9% inches. 

Having given the exact dimension of the floor or space which 
is to be laid with flagstone, I shall leave it to the workman to 
procure them of such a size (not less than one floot square, and 
all of one size) as will answer best, and accord most with the 
taste of the times. I take it for granted that 7^d of 8d is the 
price of the white Stone in the prepared state in which it was 
sent, and that shipping charges and freight only, are to be added 
to the cost: if a rough estimate of the latter had been men- 
tioned, it would have been more pleasing, as I could then have 
prepared accordingly. 

I am at a loss to determine in what manner these dressed 
Flags can be brought without incurring much expence, or 
being liable to great damage : to put them in Cases, will involve 
the first; and to stow them loose, the other may be sustained; 
unless great care is used in the stowage, which is rarely to be 
found among Sailors, or even Masters of Vessels. If the Flags 

26 Robert Sanderson, Rumney's partner. 


are well dressed, a little matter will chip the edges, and break 
the corners; which would disfigure the work and be hurtful 
to the eye. I will give no direction therefore on this head, your 
own judgment on the spot shall dictate; at the same time I have 
but little doubt, if they are placed in the hold of the Ship with 
hay or straw to keep them from rubing, of their coming free 
from damage. 

I will soon follow this letter with a remittance from hence, or 
draft upon London for a sum to enable you to discharge the un- 
dertaker. In the mean while let me pray you to hasten the 
execution and Shipping of them, as my Gallery is very much in 
want. With great esteem, etc. 27 


Mount Vernon, June 22, 1785. 

Dr. Sir: Since my last to you I have been favored with your 
letters of the 5th, 27th, and of May, and beg your accept- 
ance of my thanks for their enclosures, and for the communi- 
cations you were pleased to make me therein. 

I am very glad to find you have pass'd an Ordinance of 
Congress respecting the sale of the Western Lands : I am too 
well acquainted with the local politics of individual States, 
not to have foreseen the difficulties you met with in this busi- 
ness; these things are to be regretted, but not to be altered until 
liberallity of sentiment is more universal. Fixing the Seat of 
Empire at any spot on the Delaware, is in my humble opinion, 
demonstrably wrong: to incur an expence for what may be 
call'd the permanent seat of Congress, at this time, is I con- 
ceive evidently impolitic; for without the gift of prophecy, 
I will venture to predict that under any circumstance of 

"From the "Letter Book" copy in the Wellington Tapers. 


confederation, it will not remain so far to the Eastward long; 
and that until the public is in better circumstances, it ought not 
to be built at all. Time, too powerful for sophistry, will point 
out the place and disarm localities of their power. In the 
meanwhile let the widow, the Orphan and the suffering Sol- 
dier, who are crying to you for their dues, receive that which 
can very well be rendered to them. 

There is nothing new in this quarter of an interesting 
nature, to communicate, unless you should not have been in- 
formed that the Potomac navigation proceeds under favour- 
able auspices: At the general meeting of the subscribers in May 
last, it appeared that upwards of 400 of the 500 shares had been 
engaged; many more have been subscribed since; a Board of 
Directors have been chosen, proper characters and Labourers 
advertized for, to commence the work in the least difficult 
parts of the river, 'till a skillful Engineer can be engaged to 
undertake those which are more so; and it is expected the 
work will be begun by the 10th. of next month. With great 
esteem, &c. 28 


Mount Vernon, June 22, 1785. 

Dr. Sir: I stand indebted to you for your favors of the 3d, 
7th, and 29th. of last month, and feel myself exceedingly 
obliged to your Excellency for the communications and en- 
closures therein. 

It gives me pleasure to find that an Ordinance of Congress 
has passed respecting the Western Territory: A little longer 
delay of this business, and I believe the Country would have 
been settled, maugre all that could have been done to prevent 
it; as it is, I am not clear that the same respect will be paid now 

38 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


to this Ordinance, which would have been at an earlier period, 
before men began to speculate in Lands No. West of the Ohio, 
and to obtrude themselves thereon. 

From the general tenor of my letters from very respectable 
characters in France, I think it most likely that the dispute 
between die Emperor and Holland will be settled without 
bloodshed, and that the former will hardly be able to effect 
the exchange of his Northerland Dominions for the Dutchy 
of Bavaria; among other reasons, because the Duke of Deux 
Ponts, 29 nephew and heir to the Elector is opposed thereto: but 
notwithstanding that, the state of politic's and temper of some 
of the formidable Powers of Europe are such as to place war 
at no remote distance. 

I have just parted with Mr. and Mrs. Macauly Graham, who 
after a stay of about ten days, left this in order to embark for 
England, from New York : I am obliged to you for introduc- 
ing a Lady to me whose reputation among the literati is high, 
and whose principles are so much and so justly admired by the 
friends of liberty and of mankind; it gives me pleasure to find 
that her sentiments respecting the inadequacy of the powers 
of Congress, as also those of Doctr. Price's, coincide with my 
own; experience evinces the trutii of these observations, and 
the late movements of the mercantile interest exhibits a re- 
cent proof of the conviction it is working in the popular mind : 
but it is unfortunate for us, that evils which might have been 
averted, must be first felt; and our national character for wis- 
dom, justice and temperance, suffer in the eyes of die world, 
before we can guide the political machine as it ought to be. 

The plan for improving and extending the navigation of 
this river, is in a promising way: inclosed I do myself the 

29 Charles II, Duke of Zweibriicken. 


honor of sending you the printed proceedings of the Board of 

Mrs. Washington joins me in compliments and every good 
wish for you, and with great esteem etc. 80 


Mount Vernon, June 24, 1785. 

Mr. Boulton: Your letter of the 4th. inst: 31 never reached 
me until Monday last. I do not enter into agreements, but 
with an intention of fulfilling them; and I expect the same 
punctuality on the part of those with whom they are made: 
and you must therefore perform your's with me, or abide the 

The reason which you assign for not coming is futile and 
can have no weight with your creditors ; your property and your 
labour are all means with which you can satisfy them; a 
mortgage or bill of sale of the first; and an order on me by 
way of security of the latter as your wages shall arise, is all 
they can desire (if your Tools are unsaleable) and these are 
in your power to give them. 

You know the purposes for which I engaged you, and that 
they are important and urgent: that I waited a considerable 
time after Colo. Fitzhugh had recommended you to me, with- 
out applying elsewhere, for your answer; that near a month 
more has elapsed since our agreement took place; that the 
season is now far advanced, and workmen consequently so 
much engaged as not to be procured; In the meanwhile, the 
roof of my house yields to every rain, and the furniture in no 

""From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

As printed in the Memoir of Richard Henry Lee, this letter contained the following 
P. S., not recorded in the "Letter Book": "Col. Wm. Brent died two or three days 
ago. Your son Ludwell was well at our court yesterday." 

81 In the Washington Papers. 


part of it is secure from the injuries which result therefrom. 
These reasons will fully justify my holding you to the engage- 
ment we have entered into, and I expect you will enter upon 
the performance of it without delay. I am, etc. 82 


Mount Vernon, June 24, 1785. 

Dr. Sir: The letter which your Excellency did me the honor 
to write to me on the 10th. inst: came duly to hand, and calls for 
my particular acknowledgments; and my grateful thanks 
for your obliging offers. 

Altho' I conceive that the sunken Lands lying on Alber- 
marle sound, and the waters emptying into it, will in time be- 
come the most valuable property in this Country; yet when 
I reflect further, that it will require a considerable advance to 
reclaim and render them fit for cultivation, and in the mean- 
time that they may be subjected to expences; I believe it would 
be most advisable for me, in my situation not to add to my 
present expenditures; but I am so much obliged by your 
friendly offer to serve me in this matter, as if they had actually 
been rendered. If your Excellency could make it convenient 
to give me the substance of the report of the Commrs., re- 
specting the place and manner which are thought best for a 
cut between the waters of Elizabeth river and those of North 
Carolina, I should think myself obliged: the improving and 
extending the inland navigation of the waters of this Coun- 
try, are in my judgment very interesting to the well being 
and glory of it, and I am always pleased with any accounts 
which seem to facilitate those important objects. With great 
esteem etc. 82 

32 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 




Mount Vernon, June 25, 1785. 

Dear Sir: In the evening of yesterday, I was favored with 
your letter of the 21st.; and thank you for your early and 
friendly attention to the enquiry I made of you. 

I do not now recollect whether I was so explicit as perhaps 
I ought to have been in communicating all the purposes for 
which I wanted an assistant: they are these. A Gentleman 
who can compose a good letter from the heads which shall be 
given to him; do all other writing which shall be entrusted 
to his care; keep accounts; examine, arrange and properly 
methodize my papers (which from hasty removals into the 
interior country, are in great disorder) ; ride, at my expence, 
to do such business as I may have in different parts of this, 
or the other States, if I should find it more convenient to send 
than attend myself to the execution thereof; and occasionally 
to devote a small portion of time to initiate two little children 
(a Girl of six, and a boy of four years of age, descendants of 
the deed. Mr. Custis who live with me and are very promising, 
and whom I would not wish to confine) in the first rudiments 
of Education. 

A fit person who inclines to accept these employments, will 
live as I do, be company for those who visit at the House, have 
his washing and mending found him, and such wages as we 
can agree upon; which I must be candid in declaring can not 
be high, as my finances and expenditures will not admit of it. 

If you think Mr. Shaw 34 competent to these ends and find 
him disposed to be employed for them I wish to know it by 
the return of the Post, as there are others offering. If he would 

33 Of Dumfries, Va. 

^William Shaw. He acted as a secretary from July, 1785, to May, 1786. 


write to me, or to you upon the subject, the letter in the latter 
case to be enclosed to me, I could form some judgment of his 
hand writing and diction : he will please to signify the lowest 
wages which he will take per arm : or quarterly. If he chooses 
a personal interview, which perhaps may be more agreeable, 
I should be glad to see him here, with some samples of his 
writing. With great esteem, etc. 35 


Mount Vernon, June 26, 1785. 
Sir: My nephews are desirous of going to the Dancing School 
in Georgetown kept by Mr. Tarterson (I think his name is), 
and as it is my wish that they should be introduced into life 
with those qualifications which are deemed necessary, I con- 
sent to it. Sometime ago I expressed my approbation of their 
learning French, and a wish that when you had got your 
House in order to receive them, they might again board with 
you: Altho' I have no occasion [sic] the care, attention and 
kindness of Mr. Bailey 36 to them, I conceive they can board at 
no place so eligably as at their Preceptors; for it is my wish 
that their morals as well as education may be attended to; and 
tho' I do not desire they should be deprived of necessary 
and proper amusements, yet it is my earnest request that they 
may be kept close to their studies. I am, etc. 35 


Mount Vernon, June 30, 1785. 
Dr. Sir: I received your favor of the 28th. last night. I was 
under promise when I wrote to you on the 25th. of giving an 

35 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 
36 William Bailey, of Georgetown. 



answer to an application which had been made to me, in a 
few days before, which are now nearly expired: that I may 
be decisive on it, I should be glad to know precisely what Mr. 
Shaw would expect for his services if he comes to me; for 
altho' I cannot as I observed in my last, afford to give high pay 
on the one hand, so neither would I, by any means, leave it 
indefinite on the other : whatever stipulations I enter into, shall 
be strictly complied with; which will leave no cause for dis- 
content. I am the more explicit in these declarations because I 
am apprehensive that higher pay is expected from me than 
I can afford to give. Mr. Shaw undoubtedly has set a value 
upon his (those wch. are to be rendered) services, he knows 
what he has received for former services; It is not reasonable 
to expect that any Gentleman will lessen his prospects by com- 
ing to me, nor do I desire it. I do not expect him for less than 
he can obtain elsewhere; but if my means will not enable me 
to give as much, I must do without, or get one less capable of 
assisting me. 

Another thing in Mr. Shaw's proposals is not very agreeable 
to me: if a Gentn. does not engage with me for some fixed 
time, I may in a month, nay less, be put to a greater non-plus 
than ever, which would be inconvenient, and perhaps injuri- 
ous to me, short engagements and early notice of discontinu- 
ance might answer the purpose of Mr. Shaw, and remove my 

That matters may be reduced to a certainty, and I enabled 
to give the answer above alluded to, in time, I send this by a 
special messenger. I am obliged to attend the Board of Direc- 
tors in Alexandria tomorrow; but whether I shall be detained 
there longer is at present uncertain; I should be glad there- 
fore if it is convenient, to see Mr. Shaw here this evening, or 
on Saturday, or at Alexandria tomorrow, when upon a little 


conversation we can readily determine whether our purposes 
can be reciprocally answered. 

He will not, indeed cannot, be considered in the light of a 
preceptor, because this as I observed in my last, is only occa- 
sional and secondary. I am, etc. 37 


Mount Vernon, June 30, 1785. 
My Lady: In the last letter which I had the honor to write 
to you, I informed your Ladyship of the communication I 
had made to the President of Congress of your wishes to ob- 
tain Lands in the Western Territory for a number of Emi- 
grants as a means of civilizing the Savages, and propagating 
the Gospel among them. In answer, he informed me that 
Mr. Henry, Governor of this State, had laid your Ladyships 
letter and plan which were addressed to him, before Congress, 
in a full and ample manner; but his private opinion of the 
matter was, that under the pressure of Debt to which this 
fund was to be appropriated, and the diversity of sentiment 
respecting the mode of applying it, that no discrimination 
would, or indeed could be made in favor of Emigrants of any 
description whatsoever. I waited however a considerable time 
to know the result of Mr. Henry's reference, before I would 
give your Ladyship the trouble of another letter on this sub- 
ject; but hearing nothing more of the matter, and having had 
the enclosed resolutions and ordinance sent to me by the Presi- 
dent himself, as the result of their long and painful delibera- 
tion on the mode of disposing of the Western Lands, I will 
delay no longer to express my concern that your Ladyships 

37 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

1785] ACORNS, NUTS, ETC. 181 

humane and benevolent views are not better seconded. The 
resolutions and ordinance herewith enclosed (on which I shall 
make no comments) will give the terms and shew your Lady- 
ship the mode by which the Lands belonging to the Union 
are to be obtained; in other words, how difficult it must be for 
foreigners to know when or where to apply for them. With 
the highest respect and consideration, etc. 38 


Mount Vernon, June 30, 1785. 

Dear Sir: My nephew 39 delivered me your letter of the 21st. 
of April. For the kind attention shewn him by Mrs. Wash- 
ington and yourself he entertains a grateful sense, and I offer 
you my sincere thanks, which I should be glad to renew to 
you both in person at this place. He enjoys a tolerable share 
of health, but is gone to (what are called in his Country) the 
Sweet Springs, to obtain a better stock to fit him for the pleas- 
ures, and duties too, of a matrimonial voyage on wch. he is 
to embark at his return. 

I would thank you my good Sir, for the Acorns, Nutts, or 
seeds of trees or plants not common in this Country; but 
which you think would grow here, especially of the flower- 
ing kind: the best method, I believe, to preserve those which 
are apt to spoil by withering and drying, and from worms, is 
to put them into dry Sand as soon as they are gathered; this 
retains the moisture in them, and vegitative properties, with- 
out sprouting. 

Mrs. Washington joins me in best respects to you and your 
Lady, and I am etc. 38 

38 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 
88 George Augustine Washington. 



Mount Vernon, June 30, 1785. 

Sir: By my nephew I had the honor to receive your favor of 
the 20th. Mar: accompanied with some plants and Seeds of the 
Palmetto royal, for which I pray you to accept my sincere 
thanks: the former are not only alive yet, but look vigorous; 
and the latter (being sowed) are vegitating, and appearing 
above ground. I shall nurse them with great attention. 

It would give me great pleasure to visit my friends in So. 
Carolina: but when, or whether ever it may be in my power 
to accomplish it, is not, at this moment, in my power to decide. 
I have the honor, etc. 40 


Mount Vernon, June 30, 1785. 

My Dr. Sir: When I wrote you in Feby. last, I intended to 
have followed it with a letter of earlier date than the present; 
but one cause succeeding another, has prevented it 'till now. 

I proceeded to a diligent search for the paper requested in 
your favor of the 23d. of August last year, and after examining 
every bundle, and indeed despairing of success, it occurred to 
me that your accot. with Lord Fairfax might afford some clue 
by which a discovery of it might be made; and in looking in 
your ledger for an index I found the receipts pasted on the 
cover of the Book. Having a call to Richmond the latter end 
of April, I took the receipts with me intending to leave them 
in the hands of the Attorney General; but it being his opinion 
there would be no occasion for them, I brought them back, 
and restored them to the place from whence I took them: the 

40 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


enclosed are copies of those receipts, which I meant should sup- 
ply the place of the originals, had they passed from me to the 

I have not yet received the Pictures which you were so oblig- 
ing as to send me by Mr. Bracken; but have some prospect now 
of getting them, as Colo. Bassett who left this lately and who 
expects to be up again in Octor. to the marriage of his Daughter 
who lives with us, with a son of my brother Charles (who 
acted as an Aid de Camp to the Marqs. de la Fayette from the 
year 1780, to the close of the War) has promised to bring them. 
Altho' I have been so long deprived of the copy, I have lately 
had the pleasure of seeing the original in the hands of the 
designer and executioner Mr. Pine, who spent three weeks 
with me in May last. 

Mr. Pine has met a favorable reception in this Country; and 
may, I conceive, command as much business as he pleases: he 
is now preparing materials for historical representations of 
some of the most important events of the War; and if his 
choice and the execution is equal to the field he has to display 
his talents in, the pieces (which will be large) will do him 
much credit as an artist, and be interesting for America and its 
friends as a deposit for their posterity. 

The information which you have given of the disposition 
of a certain Court coincides precisely with the sentiments I 
had formed of it from my own observations upon many late 
occurrences, and from a combination of circumstances. With 
respect to ourselves, I wish I could add, that as much wisdom 
had pervaded our councils; as reason and common policy most 
evidently dictated; but the truth is, the people must feel be- 
for they will see; consequently, are brought slowly into meas- 
ures of public utility. Past experience, or the admonitions 
of a few, have but little weight, where ignorance, selfishness 


and design possess the major part : but evils of this nature work 
their own cure; tho' the remedy comes slower than those who 
foresee, or think they foresee the danger, attempt to effect. 
With respect to the commercial system which G: B: is pursu- 
ing with this country, the Ministers, in this as in other matters, 
are defeating their own ends, by facilitating those powers in 
congress which will produce a counteraction of their plans, 
and which half a century without, would not have invested 
that body with. The restriction of our trade, and the additional 
duties which are imposed upon many of our staple commodi- 
ties, have put the commercial people of this Country in motion; 
they now see the indispensable necessity of a general controul- 
ing power, and are addressing their respective Assemblies to 
grant this to Congress. Before this every State thought itself 
competent to regulate its own Trade, and were verifying the 
observations of Lord Sheffield; who supposed we never could 
agree upon any general plan: but those who will go a little 
deeper into matters, than his Lordship seems to have done, will 
readily perceive that in any measure where the Fcederal inter- 
est is touched, however wide apart the politics of individual 
States may be, yet as soon as it is discovered they will always 
unite to effect a common good. 

The Subscriptions for improving and extending the inland 
navigation of Potomac, have filled very fast: A Company is in- 
corporated, a President and Directors are chosen, a Dividend 
of the money will soon be paid in, and the work will begin 
about the first of August. We still want a skilful Engineer, a 
man of practical knowledge to conduct the business ; but where 
to find him we know not at present : In the meanwhile the less 
difficult parts of the river will be attempted, that no time may 
be lost in effecting so important and salutary an undertaking. 


Our course of Husbandry in this Country, and more espe- 
cially in this State, is not only exceedingly unprofitable, but so 
destructive to our Lands, that it is my earnest wish to adopt a 
better; and as I believe no Country has carried the improve- 
ment of Land and the benefits of Agriculture to greater per- 
fection than England, I have asked myself frequently of late, 
whether a thorough bred practical english Farmer, from a part 
of England where Husbandry seems to be best understood and 
is most advantageously practised, could not be obtain'd ? and 
upon what terms ? The thought having again occurred to me, 
whilst I was in the act of writing this letter, I resolved as a more 
certain and eligible mode of having the questions determined, 
to propound them to you. That a man of character and knowl- 
edge may be had for very high wages there can be no doubt, 
money we know will fetch anything, and command the serv- 
ices of any man; but with the former I do not abound. To 
engage a man upon shares as the Overseers of this Country 
are, might be productive of much discontent to the employed; 
for we could scarcely convey to a good English Farmer a just 
idea of the wretched condition of our Lands, what dressings 
they will require, and how entirely our system must be changed 
to make them productive: and if we do not, disappointment 
and continual murmurings would be the consequence. It fol- 
lows then that the only means by which we can think of obtain- 
ing one, must be to give standing wages: for what then my 
good Sir, do you think a sober, industrious and knowing 
Farmer might be had to take one of our plantations, say, of 
ten labourers ? Or to bring the matter nearer to his own con- 
ception of things, a Farm of about 200 or 250 acres of cleared 
Land, to be stocked with a competent number of Plows, Black 
Cattle, Sheep and hogs ? 


When I speak of a knowing farmer, I mean one who under- 
stands the best course of crops; how to plough, to sow, to mow, 
to hedge, to Ditch and above all, Midas like, one who can con- 
vert every thing he touches into manure, as the first transmuta- 
tion towards Gold: in a word one who can bring worn out and 
gullied Lands into good tilth in the shortest time. I do not 
mean to put you to the trouble of actually engaging one, but I 
should be obliged to you for setting on foot the enquiry, and 
for communicating the result of it to me; because I could not 
receive your answer in time for the next year; the autumn 
being, as you well know, the season at which our Overseers are 
engaged, and our plans for the ensuing Crop must be formed. 

These enquiries, as you will readily perceive, are pointed to 
a Farmer of the middling class; which more than probably, 
would best answer my purpose : but, if it could be made con- 
venient to you to extend enquiries further; permit me to ask if 
one of a higher order could be had ? And upon what terms ? I 
mean for a Steward. 

It may not in this place be amiss to observe to you that I still 
decline the growth of Tobacco; and to add, that it is my inten- 
tion to raise as little Indian Corn as may be: in a word, that I 
am desirous of entering upon a compleat course of husbandry 
as practiced in the best Farming Counties of England. I en- 
quire for a man of this latter description with little hope of 
success, ist. because I believe one who is compleatly fit for my 
purposes, wou'd be above my price; and 2dly because I have 
taken up an idea that an English steward is not so much a 
farmer, as he is an Attorney or an accomptant; because few of 
the Nobility and Gentry having their Estates in their own 
hands, stand more in need of a Collector who, at the same time 
that he receives the rents, will see that the Covenants of the 
Leases are complied with, repairs made &c, &c, than of a 


Farmer. In this however I may be mistaken. One thing more 
and then I will close this long letter: if from your own observa- 
tion, or from good information you should fix your eyes upon 
men of one or both of these descriptions, and could ascertain 
his or their terms (leaving me at liberty to accede to them or 
not, within a reasonable time for an intercourse by letter), I 
had rather he or they should be personally known to you; or 
their characters well ascertained by a friend in whom you can 
confide; because what you or such a person would say of them, 
I could rely upon: but how often do we find recommendations 
given without merit to deserve them, founded in a disposition 
to favor the applicant, or want of resolution to refuse them, 
oftentimes indeed, to get rid of a dependent who is trouble- 
some or injurious to us, upon what are called decent terms. A 
man in the character of a Steward (if single, and his appear- 
ance equal to it) would live in the House with me and be at 
my table, in the manner Lund Washington was accustomed 
to do, who is now married 41 and a House Keeper tho' still at- 
tending my business. The common Farmer would live on the 
Farm which would be entrusted to his care. 

I have lately had the pleasure of receiving your favor of the 
19th. of March, and to learn by it that Mrs. Fairfax and you 
have enjoyed better health than usual, last winter : a continuance 
of it Mrs. Washington and I most sincerely wish you. 

I have not yet seen Mr. Thos. Corbin, he sent your letter 
under cover a few days ago with assurances of making me a visit 
as soon as he had recovered from a slight indisposition. He 
appears from your account to have been very ill treated by his 
brother Dick; but the latter I understand has not been behind 
him in charges to some of his friends in this country, who think 
Thos. in the wrong. 

"He had married Elizabeth Foote in 1782. 


Mrs. Washington joins me in most affectionate regards, and 
in every good wish for you and Mrs. Fairfax, with much truth 
I am, &c. 

P. S. I thank Mr. Heartley 42 for the compliments he sent me 
thro' you, and for his other polite attentions to me; and pray 
you to make mine acceptable to him whenever a proper oc- 
casion offers. I did not know of your Nephew's intended trip 
to England or I would most assuredly have written to you by 
so good an opportunity. 43 


Mount Vernon, June 30, 1785. 

Sir: Your favor of the 16th. of last month came safely to 

You do me much honor by proposing to inscribe a work 
(of which you sent me a specimen) to my special patronage 
and protection : but dio' willing to give every support to the 
encouragement of literature and useful knowledge, which may 
be within my sphere of action; yet, on the present occasion I 
must beg leave to decline the honor of having your labors 
dedicated to me. With chearfulness I will follow the subscrip- 
tions (wch. I presume must 'ere this, be pretty well advanced) 
of Gentn. of my acquaintance; and with a proper sense of the 
distinction meant for me, I am, etc. 43 


Mount Vernon, July 2, 1785. 
Sir: Early in last month I wrote you an answer to your letter 
of March 10th., and sent it under cover to my brother in 

42 David Hartley. 

"From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


Berkeley, who happened at that time to be from home: the 
presumption is however, that you have received it 'ere this, 
and I shall not trouble you with a repetition of the sentiments 
therein contained. 

In that letter I enclosed you a hand Bill of the proceedings 
of the Board of Directors, 44 containing an advertisement of 
their want of a Manager, two Assistants, some Overseers, and 
a number of Labourers; requesting that it might be exposed 
at some public place in the county where you live: those of 
the two first descriptions were required to meet the Directors 
at Alexandria on yesterday; but whether the notice was too 
short, or that characters who are competent to the business 
are difficult to be met with, I shall not take upon me to deter- 
mine; but none appearing with such testimonials of their 
abilities, industry and integrity, as the Board conceived indis- 
pensably necessary for their justification, no agreement was 
made, but the 14th. inst. appointed for them and others, to 
produce such, of their qualification for this business. 

As I have imbibed a very favorable opinion of your me- 
chanical abilities, and have had no reason to distrust your fit- 
ness in other respects; I took the liberty of mentioning your 
name to the Directors, and I dare say if you are disposed to 
offer your services, they would be attended to under favour- 
able circumstances: but as this is a business of great magni- 
tude, and good or ill impressions in the commencement of it 
will have a powerful effect on the minds of the Adventurers, 
and on the public opinion; and as the Directors are no more 
than Trustees of the Company, and of consequence must pro- 
ceed circumspectly; Candour obliges me to observe to you, as 
I believe some of those who will meet for the purpose of ap- 
pointing a Manager and Assistants have only a superficial 

44 Of the Potomac Company. 


acquaintance with you, that it might be well, if you incline to 
offer your services, to bring some letters or other credential of 
your industry &c, and if these were to come from members 
of the Company they would have the greater weight. 

Colo. Gilpin 45 (one of the Directors, and who is the bearer 
of this letter) is on his way to the Falls of Seneca and Shenan- 
doah; and it would be fortunate if he shou'd meet with you 
in this trip. I am, etc. 46 


Mount Vernon, July 3, 1785. 
Dear Sir: In the interval, between your leaving this and the 
arrival of Mr. Briscoe, 47 Mr. Montgomerie (of Dumfries) rec- 
ommended a young man whom he thought would answer 
my purpose; and being desired to speak to him, he accepted my 
offer and will be with me in the course of a few days. Had it 
not been for this, the good character given of Mr. Briscoe by 
you, and others, would have induced me, without hestitation 
to have accepted his Services. I thank you very sincerely for 
the ready and early attention you paid to my enquiries, to 
assure you of the great esteem and regard I have for you, is 
unnecessary, because you must be convinced of it. I shall only 
add therefore that I am, etc. 48 


Mount Vernon, July 8, 1785. 
Sir: Your letter of the 4th. I receiv'd on the 6th. Altho' the 
sum stipulated is above the mark I had prescribed myself yet, 

"George Gilpin. 

46 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

"William Brisco. 

48 From the original in the House of Representatives Collection, Library of Congress. 

1785] SECRETARY'S PAY 191 

in consideration of the good character given of you by Mr. 
Montgomerie, the idea I entertain of your knowledge of 
Accots., and the hope that you may answer my purposes in 
other respects; I accede fully to the terms of your letter, with 
this condition only, that in payment of this sum, Dollars shall 
be estimated at four and six pence Sterling, and other Gold 
and Silver coin (currt. in this country) in that proportion. 
This is the legal difference of exchange of it, and will render 
it unnecessary for either of us to enquire into the rise or fall, 
to ascertain the value of any payment. 

I do not request you to come hither before the time men- 
tioned in your letter; but should be glad if you would not 
exceed it. 

With esteem and regard, I am, etc. 49 


Mount Vernon, July 8, 1785. 
Sir: Yesterday afternoon I had the honor to receive your 
favor of the 24th. of June; covering a letter from Colo. Fair- 
fax of Bath, dated in Mar: last. The latter speaks of the injuri- 
ous treatment you have met with, and of the aspersion of 
your character in England, for which I am exceedingly sorry; 
but as he draws no conclusion, and your letter is silent, I am a 
little at a loss to discover the tendency of the information of 
them to me; and therefore shall only add that whenever it 
is convenient and agreeable to you to come into this part of 
the Country, I shall be glad to see you at this place, and that, 
I am, etc. 49 

'From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 



Mount Vernon, July 9, 1785. 

Dear Sir: Mr. Dohrman 50 who does me the honor of pre- 
senting this letter to your Excellency, is represented to me as a 
Gentleman of great merit; and one who has rendered most 
benevolent and important Services to the injured Sons of Amer- 
ica, at a period when our Affairs did not wear the most favor- 
able aspect. 

He has some matters to lay before Congress which he can 
explain better than I. the justice due to which, and his suffer- 
ings, need no advocate; but I take the liberty nevertheless 
of introducing him to your countenance and civilities. With 
great respect etc. 51 


Mount Vernon, July 14, 1785. 

Sir: Your letter of the' 9th. of Feby. was long on its passage 
to me; but my answer would not have been delayed 'till now, 
had not much time been spent in obtaining the several en- 
closures herewith sent you : a very necessary voucher however, 
viz: the British King's proclamation, properly authenticated, 
forbiding the settlement of the Western Lands, in defiance of 
which the Defendants took possession of the Land which was 
surveyed for military service, is not yet come to hand, but 
shall be sent as soon as it does. 

The signature to Posey's Bond has the best proof of the 
handwriting I can obtain without incurring much trouble and 
expence: there are numbers in this part of the Country, where 

"Arnold Henry Dorham. 

51 From the Papers of the Continental Congress, no. 78, vol. 8, fol. 211. 


he formerly lived, who are well acquainted with his hand 
writing; but these are far removed from the Executive of the 
State, or any of the judges of the Supreme Court of this Com- 
monwealth. To me, I confess the proof seems unnecessary; 
for in my judgment there can be no higher evidence of the au- 
thenticity of the Bond, than the recognition of it in the Grant 
which, if I mistake not, expressly declares that it is granted to 
me as Assignee of John Posey; consequently this Government 
must have been satisfied of the legality of the assignment, and 
such as would warrant the Patent granted me thereon. 

I transmit you the act of our Assembly passed in the session 
of 1779, properly authenticated, in which is included all the 
Law relative to the present subject: in this you will find upon 
what footing settlement and pre-emption rights are placed; 
and what are the requisites necessary for rendering them valid. 
It is very certain the Defendants have not taken those necessary 
steps pointed out by the Law, in order to give them a title by 
settlement or pre-emption : they knew that the Land had been 
surveyed for me; that it was always called mine; that one 
Cabbin if no more was built upon it when they came there, 
and they were repeatedly forwarned from settling themselves 
there during the life of Mr. Crawford. Being thus apprized 
that their claim was contested, they should have submitted 
it to the decision of the Commissioners sent out to that Coun- 
try for the special purpose of adjusting all such disputed titles; 
and altho' the jurisdiction of these Commrs. only extended to 
unpatented Lands, yet such a submission was necessary on 
the part of the Defendants, that they might obtain Certificates 
and act agreeably to the direction of the Law: as they failed 
to do this, I conceive they have precluded themselves from 
setting up a title by occupancy at this day: I say they failed 


to make this submission; because as I was never summoned to 
litigate their claim, any proceeding therein without such a proc- 
ess would have been illegal. 

I expect that one objection to my title will be, that this Land 
was not surveyed by a County Surveyor, but only by one in- 
vested with a special commission for surveying the 200,000 
acres which were given as a bounty to the 1st. Va. regiment. 
But you will find that my case comes fully within the first 
clause of the Law; and as this Survey was covered with a mili- 
tary warrant, such as is mentioned in the Act, no person could 
more legally have made it than Mr. Crawford. I will observe 
here, that at the time this survey was returned to the Office, 
Mr. Crawford was Deputy surveyor to Mr. Lewis. You will 
observe by a subsequent clause in the Law, that all locations 
made by Officers and Soldiers upon the Lands of actual set- 
tlers, shall be void; but this cannot operate against me for 
several reasons : in the first place it is confined merely to Loca- 
tions, and cannot extend to Patents; secondly, admitting that 
my survey was made lawfully, then it is evident that instead 
of being intruded upon, the Defendants themselves were the 
intruders: and thirdly, setting my survey and Patent out of 
the question, I was the prior occupant and entitled to at least 
1400 acres, admitting only one Cabbin to have been built; 
altho' I believe, and Capt. Crawford in letters which I left 
with you expressly declares it, there were more; so that which- 
ever way you view their title, it appears to be defective. From 
what cause I know not, but I believe Capt. Posey's warrant is 
dated subsequent to the return of the Survey made by Mr. 
Crawford, and if I remember right the recital in the Patent 
which you have makes this appear; I apprize you of this lest 
any handle should be made of it by your Opponents. 


The only difficulty which can arise in the prosecution of the 
ejectments in my conception (if my legal title shou'd be thought 
insufficient, which I scarcely think possible) is to prove the ex- 
tent of my improvement before the Defendants took possession 
of the Land, and the warnings wch. they received afterwards 
to quit it. 

Colo. Crawford who transacted my business in your County, 
or his Brother Val 52 could have placed these matters in a clear 
point of view, as I dare say many others are able to do, if I 
knew who to fix upon and how to come at them; but never 
having an idea that it was necessary, and the removal of per- 
sons &c, may give some trouble. 

To ease you as much as I am able of this, I have in a paper 
enclosed, put down the ground and supports of my title under 
all circumstances as they have occurred to me; and the plea 
which I suppose will be urged in behalf of my Opponents in 
opposition thereto. 

I feel myself under great obligation to Mr. Wilson 53 for sig- 
nifying a readiness to serve me in this suit, because I am satis- 
fied motives of friendship more than of interest were at the 
bottom. His attendance in Congress must now render this 
impracticable if it were ever so necessary; but to me the case 
seems so clear and self evident, that I think nothing more is 
necessary but to state facts: however, as you understand the 
decision of your Courts better than I do, I leave it wholly to 
yourself to call in assistance or not, and from whom you please. 
I should be glad to know when you think the cause will come 
to issue: if I could be morally certain of the time and nothing 
of greater importance should happen to prevent it, I would 
be in the Western Country at that time. I am, etc. 

62 Valentine Crawford. 
53 James Wilson. 


P. S: Since writing the above I have received an attested 
Copy of the Proclamation alluded to in the body of this letter, 
which with the letter enclosing it, from our Attoy. General, 
I send. On a cursory reading of it, (for I was obliged to 
enclose it almost in the same instant I received it) it may 
be doubted, I think, whether military Locations beyond the 
sources of the rivers running into the Atlantic, do not come 
under the general restrictions: to remove this objection, if 
it should be made, I will endeavor to obtain an attested copy 
of an order of the Governor and Council of this Dominion, 
recognizing the right of the Troops of this State, to Lands under 
the aforesaid Proclamation; and directing surveys thereof to 
be made on the Western Waters; tho' I fear it will be diffi- 
cult to come at, as I have understood that the records of the 
privy Council had fallen into the hands of the Enemy, or were 
otherwise lost. 54 


Mount Vernon, July 14, 1785. 

Dear Sir: Mr. Fraunces's 56 letters to you and to me, the last 
of which I also enclose for your perusal, are so expressive of his 
want as to render it unnecessary for me to add ought, on the 
occasion of them. 

He has been considered (tho' confined within the british 
lines) as a friend to our cause: It is said he was remarkably at- 
tentative to our prisoners in the City of New York; supporting 
them, as far as his means would allow, in the hour of their 

54 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

55 Member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 1782 to 1786 and from 1799 to 
1801; Member of Congress from 1789 to 1793; one of the Board of Commissioners 
for the District of Columbia from 1795 to the abolition of the Board in 1802. 

M Samuel Fraunces. 


greatest distress: this it is which lead both Governor Clinton 
and myself to countenance and support him; and is the cause I 
presume of his applying, thro' me, to you, and must be my 
apology for giving you the trouble of this letter. 

With respect to his demand against the Estate of Genl. Lee, 
I know nothing; his letter, to the best of my recollection, is the 
first intimation I ever had of his being a Creditor; die propriety 
and justice therefore of the claim must speak for themselves, 
and will no doubt have their due weight: the time of payment 
seems interesting to him. 

The subject of this letter reminds me of an accot. of my own 
against Genl. Lee's Estate, which I put into your hands at the 
Springs last year. 57 With great esteem I am, etc. 58 


Mount Vernon, July 14, 1785. 

Dear Sir: Your favor of the 4th. came to me on the 12th: at 
the time of writing it you could not have received my letter 
dated in the latter part of June, covering one for Richard Boul- 
ton; not knowing how, otherwise, to get one to him, I took the 
liberty of addressing it to your care. 

In that letter I informed him, that if he did not immedi- 
ately enter upon the execution of his Contract, I would put 
the penalty thereof in force: but from the abandoned course 
in which he seems to have engaged, from your last letter; and 

" In Washington's "Ledger B" is the following account against Gen. Charles Lee: 
" J 775» Ja n - 4- To Cash lent him at Mt Vernon ^15. June. To Ditto lent him on 
the Road from Phila. to Cambridge, at different times, viz. 6 Guineas & 4 dollars 
9:12 — . 1786, Deer. 28. By Cash reed of Alexr White Esqr. Exr. to Genl Lee by the 
hands of Mr. Lear 24: 12: — " 

58 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

Be Of Patuxent, Md. 


his unwillingness to forsake his associates in drunkeness, I 
do not choose (altho' the disappointment occasions me the 
loss of a summer) to be concerned with him, lest his bad 
example should have an unfavorable influence upon my work- 
men, of which I have several. I beg therefore, if my letter to 
him has not been forwarded, that you would be so obliging as 
to destroy it. 

As I am not in immediate want of the Articles which you 
were so good as to offer me, I had rather take the chance of a 
water conveyance round, than to send my waggon to Colo. 
Platers: but as this may not happen soon, and it is unreason- 
able to keep you out of the cost of them ; if you will ascertain the 
quantity and price of such as you can best spare, I will pay 
the amount to your order at any time. The brass-spring Locks 
and hinges, and any other hinges, the mortice locks and furni- 
ture, the Glue, and Painters brushes, or such part of each as you 
can most conveniently dispense with, may be added to my 
former list. 

The Guinea-grass seeds which I sowed proved as defective 
as yours; but my nephew who arrived after I had the pleasure 
of your company at this place, brought me a small quantity 
from Bermuda, some of which I sowed and part has vegitated: 
if it prospers and is worth cultivating, I will supply you with a 
little of it to put you in stock, he speaks of it in very favourable 
terms, but is doubtful of the Climate. 

Mrs. Washington joins in complimts. and best wishes for 
Mrs. Fitzhugh and yourself with Dr. Sir, &c. 

P: S: I address this letter to you at Annapolis in consequence 
of the information of your intention to be there about the mid- 
dle of this month. 60 

'From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

1785] OHIO LANDS 199 


Mount Vernon, July 15, 1785. 

Sir: Your letter of the 22d. of June came safely to hand. 

I have no Lands in the Western Country which I incline, 
at this time, to make actual sale of. Between the two Kan- 
hawa's on the banks of the Ohio, I hold (bounded by the 
river, and of rich bottom with good Mill Seats) about 10,000 
acres of as valuable land as any in that region: and on the 
Gt. Kanhawa, from near the mouth upwards, I have about 
30,000 acres more of equal quality with the first mentioned; 
all of which I have offered on Leases, for 21, 999, or 10 years, 
renewable forever, on encreasing rents; on certain conditions 
which were published in Claypoole's paper in March or April 
of last year, and may easily be resorted to. 

As I have not disposed of these lands yet, I presume the 
terms are thought too high; but as I know the situation and 
convenience of them, and that the quality of the soil is in- 
ferior to none in all the Western Territory, I do not incline 
to make any change in my terms, unless I am, in a manner 
compelled to it by taxation, which (however inconvenient it 
may be to myself) I wish to see heavily laid on, that the offi- 
cers and Soldiers, and other public creditors may receive their 
just dues. I am, etc. 61 


Mount Vernon, July 17, 1785. 
Dr. Sir: By Mr. Gouverr. Morris I sent you the amount of 
the cost of plank, which you were so obliging as to send me 
from Baltimore. 

'From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


The packet 02 enclosed with this, for Mr. Hilligas 63 contains 
necessary and valuable papers for Mr. Thos. Smith, in a suit 
I have been obliged to commence in Washington County, 
State of Pennsylva., against sundry persons who taking ad- 
vantage of my absence and peculiar situation during the War, 
possessed themselves of a tract of Land I hold in the vicinity 
of Fort Pitt; for which I have a Patent, obtained in legal form, 
ever since the year 1774, and for which I am now compelled 
to bring ejectmts. 

Mr. Smith requested these papers to be sent to him under 
cover to Mr. Hilligas as a certain mode of conveyance; but 
as much time has elapsed in obtaining them; as some of the 
papers point to evidence which may not readily be come at; 
as the Suit may come forward at the Septr. term, and as the 
channel of conveyance pointed out by him is very circuitous; 
I should be much obliged, if good opportunities frequently 
offer from Baltimore to Carlisle, by your stripping off the ad- 
dress to Mr. Hilligas, and forwarding the enclosure as directed 
to Mr. Smith. With much truth and sincerity, I am, etc. 64 


Mount Vernon, July 19, 1785. 
Sir: The honor which the Society for promoting agricul- 
ture, lately established in the City of Philada., has done me by 
electing me an honorary member, is highly pleasing and flat- 
tering to me; the strongest assurances of which I pray you, 

02 On July 17 Washington wrote briefly to Michael Hillegas, a copy of which letter 
is in the "Letter Book," asking him to forward this packet of papers to Thomas Smith. 
63 Michael Hillegas. 
64 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


at the next meeting, to communicate with my respectful com- 
pliments to the Society. Accept at the same time Sir, my ac- 
knowledgment of the flattering expression, with which you 
have accompanied the certificate of my election. 

No measure, in my opinion, will be more conducive to the 
public weal than the establishment of this Society, if the pur- 
poses of it are prosecuted with spirit. Much is it to be wished 
that each State would institute similar ones; and that these 
Societies when formed would correspond regularly and freely 
with each other. We are not only in our infancy of agricul- 
ture improvement, but in this State the farmers are pursuing 
an unprofitable course of Crops, to the utter destruction of 
their Lands. 

I am obliged to the Society for its address to the public, and 
for the summary of a course of crops by Mr. Bordely : 65 the lat- 
ter I had before received from the Author, who was so obliging 
as to send me several copies immediately after the publication 
thereof. I have the honor, etc. 68 


Mount Vernon, July 23, 1785. 

Dr. Sir: It is some time since I received the enclosed Bill, 
under cover from the Drawer: among a multiplicity of other 
letters it got buried and forgot; until a line from Mr. de Mar- 
bois the other day, forwarding the third bill of same tenor and 
date, reminded me of it. 

As I do not know who the Treasurer of the Society of the 
Cincinnati of this State is, I take the liberty of committing the 

^BealeC?) Boardly, of Wye, Md. 
From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


Bill to your care, with a request that you would be so obliging 
as to ask him personally if he is near you, or by letter if he is 
at a distance, for a receipt for it, that I may transmit the same 
to Colo. De Corney, with an apology for my long silence. 
If I knew who the state Treasurer is, I would not give you any 
trouble in this business; but as I really do not, I hope it will 
be received as an excuse for having done it. I am, etc. 07 


Mount Vernon, July 25, 1785. 

My dr. Humphreys: Since my last to you, I have received 
your letter of the 15th. of January, and I believe that of the 
nth. of November, and thank you for them. 68 It always gives 
me pleasure to hear from you; and I should think if amuse- 
ments would spare you, business could not so much absorb your 
time as to prevent your writing more frequently, especially as 
there is a regular conveyance once a month by the Packet. 

As the complexion of European politics seems now (from 
letters I have received from the Marqs. de la Fayette, Chevrs. 
Chartellux, De la Luzerne, &c.,) to have a tendency to Peace, 
I will say nothing of war, nor make any animadversions upon 
the contending powers; otherwise, I might possibly have said 
that the retreat from it seemed impossible after the explicit 
declaration of the parties: My first wish is to see this plague to 
mankind banished from off the Earth, and the sons and Daugh- 
ters of this world employed in more pleasing and innocent 
amusements, than in preparing implements and exercising 
them for the destruction of mankind : rather than quarrel about 

07 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 
08 Humphreys was then in Paris. 


territory let the poor, the needy and oppressed of the Earth, and 
those who want Land, resort to the fertile plains of our western 
country, the second 69 Promise, and there dwell in peace, ful- 
filling the first and great commandment. 

In a former letter, I informed you my Dr. Humphreys, that 
if I had talents for it, I have not leisure to turn my thoughts to 
commentaries: a consciousness of a defective education, and a 
certainty of the want of time, unfit me for such an undertak- 
ing; what with company, letters and other matters, many of 
them quite extraneous, I have not been able to arrange my own 
private concerns so as to rescue them from that disorder'd state 
into which they have been thrown by the war, and to do which 
is become absolutely necessary for my support, whilst I re- 
main on this stage of human action. The sentiments of your 
last letter on this subject gave me great pleasure; I should be 
pleased indeed to see you undertake this business : your abilities 
as a writer; your discernment respecting the principles which 
lead to the decision by arms; your personal knowledge of 
many facts as they occurred in the progress of the War; your 
disposition to justice, candour and impartiality, and your dili- 
gence in investigating truth, combining fit you, when joined 
with the vigor of life, for this task; and I should with great 
pleasure, not only give you the perusal of all my papers, but any 
oral information of circumstances, which cannot be obtained 
from the former, that my memory will furnish: and I can with 
great truth add that my house would not only be at your service 
during the period of your preparing this work, but (and with- 
out an unmeaning compliment I say it) I should be exceedingly 
happy if you would make it your home. You might have an 
apartment to yourself, in which you could command your own 

69 The words "land of" inadvertently omitted by the "Letter Book" recorder. 


time; you wou'd be considered and treated as one of the family; 
and meet with that cordial reception and entertainment which 
are characteristic of the sincerest friendship. 

To reverberate European news would be idle, and we have 
little of domestic kind worthy of attention: We have held 
treaties indeed, with the Indians ; but they were so unseason- 
ably delayed, that these people by our last accounts from the 
westward, are in a discontented mood, supposed by many to be 
instigated thereto by our late enemies, now, to be sure, fast 
friends; who from any thing I can learn, under the indefinite 
expression of the treaty hold, and seem resolved to retain pos- 
session of our western Posts. Congress have also, after a long 
and tedious deliberation, passed an ordinance for laying off the 
Western Territory into States, and for disposing of the land; 
but in a manner and on terms which few people (in the South- 
ern States) conceive can be accomplished : Both sides are sure, 
and the event is appealed to, let time decide it. It is however 
to be regretted that local politics and self-interested views ob- 
trude themselves into every measure of public utility: but to 
such characters be the consequences. 

My attention is more immediately engaged in a project 
which I think big with great political, as well as commercial 
consequences to these States, especially the middle ones: it is, 
by removing the obstructions, and extending the inland naviga- 
tion of our rivers, to bring the States on the Atlantic in close 
connexion with those forming to the westward, by a short and 
easy transportation: without this, I can easily conceive they 
will have different views, separate interests and other con- 
nexions. I may be singular in my ideas; but they are these, 
that to open a door to, and make easy the way for those Set- 
tlers to the westward (which ought to progress regularly and 


compactly) before we make any stir about the navigation of 
the Mississippi, and before our settlements are far advanced 
towards that river, would be our true line of policy. It can, 
I think, be demonstrated, that the produce of the western Terri- 
tory (if the navigations which are now in hand succeed, and of 
which I have no doubt) as low down the Ohio as the Great 
Kanhawa, I believe to the Falls, and between the parts above 
and the Lakes, may be brought either to the highest shipping 
port on this or James river, at a less expence, with more ease, 
(including the return) and in a much shorter time, than it can 
be carried to New Orleans if the Spaniards instead of restrict- 
ing, were to throw open their ports and invite our trade. But 
if the commerce of that country should embrace this channel, 
and connexions be formed; experience has taught us (and 
there is a very recent proof with G : Britain) how next to im- 
practicable it is to divert it; and if that should be the case, the 
Atlantic States (especially as those to the westward will in a 
great degree fill with foreigners) will be no more to the pres- 
ent union, except to excite perhaps very justly our fears, than 
the Country of California which is still more to the westward, 
and belonging to another power. 

Mrs. Washington presents her compliments to you, and with 
every wish for your happiness, I am etc. 70 


Mount Vernon, July 25, 1785. 
My Dear Marquis : I have to acknowledge and thank you for 
your several favors of the 9th. of February, 19th. of March and 
16th. of April, with their enclosures; all of which (the last only 

From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


yesterday) have been received since I had the honor to address 
you in February. 

I stand before you as a Culprit: but to repent and be for -given 
are the precepts of Heaven : I do the former, do you practice the 
latter, and it will be participation of a divine attribute. Yet I 
am not barren of excuses for this seeming inattention; frequent 
absences from home, a round of company when at it, and the 
pressure of many matters, might be urged as apologies for my 
long silence; but I disclaim all of them, and trust to the for- 
bearance of friendship and your wonted indulgence: indeed 
so few things occur, in the line on which I now move, worthy 
of attention, that this also might be added to the catalogue of 
my excuses; especially when I further add, that one of my let- 
ters, if it is to be estimated according to its length, would make 
three of yours. 

I now congratulate you, and my heart does it more effectu- 
ally than my pen, on your safe arrival at Paris, from your voy- 
age to this Country, and on the happy meeting with Madame 
la Fayette and your family in good health. May the blessing 
of this long continue to them, and may every day add in- 
crease of happiness to yourself. 

As the clouds which overspread your hemisphere are dis- 
persing, and peace with all its concomitants is dawning upon 
your Land, I will banish the sound of War from my letter: I 
wish to see the sons and daughters of the world in Peace and 
busily employed in the more agreeable amusement of fulfill- 
ing the first and great commandment, Increase and Multiply: 
as an encouragement to which we have opened the fertile 
plains of the Ohio to the poor, the needy and the oppressed of 
the Earth; any one therefore who is heavy laden, or who wants 
land to cultivate, may repair thither and abound, as in the Land 
of promise, with milk and honey: the ways are preparing, 


and the roads will be made easy, thro' the channels of Potomac 
and James river. 

Speaking of these navigations, I have the pleasure to inform 
you that the subscriptions, (especially for the first) at the sur- 
render of the books, agreeably to the act which I enclosed you 
in my last, exceeded my most sanguine expectation: for the 
latter, that is James river, no comparison of them has yet been 

Of the ,£50,000 Sterlg. required for the Potomac navigation, 
upwards of ,£40,000, was subscribed before the middle of May, 
and encreasing fast. A President and four Directors, consisting 
of your hble. Servant, Govrs. Johnson and Lee of Maryland, 
and Colo. Fitzgerald and Gilpin of this State, were chosen to 
conduct the undertaking. The first dividend of the money was 
paid in on the 15th. of this month; and the work is to be begun 
the first of next, in those parts which require least skill; leav- 
ing the more difficult 'till an Engineer of abilities and practical 
knowledge can be obtained; which reminds me of the question 
which I propounded to you in my last, on this subject, and 
on which I should be glad to learn your sentiments. This pros- 
pect, if it succeeds and of which I have no doubt, will bring the 
Atlantic States and the Western Territory into close connexion, 
and be productive of very extensive commercial and political 
consequences; the last of which gave the spur to my exertions, 
as I could foresee many, and great mischiefs which would natu- 
rally result from a separation, and that a separation would 
inevitably take place, if the obstructions between the two coun- 
tries remained, and the navigation of the Mississippi should be 
made free. 

Great Britain, in her commercial policy is acting the same 
unwise part, with respect to herself, which seems to have influ- 
enced all her Councils; and thereby is defeating her own ends: 


the restriction of our trade, and her heavy imposts on the staple 
commodities of this Country, will I conceive, immediately pro- 
duce powers in Congress to regulate the Trade of the Union; 
which, more than probably would not have been obtained 
without in half a century. The mercantile interests of the 
whole Union are endeavouring to effect this, and will no doubt 
succeed; they see the necessity of a controuling power, and the 
futility, indeed the absurdity, of each State's enacting Laws for 
this purpose independent of one another. This will be the case 
also, after a while, in all matters of common concern. It is to 
be regretted, I confess, that Democratical States must always 
feel before they can see: it is this that makes their Govern- 
ments slow, but the people will be right at last. 

Congress after long deliberation, have at length agreed upon 
a mode for disposing of the Lands of the United States in the 
Western territory: it may be a good one, but it does not com- 
port with my ideas. The ordinance is long, and I have none of 
them by me, or I would send one for your perusal. They seem 
in this instance, as in almost every other, to be surrendering the 
little power they have, to the States individually which gave it 
to them. Many think the price which they have fixed upon 
the Lands too high; and all to the Southward I believe, that 
disposing of them in Townships, and by square miles alter- 
nately, they will be a great let to the sale: but experience, to 
which there is an appeal, must decide. 

Soon after I had written to you in Feby., Mr. Jefferson, and 
after him Mr. Carmichael informed me that in consequence of 
an application from Mr. Harrison 71 for permission to export a 
Jack for me from Spain, his Catholic Majesty had ordered two 
of the first race in his Kingdom (lest an accident might happen 
to one) to be purchased and presented to me as a mark of his 

"Richard Harrison. He was a merchant of Cadiz, Spain. 

1785] FRENCH HOUNDS 209 

esteem. Such an instance of condescension and attention from 
a crowned head is very flattering, and lays me under great obli- 
gation to the King; but neither of them is yet arrived: these I 
presume are the two mentioned in your favor of the 16th. of 
April; one as having been shipped from Cadiz, the other as 
expected from the Isle of Malta, 72 which you would forward. 
As they have been purchased since December last, I began to 
be apprehensive of accidents; which I wish may not be the case 
with respect to the one from Cadiz, if he was actually shipped 
at the time of your account: should the other pass thro' your 
hands you cannot oblige me more, than by requiring the great- 
est care, and most particular attention to be paid to him. I 
have long endeavoured to procure one of a good size and breed, 
but had little expectation of receiving two as a royal gift. 

I am much obliged to you my dear Marquis, for your atten- 
tion to the hounds, and not less sorry that you should have met 
the smallest difficulty, or experienced the least trouble in ob- 
taining them : I was no way anxious about these, consequently 
should have felt no regret, or sustained no loss if you had not 
succeeded in your application. I have commissioned three or 
four persons (among whom Colo. Marshall 73 is one,) to pro- 
cure for me in Kentucke, for the use of the Kings Garden's at 
Versailles or elsewhere, the seeds mentioned in the list you 
sent me from New York, and such others as are curious, and 
will forward them as soon as they come to my hands; which 
cannot be 'till after the growing Crop has given its seeds. 

My best wishes will accompany you to Potsdam, and into 
the Austrian Dominions whenever you set out upon that tour. 
As an unobserved spectator, I should like to take a peep at the 

72 The jack from Malta was obtained by Lafayette and was separate and distinct 
from the Spanish jacks. 
,3 Thomas(?) Marshall. 


troops of those Monarch's at their manoeuverings, upon a 
grand field day; but as it is among the unattainable things, my 
philosophy shall supply the place of curiosity, and set my mind 
at ease. 

In your favor of the 19th. of March you speak of letters 
which were sent by a Mr. Williams; but none such have come 
to hand. The present for the little folks did not arrive by Mr. 
Ridouts Ship as you expected; to what cause owing I know not. 
Mrs. Washington has but indifferent health ; and the late loss of 
\ier mother, and only brother Mr. Barthw. Dandridge (one 
of the Judges of our Supreme Court) has rather added to her 
indisposition. My mother and friends enjoy good health. 
George has returned after his peregrination thro' the West 
Indies, to Bermuda, the Bahama Islands, and Charlestown; at 
the last place he spent the winter. He is in better health than 
when he set out, but not quite recovered: He is now on a jour- 
ney to the Sweet Springs, to procure a stock sufficient to fit him 
for a matrimonial voyage in the Frigate F. Bassett, on board 
which he means to embark at his return in October: how far 
his case is desperate, I leave you to judge, if it is so, the remedy 
however pleasing at first, will certainly be violent. 

The latter end of April I had the pleasure to receive in good 
order, by a Ship from London, the picture of yourself, Madame 
la Fayette and the children, which I consider as an invaluable 
present, and shall give it the best place in my House. Mrs. 
Washington joins me in respectful compliments, and in every 
good wish for Madame de la Fayette, yourself and family, all 
the others who have come under your kind notice present their 
compliments to you. For myself, I can only repeat the sincere 
attachment, and unbounded affection of My Dr. Marqs., &c. 74 

M From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

1785] BLASTING ROCK 211 


Mount Vernon, July 27, 1785. 

Dear Sir: Your letter of the 5th. came duly to hand, and 
should have been acknowledged sooner, if it had been in my 
power, conveniently. I thank you for your attention to the 
Certificates which I committed to your care; and will obtain 
an order from Gilbert Simpson, by which the Interest may be 
received. This money is all I am likely to get for a Mill which 
he ran me to the Expence of ^1200 hard money to build, near 
Yohiogany, now tumbling down, and for which I can not get 
a farthing, rent. If Mr. Stelle 75 has the cover, in which the 
Certificates were wrapped, I should be glad to have it returned 
to me, or, if there is any thing within, useful to him, a Copy of 
the memn. on the back of it. It is the only minutes I took of the 
different Interests in the Certificates, it enclosed. 

Since your last conference with Messrs. Dunlap & Claypool, 
their Advertiser has come to hand regularly. I am content 
therefore to have it continued. 

As you think my small Commissions will not give you more 
trouble than they are worth, I shall, when I find occasion, con- 
tinue them with pleasure. 

We expect to begin our operations on the Potomack Naviga- 
tion about the 6th of next Month, under the Management of a 
Mr James Rumsey. If the Miners therefore, who have been 
accustomed to the blowing of Rocks under Water, are desirous 
of employment in this way, and are not extravagant in their 
demands, I am persuaded he would hire them, were they to 
apply to him, either at the Seneca falls, or the Falls of Shan- 
nondoah; neither of which are far from Frederick Town in 

TO Benjamin Stelle. 


Maryland, or, if they think the distance too great to come on an 
uncertainty if through you, they will communicate to me their 
lowest terms, I will see that an answer to them is obtained. 
Mrs. Washington joins me in compliments to, and best wishes 
for you, Mrs. Biddle and the family and I am, etc. 76 


Mount Vernon, July 28, 1785. 

Sir: A few days ago by a Mr. Hickman, 77 who either is, or 
wants to be a tenant of mine in Frederick County. I sent you a 
dozen blank Leases. The tract on which he says he is fixed, is 
part of two Lots which I purchased at the sale of Colo. George 
Mercer's Estate, in the year 1774 ; a plat of which I send you, that 
the whole may be arranged into four tenements, as conven- 
iently disposed as water &c. will admit. 

In September last, whilst I was at my brothers in Berkeley, 
many persons applied for this Land; but from causes which 
then existed I came to no positive agreement with any; refer- 
ring them to Mr. Snickers, 78 who was so kind as to promise that 
he would fix matters for me (as I was in a hurry and could not 
go upon the Land myself) on the terms which, if I recollect 
right, I gave him in a letter. Some time after, two men of the 
names of Winzer 70 and Beaven, with the letter enclosed from 
Mr. Snickers, came here, and were told that I would com- 
ply with whatever agreement was made with them by him. 
Among other things they said Mr. Snickers had promised them 
Leases for fourteen years; this I observed could not, in my opin- 
ion, be the case, because I had expressly named ten years (the 

"This text is from that printed in a sales catalogue in 1924. 

77 Joseph Hickman. 

78 Edward Snickers. 

70 Joseph Winsor or Windsor. 

1785] LEASES 213 

term for which Mr. Burwell let his Lands adjoining), but not- 
withstanding if the case was so, and Mr. Snickers would declare 
it, the Leases should be filled up accordingly: this I repeat, and 
as far as the matter respects Winzer, for it seems Beaven has 
changed his mind, the other conditions endorsed on the back 
of Mr. Snickers's letter to me, are to be granted him; he paying 
all the taxes wch. may be laid on the Land he holds. 

However, as filling up one Lease may be a guide with respect 
to the others, I enclose one in the name of Winzer, with the 
blank, as completely filled as I can do it under my uncertainty 
with respect to the term of years for which he is to have it, and 
which is to be determined by Mr. Snickers; and for want of 
the quantity of acres in, and a description of the Lot which he 
is to have. 

There are already three Tenants on this tract, to whom you 
may fill up Leases on the same terms which I have done for 
Winzer; and whenever they will bring evidences to prove 
them, I will sign them. As Beaven has declined taking the 
Lot which he agreed for first with Mr. Snickers and afterwards 
with me, you may let it to any good tenant who offers, upon 
the terms on which the others are held. The three new en- 
gaged will have rents to pay thereon the first of next January. 
It will be necessary to take an Assignment of Mr. Whitings 
Lease, before one can be made to Mr. Airess; 80 or some instru- 
ment of writing by which it will be cancelled, in order to ren- 
der the new one valid; and I hope payment of the money due 
on the replevy Bonds of the former will not be delayed longer 
than the time mentioned in your last letter, viz, September. 

Having got a Gentleman to assist me in my business; I hope 
shortly to have my Accots. so arranged as to be able to send you 



a rental of what is due to be in London, Fauquier and Berkeley 
Counties. I have a Lot in the town and common of Winchester 
of which, when you have occasion to go thither, I beg you to 
enquire into the state and condition, and give me information 
of what can be made of them: the one in the Town, I believe a 
Doctr. McKay has something to do with. 

I would be obliged to you for enquiring of Mr. Wormley's 
manager, if he has any good red clover seed for sale, what quan- 
tity, and the price thereof, and let me know the result by the 
first conveyance to Alexandria. I am, etc. 81 


Mount Vernon, July 30, 1785. 
Dear Sir: Altho' it is not my intention to derive any pecuni- 
ary advantage from the generous vote of the Assembly of this 
State, consequent of its gratuitous gift of fifty shares in each of 
the navigations of the rivers Potomac and James; yet, as I con- 
sider these undertakings as of vast political and commercial 
importance to the States on the Atlantic, especially to those 
nearest the centre of the Union, and adjoining the Western 
Territory, I can let no act of mine impede the progress of the 
work: I have therefore come to the determination to hold 
the shares which the Treasurer was directed to subscribe on my 
account, in trust for the use and benefit of the public; unless 
I shall be able to discover, before the meeting of the Assembly, 
that it would be agreeable to it to have the product of the Sales 
arising from these shares, applied as a fund on which to estab- 
lish two Charity schools, one on each river, for the Education 
and support of the Children of the poor and indigent of this 

81 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


Country who cannot afford to give it; particularly the children 
of those men of this description, who have fallen in defence of 
the rights and liberties of it. If the plans succeed, of which I 
have no doubt, I am sure it will be a very productive and en- 
creasing fund, and the monies thus applied will be a beneficial 

I am aware that my non-acceptance of these shares will have 
various motives ascribed to it, among which an ostentatious 
display of disinterestedness, perhaps the charge of disrespect 
or slight of the favors of my Country, may lead the van: but 
under a consciousness that my conduct herein is not influenced 
by considerations of this nature, and that I shall act more agree- 
ably to my own feelings and more consistent with my early 
declarations, by declining to accept them; I shall not only hope 
for indulgence, but a favorable interpretation of my conduct: 
my friends, I persuade myself, will acquit me, the World I hope 
will judge charitably. 

Perceiving by the advertisement of Messrs. Cabell, Buchanan 
and Southa; that half the sum required by the Act, for open- 
ing and extending the navigation of James river, is subscribed; 
and the 20th. of next month appointed for the subscribers to 
meet at Richmond, I take the liberty of giving you a power 
to act for me on that occasion. 82 I would (having the accom- 
plishment of these navigations much at heart) have attended 
in person; but the President and Directors of the Potomac 
Company by their own appointment, are to commence the 
survey of this river in the early part of next month; for which 
purpose I shall leave home tomorrow. Besides which, if the 

^Washington was elected president of the James River Navigation Co., but declined 
to serve. A copy of his power to Randolph to represent him at the James River meet- 
ing follows this letter in the "Letter Book." 


Ejectments which I have been obliged to bring for my Land in 
Pennsylva. are to be tried at the September Term, as Mr. Smith, 
my Lawyer, conceived they would, and is to inform me, I shall 
find it necessary I fear, to attend the trial; an intermediate 
journey therefore, in addition, to Richmond would be imprac- 
ticable for me to accomplish. I am, etc. 


Mount Vernon, July 30, 1785. 
Sir : I received your letter of the 19th. Instt. 83 Being convinced 
from the respectable characters whose names are prefixed to 
your Grammatical Institute, as well as from the cursory exami- 
nation I have had it in my power to bestow on the Books, of 
the judicious execution, and usefulness of the Work; it would 
give me pleasure if I could be instrumental, in any degree, to- 
wards the introduction of it to public notice. But I am a little 
at a loss, from the purport of your letter, to decide, whether it 
is your desire that my name should appear amongst those who 
have already subscribed to the utility of the Work; or, by intro- 
ducing its Author to some of the first characters in the South- 
ern States (under the favourable impression he has made upon 
me) to act more remotely. If the first is meant, I wish to de- 
cline it; because I have not leizure to examine the Institute with 
that attention which ought, always, to precede a certificate; 
and because I do not think myself a competent Judge, if I had. 
But if the other is your object, I shall have great pleasure in 
giving you Letters of recommendation to some of the first 
Gentlemen of my Acquaintance in Charleston, or elsewhere, 
being Sir Yr. etc. [n.y.p.l.] 

sz Webster's letter, dated July 18, 1785, from Baltimore, is in the Washington Papers. 

1785] A WRIT 217 


Georgetown, 84 August 2, 1785. 

Sir: By a letter which I lately received from Mr. Stoddert, I 
am informed that you had agreed to supply my nephews 
George and Lawrence Washington with such articles from 
your Store as their necessities might require. For which I 
thank you, and I have no doubt of your doing it upon good 
terms : the amount of which I hope will always be ready when 
called for. But I have to beg Sir, that they may not be indulged 
in any extravagance, or with any thing improper; school boys 
of their size, and growing, should have decent, but not expen- 
sive things; their inclinations too often prompt them to the 
latter, which grows upon them in proportion as they are in- 
dulged : nor should they have pocket money given them, unless 
the necessity is apparent and the application approved of. 

Any advance for Dancing, French &ca., which may be di- 
rected by their Tutor Mr. Balch, will be chearfully repaid. I 
am, etc. 85 


Falls of Shannondoah, August 8, 1785. 
Sir: In answer to your letter of this date, I think I may ven- 
ture to assure you that no writ has issued by order, or under my 

"According to his "Diary," Washington left Mount Vernon early in the morning of 
August 1 "and, after escorting Fanny Bassett to Alexandria, I proceeded to Doctr. 
Stuart's v/here I breakfasted; from thence to George Town to the Annual Meeting of 
the Potowmack Company appointed to be held at that place. . . . Dined at Shuter's 
Tavern and lodged at Mr. Oneal's." Shuter's was John Suter's Tavern, and Bernard 
O'Neale (O'Neill, Oneal) was one of the stockholders of the Potomac Company. 

On August 2 Washington left Georgetown about 10 o'clock a. m., dined at 
Thomas Beall's Mill, about 14 miles from Georgetown, and afterwards proceeded to 
Mr. Goldsborough's, at the head of Seneca Falls. From thence he went, on August 5, 
to Harper's Ferry by way of Frederick, Md. On August 6 he was at Harper's Ferry, 
and on August 10 he returned to Mount Vernon at about 9 o'clock in the evening. 

85 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


authority, against the Exors and Security of your deceased 
Father, for the amount of a Bond passed by him to Colo. Tay- 
loe 86 and myself, as Attornies for Colo. George Mercer and his 
Mortgagees, in England. 

The high Court of Chancery of this Commonwealth decreed 
(I do not at this moment recollect when) that the Bonds, and 
other papers which were in my possession relative to this busi- 
ness (as my situation did not admit of my acting, and as I had 
refused to do so) should be given up to John Mercer Esqr., 
which was accordingly done. 

If under this Decree such of the Bonds as were made payable 
to the Attornies aforesaid have been put in Suit in my name 
as the surviving Attorney; I presume it is a matter of course: 
but how a Bond which you say has been discharged, and not 
among the papers which were surrendered, should be under 
this predicament, I am not able to inform you. I am, etc. 87 


[Mount Vernon] August 13, 1785. 

Dear Sir: At the time your letter from the Rocks was deliv- 
ered to me, I had neither pen, ink, paper, or a table to write on 
at command; consequently could only verbally acknowledge 
the receipt of it, which I did by Mr. Wormley: ss since my re- 
turn home I have met your other favor of the 29th. ulto. 

The great object, for the accomplishment of which I wish 
to see the inland navigation of the rivers Potomac and James 
improved and extended, is to connect the Western Territory 
with the Atlantic States; all others, with me, are secondary: 
tho' I am clearly of opinion that it will greatly increase our 

80 JohnTayloe. 

87 From the " Letter Book " copy in the Washington Papers. 

88 Ralph Wormley. 


commerce, and be an immense saving, in the article of trans- 
portation, and draft cattle, to the Planters and Farmers who are 
in a situation to have the produce of their labor water borne. 

These being my sentiments, I wish to see the undertaking 
progress equally in both rivers; and but for my local situation, 
and numerous avocations, my attention to each should be 
alike: what little I do for the advancement of the enterprize in 
this river, is done, as it were en passant; and because I think the 
difficulties greater than in the other, and not because I give it 
the preference, for both in my opinion have their advantages, 
without much, if any interference with each other. The advan- 
tages arising from my patronage of either, is probably more 
ideal than real; but such as they are, I wish them to be thought 
equally distributed: my contribution to the works shall be the 
same. I have already subscribed five shares to the Potomac 
navigation; and enclosed I give you a power to put my name 
down for five shares, to that of James river. 

With respect to acting as President to the Board of Directors 
for that Company, it is a delicate subject for me to speak to: 
every person who knows how much my time (by company 
and other matters) is occupied, must also know that it would 
be impossible for me to discharge the duties of the office, as 
they should be; even here, where the business for the most part 
is, and will continue to be done at Alexandria, or George-town 
(eight miles further from me), it was so evident to me that I 
could not perform the duties of President with that diligence 
and propriety which I thought necessary, that I wish to decline 
it, but could not get excused: How much more would this be 
the case with James river, where the journey to it alone would 
be a work of time and labour: and besides, let it not be forgot- 
ten my Dr. Sir, that tho' some of the Subscribers may wish to 
see me at the head of the Board of Directors; yet there may be 


others who would feel disappointed and hurt if they are over 
looked, and this might have an influence on their connexions. 
I mention these things to you with the candour and frankness 
of a friend, and under the rose; after which your own judg- 
ment and those of your friends, must dictate for the best. I 
am persuaded all of us have the same object in view, and what 
ever shall be deemed, by the concurrent voice of the subscribers, 
the best means to effect it, shall meet my hearty approbation. 

My last letter was written to you in such haste, that I appre- 
hend I was not sufficiently explicit to be understood. It was not 
my intention to apply for a copy of the Governor's instructions 
releasing him from the restriction of the Kings Proclamation; 
but for the order of Council consequent thereof, directing or 
permitting Warrants to issue on military rights, agreeably 
thereto: because if the date of this order had been found to be 
antecedent to the occupancy of my adversaries, it would re- 
move them from their grand Fort, for on possession, before I 
took any legal steps, I know they mean to place their sole 

The Patent, and thousands of Warrants are evidences that 
the restrictions respecting military settlers was taken off; but 
they do not ascertain the time. My Patent, if I recollect right, 
was dated in July, 1774; but the occupants, according to their 
own accounts, possessed the Land in the Octobr. preceding; 
if therefore I could have obtained a Certificate of the loss of the 
Council Books; and any circumstance could have been rec- 
ollected by which it should appear (as unquestionably the 
fact is) that the recognition of military rights was previous to 
October 1773, and so intimated in the Certificate aforesaid; it 
would have been useful: Without this indeed, the matter is so 
clear, in my judgment, as not to admit of dispute before an 
impartial Jury; but an impartial Jury I do not expect, and much 


FAWNS 221 

less since I have heard that the high Sheriff of the County 
(lately chosen) is of the fraternity of my competitors, and in- 
terested in the decision, so far at least as similar circumstances, 
and the suffrages of these people in his election, can bias him. 
Indeed I have lately been told that the decision of this case will 
be interesting to numbers whose rights are disputed on similar 
grounds. I am, &c. 89 


Mount Vernon, August 15, 1785. 

Sir: The enclosed came under cover to me: I send it to you, 
and beg it may be executed and returned in time. 

Captn. Jacobs married the widow of Captn. Michael Cresap; 
which, if it was a fact unknown to you before, is given as a clue 
by which you may come at the parties, and serve the summons. 
I am, etc. 89 


Mount Vernon, August 17, 1785. 

Sir: The enclosed from Mr. Dulaney did not come to my 
hands (being from home) until Sunday last. I thank you for 
your obliging offer of two or three Fawns ; but presuming the 
season is now too far advanced either to catch or gentle them, I 
will not send before I hear further from you on this subject. 

If it is too late to obtain them this year, I would thank you for 
the like number next Spring; by which time I shall have a 
proper inclosure for them, and for the Deer of this Country, of 
which I am also endeavouring to procure a stock to breed from. 

With compliments to Mrs. Ogle, I have the honor, etc. 89 

80 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 



Mount Vernon, August 17, 1785c 

Dear Sir: Your letter of the 8th. came safely by last Post. I 
will, the first time I go to Alexandria, get an order from Colo. 
Hooe, Mr. Hartshorne, or some other who has dealings in 
Philadelphia (for I have none, and know of no direct and safe 
opportunity of sending money) to the amount of the Sum 
which you have lately paid on my Acct. to Mr. Boudinot. 

The inclosed is to Edward (I do not know his Sirname) 90 
who formerly lived with Mr. R.Morris, but now, I am informed, 
keeps the City Tavern, to see if he can be instrumental in pro- 
curing me a House keeper. I beg you to be so obliging as to 
direct, deliver, and consult him on the contents of the letter, 
which is left open for your perusal, and return me an answr. 
as soon as possible. 

The man who at present lives with me in the capacity of a 
Housekeeper (and is a very good one) is bound for the port of 
Matrimony, and will, after 4 or 5 Weeks which he has agreed 
to stay, leave me in a very disagreeable Situation if I cannot get 
supplied in the meanwhile. I give him ^25 this Curry, pr. 
Ann. and a suit of Clothes which cannt. be less than Seven 
pounds more, these, with the difference of Exchange, will be 
equal to abt. ^40 pensa. Cury. This Sum I am willing to give 
to Man, or Woman (the former I would prefer) of good char- 
acter, and really knowing and competent to my purposes. 

I have seen an Advertisement in some of the Philadelphia 
Papers of an Office for this kind of business, but however good 
it may be as a channel for enquiry I would not depend upon it, 
without other testimonials respecting the character and abil- 
ities of an applicant for the final adoption. Mrs. Washington 

90 Edward Moyston. 


joins me in best wishes for yourself, and Mrs. Biddle and 
family. I am etc. 

PS. Since writing the foregoing, I have met with, and now 
inclose you, a bank note for 30 dollars; which please to receive, 
and carry to my credit. [h.s.p.] 


Mount Vernon, August 17, 1785. 

Dear Sir: The Baltimore Advertiser of the 12th. Instt. an- 
nounces the arrival of a Ship at that Port, immediately from 
China; and by an advertisement in the same Paper, I perceive 
that the Cargo is to be sold at public Vendue, on the first of 
Octr. next. 

At what prices the enumerated articles will sell, or the terms 
proposed, can only be known from the experiment; but if the 
quantity at Market is great, and they should sell as goods have 
Sold at Vendue, bargains may be expected. I therefore take the 
liberty of requesting the favor of you, in that case, to purchase 
the several things contained in the inclosed list. 91 

You will readily perceive, My dear Sir, my purchasing, or 
not, depends entirely upon the prices. If great bargains are to 
be had, I would supply myself agreeably to the list. If the 

"This list, in Washington's writing, was inclosed in his letter to Tilghman. It called 
for the purchase of the following articles. Those "marked in the Margin of the In- 
voice" were so marked with a star: 
A Sett of the best Nankin Table China 
Ditto, best Evening China Cups and Saucers 
*A set of large blue and White China Dishes, say half 

a dozn., more or less / 

*i Dozn. small bowls, blue and white. 

*6 Wash hand Guglets and Basons 
6 large Mugs, or 3 Mugs and 3 Jugs. 
A Quartr. Chest, best Hyson Tea. A Leagure of Battavia Arrack if a Leagure is not 
large. About 13 yds. of good bla: Paduasoy. *A ps. of fine Muslin, plain. *i ps. of 
Silk Handkerchiefs. 12 ps. of the best Nankeens. 18 ps. of the second quality, or 
coursest kind, for Servants. 

With the badge of the Society 
of the Cincinnati, if to be had. 


prices do not fall below a cheap retail Sale, I would decline 
them altogether, or take such articles only (if cheaper than 
common) as are marked in the Margin of the Invoice. 

Before October, if none of these Goods are previously sold, 
and if they are the matter will be ascertained thereby, you will 
be able to form a judgment of the prices they will command 
at Vendue. Upon information of which, I will deposit money 
in your hands to comply with the terms of the Sale. 

Since I began this letter, I have been informed that good 
India Nankeens are selling at Dumfries (not far from me) at 
7/6 a ps. this Curry. But if my memory has not failed me, I 
used to import them before the War for about 5/ Sterlg. If so, 
though 50 pr Ct. is a small advance upon India Goods, through 
a British Channel, (with the duties and accumulated charges 
thereon) yet, quaere would not 7/6 be a high price for Nan- 
keens brought immediately from India, exempted from such 
duties and Charges ? 

If this is a conjecture founded in fairness, it will give my 
ideas of the prices of other Articles from that Country, and be 
a government for your conduct therein, at, or before the day 
appointed for the public Vendue, with the highest esteem and 
regard I am etc. C h. s. p. ] 


Mount Vernon, August 20, 1785. 
Sir: By the return of the Brig I was favored with your letter 
of the 1st. of May, with several cases of wine, and a box of 
sundries which came to hand in good order, and I presume are 
of good quality; as the wine which you sent to others is, I 
am informed, much esteemed, my own I have not tasted. I am 
obliged to you for sending these things, the amount shall be 
paid to Colo. Geo: Fitzgerald in a short time. 


For your care of the enclosed letters, I will thank you : the one 
under a blank cover I shall be obliged to you for giving the 
proper address of the Father of Baron de Montesquieu; from 
whom I received a letter, 92 but under such a signature as leaves 
me at a loss how to direct my answer to him. If my letter to 
the Baron is like to subserve the purpose for which it was in- 
tended, it will give me pleasure. 

The small packages which the Marqs. de la Fayette intended 
to send by your Brig, must, I presume, have miscarried between 
Paris and Bourdeau, as his letters to me speak positively as to 
their being sent from the former place. I am, etc. 93 


Mount Vernon, August 20, 1785. 

Sir: By a brig belonging to Mr. Ridout of Bourdeaux, I had 
the honor to receive your letter of the 2d. of May and the Wine 
which accompanied it; which you were so obliging as to send 
me at the request of your worthy son, it came in very good 
order. For this instance of his kind remembrance and your 
polite attention, I pray you to accept my warmest acknowledg- 
ments: my thanks are due also in a particular manner to you, 
Sir, for the walnuts you sent me, which are very fine; and I 
shall endeavour to propagate them in the manner directed by 

I pray you to forward, when you shall find a convenient op- 
portunity, the enclosed letter for the Baron de Montesquieu, 
with assurances of my sincere regard and friendship for him, 
I have the honor, etc. 93 

82 This letter, dated May 2, 1785, is in the Washington Papers, and is signed 

83 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 



Mount Vernon, August 20, 1785. 

Sir: The receiving a letter from you is pleasing, the expres- 
sion of it is flattering; and for the valuable testimony of your 
recollection of me, I pray you to accept my warmest acknowl- 

The bare intimation of your once more making a visit to the 
Land, to the liberties of which your sword has contributed, is 
flattering, and should you realize it, I hope you will consider 
my seat as your head quarters whilst you remain in the United 
States, I can assure you, you would no where meet with a more 
cordial reception, or give more pleasure, as I have ever had a 
high esteem and regard for you : but whether in this town, or 
any other to which you may be called by duty or inclination, 
my warmest wishes shall always attend you, being Dr. Sir 
Yrs., etc. 95 


Mount Vernon, August 22, 1785. 

Sir: Thro' the hands of Mr. Van Berkel, I had the honor to 
receive your letter of the first of March. 

It rests with a General Meeting of the Society of the Cincin- 
nati to admit foreigners as honorary members; tho' it has been 
done by many of the State Societies, where the subject proposed 
was a resident. The general Meeting is triennial, and will not 
assemble again before May 1787; but if my memory serves me, 
there were some particular reasons given at the last, which 
induced a resolution to suspend the further appointment of 

w Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, Marquis de La Brede, grand- 
son of the author of "L'Esprit des Lois." 

85 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


honorary members, as well citizens as foreigners: but if I 
should be mistaken in this, I shall have great pleasure in pro- 
posing you as a member of that body, which have associated 
for the purpose, amongst others, of commemorating the great 
events to which, under providence, they owe the deliverance of 
their country from systematic tyranny. 

With a grateful sense of the flattering expression of your let- 
ter, and with much esteem and regard, I have the honor, etc. 96 


Mount Vernon, August 22, 1785. 

Dr. Sir: Your letter of the first inst: came to this place whilst 
I was absent on a tour up the river, or an earlier acknowledg- 
ment of it shou'd have been sent to you: the inclosure shall, 
either by this or the next post, be sent to Dr. Gordon for his 
information, and that justice may be done to a character so 
deserving American gratitude and the pen of an historian, as 
the Marqs. de la Fayette. 

I am very glad to hear that Congress are relieved from the em- 
barrassment which originated with Longchamp: 97 had the de- 
mand of him been persisted in, it might have involved very 
serious consequences; it is better for the Court of France to be 
a little vexed, than for it to have perservered in the demand of 

As I have ever been a friend to adequate powers of Congress, 
without which it is evident to me we never shall establish a 

On August 22 Washington also wrote briefly to Van Berckel, asking him to for- 
ward this letter, a copy of which is in the "Letter Book" in the Washington Papers. 

97 Chevalier Longchamp. He had assaulted Barbe Marbois in a street in Phila- 
delphia and, although arrested, tried, found guilty, imprisoned, and fined by the Penn- 
sylvania courts, France demanded that he, as a French subject, should be surrendered 
to her and sent to Paris for trial. (See the Journals of the Continental Congress for 
1784 and 1785. 


national character, or be considered as on a respectable footing 
by the powers of Europe, I am sorry I cannot agree with you in 
sentiment not to enlarge them for the regulating of commerce. 
I have neither time nor abilities to enter into a full discussion 
of this subject, but it should seem to me that your arguments 
against it; principally, that some States may be more benefited 
than others by a commercial regulation, apply to every matter 
of general utility; for can there be a case enumerated in which 
this argument has not its force in a greater or less degree ? We 
are either a united people under one head, and for federal pur- 
poses; or we are thirteen independant sovereignties, eternally 
counteracting each other: if the former, whatever such a ma- 
jority of the States as the Constitution 98 points out, conceives 
to be for the benefit of the whole, should, in my humble opin- 
ion, be submitted to by the minority: let the southern States 
always be represented; let them act more in union; let them 
declare freely and boldly what is for the interest of, and what 
is prejudicial to their constituents; and there will, there must 
be an accommodating spirit; in the establishment of a naviga- 
tion act, this in a particular manner ought, and will doubtless 
be attended to. If the assent of nine (or as some propose, of 
eleven) States is necessary to give validity to a Commercial 
system; it insures this measure, or it cannot be obtained: 
Wherein then lies the danger ? But if your fears are in danger 
of being realized, cannot certain provisos in the ordinance 
guard against the evil ? I see no difficulty in this, if the south- 
ern Delegates would give their attendance in Congress, and 
follow the example, if it should be set them, of hanging to- 
gether to counteract combinations. I confess to you candidly, 
that I can foresee no evil greater than disunion than those 
unreasonable jealousies (I say unreasonable, because I would 

""The Articles of Confederation, 


have a proper jealousy always awake, and the United States on 
the watch to prevent individual States from infracting the 
constitution with impunity) which are continually poisoning 
our minds and filling them with imaginary evils to the pre- 
vention of real ones. 

As you have asked the question, I answer, I do not know 
that we can enter upon a war of Imposts with Gt : Britain, or 
any other foreign power; but we are certain that this war has 
been waged agst. us by the former, professedly upon a belief 
that we never could unite in opposition to it; and I believe there 
is no way of putting an end to, or at least of stopping the 
encrease of it, but to convince them of the contrary. Our trade 
in all points of view, is as essential to G: B : as hers is to us; and 
she will exchange it upon reciprocal and liberal terms, if better 
cannot be had. It can hardly be supposed, I think, that the 
carrying business will devolve wholly on the States you have 
named, or remain long with them if it should ; for either G : B : 
will depart from her present contracted system; or the policy 
of the southern States in framing the Act of navigation, or by 
Laws passed by themselves individually, will devise ways and 
means to encourage seaman for the transportation of the prod- 
uct of their respective Countries, or for the encouragement 
of ." But admitting the contrary ; if the Union is considered 
as permanent, (and on this I presume all superstructures are 
built) had we not better encourage seamen among ourselves, 
with less imports, than divide it with foreigners, and by in- 
creasing the amount of them, ruin our Merchants and greatly 
injuring the mass of our Citizens ? 

To sum up the whole, I foresee, or think I do it, the many 
advantages which will arise from giving powers of this kind 
to Congress (if a sufficient number of States are required to 

"Blank in the "Letter Book" in the Washington Papers. 


exercise them) without any evil, save that which may proceed 
from inattention, or want of wisdom in the formation of the 
act; whilst without them we stand in a ridiculous point of view 
in the eyes of the nations of the world with whom we are 
attempting to enter into Commercial treaties, without means 
of carrying them into effect; who must see and feel that the 
Union, or the States individually are sovereigns as best suits 
their purposes; in a word, that we are one nation today, and 
thirteen to-morrow, who will treat with us on such terms? 
But perhaps I have gone too far, and therefore will only add 
that Mrs. Washington offers her compliments and best wishes 
for you and that with great esteem etc. 1 


Mount Vernon, August 22, 1785. 

Dear Sir: In my absence with the Directors of the Potomac 
navigation, to examine the river and fix a plan of operations, 
your favor begun on the 23d. and ended the 31st. of July came 
to this place. 2 I am sorry to hear of your late indisposition, but 
congratulate you on your recovery; hoping the reestablishment 
of your health may be of long continuance. 

The Packet which you were so obliging as to send for me, 
came safe; and I thank you for your care of it, but for want of 
knowledge of the language, I can form no opinion of my own 
of the Dramatic performance of Monsr. Serviteur la Barbier. 3 

1 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

2 Richard Henry Lee's letter of July 23, to which this letter is the reply, says: "Is it 
possible that a plan can be formed for issuing a large sum of paper money by the next 
Assembly? I do verily believe that the greatest foes we have in the world could not 
devise a more effectual plan for ruining Virginia. I should suppose, that every friend 
to his country, every honest and sober man would join heartily to reprobate so nefari- 
ous a plan of speculation." Lee's letter is in the Washington Papers. 

3 Le Barbier, jr. His letter of March 4 is in the Washington Papers, but his drama 
concerning Captain Asgill is not now found therein. Barbier had also sent the 
drama to the President of Congress. 


The current of my information from France is, that the dis- 
pute between the Emperor and Holland will be accommodated 
without bloodshed; but after the explicit declarations which 
have been made on both sides, I do not see how either (espe- 
cially the first) can recede from their claims. To save appear- 
ances, and to let the contending parties down handsomely, say 
some of my letters, is now the greatest difficulty; but all agree 
that a spark may set the whole in flames, indeed, Bavaria it is 
expected will do this. 

It is to be hoped that our Minister at the Court of London 
will bring that Government to an explanation respecting the 
Western Posts, which it still retains on the American side 
the line, contrary to the spirit, if not the letter of the Treaty. My 
opinion from the first, and so I declared it, was that these posts 
would be detained from us, as long as they could be held under 
any pretence whatsoever. I have not changed it, tho' I wish for 
cause to do so, as it may become a serious matter. However 
singular the opinion may be, I cannot divest myself of it: that 
the navigation of the Mississippi, at this time ought to be no 
object with us: on the contrary untill we have a little time 
allowed to open and make easy the ways between the Atlantic 
States and the Western Territory, the obstruction had better 
remain. There is nothing which binds one Country or one 
State to another but interest; without this cement the Western 
Inhabitants (who more than probably will be composed in 
a great degree of Foreigners) can have no predilection for us; 
and a Commercial connexion is the only tie we can have upon 
them. It is clear to me that the trade of the Lakes, and of the 
river Ohio as low as the Great Kanhawa if not to the Falls, may 
be brought to the Atlantic ports easier and cheaper, taking the 
whole voyage together, than it can be carried to New Orleans: 
but once open the door to the latter, before the obstructions are 


removed from the former, let commercial connexions, which 
lead to others, be formed, and the habit of that trade well estab- 
lished, and it will be found to be no easy matter to divert it: 
and vice versa. When the settlements are stronger and more 
extended to the westward; the navigation of the Mississippi 
will be an object of importance; and we shall then be able 
(reserving our claim) to speak a more efficacious language 
than policy, I think dictate at present. 

I never have, and I hope never shall, hear any serious men- 
tion of a paper emission in this State; yet such a thing may be 
in agitation. Ignorance and design are productive of much 
mischief: the first are the tool of the latter, and are often set to 
work suddenly and unexpectedly. Those with whom I have 
conversed on the subject in this part of the State, reprobate the 
idea exceedingly. 

We have lately had the pleasure of Miss Lee's and Miss Han- 
nah's company at this place; they were both well five days ago. 
Mrs. Washington prays you to accept her compliments; and 
with sentiments of great respect, esteem, and regard, I am, &c. 

P. S. Your name, I well remember, stands among those of 
the subscribers, for a share in the Potomac navigation. 4 


Mount Vernon, August 22, 1785. 
Dear Sir: During my tour up the Potomac River, with the 
Directors to examine and to form a plan for opening and ex- 
tending the navigation of it, agreeably to the acts of the Vir- 
ginia and Maryland Assemblies, your favor of the 25th. came 
to this place, with the letters brought by the son of Mr. Adams 5 
from France; for your care of which I thank you. Appropos, 

'From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 
6 John Quincy Adams. 

1785] COINAGE 233 

did you hear him say anything of Hounds which, the Marqs. 
de la Fayette has written to me, were committed to his care ? 6 
If he really brought them (and if he did not I am unable to 
account for the information) it would have been civil in the 
young Gentleman to have dropped me a line respecting the dis- 
posal of them, especially as war is declared against the canine 
species in New York, and they being strangers, and not having 
formed any alliances for self-defence, but on the contrary, dis- 
tressed and friendless may have been exposed not only to war, 
but to pestilence and famine also. If you can say any thing on 
this subject pray do so. 

I thank you for the several articles of intelligence contained 
in your letter, and for the propositions respecting a coinage of 
Gold, Silver and Copper; a measure which in my opinion is 
become indispensably necessary : Mr. Jefferson's ideas upon this 
subject are plain and simple; well adapted, I think, to the na- 
ture of the case, as he has exemplified by the plan. 7 Without a 
Coinage, or without some stop can be put to the cutting and 
clipping of money; our Dollars, pistareens &c. will be con- 
verted (as Teague says) into five quarters; and a man must 
travel with a pair of money scales in his pocket, or run the risk 
of receiving Gold at one fourth less by weight than it counts. 

I have ever been a friend to adequate Congressional powers; 
consequently wish to see the ninth article of the Confedera- 
tion amended and extended : Without these powers we cannot 
support a national character, and must appear contemptable 
in the eyes of Europe; but to you My Dr. Sir, I will candidly 
confess, that in my opinion, it is of little avail to give these to 

"The hounds were taken care of by Dr. John Cochran, while in New York, and sent 
to Mount Vernon in a Captain Packard's sloop. John Quincy Adams had evidently 
found the task of escorting them across the ocean distasteful. Grayson's answer to this 
letter is dated Sept. 5, 1785, and is in the Washington Papers. 

'Jefferson's plan, which used the dollar as the unit and divided it decimally, was the 
one adopted by Congress. 


Congress: the members seem to be so much afraid of exerting 
those which they already have, that no opportunity is slipped 
of surrendering them, or referring the exercise of them, to the 
States individually: instance your late ordinance respecting 
the disposal of the Western Lands; in which no State, with the 
smallest propriety, could have obtruded an interference. No 
doubt but the information of Congress from the back Country 
is better than mine respecting the operation of this ordinance; 
but I have understood from some sensible people therefrom, 
that besides running 8 they do not know where to purchase, 
the Lands are of so versatile a nature, that to the end of time 
they will not, by those who are acquainted therewith, be pur- 
chased either in Townships or by square miles : this, if I recol- 
lect right, was the sentiment I delivered to you on the first 
mention of the matter; but past experience you said was 
brought forward in support of the measure, and appealed to 
for the issue. I submitted therefore to its decision, but still 
retained my opinion of the matter. 

We have got the Potomac navigation in hand: workmen 
are employ 'd under the best manager and assistants we could 
obtain, at the Falls of Shenandoah and Seneca; and I am happy 
to inform you that, upon a critical examination of them by the 
Directors, the manager and myself, we are unanimously of 
opinion that the difficulties at these two places, do not exceed 
the expectations we had formed of them; and that the naviga- 
tion thro' them, might be effected without the aid of Locks: 
how far we may have been deceived with respect to the first 
(as the water, tho' low may yet fall) I shall not decide; but we 
are not mistaken I think in our conjectures of the other. With 
very great esteem and regard, I am, &c. 9 

8 Carelessness of the " Letter Book " recorder. The meaning seems to be that besides 
the difficulty in running boundary lines. 

"From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 




Mount Vernon, August 22, 1785. 

Sir: Both your letters of the 16th. have come safe. As you 
have engaged the clover seed of Mr. Wormeley's manager, I 
will take one bushel of it; tho' I had no idea of giving so high 
a price, as I could have got the same quantity from Philada. 
(I suppose equally good) for half the sum. If you send it to the 
care of Mr. Hartshorne in Alexanda. it will come safe, and 
the sooner it is done the better: pay for it out of the first money 
you receive for any use. 

I am willing to take your Wheat, if it is free from the Fly, 
well cleaned and of good quality; provided it is delivered at 
my Mill, the road to which (by being less used) is better than 
that to Alexandria or Dumfries. My prices are always gov- 
erned by the Alexandria Cash market; for I neither give more, 
nor expect it for less: The price current there at present (ac- 
cording to Richard's Gazette) is five shillings; but the state of 
our Trade at this time is so uncertain, that it is almost impos- 
sible to determine whether it will be more, or less. 

If the present restriction of our commerce continues, the man- 
ufacturing of Wheat must be broken up altogether; as the 
West India markets which afford the greatest demands for our 
Flour, are shut against our Vessels. If you choose to take the 
certainty of five shillings for your wheat, it may be a bargain 
at that, provided you determine immediately: or if you prefer 
to abide by the rise, or fall of the Alexandria market, I am wil- 
ling to do this also, if you will fix a period at which you shall 
determine to accept the price which is then existing; by this I 
mean, (and it is necessary to declare it in order to avoid mis- 
understandings,) that if you should be from the first of Oc- 
tober to the first of April, for instance, in delivering your Crop, 


I shall not think myself under an obligation to allow the highest 
price that may be given within those periods; because the price 
may rise to six shillings, and then fall to five; according to the 
demand arising from circumstances. It would therefore be as 
unreasonable for you to expect that I should give the highest 
price at which wheat had sold within the before mentioned 
periods, as for me to suppose that you ought to take the lowest. 
However, to be more clearly understood (if the price is to 
be regulated by the Alexandria cash market, for I shall not be 
governed by what they offer in goods), it must be the price of 
the day on which you determine to take it: that is, if it should 
start from 5/. and keep rising 'till, by the first of Deer, it had 
reached 6/., and on that day you inform me personally, or by 
letter, that you will take the market price, I shall think myself 
obliged to allow 6/. for your Crop : On the other hand, if you 
expect the price will get higher, and wait for its doing so until 
it falls to 4/., I will pay no more than 4/. for it. 

I have been thus explicit because I dislike disputes and wish 
to avoid them; which makes it necessary to mention another 
case which sometimes happens; and that is, that what a few 
bushels of wheat may sell for; or what a Merchant, when he 
has got a vessel nearly loaded, may give rather than detain her 
at high charges, is not to be considered as the market price. You 
are not in a situation (having your wheat to transport from a 
distant part) to take advantage of the case last mentioned; and 
a few bushels of particular wheat, or wheat for particular uses, 
can have no influence upon the general price which is always 
very well established in a place of such trade as Alexandria. 
After all I confess it would be more agreeable to me to fix a 
price between ourselves: but I cannot at the time exceed 5/. as 
that is the price now current. 

When you come down in Octr. I shall be glad to see you 
here; by that time I expect to have the accounts against my 


Tenants brought into some kind of order. If you could engage 
me about 250 wt. of good fall butter, from such farmers as you 
can depend upon for the quality and their punctuallity. I 
should be obliged to you: if you let me have your wheat, the 
butter may come down occasionally with that. I am, etc. 10 


Mount Vernon, August 29, 1785. 

Sir: Your letter of the 20th. of this month, only came to my 
hands by the last Post, or I would have replied to it sooner. 

I have a room 32 by 24 feet, and 16 feet pitch, which I want 
to finish in stucco; it is my intention to do it in a plain neat 
style; which, independantly of its being the present taste, (as 
I am inform'd) is my choice. The Chimney is in the centre of 
the longest side, for which I have a very elegant marble piece; 
directly opposite thereto is a Venetian window, of equal 
breadth and pitch of the room; on each side of the chimney 
is a door, leading into other rooms, and on each of the short 
sides is a door and window. 

I mention these things that you may be apprized of the sort 
of work; the time it may take you to execute it, and that you 
may inform me upon what terms; and also, if you are inclined 
to undertake it, that you may have leisure to think of a design. 
The season being so far advanced, I had given up the idea of 
doing anything to the room this year; but if I could enter upon 
the work with well founded assurances of accomplishing it 
soon, I am ready and willing to go on with it immediately; 
having by me stucco, and seasoned plank for the floor and 
other parts (if necessary) and good Joiners of my own to 
execute what may be wanting in their way. 

"From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


You will please to let me hear from you without delay on 
this subject, and I pray you to be explicit; because, as I would 
undertake it at once, or not at all this year, I should like to 
know your terms and sentiments precisely, that I may govern 
myself accordingly. I am, etc. 11 


Mount Vernon, August 29, 1785. 

Dr. Sir: Your favor of the 25th. in answer to mine of the 
preceeding week, came safe. At the time I wrote that letter, I 
was uninformed of the circumstances with which you have since 
made me acquainted; however, you will be at no loss from the 
contents of it, to discover that I had in contemplation Bargains, 
which, from the quantity of Goods at Market, scarcity of cash 
according to newspaper Accounts, distress of the Trade, and 
the mode of selling, I thought might probably be obtained: 
but if I am mistaken herein, I shall content myself with the few 
marked articles, or such of them as can be had cheap. Fine 
Jaconette 12 Muslin (apron width) is what Mrs. Washington 
wants, and about five or seven yards would do. As the Arrack 
is in large Casks, and new, I decline taking any. 

If Mr. O'Donnell 13 should feel an inclination to visit this 
part of Virginia, I shall be happy in seeing him : and if, instead 
of furnishing him with a letter of introduction, you should 
change the mode and introduce him in your own propria 
personae, it would add much to the pleasure of the visit. Before 
your letter was received, 14 from my reading, or rather from an 

"From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

12 In the text of this letter, printed in a sales catalogue in 1907-8, this word is 
" Jaccanet." 

"Owner of the ship from India and China, which brought the goods to the port of 

"Tilghman's letter (in the Washington Papers under date of Aug. 25, 1785) de- 
scribed the crew of O'Donnell's ship. 


imperfect recollection of what I had read, I had conceived an 
idea that the Chinese, tho' droll in shape and appearance, were 
yet white. 

I am glad to hear that my packet to Mr. Smith had got safely 
to hand, as there were papers of consequence transmitted. I 
expect some other Documents for my Law suit in the course of 
a few days, from our Attorney General; which I shall take the 
liberty of enclosing to you, to be forwarded to Mr. Smith; and 
as I seem to be in the habit of giving you trouble, I beg the favor 
of you to cause the enclosed to be delivered. I leave it open for 
your perusal, my reason for it is, that thereby seeing my wants, 
you may be so obliging as to let me know your opinion of Mr. 
Rawlins with respect to his abilities and diligence as a work- 
man; whether he is reckoned moderate or high in his charges; 
and whether at this time there is much call for a workman of 
his profession, in Baltimore; for on this I presume his high or 
moderate terms will greatly depend. 

Mrs. Washington joins me in best respects to Mrs. Tilghman, 
and thanks her for her obliging assurance of chusing the ar- 
ticles she wants perfect in their kind. With great esteem and 
regard, I am, etc. 

P. S. Since writing the above Mrs. W n, requests me to 

add, that if any fine thin handkerchiefs with striped or worked 
borders are to be had, she would be glad to get six of them. 15 


Mount Vernon, August 31, 1785. 
Dr. Sir: Your favor of the 21st. ulto. inclosing a letter written 
in behalf of the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of Penn- 
sylvania on the 9th. of July in the preceding year, came to this 

"From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


place in my absence on a tour up the river Potomac with the 
Directors, to examine the obstructions and to point out a mode 
for the improvement and extension of its navigation. 

I am perfectly convinced that if the first institution of this 
Society had not been parted with, 'ere this we should have had 
the country in an uproar, and a line of separation drawn be- 
tween this society and their fellow citizens. The alterations 
which took place at the last general Meeting have quieted the 
clamours which in many of the States were rising to a great 
height; but I have not heard yet of the incorporation of any 
Society by the State to which it belongs, wch is an evidence in 
my mind, that the jealousies of the people are rather asleep 
than removed on this occasion. 

I am always made happy, when I hear that any of my fellow 
labourers have received appointments that may in some meas- 
ure compensate them for their past services and losses in the 
late revolution: I feel it in two respects, first, as it benefits 
the individual, and next, as it is a testimony of public gratitude, 
be assured then My Dr. Sir, that your appointment to the office 
which you now hold 18 gave me much pleasure, as I am told 
the emoluments of it are handsome. My best wishes will ever 
attend you: with sincere esteem and regard, I am, etc. 17 


Mount Vernon, August 31, 1785. 
Dr. Sir: Your favor of the 9th. by Capt. Packard accompany- 
ing the Hounds sent by the Marqs. de la Fayette to your care for 
me, came safely to my hands a few days ago; for the trouble 
you have had with the latter I offer you my thanks; and if any 

"In the Pennsylvania Council of Censors. 

"From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


expences have been incurred previous to their reimbarkation 
at New York, I will pay them upon the first notice. 

I persuade myself you are too well convinced my Dr. Doctor 
of my friendship, and of my inclination to promote your inter- 
est or wishes, to doubt my ready compliance with the request 
of your letter (respecting the office of Continental treasurer) 
if it comported with the line of conduct which I had prescribed 
for my government. But from my knowledge of the composi- 
tion of Congress, the State politics of its members, and their 
endeavors to fill every civil office with a citizen from their own 
State, if not altogether, at least by compromise, that I took up 
an early determination not to hazard the mortification of a 
refusal, or of the passing by my application; by not asking any- 
thing from it, and to this resolution I was further prompted by 
the numberless applications with which it was impracticable, 
and in many instances would have been improper, for me to 
comply. Except in a single one, and that not pointed to any 
office directly, I have never gone beyond the general recom- 
mendation which accompanied my resignation, nor do I be- 
lieve I ever shall. 

Mrs. Washington who does not enjoy good health, presents 
her compliments to, and offers best wishes for Mrs. Cochran 
and yourself to which please to add and accept those of Dear 
Sir etc. 18 


Mount Vernon, August 31, 1785. 
Dr. Sir : In my absence from home on a tour up this river, to 
view the nature of it and to direct the improvements agreeably 
the Acts of Assemblies of Virginia and Maryland; the enclosed 

"From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


memoirs arrived here, covered by a letter, of which the follow- 
ing is an extract, from a member of Congress. 19 

As I am fully persuaded it is your wish to transmit to pos- 
terity a true history of the Revolution, and of course you desire 
to receive every information which will enable you to do jus- 
tice to the principal Actors therein; it cannot be unpleasing 
to you to receive a narrative of unadorned facts which serve to 
bring forward circumstances which, in some measure, may be 
unknown to you : I therefore make no apology for transmitting 
the enclosed; nor shall I do more than hint to you, the pro- 
priety of keeping the Marquis's wishes in this business, behind 
the Curtain; your own good sense must dictate the measure, 
and furnish the reason for it. 

The noble, conspicuous, and disinterested part which this 
Nobleman has acted on the American theatre deserves all the 
gratitude which this Country can render him, and all the eloge 
which the pen of a faithful historian can bestow, with its ap- 
pearing to be the object of his wishes. 

The family is as well as usual; Mrs. Stuart has been sick, but 
is now getting better. Mrs. Washington does not enjoy good 
health, but joins me in best respects to Mrs. Gordon. I am, etc. 20 


Mount Vernon, September i, 1785. 

My dr. Marqs. : Since my last to you, I have been favored with 

your letters of the nth. and 13th. of May by young Mr. Adams, 

who brought them to New York, from whence they came 

safely to this place by the Post : the first is a Cypher; and for the 

"At this point the "Letter Book" has the footnote reference: "See Mr. McHenry's 
Letter to me dated ist. Augt. 1785;" but this letter is not now found in either the 
Washington Papers or the McHenry Papers. 

^From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

1785] FRENCH HOUNDS 243 

communications therein contained I thank you : My best wishes 
will always accompany your undertakings; but remember my 
dear friend it is a part of the military art to reconnoitre and feel 
your way, before you engage too deeply. More is oftentimes 
effected by regular approaches, than by an open assault; from 
the first too, you may make a good retreat; from the latter (in 
case of repulse) it rarely happens. 

It is to be hoped that Mr. Adams 21 will bring the British min- 
istry to some explanation respecting the western posts. Noth- 
ing else can, I conceive, disturb the tranquillity of these States; 
but if I am mistaken in this conjecture, you know my senti- 
ments of, and friendship for you too well to doubt my inclina- 
tion to serve you to the utmost of your wishes, and my powers. 

It gives me very singular pleasure to find the court of France 
relaxing in their demand of Longchamps; to have persisted in 
it would have been a very embarrassing measure to this Coun- 
try under the Laws and Constitution of the Federal Govern- 
ment, and those of the several parts which compose it. 

The Hounds which you were so obliging as to send me ar- 
rived safe, and are of promising appearance; to Monsieur le 
Compte Doilliamson (if I miscall him, your handwriting is to 
blame, and in honor you are bound to rectify the error) ; and 
in an especial manner to his fair Competesse, my thanks are 
due for this favor: the enclosed letter which I give you the 
trouble of forwarding contains my acknowledgement of their 
obliging attention to me on this occasion. 

If I recollect right, the letter which was written by the Mar- 
quis de St. Simon was on the business of the Cincinnati, and 
was laid before the general meeting at Philada. in May 1784; 
consequently, the answer must have proceeded from the So- 
ciety either especially to him, or generally, thro' the Counts de 

21 John Adams. 


Estaing and Rochambeau, who were written to as the heads 
of the naval and military members of that Society in France; 
but as all the papers relative to the business of the Society were 
deposited in the care of the Secretary, General Knox, or the 
assistant Secretary, Williams, 22 1 have them not to refer to; but 
will make enquiry and inform you or the Marqs. de St. Simon 
more particularly of the result. 

Your constant attention, and unwearied endeavors to serve 
the interests of these United States, cannot fail to keep alive in 
them a grateful sensibility of it; and the affectionate regard 
of all their citizens for you. The footing on which you have 
established a market for whale oil must be equally pleasing 
and advantageous to the States which are more immediately 
engaged in that commerce. 

Having heard nothing further of the Jacks which were to 
be sent to me from Spain, and which by Mr. Carmichael's let- 
ter (enclosing one from the Count de Florida Blanca) of the 
3d. Deer, were actually purchased for me at that date, I am at a 
loss to account for the delay, and am apprehensive of some acci- 
dent. Be this as it may, if you could My Dr. Marquis, thro' the 
medium of Admiral Suffrein, or by any other means that 
would not be troublesome, procure me a male or female, or one 
of the former and two of the latter, upon the terms mentioned 
in your letter of the 3d. of May, I should think it a very for- 
tunate event and shou'd feel myself greatly indebted to your 
friendship. The Mules which proceed from the mixture of 
these Animals with the horse, are so much more valuable un- 
der the care which is usually bestowed on draught cattle by 
our Negroes, that I am daily more anxious to obtain the means 
for propagating them. 

^Otho Holland Williams. He was assistant secretary general of the Society of the 


When George returns from the Springs and gets a little 
fixed, I will set him about copying your letters to me, which 
will be better than to hazard the originals at Sea, where an acci- 
dent might occasion the loss of them to both of us. In my last I 
informed you of his intended marriage, which I suppose will 
take place in the early part of next month. 

I should have given an earlier acknowledgment of your let- 
ters of the nth. and 13th. of May aforementioned, had I been 
at home when they came to this place, but at that time I was on 
a tour up this river with the Directors (Johnson, Lee, Fitzger- 
ald and Gilpin) to examine the obstructions, and to fix upon a 
plan of operations; which having done, we commenced our 
labours on the 5th. of last month, under a full persuasion that 
the work will not prove more arduous than we had conceived 
before the difficulties were explored. The James River Com- 
pany, by my last accounts from Richmond, is formed; a meet- 
ing of the members was summoned to be held on the 20th. of 
last month, but what the determinations of it were, I have not 
yet heard; Nor (so barren are the times) have I a tittle of news 
to communicate to you; the several assemblies are in their re- 
cesses but will be addressed I presume at their autumnal meet- 
ings by the commercial interests of the United States to vest 
Powers in Congress to regulate the Trade of the Union which 
they see clearly must be directed by one head in order to obtain 
consistency and respectability at home and abroad. I am, etc. 23 


Mount Vernon, September 1, 1785. 
Sir : I have just received seven very fine Hounds, for which, 
the Marqs. de la Fayette informs me, I am indebted to your 

23 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


goodness. I know not in what terms to acknowledge my grati- 
tude for the obligation, but pray you to be assured that I have 
a due sense of the honor; and feel in a particular manner the 
force of the goodness of Madame la Comptesse, to whom 
the Marqs. adds, I am beholden for a favorite hound. I pray you 
to offer my best respects, and to make my acknowledgment of 
this favor, acceptable to her: at the sametime I beg you to assure 
her that her favorite shall not suffer under my care, but become 
the object of my particular attention. I have the honor, etc. 24 


Mount Vernon, September i, 1785. 

My Dr. Humphreys: In the latter part of July I wrote to you 
very fully, since which I have received your favor of May. As 
nothing has occurred since that period worthy of observation, 
except that the Indians, suposed to be instigated thereto by the 

B are getting more and more out of humour, this letter 

will be shorter than I usually write to you. 

I find by your last that your time has been more occupied by 
your official duty than I had conceived; for, to be frank, I sup- 
posed that amusements more than business had been the occa- 
sion of the brevity of your letters to me. 

The times are dull with us, the Assemblies are in their recess; 
and the Merchants are preparing petitions to them respec- 
tively to enlarge the powers of Congress for Commercial pur- 
poses. In Congress I understand diversity of opinion prevails 
respecting the extent of these powers. They are also deliberat- 
ing on the establishment of a Mint for the Coinage of Gold, 
Silver and copper; but nothing final is yet resolved on respect- 
ing either. Our winter has been severe, but different (in the 

From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


middle States) from the one you last saw in America; it was 
long, wet and disagreeable. We are just emerging from a 
drought which it was supposed eight days ago, would have 
annihilated the Indian Corn in the lower parts of this, and the 
neighbouring States; and tho' it has been raining incessantly 
for several days past, I am of opinion that a great deal of the 
corn is irrecoverably lost for want of the farina (the tassel being 
dry) to impregnate the young shoots. The calamity which 
you apprehended from the drought which had followed the 
hard Winter in France, has yielded I hope, to more pleasing 

I thank you for your attention to the Medal which was voted 
for me by Congress, 25 1 expected it was to have remained on the 
Journals of that honl. Body as a dead letter; and never having 
hinted, so I never intended to hint my knowledge of such a 
Vote; or my apprehension of the effect of it, to any one in 
power or in Office. You may believe me sincere when I assure 
you that I am, etc. 26 


Mount Vernon, September i, 1785. 
Gentn : I am honored with your favor of the 22d. of June. As 
I have been very unlucky hitherto, in the transportation of 
Wine (in the common Craft of the Country) from one port, or 
one from one river to another; I had rather the old Maderia 
ordered by Mr. Hill 28 for my use should remain with you 
(as I am not in immediate want) until a conveyance may 
offer directly to Alexandria. But if this is not likely to happen 
soon, and you should think it safe to Ship it to the address of 

25 On the occasion of the evacuation of Boston in 1776. 
28 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 
"Of Madeira. 
28 Henry Hill, in Philadelphia. 


Doctr. Taylor 29 of Norfolk; I should be glad in that case, to 
have it well secured against adulteration; for I had rather lose 
the whole, than to have part taken out and the deficiency sup- 
plied with water, which is too common a practice with the river 
Shippers. Or if neither of these is done, I would next pray that 
Doctr. Taylor may be requested to detain the Wine in his cellar 
until a conveyance, on which he can rely, may offer to Alex- 
andria, or to my house which is nine miles below on the bank 
of the river. lam, etc. 


Mount Vernon, September 3, 1785. 

Sir: I am now about to inform you of the reason why I suf- 
fered your letter of the 27th. of April, with its enclosures, to 
remain so long unacknowledged. 

In an absence of almost nine years from home, my private 
concerns had got so much deranged, and my accounts and pa- 
pers, by the frequent hasty removal of the latter to get them 
out of the reach of the enemy when their shipping appeared, 
had got into such a jumble and confusion that it was next to im- 
possibility for me, without spending much time, to adjust the 
former : I still hoped however that after awhile I should have 
been able to accomplish it, and that long 'ere this I should 
have sent you a statement of the account as it stands betwen us. 
But reckoning without my host, I have been obliged to hire a 
Clerk to settle all my accounts, and to take this business off my 
hands; as from a variety of circumstances I found it imprac- 
ticable for me to attend to it myself. 

Inclosed is his statement of the account between you and 
me, made out from my books and your return of Sales. The 

28 Dr. James Taylor. 

1785] A FLOUR DEBT 249 

balance from his accot. differs widely from yours; arising first 
from the charge of Jacob Williams's payment of £ 178.9.8. to 
James Hill; whereas ^50. only of that sum, according to Lund 
Washington's accot. (who superintended my business) was re- 
ceived from Williams. Secondly, from £ 123.7.4 l / 2 charged me, 
as paid by Mr. Wm. Holt, of which I have no account. Thirdly, 
between ,£174. charged me as paid to Colo. Lewis, and my 
credit of ,£170 only which was received from him; and lastly, 
from the Debts yet due, amounting pr. your List to ,£175.16.2. 
The three first of these you will please to enquire into; and 
the last, to use the most speedy, and which to you may seem the 
most effectual, means of obtaining them. 

The sum which is in your hands, I could wish to have re- 
mitted, or an order given me on some Gentleman in Alexan- 
dria: Or, which in part would answer my purpose equally, I 
wou'd take one hundred pair of large, strong and well made 
Negro Shoes, provided I could have them at a reasonable price 
and by the 20th. of October; formerly I know these were to be 
had at Norfolk readily; and it is essential for me to know 
immediately, whether, I may depend upon you for them or not. 

The Drought has been so severe in these parts, that my Mill 
was entirely stopped: the rain which has fallen within these 
ten days, has done no more than to enable her to grind for my 
own consumption, when I begin to manufacture I will consign 
you a parcel of superfine flour, as well to try the Norfolk Mar- 
ket, as to prove a new Miller whom I have lately got, and who 
comes well recommended to me from some of the best Judges 
in Pennsylvania. 

If you should be able at any time to put me in a way of secur- 
ing the Debt due to me from Balfour and Baran, 30 it would be 
rendering me a very acceptable service: Without this, or unless 

^Balfour & Barrand, merchants of Hampton, Va. 


some proof could be had (as I believe the fact undoubtedly is) 
of the partnership of these Gentlemen or connexion in this bus- 
iness with Messrs. Hanburys of London, I must loose upwards 
of ^2000 by my sale of Flour to them. 31 With great esteem 
and regard I am, etc. 32 


Mount Vernon, September 5, 1785. 

Sir: I am indebted to you for your several favors of the 20th. 
of Deer, introdultory of Mr. de Chateaufort, 33 of the 15th. of 
Feby. and 25th. of March, which I should not have suffered to 
have remained so long unacknowledged, if anything had oc- 
curred, the relation of which could have compensated for the 
trouble of reading my letter. 

Long as I have waited for such an event, nothing has yet hap- 
pen'd of much importance in our political movements, and the 
Assemblies of the different States being now in their recesses, 
nothing probably will occur 'till they have met. In the mean- 
while the mercantile interest feeling the necessity of giving a 
controuling power to Congress to regulate the trade of this 
Country, have prepared, and are now preparing Addresses to 
their respective Assemblies for this purpose. They are now 
clearly convinced that this power cannot be exercised with pro- 
priety unless one system pervades the whole Union, and is 
made competent to the ends. It has happened in this instance 
as in the revolution itself, that the means which G: B. pursues 
to obtain advantages, defeat her own ends; for I am certain, 
that if she had forborne to tax our trade with those restrictions 
and, imposts, which are laid on it by Acts of Parliament, or 

21 The flour had been furnished in the year 1775. 

32 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

23 French consul for South Carolina. 

1785] INDIAN TREATY 251 

orders of the King in Council, that half a century would not 
have produced those powers in Congress, which, or more than 
probably will be given to them in a few months, and by which 
equal restrictions and duties may be laid; and in the interim, 
sorry I am to add, she would have monopolized in a very great 
degree, the commerce of the United States. 

At length Congress have adopted a mode for disposing of 
the western Lands; but I confess it does not strike me as a very 
eligible one: however mine is only an opinion, and I wish to be 
mistaken in it, as the fund wou'd be very productive and afford 
great relief to the public creditors if the Lands meet with a 
ready sale. 

Treaty has been holden with the Western Indians at Fort 
Mcintosh on the Ohio, (twenty-five miles below Pittsburgh) 
and advantageous terms entered into with those who met, for 
they ceded without any compensation as large a District, North- 
west of that river as we have any occasion for at present: but 
it should seem that others of their respective Tribes are dissatis- 
fied, and keep the settlers of the Western Territory in a state of 
disquietude. This I am persuaded will be the case whilst the 
British retain the Posts within the American lines, and when 
they will be surrendered, is not for me to decide. 

Congress have had also under contemplation a Mint for the 
coinage of Gold, Silver and Copper; a committee has reported 
in favor of the measure, but I believe no ultimate decision is yet 
come to on the subject, by that Honl. Body. 

From the last European accounts we have reason to hope that 
the clouds which seemed to be gathering in your hemisphere, 
will yield to a tranquil sky; and Peace, with all its blessings will 
spread its mantle over the threatened Lands. My first wish is 
to see the sons and Daughters of the World mixing as one fam- 
ily, enjoying the sweets of social intercourse, and reciprocal 


advantages: the Earth certainly is sufficient to contain us all, 
and affords every thing necessary to our wants, if we would be 
friendly and endeavour to accommodate one another. Why 
then should we wrangle, and why should we attempt to in- 
fringe the Rights and properties of our Neighbours ? But lest 
you shou'd suppose that I am about to turn preacher, I will 
only add that, with the highest esteem and consideration, I 
have the honor, etc. 

P. S. I had not the pleasure of seeing Mr. de Chateaufort: 
upon the receipt of your letter of the 20th. of December, en- 
closed to me by that Gentleman from Philada.; I wrote to him 
praying that I might be honored with his company on his way 
to Carolina; but he found it more convenient at that hot season 
to go thither by Sea in the Packett. 34 


Mount Vernon, September 5, 1785. 

Sir: I am sorry the enclosed account should be brought 
against me in my private character: it is a fact which I thought 
had been well known to all the public Departments, and to 
those employed by the public, that expences of the nature of 
Otis and Henley's Accots. (which is for clothing for the ser- 
vants I was obliged to employ in my public character) were 
paid from the public funds. 

If I mistake not Otis & Henley were Agents for the purpose 
of supplying clothing (or materials for it) for the Army; to 
them in this character I apply 'd; and never until the enclosed 
account was presented, had I any other idea of the matter, than 
that the amount had been settled for by them in their public 

34 From the " Letter Book " copy in the Washington Papers. 

On September 5 Washington also wrote a brief acknowledgment to Baron Viomenil 
for his introductory letter to De Chateaufort. A copy of this is in the " Letter Book." 


accounts. As this is not the case, had it been presented to me 
whilst I had authority so to do, I should have ordered the pay- 
master to have discharged it; but as the matter now stands, I 
can do no more than certify that the Goods were receiv'd on 
public account for my use; for I really cannot pay for them out 
of my private purse. It is to be regretted that the matter has 
lain over so long. I am, etc. 


I certify that the Goods which are charged within were re- 
quired on public account to clothe the servants who attended 
me in my public character; and is a proper charge against the 
United States, not against me as a private person, who derived 
no other benefit therefrom. 35 


Mount Vernon, September 5, 1785. 

Dr. Sir: I am your debtor for two letters, one of the 12th. of 
Decemr., the other of the 8th. of April. Since the receipt of the 
first, I have paid my respects to you in a line by a Majr. Swan; 
but as it was introductory only of him, it requires an apol- 
ogy, rather than entitles me to a credit in our epistolary corre- 

If I had as good a nack my dear Marquis, as you have at say- 
ing handsome things, I would endeavor to pay you in kind for 
the flattering expressions of your letters, having an ample field 
to work in; but as I am a clumsy workman in the manufactory 
of compliments, I must first profess my unworthiness of those 
which you have bestowed on me, and my inability to meet you 

35 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


on that ground; and therefore will not expose myself in the 

It gives me great pleasure to find by my letters from France, 
that the dark clouds which hung over your hemisphere, are 
vanishing before the all-chearing Sunshine of peace. My first 
wish is to see the blessings of it diffused through all Countries, 
and among all ranks in every Country; and that we should 
consider ourselves as the children of a common parent, and be 
disposed to acts of brotherly kindness towards one another. In 
that case all restrictions of trade would vanish; we should take 
your Wines, your fruits and surplusage of other articles: and 
give you in return our oils, our Fish, Tobacco, naval stores &ca.; 
and in like manner we should exchange produce with other 
Countries, to our reciprocal advantage: the Globe is large 
enough, why then need we wrangle for a small spot of it ? If 
one Country cannot contain us another should open its arms 
to us. But these halcyon days (if they ever did exist) are now 
no more; a wise providence, I presume, has ordered it other- 
wise, and we must go on in the old way disputing, and now and 
then fighting, until the Globe itself is dissolved. 

I rarely go from home; but my friends in and out of Con- 
gress sometimes tell me what is on the carpet; to hand it to 
you afterwards would be a circuitous mode, and altogether 
idle, as I am persuaded you have correspondents at New York 
who give it to you at first hand, and can relate it with more 
clearness and perspicuity than I can. I give the chief of my 
time to rural amusements; but I have lately been active in in- 
stituting a plan which, if success attends it and of which I have 
no doubt, may be productive of great political as well as com- 
mercial advantages to the States on the Atlantic, especially the 
middle ones; it is the extending and improving the inland 


navigations of the rivers Potomac and James, and communi- 
cating them with the Western waters by the shortest and easiest 
portages and good roads. Acts have passed the Assemblies of 
Virginia and Maryland authorising private Adventurers to un- 
dertake the work; Companies in consequence have been incor- 
porated; and that on this river is begun, but when we come to 
the difficult parts of it we shall require an Engineer of skill and 
practical knowledge in this branch of business; and from that 
Country where these kind of improvements have been con- 
ducted with the greatest success. With every great esteem and 
regard, I have the honor, etc. 36 


Mount Vernon, September 7, 1785. 

My dear Count: Since I had the honor to address you last, I 
have been favored with your letters of the 9th. of Septr. and 
24th. of Feby. The first enclosing a list of the New promotions, 
and additional members of the Society of the Cincinnati as 
consented by the King; for which I thank you, as it will en- 
able me to give answers to those Gentlemen who, unacquainted 
I presume, with his Majesty's pleasure, are still offering to me 
their pretensions to be admitted into this Order. 

Every occasion that assures me of your health, encreases my 
happiness, as I have a sincere respect, and an affectionate re- 
gard for you. My time now, as the Marquis de la Fayette has 
informed you, is spent in rural employments, and in contem- 
plation of those friendships which the revolution enabled me 
to form with so many worthy characters of your Nation, 
through whose assistance I can now sit down in my calm 

38 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


retreat; and under my own Vine, and my own fig tree, enjoy 
those pleasures which are rarely to be found in the more active 
pursuits of life, on a larger theatre. 

I hope the storms which rumbled about you all the Winter, 
and wch. seemed to portend so much mischief, are dispersed; 
and that a tranquil sky has succeeded. Although it is against 
the profession of Arms, I wish to see all the World in Peace. 
How long this blessing may be dispensed to us, I know not, 
the British still hold the Posts upon the Lakes, within the Ter- 
ritory of the United States; and discover no inclination (that 
has come to my knowledge) of giving them up. With respect 
to the Spaniards, I do not think the Navigation of the Missis- 
sippi is an object of great importance at present, when it be- 
comes so, when the Banks of the Ohio are thick settled, and 
when the fertile plains of that Western Country are covered 
with people they will not be deprived of natural advantages. 

I am very thankful for the polite attentions of Madame de 
Rochambeau, to whom I pray you to present my best respects, 
and to any of our worthy compatriots in the late War. Mrs. 
Washington, sensible of your kind remembrance of her, begs 
you to accept her Compliments. With sincere friendship and 
perfect attachment I am etc. 

I take the liberty of putting the enclosed letter under your 
cover as it contains original papers wch. might be a loss to 
Captn. de Pusignan. 37 


Mount Vernon, September 7, 1785. 
Dear Sir: The man who at present lives with me in the ca- 
pacity of a Housekeeper, or Household Steward, will leave me 

37 From the original in the Rochambeau Papers. 


in a day or two; which (until his place can be supplied) will 
throw a great additional weight on Mrs. Washington. I there- 
fore beg, if you, or Mr. Moyston, 38 should have met with a per- 
son whom you think would answer my purposes (as described 
in my former letters) that you would engage him, or her ab- 
solutely instead of conditionally, and send him (or her) abso- 
lutely, instead of conditionally, and send him on by the Stage. 
In the meanwhile, if one should offer to my liking here, my 
engagement shall be conditional. No disappointmt. therefore 
can happen to the person engaged by you. 

Inclosed is a letter to Mr. Frauncis (als. black Sam) late of 
New York, now of some place in the Jerseys. I leave it open 
for your perusal, to be forwarded, or destroyed, as circum- 
stances may require. If you should have succeeded at Phila- 
delphia, or are in the way of doing so, the latter will take place ; 
if not, the sooner it can be got to his hands, the better. My best 
respects, in which Mrs. Washington joins, are offered to Mrs. 
Biddle. I am etc. [h.s.pj 


Mount Vernon, September 7, 1785. 
Sir: As no person can judge better, of the qualifications nec- 
essary to constitute a good Housekeeper, or Household stew- 
ard, than yourself, for a family which has a good deal of com- 
pany and wishes to entertain them in a plain, but genteel style; 
I take the liberty of asking you if there is any such an one 
within your reach, whom you think could be induced to come 
to me on reasonable wages. I would rather have a man than a 
woman, but either will do, if they can be recommended for 
their honesty, sobriety, and knowledge of their profession; 

^Edward Moyston. 


which in one word, is to relieve Mrs. Washington from the 
drudgery of ordering and seeing the Table properly covered, 
and things ceconomically used: nothing more therefore need 
be said to inform you of a character that would suit me, than 
what is already mentioned. 

The wages I now give to a man who is about to leave me in 
order to get married (under which circumstances he would 
not suit me) is about one hundred Dollars pr. annum; but for 
one who understands the business perfectly, and stands fore in 
all other respects, I would go as far as one hundred and twenty 
five dollars. Sometime ago I wrote to Colo. Biddle, and to Mr. 
Moyston (who keeps the City Tavern in Philada.) to try if 
they could procure me such a person as I want; I therefore beg, 
if you know of one that would suit me, and is to be had upon 
the terms above, and who can attend properly to a large family 
(for mine is such, with a good many workmen), that you 
would immediately inform Colo. Biddle of it before any en- 
gagement is entered into by you on my behalf, lest one should 
be provided at Philada. and embarrassments arise from the dif- 
ferent engagements. I am sorry to give you so much trouble, 
but I hope you will excuse it in, Sir Yr. etc. 39 


Mount Vernon, September 8, 1785. 
Sir: I have lately been honored with your favors of the 10th 
and 15th of March. Until the latter explained the mistake of 
the former, I was puzzled to get at the meaning of it; because, 
I did not recollect that I had ever made application to your 
Son for the loan of any money; but since the subject has been 
started, I will take the liberty of pursuing it. 

^From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


I am a member of a Company in this State, who associated 
many years ago for the purpose of reclaiming what is called 
the Great Dismal Swamp near Norfolk. The war gave consid- 
erable interruption, indeed almost put an entire stop to the 
progress of the business; but in May last the members (for the 
first time since the war) had a meeting, and resolved to prose- 
cute the work with vigor: for this purpose they are inclined to 
borrow money on interest; and to import, if they can do it 
upon advantageous terms, a number of Hollanders, or Ger- 
mans, as being best acquainted with the nature of the work; 
which is to drain and bank level, low and wet land, which 
would from its situation, and the quality of its soil, be invalu- 
able if accomplished. 

Individually, the members possess considerable property, as 
a company they have little money at command; but would I 
believe, bind themselves jointly and severally for the repay- 
ment of the principal sum borrowed, in a given number of 
years; and for such interest as may be agreed upon annually: 
and as a collateral security they would moreover, I imagine, 
mortgage the Estate which they are about to improve. 

Under this Statement of the matter, permit me to ask you 
frankly, if four or five thousand pounds could be borrowed in 
Amsterdam; at what interest and for how long a term? and 
whether it is a matter which could be easily accomplished, to 
import about three hundred laborers (a few women among 
them would be no objection), for what time they might be 
engaged and upon what wages? and what expence would 
attend the importation? 

Since my last to you I have had the pleasure of your son's 
company at this place ; he appeared at the time to be in good 
health, and I hope has been able to put your business in this 
Country on a more favourable footing, than your letter of the 


15th. of June last year indicated; in a word, I hope it is placed 
on as good a footing as the nature of the case will admit. I 
have the honor, etc. 40 


Mount Vernon, September 10, 1785. 
Dear Sir : The enclosed was put into my hands yesterday; and 
I take the liberty of forwarding it by the post today, hoping if 
no person is appointed in the place of Mr. Massey, that your 
Excellency for the reason assigned by the Maryland Commrs. 
and on account of the advanced season, will cause it to be done 
as soon as convenient. 41 With very great esteem and respect, 
I have the honor, etc. 40 


Mount Vernon, September 10, 1785. 

Gentn: Your favor of the 30th. ulto. did not reach me until 
the 8th. instant; I went the next day to Alexandria and laid it 
before Colos. Fitzgerald and Gilpin, who with himself, ac- 
ceded fully to the propriety of your proposal of buying serv- 
ants. Of this, the Secretary was directed to inform you; also 
of our sentiments respecting the hire of negroes by the year, 
and to ask your opinion of the number necessary, and of the 
terms on which to employ them. 

Colo. Gilpin has lately seen Mr. Stuart, who informed him 
that fifty hands were then employed at Seneca, and in his 
opinion going on very well until the waters were swelled by 

40 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

41 Henry answered (September 26): "Your Favor covering Mr. Deakins's Letter I 
received this Morning. As soon as Mr. Massey's Resignation was handed to me, the 
Appointment of Mr. Neville was made and sent out to him with a Copy of the Resolu- 
tion of Assembly." Henry's letter is in the Washington Papers. 


1785] THE OHIO LANDS 261 

the late rains. He and I (if I am not prevented by company 
which I have some reason to expect about that time) intend to 
be at Seneca on Wednesday the 21st., and at the Great Falls at 
Eight oclock next morning; where we are to meet Colo. Fitz- 
gerald for the purpose of viewing for our private satisfaction, 
the place talked of for the Canal; and the water between the 
Great and little falls. Mr. Stuart informed Colo. Gilpin that 
he had never seen the Butcher from Fredk. town; nor had he 
received an ounce of provisions from him. 

I am sorry to receive so unfavourable a report from Shenan- 
doah as your letter contains; I hope it will mend, or the cause 
must be removed. If the health of Mr. Johnson, and the cir- 
cumstances of Mr. Lee would permit them to visit that place 
now and then; it would, I am persuaded, have a happy effect: 
the eye of a Director will be of service to the Conductors. 
With very great esteem and regard, I am, etc. 42 


Mount Vernon, September 10, 1785. 

Sir: My last letter to you was so full, that I should not have 
troubled you again at this early period, but to observe as I did 
before, that upon reading the Proclamation which I then en- 
closed (and which I had scarce time to run over before it was 
dispatched), it appeared to me that as it forbid in general 
terms, the settlement of Lands upon the western waters, it 
might be necessary for me to adduce the subsequent Act of the 
King's Governor; by which the military rights under that 
Proclamation were recognized, and exempted from the re- 
striction thereof. Accordingly, I wrote to our Attorney Gen- 
eral Mr. Randolph, for a certified copy thereof; under which 

^From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


the warrants for surveying these claims were directed to be 
issued; but in some measure he misconceived my request. 
However, his answer and reasoning applies with as much force 
to the order of Council, as it does to the instruction which gave 
rise to it; I therefore send his letters with a Certificate of the 
Governor and the seal of the Commonwealth to give validity 
to the Acts wch. have been already forwarded to you from the 
Registers office under the direction of Mr. Harvie. 

My title to the Land in dispute, in my own judgment, is so 
clear, that I can scarce conceive what my opponents will urge, 
that can have the least weight with an impartial Count and 
Jury; but as I apprehend there will be some management in 
obtaining the latter, it may not be amiss to apprize you, that 
from my best information (and a gentleman on whom I can 
depend, told me that he had it from Mr. Prothonotary Scott, 
brother to my principal opponent) a majority of the occupants 
settled on the Land after my Patent had actually issued, and 
consequently in his opinion, could not have the shadow of a 
claim. Putting my military right then, and all the steps which 
were taken in consequence of it, out of the question; my im- 
provement (admitting there never was more than one) which 
stands on the Land to this day, and which was acknowledged 
by themselves to be there when the Defendants first came to it, 
will entitle me, for settlement and pre-emption rights, to 1400 
acres under our Laws, as you may perceive by the authentic 
documents already sent you: and these 1400 acres, without 
the aid of an irregular form and unnatural extension, would 
comprehend James Scott's farm, and I presume all those which 
were seated before I obtained my Patent. It appears to me 
therefore that in one way or other, they must be overthrown. 

It has been reported to me (and as report only I give it) that 
the Defendants are preparing to remove off. Whether, if true, 


the measure proceeds from a conviction of the futility of their 
claim, or that they mean to be prepared against the worst, or, 
as it was said whilst I was out, their only design was to gain 
time, I shall not decide: but be it as it may, as they have with- 
held the Land from me ten or twelve years after all the admo- 
nition I could give, and the favorable offers which have been 
made them, and finally have put me to the expence and trouble 
of bringing and supporting Ejectments, it is my wish and de- 
sire, whether they leave the land voluntarily, or are compelled 
to do so by a course of Law, that you will sue them respectively 
for Trespasses, rents or otherwise as you shall judge best and 
most proper to obtain justice for me. I should be glad to hear 
that this and my former letter had got safe to hand. I am, etc. 43 


Mount Vernon, September 14, 1785. 

Sir: Colo. Wm. Fitzhugh of Maryland has this day requested 
me, to enter his name for one share of the Potomac navigation; 
of which I give you this information: he has also deposited in 
my hands ten pounds for the first and second advances there- 
on; which I will pay you when I come next to town, or to your 
order at any time. 

I should take it very kind of you to forward the enclosed 
letter by the first safe consequence; it contains a summons of 
some consequence to me, I am, etc. 43 


Mount Vernon, September 14, 1785. 
Dear Sir: Mr. Rawlins brought me your favor of the 31st. 
ulto., and I thank you for sending him; he is to furnish me a 

43 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


design for my room, and an estimate of the cost; after which 
I shall be better able to make an estimate of his conscience. 
When Mr. ODonnal 44 has determin'd on his plan, I shall ex- 
pect to hear from you. 

Enclosed is the packet mentioned in my last, for Mr. Smith 
of Carlisle which I pray you to send by a safe rather than the 
first opportunity which may offer to that place. 

With great truth I am, etc. 

P. S. Since writing the above, Mr. Fitzhugh of your State 
has informed Mrs. Washington that there is, or was very fine 
and pretty Dimmity Muslin selling on board the Indian Ship 
at half a dollar pr. yard: if this is now the case, she desires me 
to tell you that she would be much obliged to you for getting 
her two or three pieces. 45 


Mount Vernon, September 16, 1785. 

Dear Sir: It was not in my power to obtain the enclosed in 
time, to forward them by the last mail; but they will, I hope, 
reach you seasonably for your intended meeting on the 26th, 
by the present mail. 

I feel very sensibly, the honor and confidence which has 
been reposed in me by the James river company; and regret 
that it will not be in my power to discharge the duties of the 
office of President of the Board of Directors, with that punctu- 
ality and attention which the trust requires. Every service 
however that I can render, compatible with my other avoca- 
tions, shall be afforded with pleasure, and I am happy in being 
associated in the business with Gentlemen so competent to the 
purposes of their appointment, and from what I have heard of 


45 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

1785] POTOMAC FALLS 265 

the navigation, and seen of the Falls, I think your work may 
be soon and easily accomplished, and that it will be of great 
public utility, as well as private emolument to the subscribers 
when done: for the advantage of both, tho' I believe the busi- 
ness lies in another line, I would earnestly recommend it to you 
to press the execution of the survey between James river and the 
navigable waters of the Kanhawa, and a proper investigation 
of the latter. It will be a source of great commerce with the 
capitol and in my opinion will be productive of great political 
consequences to this country : the business of a similar nature, 
as it respects this river, is at an entire stand. Mr. Massey who 
was first appointed on the part of this State, having declined 
acting; the Maryland Commissioner knows of no other in his 
room, and is unable, tho' ready to proceed. 

Besides what appears in the minutes, which are enclosed, it 
is in contemplation by the Board of Directors of the Naviga- 
tion of this river, to endeavor to hire a number of Slaves next 
year as laborers therein, and as the Great Falls are tremendous, 
and the navigation thereof, in whatever manner it is attempted, 
will require much skill and practical knowledge in the execu- 
tion; we propose, before this is undertaken, to invite a proper 
person from Europe, who has been employed in works of this 
kind, as a superintendant of it: With respect to the other parts 
of the river, tho' what are called the Shanandoah Falls are as 
difficult in my opinion as the Falls of James river, at Westham, 
we seem to have confidence enough in ourselves to undertake 
them; and mean to do so without having recourse to either 
canals or Locks. Thro' all the Falls and rapids above the Great 
jails, we mean to attempt nothing more than to open a strait 
passage to avoid, as much as possible, currents; giving suffi- 
cient depth, and as much smoothness as may be to the surface; 
and if Rumsey's project fails (of which he has not the smallest 


apprehension) to pull the Boats up by chains floated by buoys: 
the latter, when Ice begins to form, may be slipped and thereby 
saved; whilst the former rivoted to rocks at bottom, may re- 
main during the intemperate season undisturbed and without 

Upon an estimate of the expence of those chains and Buoys, 
we (that is, the Directors of the Potomac navigation and my- 
self) are of the opinion, without having an eye to the probable 
advantages which are expected to be derived from Rumsey's 
mechanical discovery, that it will be infinitely less than what 
must arise from cutting canals, building Locks, making track 
paths, &c, as was the design of Ballendine and others; and will 
have this advantage over them, that when once done, that is 
when the passage is opened in a straight direction in the nat- 
ural bed of the river, it is done as it were forever, whereas canals 
and Locks, besides the natural decay of them, are exposed to 
much injury from Ice, drift-wood, and even the common 
freshes; in a word, are never safe where there are such sudden 
inundations and violent torrents, as the rivers in this country 
are subject to. 

It has so happened that Thursday the 22d inst. is a day of my 
own appointing to meet the Directors at the Great Falls of this 
river, for the purpose of examining the place proposed for a 
canal; and the river and ground from thence to tide water, on 
which business I expect to be employed (at least to be from 
home) four or five days. 

Altho' I see no impropriety myself in laying the Proceedings 
of the Potomac Company before the Board of Directors of the 
James river navigation, it being my wish that every intelligence 
which one can give to the other should be mutually afforded; 
yet it is my desire that the act may be considered as transmitted 
for the private information (if it shou'd convey any light) of 
yourself and the Directors. 

1785] WORK ON POTOMAC 267 

We are endeavoring to engage our miners to bore by the 
foot; rather than by the day; but as yet have not agreed with 
any in this way: they ask a shilling, which we think is too 
much to common labourers we pay 40/ per month; and we 
find paying the workmen every fortnight, rather troublesome 
once a month would do better: as they will be frequently mov- 
ing, we have provided Tents as most convenient and least 
expensive, for their accommodation. 

I find I have been under a mistake with respect to the sub- 
scriptions for the James river navigation; I conceived the 
Books were to lie open 'till the general meeting appointed (as 
that for this river was) by law; and if the aggregate amounted 
to more than the sum required by the act, at such meeting they 
were then to be reduced in the manner therein directed. 

The expression of the Law, " the highest point practicable," 
is certainly too indefinite; and in the hurry which the act 
passed, the import of it was not sufficiently adverted to: but 
how far it may be politic for the Potomac Company to meddle 
in the matter, I will not at this moment undertake to decide; 
as the concurrence of two States is required to effect the Alter- 
ation, and as one of them, it is said by those who are unfriendly 
to the measure, has been surprized into it. 

If it would not be too troublesome for your Secretary, it 
would be a satisfaction to me to receive a copy of your proceed- 
ings, With great esteem and sincere friendship, I am, &C. 46 


Mount Vernon, September 18, 1785. 
Sir: I have received two or three letters from you of late. The 
clover Seed which was sent to the care of Mr. Hartshorne I 

^From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


have got, and am obliged by the dispatch with which you have 
sent it. 

The great inattention to my Tenants during the nine years 
that I was absent, and the traffick which they made of my Land 
(expressly contrary to the Tenor of my Leases) renders it next 
to impossible for me without being upon the Land, and obtain- 
ing oral information, to make out the Accts. or discover in 
whose possession the Lotts now are precisely. The best sketch 
I can give, is herewith enclosed; but I do not suppose to be 

The Man from whom you could have obtained the best in- 
formation respecting the Tenants, their arrearages of Rent, 
Transferances, &ca. on that Tract of Land which I hold in 
Ashby's bend (partly in Fauquier and partly in Loudoun Coun- 
ties) was one Lewis Lamart, but he died last Spring, after hav- 
ing Collected some of the Rents for me; to whom to advise you 
in the next place, I am at a loss; Captn. Robert Ashby has a 
pretty good knowledge of some matters, but either he or one of 
his Son's, stands I believe among the list of delinquents, which 
may render his information dubious where his knowledge is 
most perfect. 

Besides the Lotts and Tenants mentioned in the list enclosed, 
there are, or ought to be, several more of the latter on a Tract 
I have on Chattins run of Goose Creek, adjoining Captn. Rob- 
ert Ashby; among whom, I presume the Rectors are. But with 
respect to this Land, I can give less information than on any 
other. Whether any Leases have ever been given, or not, I am 
unable to say. What follows, is taken from a Memorandum 
which I found tied up in the bundle of Leases. 

Memm. March 16th. 1774. 

Agreed with one Thompson for the Land at the upper end of my 

Chattins run Tract; That is to give him a lease for it at the rate of ^5 pr. 


hundd. Acres. He is to have all the Land So. Wt. of the branch which 
runs through the Tract, unless there should be enough for two lotts; in 
which case he is to have but one Lott. Rent to be pd. the 25th Deer. 1777. 
Also agreed to let Edwd. Grymes have the Lott he lives on, extending 
towards Chattins run and Ashbys Mill path for quantity. He also is 
to have a lease, and to pay at the rate of ^5 pr. hundd. acres next 

Also agreed to Lease Enoch Ashby 150, or 200 acs. upon the back line, 
and middle run; he paying at the rate of ^5 pr. hundd. to commence the 
25th. Deer. 1777. 

Also was spoke to for the Lott adjoining this and Edwd. Grymes's, by 
Robt. Ashby for one Richard Watts upon the same terms. 

The foregoing was taken upon the Land at the time I was 
there for the purpose of renting it, but what has happened 
since, as I have observed to you before, I am unable to inform 
you. I am willing to preserve good faith with every Tenant; 
and am ready to fulfil all my engagements with them, not only 
such as are legal and just, but those that are honorable, nay 
more, such as have no other claim but upon my generosity, 
where there shall appear a proper conduct on their part. But 
where you shall find they have taken advantage of me by pay- 
ing paper money when Six pence on a Shilling would pay a 
pound, where they have paid little or no Rents at all, and their 
sole aim seems to have been to make a prey of me, by bartering 
and selling my Land, solely for their own emolument, I should 
have no scruple in any of those cases, or any other, which shall 
appear unjustifiable, to take advantage of the Covenants in the 
Leases where they have been given; and to refuse them when 
they have not, set them aside, and Re-Rent the Land to the 
highest bidder, and best possible advantage to my Interest. 

Enclosed I send you a short power, which may do for the 
present; and when you come down in October it may be en- 
larged, and some further light perhaps, thrown on this busi- 
ness. You will observe that the list inclosed does not include 


the Rents of the present year. Except in cases where the Ten- 
ants are about to remove, and the rents thereby or by other 
means are endangered; I would wish to avoid making distress 
until you have more precise information, and have had an in- 
terview with me in October; for besides the Ballances which 
appear to be due by the inclosed list, many of my Leases require 
an Alienation Rent for every transference; which, at present, 
I have not time to look into; but will prepare by October; at 
which time I will put the Leases into your hands. In the mean- 
while, it would be well for you to examine each Tenant, that 
I may know by what authority he came on the Tenement, 
how far he has complied with the Covenants of the Lease, what 
Transferences have taken place, and what Rents (by their re- 
ceipts, or authentic proofs which no doubt every one of them 
can shew) has been paid. By doing this some line of conduct 
may be adopted which will avoid evil and bad consequences 
either to the tenant or myself. I am etc. 

PS. If you could transmit, previously to your coming down, 
an account of the information you get, on the above points, the 
accts. may be prepared against you arrive here in Octooer. 47 


[September 18, 1785.] 
I do hereby authorize, constitute and appoint Mr. Battaile 
Muse to be collector of my rents in the Counties of Berkeley, 
Frederick, Loudon and Fauquier: and do by these presents em- 
power him to settle with the Tenants, and to make distress for 
the rents on all cases where it shall be found necessary. I also 
empower him to rent any of my Lotts which are now vacant; 

"From a photostat of the original kindly furnished by William Randolph Hearst, 
of New York City. 


and where he shall find the covenants of the Leases which 
have already been granted, unattended to by the Tenants, and 
a disregard of that mutual interest which induced me to dis- 
pose of my Lands on the terms therein mentioned, whereby 
forfeitures are incurred; that he will use every just and proper 
means to set them aside, and rent them to others on the most 
advantageous terms for my use, and in my behalf. 48 


Mount Vernon, September 20, 1785. 

Sir: Your letter of the 24th. ulto. did not get to my hands 
until the 17th. inst: and then came by the Post, for Mr. Jackson 
is an inhabitant of Red Stone, 250 miles distant from me. I am 
obliged to him however for having taken notice of a wish of 
mine which was accidentally expressed before him, more so to 
you for having facilitated it, and particularly so to Mr. Donald- 
son for obliging offering to carry it into effect. 

I have long been convinced, that the bed of the Potomac be- 
fore my door, contains an inexhaustable fund of manure; and 
if I could adopt an easy, simple and expeditious method of 
raising, and taking it to the land, that it might be converted 
to useful purposes. Mr. Donaldson's Hippopotamos 49 goes be- 
yond anything I had conceiv'd with respect to the first; but 
whether the manner of its working would answer my purpose 
or not is the question; by his using a horse, I fear it will not, as 
I shall have to go from one hundred to eight hundred or a 
thousand yards, from high water mark for the mud; tho' I 
believe any quantity may be had at the lesser distance; the 

48 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

49 Noted in Arthur Donaldson's letter to Washington, Oct. i, 1785, with an engrav- 
ing o£ the "Hippopotamos" and an explanation, clipped from The Pennsylvania 
Magazine, which are in the Washington Papers. 


depth of water at the greater will not exceed eight feet, and not 
much swell unless the wind is turbulent. 

Under this information, it would give me great satisfaction 
to have Mr. Donaldson's opinion of the utility of his Hippo- 
potamos for my purposes; as Mud which is many feet deep, 
and soft, is to be raised at a distance from, and to be brought 
to the shore when the tide is up, in vessels which draw but 
little water. And he would add to the favor (if the machine 
is applicable to my wants) by informing me what kind of a 
vessel is necessary for its operation; what would be the cost of 
this vessel, and of the machine I should have to use on it; 
whether by a model the whole could be constructed by in- 
genious workmen here; or whether it must be done under his 
own eye, and in the latter case, what would be the additional 
expence of getting them from Philadelphia to this place. 

The kind offer of Mr. Donaldson, for which I pray you to 
return him my sincere thanks, of furnishing me with a model, 
or other information; and your obliging communication there- 
of has drawn upon you both this trouble; instead therefore of 
apologizing for giving it, I will assure you that I have a grate- 
ful sense of the kindness of you both and am his and your Most 
Obt. &ca. 50 


September 22, 1785. 
Sir: If Mr. Jonathan Johnson will give one hundred Dollars 
per ann: for my tract at the Great Meadows, he may have a 
Lease therefor, for the term of ten years without any other 
conditions annexed than those of reclaiming the Meadow and 
putting the whole under a good fence; leaving it to himself 

""This text is a combination of that found in the "Letter Book" in the Washington 
Papers and one printed in a sales catalogue of 1891, the catalogue being followed 
where it is, obviously, closer to Washington's original. 


to place such buildings on the premises as his own inclination 
may prompt him to. Or, if he will build a dwelling House 
36 feet by 24, with three rooms below and four above, with two 
stone chimneys, and fire places in each room, the House to 
be of hewed Logs or framed work, with glass windows. A 
Kitchen 16 by 20 feet, of the same kind of work with one stone 
chimney; and a Stable sufficient to contain twelve horses con- 
veniently, I will allow him two years of the ten, exempt from 
rent. I am, etc. 61 


Mount Vernon, September 25, 1785. 

Sir: It is not fourteen days since I was honored with your 
letter of the 16th. of last Octr. to what cause the delay is to be 
ascribed I am unable to inform you; but lest this answer with 
the inclosure should meet with any accident, I dispatch it under 
cover to the Count de Rochambeau at Paris. 

I am sorry Sir, it is not in my power to comply with your 
wishes in regard to the Order of the Cincinnati. The institu- 
tion itself points out the different grades of Officers who are to 
be admitted into this Society; and at its last General Meeting, 
the members thereof in France, of which the Counts de Ro- 
chambeau and de Estaing were placed at the head; one in the 
Military, the other in the Naval Line, were empowered to hold 
meetings and to decide upon the Claims of Officers belonging 
to either department in that Country. 

It is there Sir, your pretensions must be offered; and if they 
are not precluded by the determination of your Sovereign, will 
I doubt not, meet with the liberal and favourable interpretation 
to which your merit entitled you. I have the honor to be, etc. 51 

61 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Taper s. 

B2 Capt. Alexandre Cesar de Genevy de Pusignan. He had been lieutenant en second, 
Regiment D'Auxonne, French allied troops. 



Mount Vernon, September 25, 1785. 

Sir: I have been honored with the receipt of your letter dated 
at Paris the 4th. of March; and pray you to accept my thanks 
for those copies of your Dramatic performance 53 which you 
had the goodness to send me, and in which you have made 
such honorable and flattering mention of my name. 

I lament Sir, that my merits are not equal to your praises, 
and regret exceedingly that my deficiency in the knowledge of 
the French language does not allow me to become master 
of the Drama, and of those sentiments which I am told are 
beautifully expressed in it by the author. Upon my gratitude 
you have a large claim for those expressions of esteem with 
which your letter is replete, and which, from a Gentleman 
who professes not to compliment, are the more to be valued. 
I have the honor, etc. 54 


Mount Vernon, September 25, 1785. 
Dear Sir: Amid the public gratulations on your safe return 
to America, after a long absence and the many eminent services 
you have rendered it, for which as a benefited person I feel 
the obligation, permit an individual to join the public voice in 
expressing a sense of them; and to assure you, that, as no one 
entertains more respect for your character, so none can salute 
you with more sincerity, or with greater pleasure, than I do on 
the occasion. With the highest regard and greatest considera- 
tion, I am, &c. 54 

ra See Washington's letter to the President of Congress, Aug. 22, 1785, ante. 
54 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 



Mount Vernon, September 25, 1785. 

Sir: I have had the honor to receive your favor of the 14th. 
from New York. At the moment I congratulate you on your 
late appointment, 55 and this fresh instance of his most Chris- 
tian Majesty's attention to your merits, I cannot but express my 
sorrow that you are so near the eve of your departure from 

I shall remember with pleasure Sir, the friendship you have 
always expressed for me; and with gratitude shall recollect the 
many instances of your partiallity and attention towards me. 
I should receive with great satisfaction the accot. of your safe 
arrival at Hispaniola and of every other event which can be 
interesting and pleasing to you; being with much truth, and 
great esteem and regard Sir Yr. etc. 56 


Mount Vernon, September 25, 1785. 

Dear Sir: Your letter of the 15th. of Augt. from Bath, only 
got to my hands on Sunday last. The one alluded to, of April, 
as giving an acct. of the miscarriage of the Diplomas, 57 and the 
best information you could obtain respecting them, nor any 
other since that which accompanied the Parchments, and wch. 
received an immediate acknowledgement, have reached me 
at all. 

In a word, I never had the least intimation, or knowledge of 
the accident until Major Jacksons 58 Letter (copy of which I 
sent you) was delivered to me. 

^Intendant for Hispaniola. 

M From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

87 Of the Cincinnati. 

58 William Jackson. 


I have since enquired of Colo. Fitzgerald if he could recollect 
in whose care they were placed; his memory he says does not 
serve him on this occasion, but he is sure they were entrusted to 
safe hands, or such as appeared to him at the time to be so. It is 
a little extraordinary therefore that this person, whoever he may 
be, should not have given notice of the loss either to him, from 
whom the parcel was received, or to you to whom it was 

It is to be feared, under these circumstances, that neither the 
Diploma's, or the money advanced for them, will ever be re- 
covered, however, if you conceive that an Advertisement will 
effect any valuable purpose, or be satisfactory to the Gentle- 
men for whose benefit they were designed, you can, as Secre- 
tary, recite the event and request information from any who 
may have it in their power to give it. With great esteem etc. 



Mount Vernon, September 25, 1785. 
Sir: Your kind remembrance of me in a letter of the 15th. of 
July from the Island of Tobago, does me much honor; at the 
sametime that the knowledge of your appointment as Gover- 
nor of that place, and your good health, gave me much pleas- 
ure. I pray you to be assured that nothing which comes from 
Colo. D'Arrot can be considered as a trouble, and that to hear, 
at his moments of leisure, that you are in the enjoyment of per- 
fect health, and the smiles of your Sovereign will always be 
pleasing; as I recollect with gratitude those instances of Men- 
tion with which you have honored me, and the circumstances 
that brought us acquainted. 

09 Rene Marie, Vicomte D'Arrot, Major General and Governor of the Island of 

1785] HOU DON'S ARRIVAL 277 

In the enjoyment of ease and tranquillity, which your sword 
has contributed to procure, I am now seated under my own 
Vine and my own Fig-tree in the occupations of rural life, at 
the Seat which you once honored with your presence, and 
where I should be happy to meet you again. 

At present we have no news that could afford you any enter- 
tainment: these States are in the full enjoyment of peace, and 
nothing, it is to be hoped will disturb the quiet of them. Tho' 
there is something misterious and not easy to reconcile with the 
spirit of the treaty, in the British still continuing their Garrisons 
at the posts of Niagara, Detroit &c. which are on the American 
side of the territorial line, notwithstanding a demand has been 
made of them. 

Mrs. Washington, who remembers with pleasure your call- 
ing here with some Officers of your Legion, thanks you for 
your attention, and prays you to accept her compliments. With 
sentiments of great esteem etc. 60 


Mount Vernon, September 26, 1785. 
Sir: By a letter 61 which I have lately had the honor to receive 
from Dr. Franklin at Philada., I am informed of your arrival 
at that place; many letters from very respectable characters in 
France, as well as the Doctors, inform me of the occasion, for 
which, tho' the cause is not of my seeking, I feel the most agree- 
able and grateful sensations. I wish the object of your mission 
had been more worthy of the masterly strokes of the first Statu- 
ary in Europe; for thus you are represented to me. 

*°From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

a On September 26 Washington wrote briefly to William Temple Franklin, acknowl- 
edging his letter of Sept. 20, 1785. A copy of this letter is in the "Letter Book" in 
the Washington Papers. 


It will give me pleasure Sir, to welcome you to this seat of 
my retirement: and whatever I have, or can procure that is 
necessary to your purposes, or convenient and agreeable to your 
wishes; you must freely command, as inclination to oblige you, 
shall be not found deficient, either on your arrival, or during 
your stay. 

With sentiments of esteem, etc. 62 


Mount Vernon, September 26, 1785. 
Dear Sir: I have had the honor to receive your favors of the 
10th. and 17th. of July which were committed to the care of Mr. 
Houdon; but I have not yet had the pleasure to see that Gentle- 
man. His Instruments and materials (Doctr Franklin informs 
me) not being arrived at Havre when they Sailed he was obliged 
to leave them; and is now employed in providing others at 
Philadelphia, with which he will proceed to this place as soon 
as they are ready. I shall take great pleasure in shewing Mr. 
Houdon every civility, and attention in my power during his 
stay in this Country, as I feel myself under personal obligations 
to you and Doctr. Franklin (as the State of Virginia have done 
me the honor to direct a Statue to be erected to my Memory) for 
havg. entrusted the execution of it to so eminent an Artist, and 
so worthy a character. I have the pleasure to inform you, that the 
subscriptions to the inland Navigations of the Rivers Potomack 
and James require no aid from Foreigners, the product of the 
first when the Books were exhibited at the General Meeting in 
May last, amounted to ^40,300. Sterling, and is since nearly 
compleatedto the full Sum required by Law. That of the latter, 
at the General Meeting in August, were superabundant. The 

62 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


work of the former began the first of August, and is progress- 
ing very well, the latter I am persuaded will do more than keep 
pace with it, as the difficulties are much less. 

I have the further pleasure to inform you (and I should have 
done it long since, had I not supposed that your information 
would have been more full and perfect from some of your friends 
in the Assembly) that a resolution authorizing the Executive 
to appoint Commissioners to explore, and report the best com- 
munication between the Waters of Elizabeth River and those of 
Albermarle passed last Session. That the Commrs. have pro- 
ceeded to the Survey, and have reported in favor of that which 
will pass through Drummonds pond to the Pasquetank; but 
what will be the result I am unable to inform you, as I find by 
some of the principal characters of No. Carolina (Members of 
Congress) who have called here, that jealousies prevail, and a 
powerful opposition will be given to any Water Communica- 
tion between the two States, lest Virginia should derive the 
benefits arising from their Exports &ca. 

I am very happy to find that your sentiments respecting the 
interest the Assembly was pleased to give me in the two naviga- 
tions of the Potomack and James Rivers, coincide so well with 
my own. I never, for a moment, entertained an idea of accept- 
ing; the difficulty which laboured in my mind was how to 
refuse without giving offence. Ultimately I have it in contem- 
plation to apply the profits arising from the Tolls to some 
public use. In this, if I knew how, I would meet the wishes of 
the Assembly; but if I am not able to get at these, my own in- 
clination leads me to apply them to the establishment of two 
charity Schools, one on each river, for the Education and sup- 
port of poor Children; especially the descendants of those who 
have fallen in defence of their Country. 

I can say nothing decisely [sic] respecting the Western Set- 
tlement of this State. The Inhabitants of Kentucke have held 


several Conventions, and have resolved to apply for a Sepera- 
tion. But what may be the final issue of it, is not for me, at this 
time, to inform you. Opinions, as far as they have come to my 
knowledge, are diverse. I have uniformly given it as mine, to 
meet them upon their own ground, draw the best line, and best 
terms we can of seperation and part good friends. After the 
next Session of our Assembly more may be discovered, and 
communicated, and if you should not receive it through a better 
channel, I will have the honor to inform you. 

I am sorry I cannot give you full information respecting 
Captn. Bushnals projects for the destruction of Shipping. No 
interesting experiment having been made, and my memory be- 
ing treacherous, I may, in some measure, be mistaken in what 
I am about to relate. Bushnel is a man of great Mechanical 
powers, fertile of invention, and master in execution. He came 
to me in 1776 recommended by Governor Trumbull (now 
dead) and other respectable characters who were proselites to 
his plan. Although I wanted faith myself, I furnished him 
with money, and other aids to carry it into execution. He la- 
boured for sometime ineffectually, and though the advocates 
for his scheme continued sanguine he never did succeed. One 
accident or another always intervening. I then thought, and 
still think, that it was an effort of genius; but that a combina- 
tion of too many things were requisite, to expect much success 
from the enterprise against an enemy, who are always upon 

That he had a Machine so contrived as to carry a man under 
water at any depth he chose, and for a considerable time and 
distance, with an apparatus charged with Powder which he 
could fasten to a Ships bottom or side and give fire to in a given 
time (Sufft. for him to retire) by means whereof a ship could 
be blown up, or sunk, are facts which I believe admit of little 
doubt; but then, where it was to operate against an enemy, it is 

1785] A SUBMARINE 281 

no easy matter to get a person hardy enough to encounter 
the variety of dangers to which he must be exposed, i from the 
novelty 2 from the difficulty of conducting the machine, and 
governing it under water on Acct. of the Currents &ca. 3 the 
consequent uncertainty of hitting the object of destination, with- 
out rising frequently above water for fresh observation, wch., 
when near the Vessel, would expose the Adventurer to a dis- 
covery, and to almost to certain death. To these causes I always 
ascribed the non-performance of his plan, as he wanted nothing 
that I could furnish, to secure the success of it. This to the best 
of my recollection is a true state of the case. But Humphreys, if 
I mistake not, being one of the proselites, will be able to give 
you a more perfect Acct. of it than I have done. With the most 
perfect esteem etc. 33 


Mount Vernon, September 26, 1785. 

Dr. Sir: Mr. Taylor 84 brought me your favor of the 28th. ulto., 
and I have received your other letter of the 2d. of December; 
for both I thank you, as also for the proceedings of the Mayors 
Court in the case of Rutgars and Waddington which was en- 
closed in the latter. I have read this with attention; and tho' I 
pretend not to be a competent judge of the Law of Nations, or 
of the act of your Assembly, nor of the spirit of the confedera- 
tion in their niceties; yet it should seem to me that the inter- 
pretation of them by the Court, is founded in reason and 
common sense; which is, or ought to be the foundation of all 
Law and Government. 

I am sorry to hear of your long indisposition and repeated 
attacks; it may be well to nurse a little. Disorders oftentimes, 

63 From the original in the Jefferson Papers in the Library of Congress. 
64 George Taylor, jr. 


are easier prevented than cured, and while you are in the way 
to re-establish your health, (on which I congratulate you) it 
is better to use preventatives, than alteratives &c. &c. with which 
the Apothecaries Shops are replete. 

As you are at the source of foreign intelligence, I could only 
reverberate what you have before heard; and having nothing of 
a Domestic kind worth communicating, I shall be rather laconic 
in my perfect address. I enjoy, thank God, very good health, 

but Mrs.W n,is scarce ever well, she joins me in best wishes 

for you, and I am, etc. 65 


Mount Vernon, September 26, 1785. 

Dear Sir: I had just written, and was about to put into the 
hands of Mr. Taylor, 68 (a gentleman in the department of 
the secretary of foreign affairs) the enclosed letter, when I 
had the honor to receive by post your favor of the 20th instant. 
I have a grateful sense of the partiality of the French nation 
towards me, and feel very sensibly the indulgent expression of 
your letter, which does me great honor. 

When it suits M. Houdon to come hither, I will accommo- 
date him in the best manner I am able, and shall endeavour to 
render his stay as agreeable as I can. It would give me infinite 
pleasure to see you. At this place I dare not look for it; though 
to entertain you under my own roof would be doubly grati- 
fying. When or whether I shall ever have the satisfaction of 
seeing you at Philadelphia is uncertain, as retirement from the 
public walks of life has not been so productive of leisure and 
ease as might have been expected. With very great esteem, etc. 65 

85 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 
68 George Taylor. 



Mount Vernon, September 27, 1785. 

Dear Sir: Mr. Taylor presented me the honor of your favor 
of the 25th. ulto., and gave me the pleasure of hearing that Mrs. 
Jay, yourself and family were well when he left New York. 
Upon your safe return to your native Country, after the long 
absence, and important services you have rendered it in many 
interesting negotiations, I very sincerely congratulate you and 
your Lady. It gave me great pleasure to hear of your late ap- 
pointment as Secretary of Foreign Affairs: a happier choice 
in my opinion, could not have been made; and I shall always 
rejoice at any circumstance which can contribute either to your 
honor, interest or convenience. 

Having compleated his mission, Mr. Taylor returns to you 
with the proceedings, and report of the Commissioners who 
were sent into New York to inspect the embarkations; which 
by the by, was little more than a farce, as they inspected no 
more property than the British chose they should be witness 
to the embarkation of. It will always give me pleasure to hear 
from you. Mrs. Washington joins me in most respectful com- 
pliments to, and best wishes for yourself and Mrs. Jay, and I 
am, etc. 67 


Mount Vernon, October 1, 1785. 
My dear Sir: It has so happened, that your letter of the first 
of last month did not reach me until Saturdays Post. You 
know, too well, the sincere respect and regard I entertained for 

"From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


your venerable fathers public and private character, to require 
assurances of the concern I felt for his death; or of that sym- 
pathy in your feelings for the loss of him, which is prompted 
by friendship. Under this loss however, great as your pangs 
may have been at the first shock, you have every thing to con- 
sole you. A long and well spent life in the Service of his Coun- 
try, placed Govr. Trumbull amongst the first of Patriots. In 
the social duties he yielded to none, and his Lamp, from the 
common course of Nature, being nearly extinguished, worn 
down with age and cares, but retaining his mental faculties in 
perfection, are blessings which rarely attend advanced life. 
All these combining, have secured to his memory universal 
respect and love here, and no doubt immeasurable happiness 

I am sensible that none of these observations can have es- 
caped you, and that I can offer nothing which your own rea- 
son has not already suggested on this occasion; and being of 
Sterne's opinion, that "Before an affliction is digested, consola- 
tion comes too soon; and after it is digested, it comes too late: 
there is but a mark between these two, as fine almost as a hair, 
for a comforter to take aim at." I rarely attempt it, nor shall 
I add more on this subject to you, as it would only be a renewal 
of sorrow, by recalling a fresh to your remembrance things 
which had better be forgotten. 

My principal pursuits are of a rural nature, in which I have 
great delight, especially as I am blessed with the enjoyment of 
good health. Mrs. Washington on the contrary is hardly ever 
well, but thankful for your kind remembrance of her, and joins 
me in every good wish for you, Mrs. Trumbull and your family. 
Be assured that with sentiments of the purest, esteem etc. 68 

88 From a photostat of the original in the Washington Papers. 

1785] RELIGIOUS TAX 285 


Mount Vernon, October 3, 1785. 

Dr. Sir: I have this moment received yours of yesterday's date, 
enclosing a memorial and remonstrance against the Assess- 
ment Bill, 69 which I will read with attention. At present I am 
unable to do it, on account of company. The bill itself I do not 
recollect ever to have read: with attention I am certain I never 
did, but will compare them together. 

Altho, no man's sentiments are more opposed to any kind of 
restraint upon religious principles than mine are; yet I must 
confess, that I am not amongst the number of those who are so 
much alarmed at the thoughts of making people pay towards 
the support of that which they profess, if of the denomination 
of Christians; or declare themselves Jews,Mahomitans or other- 
wise, and thereby obtain proper relief. As the matter now 
stands, I wish an assessment had never been agitated, and as it 
has gone so far, that the Bill could die an easy death; because I 
think it will be productive of more quiet to the State, than by 
enacting it into a Law; which, in my opinion, would be im- 
politic, admitting there is a decided majority for it, to the dis- 
quiet of a respectable minority. In the first case the matter will 
soon subside; in the latter, it will rankle and perhaps convulse, 
the State. The Dinner Bell rings, and I must conclude with an 
expression of my concern for your indisposition. Sincerely and 
affectionately, I am Sec. 70 

69 The bill in question was to provide for teachers of the Christian religion in Vir- 
ginia by means of a specified tax, the money to be paid out on order of the vestries, 
elders, etc., of each religious society to a teacher or minister of its denomination. It 
could also be used to provide places of worship. Mason had printed the remonstrance 
against the bill and sent it to Washington, asking him to sign it. Mason's letter (Octo- 
ber 2) is in the Washington Papers, but the remonstrance is not now found therein. 

T0 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 



Mount Vernon, October 3, 1785. 

My Dear Sir: The last Post from Richmd. gave me the pleas- 
ure of your favor of the 9th. from Rosewell. Expressions of 
friendship from good men, and the congratulations of those 
who are not addicted to unmeaning compliments, cannot fail 
to be acceptable. In this light I view and thank you for the 
obliging and endulgent sentiments of your letter, which have 
affected my mind with gratitude and pleasure. 

It will be unnecessary I hope Sir, to assure you of the pleasure 
I shou'd have felt at seeing you and Mrs. Page at Mount Vernon 
on your way to Philada., if you could have made it convenient 
and agreeable to have taken this rout, at all times I should be 
happy to see you here. 

Soon after I returned from Richmond in May last, I spoke 
to a Dutch Merchant in Alexandria on the subject of importing 
Germans; but not receiving any satisfactory information from 
him, tho' he was perfectly willing to oblige, I requested him, as 
he was on the eve of a journey thro' Baltimore to Boston, at both 
which Dutch Houses are established, and in the last he is con- 
cerned, to make every enquiry he could respecting the mode, 
the terms, and practicability of obtaining the number we want : 
but meeting with no precise information here neither, I wrote 
some little time ago to Mr. De Neufville, a Gentleman of very 
respectable character at Amsterdam, with whom I have long 
corresponded, for full information; and to know also, if ^5000 
could be borrowed for the use of the Company on such terms, 
and upon such securities as it proposed to give. Herein also I 
have been unlucky; for soon after I had written and had sent 
my Letter to New York to obtain a passage by the Packet, I 
received an account of this Gentlemans arrival at Boston. These 

1785] A HOLLAND LOAN 287 

delays following the enquiries, which I only considered as aux- 
iliary to those of the Managers, 71 to whom I intended to com- 
municate the result, will be unlucky if they have taken no steps 
in the meanwhile themselves. Would it not be advisable in 
case My good Sir, for you as one of them to go fully into the 
matter whilst you are at Philadelphia, where, it is to be pre- 
sumed the best information on this side the Atlantic is to be 
obtained; and the most likely place to enter into Contracts, 
unless a person in behalf of the Company, should be sent to 
Holland expressly for this purpose; or a gentleman there 
in whom confidence could be placed, would undertake it. 
But unless Mr. Anderson should succeed in negotiating the 
loan he was requested to obtain, or the like sum could be bor- 
rowed in Holland, we shall be without funds to carry the Plan 
into effect, and consequently cannot advance beyond the limits 
of enquiry, or preliminary agreement. 

Mrs. Washington joins me in respectful compliments to Mrs. 
Page, who we hope will reap all the benefits which are expected 
from the change of climate. With very great esteem etc. 72 


Mount Vernon, October 5, 1785. 
Madam: It gives me pain to find that the letter which I had 
the honor of writing to you on the 30th. of March last, in ac- 
knowledgement of the Poem you had the goodness to send 
me thro' the hands of Mr. Vogels, should never have reached 
you. I now enclose a copy of it, presuming that the origi- 
nal must have miscarried; occasioned by addressing it to that 

71 Of the Potomac Navigation Co. 

72 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

On October 3 Washington wrote a brief letter of acknowledgment to Charles 
William Frederick Dumas, at the Hague. A copy of this letter is in the "Letter 
Book" in the Washington Papers. 


Gentleman at Philadelphia, when possibly he might not have 
been in this Country. 

I have now to acknowledge the receipt of your obliging let- 
ter of the ioth. of April, with the Duplicate of the above Poem, 
for which I thank you, and can only repeat to you my wish, 
that the subject of it was more deserving of your lays. I pray 
you to have the goodness to offer my compliments to Mr. Van 
Winter, and to be assured of the respect and esteem with which, 
I am, etc. 73 


Mount Vernon, October 7, 1785. 

My Dr. Sir: Your Letter of the 19th. of May was brought to 
this place by Mr. Houdon, who arrived here the 3d. of this 
month. I delay no time to acknowledge the receipt of it, and to 
thank you for the several communications you have had the 
goodness to make me. 

You are too well acquainted with my wishes for every thing 
which can promote your interest, honor, or happiness, to sup- 
pose that I did not rejoice at the prospect of your being ap- 
pointed to the command of a Corps; which is agreeable to your 
own inclination, and which suits your talents : every thing which 
gratify's the first, and favors the latter, I sincerely wish you may 

At present everything in America is tranquil, and I hope will 
long remain so. It is not our interest to seek new broils, and I 
hope our neighbours will not commence them. It is not a little 
misterious however, that the Western Posts, on the American 
side the territorial line, should still be possessed by British Gar- 
risons: the mistery, it is to be presumed, will now soon be 

73 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. The text varies slightly 
from that printed in the Journal of American History, 1930. 
"Marquis de La Rouerie. 

1785] LACK OF WISDOM 289 

explained; as an American Minister has been received at the 
Court of London. 

I never expect to draw my sword again: I can scarcely con- 
ceive the cause that would induce me to do it; but if, contrary 
to all expectation, such an event should take place, I should 
think it a fortunate circumstance, and myself highly honored, 
to have it supported by yours. My time is now occupied by rural 
amusements, in which I have great satisfaction; and my first 
wish is, altho' it is against the profession of arms and would 
clip the wings of some of you young soldiers who are soaring 
after glory, to see the whole world in peace, and the Inhabitants 
of it as one band of brothers, striving who should contribute 
most to the happiness of mankind. 

Mrs. Washington, thankful for your kind remembrance of 
her, desires me to present her compliments to you. It is unneces- 
sary to assure you of the high esteem etc. 75 


Mount Vernon, October 7, 1785. 

Dear Sir: The assurances of your friendship, after a silence of 
more than six years, are extremely pleasing to me. Friendships, 
formed under the circumstances that ours commenced, are not 
easily eradicated; and I can assure you, that mine has under- 
gone no diminution; every occasion, therefore, of renewing it, 
will give me pleasure, and I shall be happy at all times to hear 
of your welfare. 

The war, as you have very justly observed, has terminated 
most advantageously for America, and a fair field is presented 
to our view; but I confess to you freely, My Dr. Sir, that I do 
not think we possess wisdom or Justice enough to cultivate it 

75 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


properly. Illiberality, Jealousy, and local policy mix too much 
in all our public councils for the good government of the Union. 
In a word, the confederation appears to me to be little more than 
a shadow without the substance ; and Congress a nugatory body, 
their ordinances being little attended to. To me, it is a solecism 
in politics: indeed it is one of the most extraordinary things in 
nature, that we should confederate as a Nation, and yet be afraid 
to give the rulers of that nation, who are the creatures of our 
making, appointed for a limited and short duration, and who 
are amenable for every action, and recallable at any moment, 
and are subject to all the evils which they may be instrumental 
in producing, sufficient powers to order and direct the affairs of 
the same. By such policy as this the wheels of Government are 
clogged, and our brightest prospects, and that high expectation 
which was entertained of us by the wondering world, are turned 
into astonishment; and from the high ground on which we 
stood, we are descending into the vale of confusion and darkness. 

That we have it in our power to become one of the most re- 
spectable Nations upon Earth, admits, in my humble opinion, 
of no doubt; if we would but pursue a wise, just, and liberal 
policy towards one another, and would keep good faith with 
the rest of the World : that our resources are ample and encreas- 
ing, none can deny; but while they are grudgingly applyed, or 
not applyed at all, we give a vital stab to public faith, and shall 
sink, in the eyes of Europe, into contempt. 

It has long been a speculative question among Philosophers 
and wise men, whether foreign Commerce is of real advantage 
to any Country; that is, whether the luxury, effeminacy, and 
corruptions which are introduced along with it; are counter- 
balanced by the convenience and wealth which it brings with 
it; but the decision of this question is of very little importance 
to us : we have abundant reason to be convinced, that the spirit 


for Trade which pervades these States is not to be restrained; it 
behooves us then to establish just principles; and this, any more 
than other matters of national concern, cannot be done by thir- 
teen heads differently constructed and organized. The neces- 
sity, therefore, of a controuling power is obvious; and why it 
should be withheld is beyond my comprehension. 

The Agricultural Society, lately established in Philadelphia, 
promises extension usefulness if it is prosecuted with spirit. I 
wish most sincerely that every State in the Union would insti- 
tute similar ones; and that these Societies would correspond 
fully and freely with each other, and communicate all useful 
discoveries founded on practice, with a due attention to climate, 
soil, and Seasons to the public. 

The great works of improving and extending the inland 
navigations of the two large rivers Potomac and James, which 
interlock with the waters of the Western Territory, are already 
begun, and I have little doubt of their success. The conse- 
quences to the Union, in my judgment are immense: more so 
in a political, than in a commercial view; for unless we can 
connect the new States which are rising to our view in those 
regions, with those on the Atlantic by interest, (the only bind- 
ing cement, and no otherwise to be effected but by opening such 
communications as will make it easier and cheaper for them to 
bring the product of their labour to our markets, instead of go- 
ing to the Spaniards southerly, or the British northerly), they 
will be quite a distinct people; and ultimately may be very 
troublesome neighbours to us. In themselves considered merely 
as a hardy race, this may happen; how much more so, if linked 
with either of those powers in politics and commerce. 

It would afford me great pleasure to go over those grounds 
in your State with a mind more at ease, than when I travelled 
them in 1775 and 1776; and to unite in congratulating on the 


happy change, with those characters, who participated of [sic] 
the anxious moments we passed in those days, and for whom I 
entertain a sincere regard; but I do not know whether to flatter 
myself with the enjoyment of it: the deranged state of my af- 
fairs, from an absence and total neglect of them for almost nine 
years, and a pressure of other matters, allow me little leisure for 
gratifications of this sort. Mrs. Washington offers her compli- 
ments and best wishes to Mrs. Warren, to which be pleased to 
add those of, dear Sir, &c. 78 


Monday, October 10, 1785. 

Genl. and Mrs. Washington present their compliments to 
Colo, and Mrs. Blackburne; are much obliged to them for their 
kind invitation to the Wedding 77 on Thursday. They would 
attend with pleasure, but for the indisposition of the latter; and 
the particular engagements of the former which confine him 
at home this week, and oblige him to attend the Board of Direc- 
tors at Georgetown, the Great Falls, &c. the beginning of next. 

The Genl. and Mrs. Washington will always be happy to see 
the young couple at Mount Vernon. 76 


Mount Vernon, October 16, 1785. 
Sir : It is sometime since I wrote in very great haste an answer, 
or rather an acknowledgement of your letter of the 9th. of June. 
I will now by Mr. Craig, 78 endeavour to be more explicit than I 
was, or could be at that time. 

™From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 
17 Of Bushrod Washington and Julia Ann Blackburn. 
78 William Craik (Craig). 

1785] HIS MILL 293 

With regard to my Lands on the Ohio and Great Kanhawa, 
I am not yet inclined to relax from the terms of my printed 
Advertisement, with a copy of which I furnished you: When I 
see cause to do it, you shall be duly advertised of the change: in 
the meantime, if you could discover the most advantageous 
terms which could be obtained, and would advise me thereof, 
I should be obliged to you. As to the Great Meadow tract, you 
may rent it on the best terms you can, not exceeding ten years 
from the first day of January next. 

My sentiments with respect to the Mill were so fully given 
to you in my last (by Dr. Knight) 79 that it is unnecessary to 
add aught on that score now. It has cost me too much already 
(without any return) to undergo a repetition of the like ex- 
pence. If you cannot rent or sell her as there directed, let her 
return to dust, the first loss may be best. 

I informed you in my last, and I presume you were convinced 
of it before, that I made no agreement with the Tenants on the 
tract near you, which could exonerate them from paying the rents 
which were then due; consequently they must be made to pay 
them; otherwise the most deserving of favor (by having paid) 
are on a worse footing, than the least deserving who ought to 
have paid before I went into the country and explained the 
terms on which I had directed them to be let. 

With respect to Mr. Simpsons quitting the Tenement, I ob- 
served to you in my last; that when I ma\e a bargain I consider 
it, to all intents and purposes, as binding on me; consequently 
that it is so on the person with whom it is made. He may well 
remember, that upon his expressing an idea that he would try 
the place one year on the rent it now goes at, I told him explic- 
itly he must take it for the period on which it was offered, or not 
at all; as I did not intend to go thro' the same trouble every year 

78 Dr. John(?) Knight. 


by making an annual bargain for it; and that he acquiesed 
thereto. It behooves him therefore, and the Tenant likewise, to 
consider what they are about, as one or the other will be liable 
to me for the rent, agreeably to the tenure of the Lease. I in- 
formed you in my last what had been done with the accounts 
which were put into my hands by him and Mr. John Jones, and 
requested him to assign the certificate which I then enclosed, 
and to return it to me; but have heard nothing from him since 
on the subject, which is a little surprizing. 

I hope the Hay, Corn and other articles have been sold 'ere 
this, and that you have received the Cash for them, or good 
security for the payment of the amount of them. 

If Mr. Simpson, contrary to his agreement and good faith, 
should have moved off my Land; I am at a loss to decide what 
had best be done with my negroes. It was in consideration of 
his taking the Plantation, that I agreed to let him have the 
negroes so cheap: If he is gone, or going from it, he shall hold 
them no longer on the same terms he has them this year: but 
my wish would be that you could send them to me at this place, 
if the measure can be reconciled to them. Simon's countrymen, 
and Nancy's relations are all here, and would be glad to see 
them; I would make a Carpenter of Simon, to work along with 
his shipmate Sambo. At any rate I will not suffer them to go 
down the river, or to any distance where you cannot have an 
eye over them. 

What Capt : Crawford did upon my Land on Shirtee in order 
to save it, must undoubtedly be well known to those who were 
most intimately connected with him and his movements at that 
period. Mr. Chas. Morgan is as likely to possess this knowledge 
as any other; but certainly there must be more, and it may be 
essential to find them out and to call upon them as evidences 
in the cause. 

1785] CARE OF BAGGAGE 295 

In a former Letter I informed you that I had obtained a 
Patent for the round Bottom; and that it might be rented on 
the same terms with my other Lands on the Ohio and Great 
Kanhawa; and I repeat it in this, lest a miscarriage should have 

When I was out last fall, I left all my Baggage at Mr. Simp- 
son's, viz, Tents, Bedding and many other things; of which 
I hope proper care have and will be taken, if he has, or is about 
to leave the place. Among other Articles there were two eight 
gallon Kegs of West India rum, one of them of the first quality. 
As this is a commodity which is subject to a variety of accidents 
and misfortunes, I request it may be sold : I will take my chance 
to procure more when I may come into that Country; which, 
at present, is uncertain. If the Tents and bedding should get 
wet, and are not dryed, they will be ruined; and therefore pray 
that particular attention may be paid to them, my Canteens, 
travelling Trunk &c. &c. 

If you have received and paid anything on my account since 
I was out; it may be well to render a statement of it by Mr. 
Craig, who will offer a safe and good opportunity to remit what 
cash may be in your hands consequent of the sales of last fall 
or by other means, after you have deducted your commissions. 
If the Bonds which were taken at that time are not paid agree- 
ably to the terms of them, delay no time to recover the money 
as soon as you can; as I am not inclined to be put off with 
unmeaning promises, and obliged to sue at last. 

If my negroes are to come down, the sooner it could happen 
the better for the young ones: and a careful person should be 
hired to take care of them. In this case I would wish to have 
my Baggage (except the Liquor) sent to me at the same time, 
one trouble and expence would serve both purposes, I am, etc. 80 

80 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 



Mount Vernon, October 16, 1785. 

Sir: Your letter of the first inst. did not reach my hands until 
last night, or I would have replied to it sooner. 

I am much obliged to you for the Model of your Hippopota- 
mus, and the information which accompanied it, I have a high 
expectation of its answering very valuable purposes, if the mud, 
in the beds of our Rivers, is of that fertilizing nature which the 
appearance indicate; of which I mean to make a full experi- 
ment upon a small scale this fall, having the command of a flat 
bottom Boat, a scow, with which I can get out as much as will 
try the effect of different quantities upon small squares of ex- 
hausted Land, in all points similar, If the quantity of mud 
which shall be found necessary from this essay to dress land 
properly, when added to the expense of the Machine for raising 
it, bringing it to the Land, cartage, &c &c does not come too 
high, I should certainly adopt the measure next year, and will 
then avail myself of the kind offer you have made me, In the 
mean while, I pray you to accept my thanks for your politeness 
in this instance. 81 


Mount Vernon in Virginia, October 26, 1785. 
The bearer Mr John Fairfax is sent by the subscriber to Bos- 
ton for a Jack Ass; of the arrival of which at that place he is 

81 The text is from that printed in a sales catalogue in 1891. 

On October 21, at Alexandria, Va., Washington wrote the following certificate for 
former Lieut. Thomas Pool, of the Second Continental Dragoons, to Pool's petition 
to the Continental Congress, Sept. 29, 1785: "The above certificate of Colo. Hamilton, 
contains all and precisely what I know and believe respecting the allegations of Mr. 
Pool. With respect to the Sum, or Sums which he may have received from me, I am 
unable at this time and place to certify with any degree of certainty, but believe as he 
was early confined to the Provost at New York that it did not exceed ten or twelve 
Guineas." The petition, with Hamilton's and Washington's certificates, is in the 
Papers of the Continental Congress, no. 42, vol. 6, fols. 318-328. 


advised; and where a second is also expected on his account 
from Spain. With both of these if the second is arrived, and 
their dispatch as the nature as the case may admit. But as sick- 
ness, accident or other unadvoidable delay may impede the 
journey and cause him to require aid to prosecute, the sub- 
scriber would esteem it as a favor done him by any who shall 
render it; and will thankfully repay any advance or expence 
which may be incurred. 82 


Mount Vernon, October 26, 1785. 

You will proceed in the Stage from Alexandria to Boston, 
without losing a day that can possibly be avoided; and when 
arrived at the latter place, deliver the Letter herewith given 
you to the Honr. Thos. Cushing, Lieut: Governor of the State 
of Massachusetts, who resides in the town of Boston, and whose 
directions you are to follow. 

The intention of your going thither is, to bring one, perhaps 
two Jack asses, which have been imported for me from Spain: 
a Spaniard 84 is arrived with, and attends the first; and prob- 
ably if the second is arrived, 85 there will be one with him 
also: one, or both of these men, according to the instructions 
they may have received in Spain, or agreeably to the directions 
you may receive from the Lieut : Governor, are to come on with 
you and the Jacks. 

^From a copy kindly furnished by Roy B. Cook, of Charleston, W. Va. It was 
addressed to Tench Tilghman, Robert Morris, at Philadelphia; Elias Boudinot, at 
Elizabeth Town; Governor Clinton or Henry Knox, at New York; and Jeremiah 
Wadsworth, at Hartford. 

88 An overseer at Mount Vernon. 

84 Pedro Tellez. 

^In the Washington Papers, under date of Aug. 8, 1785, is the invoice of the ship- 
ment of one jackass, 44 Spanish inches high, in the Ranger, Job Knight, master, from 
Bilboa to Gloucester [Massachusetts]. 


As you will have to ride back, and as this will be the case also 
with the Spaniards, (if there are more than one), Horses, if it is 
thought improper to ride on the Jacks, will be to be bought, 
and as females will answer my purposes best, I desire you to 
buy mares: let them be young, sound and of good size, as I 
propose to put them to the Jacks in the season for covering: 
Lieut: Govr. Cushing will furnish you with money, and aid 
you with his advice in this purchase; as also to defray your 
expenses in returning. 

You know too well the high value I set upon these Jacks, to 
neglect them on the road in any instance whatsoever; but if the 
one which is now at Boston, and the other if it arrives in time, 
should come on under their proper keepers, your business will 
then be to see that every thing necessary is provided, leaving the 
management of them to the Spaniard or Spaniards who will 
attend them, and who best know how to travel and feed them. 
See however (if their keepers are drunken and neglectful) that 
due attention and care are bestowed on these animals. 

As I do not mean to be at the expence of hiring and bringing 
on an Interpreter (altho' neither of the Spaniards should speak 
English) you would do well before you leave Boston, where by 
means of one you can communicate your sentiments to each 
other, to settle all the necessary points for your journey: that is, 
your hour for setting out in the morning, which let be early; 
taking up in the evening, number of feeds in the day, and of 
what kind of food : also the kind and quantity of Liquor that 
is to be given to the Spaniards in a day. In this govern your- 
self by the advice of the Lieut: Governor. I would not debar 
them of what is proper; any more than I would endulge them 
in what is not so. Be attentive to the conduct of these men, as 
from their good or bad dispositions I shall be enabled to judge 


whether to keep one of them or not; if either shou'd incline to 
stay in the Country with the Jacks. Having settled the principal 
points with them before you leave Boston, you will easily under- 
stand each other in smaller matters by signs, 'till you return to 
New York; where by means of the Spanish Minister's attend- 
ants, you may if necessary, settle a fresh plan. 

Not expecting that you will travel back faster than the Jacks 
can walk, it is possible you may reach New York before you 
take a halting day; which, if not too far, would be best, as here 
probably the Spaniards will require it, on account of meeting 
their Countrymen in the family of Mr. Gardoqui, the Spanish 
Minister: however, if they think a halt sooner is necessary, you 
must be governed by their opinions, as the Jacks must not be 
hurt by travelling them too fast, or improperly. 

Let the Jacks be put separate and with no other creatures, 
lest they should get kicked, and hurt themselves or hurt others; 
and if it is necessary they should be cloathed, (which you must 
know before you leave Boston) provide Blankets or such other 
cloathing as their keepers think best, at that place. 

Keep an exact account of your expences from the time you 
leave home until you return to it again; remembering that Dol- 
lars in the States of Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and part 
of New Jersey, pass at 7/6.; bordering on New York, and in 
that State for 8/., and in all the New England Governments 
at 6/. as in Virginia, all other silver, and gold, in that proportion. 

Altho' I do not think there is any probability of the Jack, or 
Jacks having left Boston before you will arrive there; yet at, and 
after you leave the City of New York, it may be well to enquire 
now and then along the road, whether this may not have taken 
place; the circumstance of which will be very notorious if it 
has happened. For this reason, if there is a Stage which passes 


thro' Hartford in Connecticut, and so along the post road to 
Boston; it will be better to pursue this rout than to go by the 
Stage-boat from New York to Providence. 

As soon as the Stage gets to its Quarters at night, immediately 
engage your passage for the next day, lest you may be too late 
and thereby detained a day or two for its return. Make use of 
the State Waggons, the Stage Coaches are too expensive. 

As soon as you get to Boston, write to me, or get somebody to 
do it, by the Post, informing me whether there are one, or two 
Jacks; in what condition they are, with other particulars, and 
when you expect to commence your journey back. 86 


Mount Vernon, October 26, 1785. 

Dear Sir: The last Post gave me the honor of your favor of 
the 7th.inst: for which and your care of the Jack and his Keeper, 
I pray you to accept my grateful thanks. 

As the Jack is now safely landed, and as I am unwilling to 
hazard him again at Sea, I have sent a man in whom I can 
confide, to conduct him and the Spandiard to this place by 
Land. The person I send has not the smallest knowledge of the 
Spanish language, consequently there can be little communica- 
tion between him and the Spaniard on the road; but if there 
is a convention established, by means of an Interpreter at Bos- 
ton, and essentials well understood by the parties before they 
commence their journey; there will not be such an occasion for 
an Interpreter on the road, as to be a counterprize for the ex- 
pence, as Mr. Fairfax whom I send will be both guide and 
paymaster, leaving nothing for the Spaniard to do but to be 

88 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. The original was said to 
be in the possession (1930) of Dr. P. T. B. Shaffer, of Elizabeth, Pa. 


attentive to the animal. The hour for starting in the morning 
and putting up in the evening, and feeding in the meantime 
being fixed : the halting days, and kind of food for the Jack 
and manner of treating the Spaniard settled and clearly under- 
stood; will remove all difficulties of consequence on the road, 
at least 'till they get to New York, where by means of the Span- 
ish Minister's attendants an explanation of them, if any then- 
be, may enable the parties to pursue the rest of their journey 
with more ease. 

As I expect two Jacks it would give me great pleasure if 
the second should have arrived; that one trouble and expence 
might serve both. Mr. Fairfax, the bearer of this, goes from 
hence to Boston in the Stage, and will have to buy a horse to 
return home upon. I prefered this method on account of the 
dispatch with which he would reach Boston, and because 
the whole journey might be too much for one horse taken from 
hence, to perform in a short time. If the Jack is led, two horses 
will be wanted, and if two Jacks are arrived, three may be neces- 
sary. These uncertainties, and the danger of trusting a large sum 
in specie to a man who has not been much accustom'd to the 
care of it, tho' perfectly honest, have induced me to request 
the favor of you to obtain from any of the Merchants in Boston 
who have dealings in, and who may want to make remittances 
to Alexandria, as much money as will make these purchases, 
and defray the expenses of the Men and Horses back to me; the 
Bill, for the amount of which, shall be paid at sight; as also 
the charges which Mr. Peace may have against me, the cost of 
getting him from Gloucester to you, and such other expences 
as may have arisen during their stay in Boston, in short the 
whole. Mr. Fairfax has directions with respect to the kind of 
horses I want, and will take your advice how to procure them 


on the best terms, as well as in all other matters, for the favor 
of which I shall be much obliged to you. Mrs. Washington 
joins me in respectful compliments to Mrs. Gushing, your son 
and daughter; and with great esteem and regard, I have the 
honor, etc. 87 


Mount Vernon, October 29, 1785. 

Dear Sir: Inclosed I give your Excellency the trouble of re- 
ceiving an Official letter from me, which I beg the favor of you 
to lay before the General Assembly. 

Your letter of enclosing the appointment of Colo. 

Neville, in the room of Majr. Massey, came duly to hand; and 
the latter was forwarded by a safe conveye. 

I have never yet seen the report of the Commissioners for 
examining the best course for a cut between Elizabeth River 
and the Waters of No. Carolina. Your Excellency was so good 
as to offer me a copy of it, but the matter has either slipped your 
memory, or the letter which contained it has miscarried. With 
respectful compliments, in which Mrs. Washington joins me, 
to Mrs. Henry, and with very great esteem and regard, I have 
the honr. etc. [h.s.p.] 


Mount Vernon, October 29, 1785. 

My Dr. Sir: Receive my thanks for your obliging favor of 

the 20th., with its enclosure, of the latter I now avail myself 

in a letter to the Governor, for the General Assembly. Your 

delicate sensibility deserves my particular acknowledgements: 

87 From the "Letter Book." copy in the Washington Papers. 


both your requests are complied with, the first, by congeniality 
of sentiment; the second because I would fulfill your desire. 

Conceiving it would be better to suggest a wish, than to 
propose an absolute condition of acceptance; I have so ex- 
pressed myself to the Assembly, and shall be obliged to you, not 
only for information of the result, but (if there is an acquies- 
cence on the part of the Country) for your sentiments respecting 
the appropriations; from what may be said upon the occasion, 
you will learn what would be most pleasing, and of the greatest 
utility to the public. 

By Colo. Henry Lee I sent you the reports of the Secretary 
for foreign affairs on the Consular Department. I hope you 
have received them. 

With every sentiment of esteem, etc. 88 


Mount Vernon, October 29, 1785. 
Sir: Your Excellency having been pleased to transmit to me 
a copy of the Act 89 appropriating to my benefit certain shares 
in the companies for opening the navigation of James and 
Potomac rivers; I take the liberty of returning to the General 
Assembly, thro' your hands, the profound and grateful ac- 
knowledgments inspired by so signal a mark of their benefi- 
cent intentions towards me. I beg you Sir, to assure them, that 
I am filled on this occasion with every sentiment, which can 
flow from a heart warm with love for my Country, sensible to 
every token of its approbation and affection, and solicitous 
to testify in every instance a respectful submission to its wishes. 

83 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

^The Assembly forthwith passed an act that the shares with the tolls and profits 
should stand appropriated to such objects of a public nature as Washington should so 
deed during his life or direct by his last will and testament. A certified copy of this 
act is in the Washington Papers, under date of Oct. 17, 1785. 


With these sentiments in my bosom, I need not dwell on the 
anxiety I feel in being obliged in this instance to decline a favor 
which is rendered no less flattering by the manner in which it 
is conveyed, than it is affectionate in itself. In explaining this 
observation I pass over a comparison of my endeavors in the 
public service with the many honorable testimonies of appro- 
bation which have already so far over rated and over paid 
them; reciting one consideration only which supersedes the 
necessity of recurring to every other. 

When I was first called to the station with which I was hon- 
ored during the late conflict for our liberties, to the diffidence 
which I had so many reasons to feel in accepting it, I thought 
it my duty to join a firm resolution to shut my hand against 
every pecuniary recompense. To this resolution I have invari- 
ably adhered, and from it (if I had the inclination) I do not 
consider myself at liberty now to depart. 

Whilst I repeat therefore my fervent acknowledgments to 
the legislature for their very kind sentiments and intentions 
in my favor, and at the same time beg them to be persuaded 
that a remembrance of this singular proof of their goodness 
towards me, will never cease to cherish returns of the warmest 
affection and gratitude, I must pray that their Act, so far as it 
has for its object my personal emolument, may not have its ef- 
fect; but if it should please the General Assembly to permit 
me to turn the destination of the fund vested in me, from my 
private emolument, to objects of a public nature, it will be 
my study in selecting these to prove the sincerity of my grati- 
tude for the honor conferred on me, by preferring such as may 
appear most subservient to the enlightened and patriotic views 
of the Legislature. With great respect etc. 90 

"From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 



Mount Vernon, October 30, 1785. 

My dear Humphreys: Since my last of the 1st. of September 
I have received your favour of the 17th. of July, which was 
brought to this country by Mr. Houdon ; to whom, tho I had no 
agency in the matter, I feel great obligations for quitting France, 
and the pressing calls of the Great Ones to make a bust of me 
from the life. I am not less indebted to the favourable opinion 
of those who you say are anxious to perpetuate my name, and to 
be acquainted with the memoirs of my life. So far as these are 
connected with the history of the revolution, and other public 
documents, they may easily be got at; all beyond these is, I con- 
ceive very unimportant. My letter of the 25th. of July which I 
presume you have received long 'ere this (but for fear of a mis- 
carriage having a rough copy by me, I send you a duplicate) 
will have conveyed my sentiments so fully that I shall add 
nothing further on the subject at this time, than to assure you 
that I was then, and am still perfectly sincere in the proposal it 

I am very much obliged to you for the poem you sent me, I 
have read it with pleasure, and it is much admired by all those 
to whom I have showed it. 

Nothing has happened since my last; nor is it probable any 
thing interesting will happen until the different Assemblies 
convene. Congress as usual, are proceeding very slowly in their 
business, and shameful as it is, are often at a stand for want of a 
sufficient representation. The States have been addressed by 
them on the subject, but what will be the effect I know not. To 
me there appears such lassitude in our public Councils as is 
truly Shocking; and must clog the wheels of Government; 


which under such circumstances will either stop altogether, or 
will be moved by ignorance or a few designing men. 
With every sentiment of esteem etc. 91 


Mount Vernon, November i, 1785. 
Dear Sir : After I had written to you on Saturday, I saw Lund 
Washington, who informed me that he had seen you the day 
before, and understood from you that it would not be conven- 
ient for you to spare your Scow until next week, as your letter 
to me says it may be had tomorrow I fear, in order to accomo- 
date me, you have been induced to put your self to an incon- 
venience. To prevent which, I give you the trouble of this letter, 
as it would give me real concern if this were to be the case. The 
difference to me is very trifling whether I get it this week or 
next; I therefore beg that you would make the time perfectly 
suitable to your own business, and let me know it, to which I 
will conform, thankfully. 

I am much obliged by the assurance of procuring me a level, 
and shall depend upon it. and am very much so for your kind 
offer to come down and put me in the best mode of getting up 
Mud; which may facilitate my experiments greatly. With great 
esteem and regard I am etc. 92 


Mount Vernon, November 2, 1785. 
Dear Sir: I have had the honor to receive your favor of the 
10th. ulto. together with the wheat from the Cape of Good 

81 The text is from the Washington-Humphreys copies in the American Antiquarian 
Society, Worcester, Mass., furnished through the kindness of R. W. G. Vail, librarian. 
92 The original is in the John Hay Library, Brown University. 


Hope; which you were so obliging as to send me by the Revd. 
Mr. Griffith; for both I thank you. The latter shall have a fair 
trial in the same inclosure with some presented to me by Colo. 
Spaight, (a Delegate in Congress from No. Carolina) which 
had been planted, and had obtained a vigorous growth before 
yours came to hand. This also was from the Cape, and brought 
probably by the same Vessel. I sowed it in Drills two feet apart, 
and five inches asunder in the rows, to make the most I could 
of it by cultivation in the Spring: this method will in my 
opinion be more productive than Mr. Bordeley's. It ought to 
be so indeed, as the expence of ground is much greater, and the 
workings will probably be oftener. 

I pray you to present my best wishes and most respectful com- 
pliments to Mrs. Powel, to which please to add, and to accept 
yourself those of Mrs. Washington. I have the honor, etc. 93 


Mount Vernon, November 5, 1785. 
Dr. Sir: Pursuant to the request of your last letter (dated 
about the middle of Septr.) I had an attested copy of the pro- 
ceedings, of the Potomac Company, and those of the Directors, 
taken from their Books and sent it to you by Post, in time for 
the Meeting which was proposed to be held by the Directors 
of the James river navigation on the 26th. of that month in 
Richmond; and requested, if it should be agreeable, to have 
a copy of your proceedings sent me in return. Having heard 
nothing from you since, and having experienced many in- 
stances of inattention and neglect in the Post Offices ; I now take 
the liberty of enquiring whether my letter written as above has 

03 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


reached you. If it has not I will send another copy, tho' it will 
not come so seasonably as the first. My best respects to your 
Lady, and with very great esteem and regard, I am, etc. 94 


Mount Vernon, November 8, 1785. 

My Dr. Marqs: Having written fully to you about the first 
of Septr.; and nothing having occurred since worth reciting, I 
should not have given you the trouble of receiving a letter 
from me at this time, were it not for the good opportunity 
afforded me by Captn. Littlepage, and my desire not to suffer 
any of your letters to remain long by me unacknowledged. 

I have now to thank you for your favors of the 9th. and 14th. 
of July; the first by Mr. Houdon, who stayed no more than a 
fortnight with me; and to whom, for his trouble and risk in 
crossing the Seas (altho' I had no agency in the business) I feel 
myself under personal obligations. The second giving an ac- 
count of your intended tour, which, if compleated in the time 
you propose, will exhibit a fresh instance of the celerity of your 
movements. My good wishes have attended you thro' the whole 
of it; and this letter I hope will find you arrived at Paris in good 

Doctr. Franklin has met with a grateful reception in Pennsyl- 
vania. He has again embarked on a troubled ocean; I am per- 
suaded with the best designs, but I wish his purposes may be 
answered, which, undoubtedly are to reconcile the jarring in- 
terests of the State. He permitted himself to be nominated for 
the City of Philadelphia as a Counsellor, a step to the chair, 95 

94 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

On November 6 Washington wrote a brief note of introduction for Noah Webster 
to the Governor, President of the Senate, and Speaker of the House of Delegates of 

95 Of President of Pennsylvania. 

1785] A TUTOR NEEDED 309 

wch. no doubt he will fill; but whether to the satisfaction of 
both parties is a question of some magnitude, and of real impor- 
tance to himself, at least to his quiet. His Grandson 98 shall 
meet with every civility and attention I can show him, when 
occasions offer. 

One of my Jack's is by advices, arrived at Boston; but I still 
adhere to the request contained in my last, if you can have it 
complied with without much difficulty. 

Your old aid George has taken to himself the wife of his 
choice: the honey moon is not yet passed; when that is over, I 
will set him about copying your Letters. I add no more at pres- 
ent, but the sincere and affectionate regard which I bear to you, 
and in which Mrs. Washington and all here join; as we do in 
respectful compliments and best wishes for Madame de La- 
fayette and your little flock. It is unnecessary to tell you how 
much I am, &c. 97 


Mount Vernon, November 10, 1785. 

Sir: I rely more upon your goodness than on any just claim I 
can have for your excuse, for the liberty I am about to take with 

I have a little boy something turned of four, and a girl of six 
years old living with me, for whom I want a Tutor. They are 
both promising children, the latter is a very fine one, and altho' 
they are of an age when close confinement may be improper; 
yet a man of letters, most of composition, and a good accompt- 
ant, would in other respects be essentially useful to me for a 
year or two to come. May I ask you therefore Sir, if it is in your 

88 William Temple Franklin. 

97 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


power, conveniently, to engage a person of this description 
for me? 

Having already informed you what my wants are, it is need- 
less to add what those of the children must be ; your own judge- 
ment, when I inform you that I mean to fit the boy, in my 
own family, for a University, will point these out. The greater 
the knowledge of his preceptor is, the better he would suit. To 
teach French grammatically is essential, as it is now becoming 
a part of the education of youth in this Country. 

I could not afford to give more than ^50 Sterlg. pr. ann: but 
this sum, except in the article of cloathing,wou'd be clear, as the 
Gentleman would eat at my table; and have his lodging and 
washing found him; and his Linen and stockings mended by 
the Servants of my Family. It may happen that an Episcopal 
clergyman with a small living, and unencumbered by a family 
may be had to answer this description, such an one would be 
preferred; but I except none who is competent to my purposes, 
if his character is unimpeached. 

I will make no apology to you Sir, for this liberty, you will 
oblige me if you can serve me; but I do not mean to put you to 
much trouble to do it. At any rate let me entreat an acknowl- 
edgement of this letter, with your sentiments upon it; as I shall 
remain in a state of suspence until I hear from you. I am, etc. 98 


Mount Vernon, November 10, 1785. 
My Dear Sir: Inclosed you have a copy of my last; since 
which nothing has occurred worthy of observation, except that 
in this part of the Country our Crops, particularly of Indian 

88 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


Corn, have suffered exceedingly by a drought in July and Au- 
gust, and a storm in September. 

As I am in the habit of giving you trouble, I will add a little 
more to what my last, I fear, may have occasioned. 

The two youngest children of Mr. Custis : the oldest a girl of 
six years, the other a boy a little turned of four live with me. 
They are both promising children; but the latter is a remark- 
able fine one and my intention is to give him a liberal educa- 
tion; the rudiments of which shall, if I live, be in my own 
family. Having premised this, let me next, my good Sir, ask if 
it is in your power conveniently, to engage a proper preceptor 
for him ? at present, and for a year or two to come, much con- 
finement would be improper for him; but this being the period 
in which I should derive more aid from a man of Letters and an 
accomptant than at any other, to assist me in my numerous 
correspondences, and to extricate the latter from the disordered 
state into which they have been thrown by the war, I could use- 
fully employ him in this manner until his attention should be 
more immediately required for his pupil. 

Fifty or Sixty pounds Sterling pr. ann. with board, lodging, 
washing and mending, in the family, is the most my numerous 
expenditures will allow me to give; but how far it may com- 
mand the services of a person well qualified to answer the pur- 
poses I have mentioned, is not for me to decide. To answer my 
purposes, the Gentleman must be a Master of composition, and 
a good Accomptant : to answer his pupil's, he must be a classical 
scholar, and capable of teaching the French language gram- 
matically : the more universal his knowledge is, the better. 

It sometimes happens that very worthy men of the Cloth 
come under this description; men who are advanced in years, 
and not very comfortable in their circumstances : such an one, 


if unencumbered with a family, would be more agreeable to 
me than a young man just from college ; but I except none of good 
moral character, answering my description, if he can be well 

To you my Dr. Sir, I have offered this my first address; but 
if you should think my purposes cannot be subserved in your 
circle, upon the terms here mentioned; I beg, in that case, that 
you will be so obliging as to forward the enclosed letter as it is 
directed." This gentleman has written to me upon another 
subject, and favored me with his lucubrations upon Education, 
wch mark him a man of abilities, at the same time that he is 
highly spoken of as a teacher, and a person of good character. 
In Scotland we all know that education is cheap, and wages 
not so high as in England: but I would prefer, on acct. of the 
dialect, an Englishman to a Scotchman, for all the purposes I 

We have commenced our operations on the navigation of this 
river; and I am happy to inform you, that the difficulties rather 
vanish than increase as we proceed. James river is under simi- 
lar circumstances; and a cut between the waters of Albemarle 
in No. Carolina, and Elizabeth river in this State, is also in con- 
templation, and if the whole is effected, and I see nothing to 
prevent it, it will give the greatest and most advantageous in- 
land Navigation to this Country of any in the Union, or I be- 
lieve, in the world: for as the Shannondoah, the South branch, 
Monocasy and Conogocheague are equally capable of great 
improvement, they will no doubt be immediately attempted; 
and more than probable a communication by good roads will 
be opened with the waters to the Westward of us; by means of 
the No. Branch of Potomac, which interlocks with the Cheat 
river and Yohoghaney (branches of the Monongahela) that 

"See Washington's letter to George Chapman, Nov. 10, 1785, ante. 


empty into the Ohio at Fort Pitt. The same is equally practi- 
cable between James river and the Green briar a branch of the 
Great Kanhawa, which empties into the same river 300 miles 
below that place; by means whereof the whole trade of that 
Territory which is now unfolding to our view, may be drawn 
into this State, equally productive of political as commercial 

As I never ride to my plantations without seeing something 
which makes me regret having continued so long in the ruin- 
ous mode of farming, which we are in; I beg leave, tho' I am 
persuaded it will give you trouble, to recall your attention to 
the requests of my former letter, the duplicate of which you 
now have. Miscarriages, and where this is not the case, delays 
of letters must be my apology for reiterating the matter, that 
there may be time for decision, before the intervention of 
another year. 

The marriage mentioned in my last is celebrated, but a fit of 
the gout prevented Colo. Bassett from being at it, consequently 
I am to lay a little longer out of your kind present. Mrs. Wash- 
ington who has very indifferent health, joins me in the sin- 
cerest and best wishes for every blessing which can be bestowed 
on Mrs. Fairfax and yourself. With great esteem, &c. 

P. S. Since writing the above and foregoing I have seen Mr. 
Battaile Muse who looks after your Estate; and upon enquiry 
of him, am authorized to inform you that your negroes, and 
everything under his care are tolerably well, and your prospect 
of a crop midling, which is saying a good deal this year. 

I have the pleasure also to inform you that your Brother and 
his family were very well a few days ago when I was there, 
attending the business of the Potomac company at the Great 

Your Sister and Family are likewise well. I saw her three 
oldest daughters last week, the elder of them, Milly, is on the 


eve of matrimony with a Mr. Ogden Throckmorton, a match 
not very agreeable, it is said, to her friends, and kept off by Mrs. 
Bushrod 'till her death which happened some three or four 
months ago but now is yielded to by her Parents. 1 


Mount Vernon, November n, 1785. 

My Dr. Sir: I pray you to accept my thanks for your favor of 
the second, and for the present which it announced; than 
which nothing could be more acceptable, as I am desireous of 
getting into a stock of Deer with as much expedition as the 
nature of the case will admit. But if the Doe you offer me is 
not inconvenient to yourself; I shou'd be glad if she could re- 
main at Chatham until a small paddock which I intend to 
enclose this Winter for the reception of these animals, is railed 
in, when I will fall upon some method, least liable to accidents, 
to bring her up. 

I congratulate you on your success on the Falmouth turf. 
Our old acquaintance Saml. Gallaway retired from the Alexa. 
races, and from the pomps and vanities of this World almost 
in the same instant, having taken his departure for the imper- 
vious shades of death as soon as he got home. 

My respectful compliments, in which Mrs. Washington, are 
offered to Mrs. Fitzhugh. I am, etc. 1 


Mount Vernon, November 11, 1785. 
My Dr. Sir: I was at the point of sealing the dispatches here- 
with enclosed, when I reed, a visit from a Gentleman of New 

'From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


England, and happening to mention my want of a person for 
the purposes recited in my letter to you of yesterday's date, he 
seemed to think that such a character as I have there described, 
might be had from their Colleges upon very moderate terms, 
and promised to make enquiry, and to advise me of the result 
in a little time after his return. 

The intention therefore of this letter is to request that the 
enclosure for Mr. Chapman may be detained in your hands 
until you hear further from me on this subject. But I would 
wish, notwithstanding, that you would do me the favor to ex- 
tend your enquiries, and revolve characters in your own mind, 
against I shall hear from my New England correspondent that 
in case of a disappointment there, and I am not sanguine in 
my expectations from that quarter, I may be advanced in this 
business on your side the Atlantic. 

With the greatest esteem, etc. 2 


Mount Vernon, November 18, 1785. 

Sir: I have had the honor to receive your favor of the 19th. of 
August from Madeira, accompanied by a box of Citron, Lem- 
ons and Onions; for which I pray you to accept my grateful 

If a favourable opportunity should offer directly to this River, 
at a proper season of the year, you would encrease the obliga- 
tion you have already laid me under, by sending me a few 
slips of the Vines of your best eating Grape; and a young fig 
tree or two. 

From my esteem for your father, and the good opinion I have 
always heard expressed of you, it gives me pleasure to learn 

2 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


that you are appointed by Congress Commercial Agent for the 
United States, and I wish you may long continue in the Office to 
the mutual satisfaction of yourself and employers. I am, etc. 3 


Mount Vernon, November 18, 1785. 

Sir: I have had the honor to receive your favor of the 25th. of 
Septr. by Mr. Corbett. I am at a loss to express my sense of the 
great attention of Mr. Vaughan (your good father) to me, or of 
the obliging manner in which you have executed his request. 
The Puncheon of rum is safe arrived, and I pray you to accept 
my acknowledgement of, and to offer my thanks for it to your 
generous parent: I wish I had something more agreeable to 
present him. 

I pray you to accept a dozen barrels of the Superfine flour 
which I make at my Mill. The quality of it is generally es- 
teemed, and I hope what I now send will not discredit the mart. 

It is to be regretted that Countries which could mutually 
assist and benefit each other; and which have a disposition to 
do, shou'd be prevented by an interposing power: but this 
being the case, I despair of seeing any change in the political 
system until G: B. is convinced by experience, that the con- 
tracted and illiberal policy she is now pursuing has recoiled 
upon herself. In the meantime it is to be lamented that any 
of her distant Dependencies should suffer from the effect of 
such ill judged regulations. 

Being now fixed under my own Vine, and my own Fig tree, 
it would give me great pleasure to entertain you in the shade of 
them : there to assure you of the esteem and regard with which, 
I have the honor, etc. 

8 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 



P. S. The flour intended for your use is branded on the head 
of the Cask G. Washington Bur Superfine and marked and 
numbered on the side S. V. — No. i — 12. 4 


Mount Vernon, November 18, 1785. 

Sir: Since my last, I have been favored with your Letter of 
the 3d. of July, accompanied by patterns of the Irish flag; but 
as the prices were not annexed, I could form no judgment, nor 
make any choice from a comparison thereof with those of 
the former : nor indeed is it now essential, as the one I had fixed 
upon in my last, is cheaper I presume than either of the present 
samples wou'd be, and will answer my purposes equally well. 
I hope too the former are in forwardness, and that I may expect 
them soon, at any rate before the season for laying them shall 
advance upon me. 

Inclosed I send you a Bill on London for fifty pounds sterling 
towards payment for these Flags; and will follow it with an- 
other to the full amount as soon as I am informed of the cost 
of them. 

I acquainted you in my last that the House Joiner whom 
you sent me, answered my expectations fully. He is a good 
workman and a sober well behaved man. I am thankful to you 
for making so advantageous a choice; but as there seems to be 
a difficulty in obtaining a Brick layer, and indeed a risk attend- 
ing it which I was not acquainted with at the time I applied to 
you to procure these artizans for me, I now wish you to decline 
all further enquiries after one. 

I pray you to present (when opportunity offers) my respects 
to your father; and to be assured yourself of the esteem and 
regard with which I am, etc. 4 

4 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 



Mount Vernon, November 20, 1785. 

Dear Lund: I know as little of G: Ws. 5 plans or wishes as 
you do, never having exchanged a word with him upon the 
subject in my life. By his Advertisemt. and from what has fre- 
quently dropped from Fanny, he is desirous of getting a place 
in this Country to live at. 

Before their marriage he and Fanny were both told that it 
would be very agreeable to Mrs. W. and myself, that they 
should make this House their home 'till the squalling and 
trouble of children might become disagreeable. I have not re- 
peated the matter since, because it was unnecessary, an offer 
once made is sufficient. It is hardly to be expected that two 
people young as they are, with their nearest connexions at ex- 
treme points, would like confinement: and without it, he 
could not answer my purposes as a Manager or Superintend, 
unless I had more leisure to attend to my own business; which 
by the by I shall aim at, let the consequences, in other respects, 
be as they may. 

These however are no reasons for detaining you a moment 
longer in my employ than suits your interest, or is agreeable to 
your inclination, and family concerns. But as the proposition is 
new, and hath never been revolved in my mind, it will take 
some time to digest my own thoughts upon the occasion before 
it is hinted to another. 

In the mean while if I can do with the aids you offer, and for 
which I sincerely thank you, I will ask your constant attention 
no longer than this year, at any rate not longer than the next. 
The inexplicitness of this answer cannot, I presume, put you 
to much if any inconvenience as yet; because retirement from, 
and not a change of business, is professedly your object. 

6 George Augustine Washington. 


However unlucky I may have been in Crops, &c. of late years, 
I shall always retain a grateful sense of your endeavors to serve 
me; for as I have repeatedly intimated to you in my Letters 
from Camp, nothing but that entire confidence which I re- 
posed, could have made me easy under an absence of almost 
nine years from my family and Estate, or could have enabled 
me, consequently, to have given not only my time, but my 
whole attention to the public concerns of this Country for that 
space. I am, &c. 6 


Mount Vernon, November 22, 1785. 

Revd. Sir: The expence attending the residence of my Neph- 
ews at Georgetown so far exceeds the idea I was led to enter- 
tain when they went there, that, in behalf of their Guardians, 
I am compelled to remove them. 

When they were sent to the Academy under your manage- 
ment, I was informed by Colo. Fitzhugh, that the charge for 
schooling Board (if I am not mistaken) was £31. each. Cloath- 
ing if judiciously applied and properly attended to, I knew 
could not be a very great expence, for boys of their standing. 
But to my surprize, I have already paid Mr. Stoddert ,£67.18.6., 
Mr. Bayly ,£55.5.2., and yesterday in a letter from the latter, I 
am informed that there is half a years board due to him for 
each, and an accot. of cloathing besides, yet to be exhibited. 

The leading motive Sir, which influenced me to send them 
to Georgetown was, their boarding with you; and I expected 
from what had passed between us, after the intervention which 
had occasioned the suspension of it, they would have returned 

6 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

On November 20 Washington answered, briefly, an application from Alexander de 
Gabian, of Marseilles, France, who applied for membership in the Society of the Cin- 
cinnati. A copy of this letter is in the "Letter Book" in the Washington Papers. 


to you: but now Mr. Bayly writes me that he also declines 
boardingthem after the 24th. inst: and points out a thirdperson. 
These several circumstances combining, added to a con- 
viction founded in experience, that I cannot restrain the pro- 
fuse and improper advances of Goods for them at a distance, 
have induced me to bring them to Alexandria, where I shall 
be a witness to their wants, and can supply their necessities 
upon more advantageous terms, than they have been hitherto. 
I am, etc. 7 


Mount Vernon, November 22, 1785. 

Sir: I have received your favor of the 19th. The expensive 
manner in which my nephews are proceeding at George Town, 
added to some other considerations, have determined me to 
remove them from the Academy at that place, to Alexandria. 

I have already, for about fourteen months residence, paid to 
Mr. Stoddert and yourself ^125.11.0 on their Accot.; and it 
appears from your letter of the above date, that for near half 
that time, they are yet owing for Board, and have an Accot. 
besides for cloathing; and these too almost independent of 
their schooling. I am, etc. 7 


[November 23, 1785, 9 ] Friday, past 2 'Oclock. 
General Washington presents his best respects to Mrs. Du- 
lany with the horse blueskin, which he wishes was better worth 
her acceptance. 

'From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

8 Nee Rebecca Smith. 

9 Approximate date. 


Marks of antiquity have supplied the place of those beauties 
with which this horse abounded, in his better days. Nothing 
but the recollection of which, and of his having been the 
favourite of Mr. Dulany in the days of his Courtship, can rec- 
oncile her to the meagre appearance he now makes. 

Mrs. Washington presents her Compliments and thanks to 
Mrs. Dulany for the Roots of Scarcity. 10 


Mount Vernon, November 24, 1785. 

Sir: I am really ashamed at this late hour to have the receipt 
of your favor of the 7th. of Octor., to acknowledge: but the 
truth is it was handed to me among many other Letters, got 
buried, and was forgot until your second favor of the 8th. inst: 
brought it to remembrance. 

Since the receipt of the latter, my time has been much occu- 
pied with several matters, some of which were pressing: these, 
with the expectation of a personal interview (for I have been 
twice since in Alexandria without seeing you) must plead my 
excuse for a seeming, tho' far from an intentional disrespect. 

As nothing is of more importance than the education of 
youth, so consequently nothing can be more laudably bene- 
ficial than the association which is formed in Alexandria to 
effect this desireable purpose. I therefore not only highly ap- 
prove the institution, but am thankful for the honor done me 
by enrolling my name among the Managers of it; and as far as 
it is in my power will give it support. 


The text is from a photostat of the original kindly furnished by Mrs. Jeanette C. 
Clagett, of Baltimore, Md. 
"Of Alexandria, Va. 


There is a matter which I will take some other opportunity 
of bringing before the Trustees for their consideration; that, 
if it can be made to comport with the present establishment of 
the Alexandria Academy, and engrafted therewith, it may be- 
come part of the institution. At an hour of more leisure I will 
communicate it. In the meanwhile, I am, etc. 12 


Mount Vernon, November 25, 1785. 

Dear Sir: Since I had the honor of writing to you on the 
20th. of March, which was done in haste (having but little 
notice of Capt: Boyles intended departure, before the time ap- 
pointed for his sailing, and then to send my dispatches to 
Richmond 125 miles), I have been favored with your letters of 
the 3d. of March, 25th. of May, and 23d. of July. The first was 
forwarded to me by Captn. Bibby, whom I have not yet had 
the pleasure of seeing; tho' he gives me assurances of it, and 
to whom I shall have pleasure in rendering any services in my 
power consistently, if it should be found necessary. 

The opposition which the virtuous characters of Ireland 
have given to the attempts of a British Administration's inter- 
fering with its manufactures, fettering its commerce, restrain- 
ing the liberties of its subjects by their plan of reform &ca. &ca., 
will hand their names to posterity with that veneration and 
respect to which their amor patriae entitles them. 

Precedents, as you justly observe, are dangerous things, they 
form the arm which first arrests the liberties and happiness of 
a Country. In the first approaches they may indeed assume the 
garb of plausibility and moderation, and are generally spoken 
of by the movers as a chip in the porrage (to avoid giving 

12 From the " Letter Book " copy in the Washington Papers. 

1785] IRISH AFFAIRS 323 

alarm), but soon are made to speak a language equally decisive 
and irresistible; which shews the necessity of opposition in the 
first attempts to establish them, let them appear under what 
guise or Courtly form they may; and proves too that vigi- 
lance and watchfulness can scarcely be carried to an excess in 
guarding against the insiduous arts of a Government founded 
in corruption. 

I do not think there is as much wisdom and sound policy 
displayed in the different Legislatures of these States as might 
be; yet I hope every thing will come right at last. In republican 
Governments it too often happens that the people (not always 
seeing) must feel before they act: this is productive of errors 
and temporary evils, but generally these evils are of a nature 
to work their own cure. 

The situation of affairs in Ireland, whilst the propositions 
were pending in the Parliament of it, would, I concluded, be a 
means of postponing your voyage to this Country; but as these 
seem to have met their quietus, I hope nothing else will inter- 
vene to prevent your fulfilling your expectation of coming in 
the Spring; the season will then be favourable for crossing the 

Had I been present and apprized of your intention of mak- 
ing an aerial voyage with Monsr. Potain, I should have joined 
my entreaties to those of Lady Newenham to have prevented 
it. As yet, I see no object to warrant a gentleman of fortune 
(happy in himself, happy in a family wch. might be rendered 
miserable by a disaster, against which no human foresight can 
guard) running such a risk. It may do for young men of sci- 
ence and spirit to explore the upper regions: the observation 
there made may serve to ascertain the utility of the first dis- 
covery, and how far it may be applied to valuable purposes. 
To such alone I think these voyages ought at present to be con- 
signed, and to them handsome public encouragements should 


be offer'd for the risk they run in ascertaining its usefulness, or 
the inutility of the pursuit. 

I have neither seen, nor heard of Mr. Thorpe, the stucco 
worker mentioned in your letter of the 23d. of July. A good 
man acquainted with that business would have come very 
opportunely to me, as I had, and now have a large room 
which I am about to finish in this way. I have at length en- 
gaged a person to do it; who from having no rival, imposes his 
own terms, which I think are exorbitant; good workmen of 
any profession, would meet encouragement in these States. 

For the many marks of attention which you have been 
pleased to bestow on me, I feel myself your Debtor: could my 
picture which is placed in a group with Dr. Franklin, the 
Marqs. de la Fayette and others in your library, speak the sen- 
timents of the original, it would salute you every morning with 
its acknowledgements. I have never seen more than one pic- 
ture of Genl. Green, and that a mezzotinto print, sent to me a 
few days ago only, by the publisher a Mr. Brown at No. 10 
George Yard, Lombard street, London; taken it is said from a 
painting done at Philada. 

The Magazines, Gazettes &ca. which you had the goodness 
to forward to me, came safe, and I pray you to accept my thanks 
for them. My best respects, in which Mrs. Washington joins, 
are presented to Lady Newenham and yourself. With senti- 
ments of great esteem and regard, I am, etc. 13 


Mount Vernon, November 25, 1785. 
Sir: If it was in my power to give you the information, and 
the satisfaction which is required in your letter of the 10th. of 

"From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


October, I would do it with pleasure : but not recollecting enough 
of the particular circumstances attending the Sloop Hester, the 
whole of the business respecting this and other vessels, being 
entirely within the Department of the Quarter Mr. General, 
I can offer nothing which will facilitate your settlement with 
the public. 

I do remember very well that the service, in the Spring of 
1776, required an impress, and purchase of Vessels; that orders 
issued to the Quarter Master General for that purpose; and I 
have some recollection that the Sloop Hester was one of those 
Vessels which were taken into the service of the public, and that 
she was afterwards sold to Colo. Sears: but upon what terms; 
what became of her after that; how the Accots. respecting her 
stand, or how the matter is to be finally settled, I know not. 
I am, etc. 14 


Mount Vernon, November 25, 1785. 
Sir : I have been honoured with your letter of the 18th. of July 
from Paris, enclosing certificates in favor of Captns. Stack and 
Macarthy. 15 I pray you to be assured that I should have pleas- 
ure in doing justice to the merits of these Officers, and in oblig- 
ing you if the power of deciding lay with me. But, though I am 
in sentiment with the Gentlemen who have declared in favor 
of the pretensions of Captns. Stack and Maccarthy's right to 
become members of the Cincinnati, yet, in matters of opinion 
I have no authority to pronounce them such. As French Offi- 
cers, having borne Continental Commissions, my opinion is 
that their best mode would have been, to have got themselves 

14 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

^Capts. Edward Stack and Eugene MacCarthy had served as volunteers on the Bon 
Homme Richard. 


admitted as members of [some] 16 State Society before the 
Kings edict, or order in Council took effect, for if I mistake not 
all Officers in the Service of France whose names are not par- 
ticularly enumerated in that order are excluded thereby. 

This however is a matter of which they, or you, can be better 
ascertained of than I. At any rate nothing can be done in this 
Country until the next General Meeting; and that cannot hap- 
pen in less than Eighteen months, and may be much longer 
delayed. I have the honor etc. [m.l.] 


Mount Vernon, November 28, 1785. 

Sir: I request the favor of you to send me for the use of Mrs. 
Washington, a handsome and fashionable gold watch, with a 
fashionable chain or string, such as are worn at present by 
Ladies in genteel life. 

These to be paid for, as the other things are, from the fund in 
the Bank. I am, etc. 

P.S. Let the hour and minute hands be set with Diamonds. 17 


Mount Vernon, November 30, 1785. 
Dear Sir : I have been honored with your favor of the 9th. and 
have received the pamphlet which you were so obliging as to 
send me, entitled " Considerations on the Order of Cincinnatus, 

10 The bracketed word has been supplied from the "Letter Book" copy in the Wash- 
ington Papers. 

On November 26 Washington commenced a record on folio sheets of work done at 
the different farms of Mount Vernon. He continued it up to Apr. 15, 1786, inclusive. 
George Augustine Washington then kept the record, commencing April 22, and con- 
tinued it through the year 1786. These folio sheets are in the Washington Papers 
under date of Nov. 26, 1785. 

17 From the " Letter Book " copy in the Washington Papers. 

1785] A RUM PUNCHEON 327 

by the Count de Mirabeau." 18 I thank you my good Sir, for 
this instance of your attention; but wish you had taken time 
to have perused it first, as I have not yet had leisure to give it a 
reading. I thought, as most others seemed to think, that all the 
exceptionable parts of that Institution had been done away 
at the last general meeting; but with those who are disposed 
to cavil, or who have the itch of writing strongly upon them, 
nothing can be made to suit their palates: the best way there- 
fore to disconcert and defeat them, is to take no notice of their 
publications; all else is but food for declamation. 

There is not I conceive, an unbiassed mind, that would re- 
fuse the Officers of the late Army the right of associating for the 
purpose of establishing a fund for the support of the poor and 
distressed of their fraternity, when many of them it is well 
known, are reduced to their last shifts by the ungenerous con- 
duct of their Country, in not adopting more vigorous measures 
to render their Certificates 19 productive. That charity is all that 
remains of the original Institution, none who will be at the 
trouble of reading it can deny. 

I have lately received a letter from Mr. Vaughn (your son) 
of Jamaica, accompanied by a puncheon of rum, which he in- 
forms me was sent by your order as a present to me. Indeed, 
my Dr. Sir, you overwhelm me with your favors, and lay me 
under too many obligations to leave a hope remaining of dis- 
charging them. Hearing of the distress, in which that Island, 
with others in the Wt. Indies is involved by the late hurricane, 
I have taken the liberty of requesting Mr. Vaughans acceptance, 
for his own use, of a few barrels of superfine Flour of my own 

18 Honore Gabriel Riquetti, Comte de Mirabeau, first published his "Considerations 
sur l'ordre de Cincinnatus" in London, in 1784. An English translation was also pub- 
lished in London in 1785; the English translation was published in Philadelphia in 
1786; and a German translation in Berlin in 1787. 

"Of pay due. 


manufacturing. My best respects, in which Mrs. Washington 
joins, are offered to Mrs. Vaughan, yourself and family, and 
with the highest esteem &c. 20 


Mount Vernon, November 30, 1785. 

Dr. Sir: Your favor of the 16th. came duly to hand, and I 
thank you for its several communications. The resolutions 
which were published for consideration, vesting Congress with 
powers to regulate the Commerce of the Union, have I hope 
been acceded to. If the States individually were to attempt this, 
an abortion, or a many headed Monster would be the issue. If 
we consider ourselves, or wish to be considered by others as a 
united people, why not adopt the measures which are char- 
acteristic of it, and support the honor and dignity of one ? If we 
are afraid to trust one another under qualified powers there is 
an end of the Union. Why then need we be sollicitous to keep 
up the farce of it ? 

It gives me pleasure to hear that there is such an accordance 
of sentiments between the Eastern and Western parts of this 
State. My opinion of the separation has always been, to meet 
them half way, upon fair and just grounds; and part like friends 
disposed to acts of brotherly kindness thereafter. I wish you 
had mention'd the territorial line between us. The Port Bill; 
the assize Law (or any substitute for the speedy Administra- 
tion of Justice) being established; good faith with respect to 
treaties preserved by public acts, taxation continued and regu- 
larly collected, that justice to one part of the community may 
keep pace with relief to the other, and our national character 
for Justice, thereby supported; a due attention to the Militia, 
and encouragements to extend the inland navigation of this 

^From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


Commonwealth where it is useful and practicable, (which will 
not only be of amazing convenience and advantage to its Citi- 
zens but sources of immense wealth to the Country through 
some of its channels), are among the great and important ob- 
jects which will come before you, and a due attention to them 
will, I hope, mark the present epocha for having produced able 
statesmen, sound patriots and liberal minded men. 

At a late meeting of the Directors of the Potomac navigation at 
the great Falls, and from a critical examination of the ground 
at that place; we unanimously determined to petition the As- 
semblies of the two States 21 to be relieved from the expence 
of sinking our canals four feet deep, as a considerable expence 
and no advantage that we could discover, was likely to attend 
it. As the petition which is herewith sent under cover to you 
and Colo. Syms, 22 recites the reasons on which it is founded 
I shall not repeat them: the public as well as the company's 
interest calls for an ceconomical use of the fund which is sub- 
scribed for this undertaking; the enemies therefore (if there are 
any) to the navigation, are equally bound with its friends, to 
give it support. 

I should be much obliged to you for desiring the public 
printer to send me the Journals of the present Session from its 
commencement, and to do it thro' the session as fast as they are 
printed, by the Post. I pray you to pay him for them, and for 
my Gazette (if Hay is the public printer) and I will repay you 
with thanks when you return. 

I am very glad to hear you have got so well over your fever. 
-Mrs. Stuart has had a bad cold, but is getting better. All here 
join me in best wishes for you, and I am, etc. 23 

^The text of this petition is printed in the American Historical Review, vol. 28, 
pp. 497, et seq. 

22 Col. Charles Simms. 

23 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 



Mount Vernon, November 30, 1785. 

Dear Sir: Since my last, I have been favored with your letters 
of the 10th. and 18th. inst:, the last covering Mr. Rawlins's plan 
and estimate for my new room, for your exertion to obtain 
which, I thank you. The plan is plain, as I requested; but the 
Estimate I think is large: however as I pretend not to be a com- 
petent judge of work, and know that we are always in the 
power of workmen, I will not decide absolutely upon the mod- 
eration he pretends to have observed; but as your readiness to 
oblige me in this business has already involved you in trouble, 
I will request the favor of you to take a little more, to bring it 
to an explanation and close. 

For this purpose I send you herewith Rawlins's plan and 
estimate; and would beg the favor, as I have understood that 
Mr. Goff 24 of Baltimore has had much work of this kind done 
by Mr. Rawlins, to compare my plan and estimate with his 
work and prices; and if Mr. Goff is a man of information, and 
one who scrutinizes into work and prices from the time it takes 
to execute it, to ask his opinion of the charge. 

If the result of your scrutiny is in favor of Mr. Rawlins's 
moderation, I have then to pray that the matter may be fixed 
with him, and a time (not to exceed if possible, the middle of 
April) agreed on to begin the work with a serious intention to 
execute it with dispatch: also that the article of travelling ex- 
pences may be defined and reduced to a stipulated sum. Or, 
wch. would come cheaper to me, that my waggon (a covered 
one) should remove his people and tools hither and back; 
and an equivalent named in lieu of expences for himself. This 
will leave no ground for discontent on either side, than which 

21 Gough(?). 

1785] THE NEW ROOM 331 

nothing being more disagreeable to me, I always endeavour to 
avoid it: I wish to know also, whether he, or I am to furnish 
the materials. 

If on the other hand it shall be found that his price is too high 
(for it is not amiss to observe here, that almost the whole of the 
mouldings and figures are cast) I should be obliged to you to 
know from him whether he will take less, and precisely the 
sum to execute the work according to the plan, and this with- 
out much time for consideration; for having been twice dis- 
appointed already, and the work thereby considerably delayed, 
to my great inconvenience, I am determined if Mr. Rawlins 
will not do it reasonably, and begin it seriously in the Spring, 
to write immediately to Sir Edwd. Newenham of Dublin, who 
has already introduced the subject to me, and given strong as- 
surances of a visit in the Spring, to bring me a compleat work- 
man when he comes, on yearly wages. But this I would avoid 
(as you will please to inform Mr. Rawlins) if he would do the 
work at near its value, and in season. If you finally engage 
with Mr. Rawlins I should like to have a specific agreement 
drawn, to prevent mistakes or further delay; for the doing of 
which I wou'd chearfully pay an Attorney. Enclosed is a letter 
for Mr. Rawlins, open. 

Had the public prints spoken truth respecting the present 
from his catholic Majesty, and two Jacks had arrived; it would 
have given me great pleasure to have obliged your friends on 
the Eastern shore by a compliance with your request. There 
were only two presented to me by the King of Spain, one of 
which by the advices I have received from Boston, was lost in a 
storm on his passage to Beverly. The other will scarcely do 
more, if he gets home safe, than answer my own purposes; but 
if you, or any friend of yours have a she ass which you would 
wish to put to him for preservation of the breed, he is much 


at your service, and you shall be very welcome to the use of 
him for her. 

Mrs. Washington joins me in best wishes for Mrs. Tilghman 
and yourself; and with sentiments of sincere esteem and regard, 
I am, etc. 25 


Mount Vernon, November 30, 1785. 

Sir: Your Letter and plan came safe, tho' I do not pretend to 
be a competent judge of this kind of work, yet from the little 
experience I have had in it, and from a certain knowledge that 
most of the mouldings and decorations are with great ease and 
expedition cast, of a material too which is by no means expen- 
sive, I do not scruple to declare that your Estimate exceeded my 

This, and not understanding the plan fully from an unac- 
customedness to drawings, together with the indefinite charge 
of travelling expences, which may be great or little; and a de- 
sire of having something finally determined without giving the 
trouble of coming here again; or of fixing matters by an inter- 
course of letters which might be tedious and troublesome, and 
the first of which by no means suiting me, as I must be upon a 
certainty, having been twice disappointed and put to much in- 
convenience for want of the room. These reasons I say, have 
induced me to communicate my ideas to Colo. Tilghman on 
this business, and to authorize him on the spot to fix matters 
decidedly with you. Any Agreement therefore which he may 
make on by behalf, will be as obligatory on me as if I was pres- 
ent to sign and ratify it. 

If an Agreement takes place, I wish to know precisely, and 
as soon as may be, what will be previously necessary for my 

2u From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


Joiners and Carpenters to do, or to prepare that there may be 
no delay after you arrive; for besides the inconvenience I al- 
ready feel from the want of the new room, you know that 
to complete this, the communication with another must be 
opened, and that unless both are finished before the season ar- 
rives which requires lire, I shall be much distressed. Whilst the 
weather is warm, the Common Hall and Piazza will do very 
well, as substitute for the Drawing Room or Parlour; but when 
the weather becomes cool we must retire to a fireside. 

I think it highly probable that the ceilings of my upper rooms 
may want plaistering, which would make the job more deserv- 
ing attention; some of them I am sure do, and if we can agree 
upon a price I may be inclined to renew the whole. I am, etc. 20 


Mount Vernon, November 30, 1785. 
Dear Sir: I have had the honor to receive your Excellency's 
favor of the nth. and am much obliged to you for the Commis- 
sioners report respecting the cut from the Waters of Elizabeth 
River to those of Albemarle Sound. And it is with great pleas- 
ure I have since heard that that matter is in a prosperous way in 
our Assembly, and placed on a footing (reasonable and just I 
think) which is likely to meet the approbation of the Legisla- 
ture of No. Carolina. It has always been my opinion since I 
first investigated the Great dismal Swamp as a member and man- 
ager of that Company that the most advantageous Cut would 
be found to be through Drummonds pond to the head of Pasque- 
tank and I have Surveys and Notes which prove it I think, in- 
contestably. Mr. Andrews's conjectures, with respect to Locks, 
I conceive is justly founded; for if the bed of the lake is above 

28 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


the level of the Water of Elizabeth River and Pasquetank the 
reflux by means of the Canal being greater than the influx must 
undoubtedly drain the Pond and render it useless as a reservoir 
without these Locks; but the places at which it may be proper 
to establish them must I should suppose depend upon the level 
and suitableness of the ground to receive them after the cut is 
made which should be begun at the extreme ends that the 
water may run of [f ] (and if with any velocity) to contribute 
to the Work. 

If this cut is effected, the obstructions in the Roanoke re- 
moved (which will most assuredly follow) and the inland Navi- 
gation of the Rivers James and Potomack compleated according 
to Law it will open channels of convenience and wealth to the 
Citizens of this State that the imagination can hardly extend to 
and render this the most favoured Country in the Universe. 
These measures only require a beginning to shew the practica- 
bility, ease and advantage with which they may be effected. 
Rappahanock and Shanondoah (the latter through a long ex- 
tent of it) will follow the example and I see nothing to prevent 
the two branches of York River from doing the same. 

The consequence in the article of draught Cattle alone, and 
to our Roads will be inconceivably great. The latter with small 
amendments will always be in good order when the present 
number of Carriages are no longer taring them to pieces in the 
most inclement seasons of the year; and the ease to, and saving 
in the former will be felt most interestingly by the farmer and 
Planter in their annual operations. 

But until these things are accomplished and even admitting 
they were done, do you not think, my good Sir, that the credit, 
the saving, and convenience of this Country, all require that our 
great roads leading from one public place to another should be 

1785] STATE ROAD WORK 335 

shortned, straightned, and established by Law; and the power 
in the County Courts to alter them withdrawn ? 

To me these things seem indispensably necessary, and it is my 
opinion they will take place in time the longer therefore they 
are delayed the more people will be injured by the Alterations 
when they happen. It is equally clear to me, that putting the 
lowest valuation 27 upon the labour of the people who work 
upon the roads under the existing Law and custom of the 
present day the repairs of them by way of Contract to be paid 
by an assessment on certain districts (until the period shall ar- 
rive when turnpikes may with propriety be established) would 
be infinitely less burthensome to the Community than the pres- 
ent mode. In this case too the Contractor would meet with no 
favor; every man in the district wd. give information of neg- 
lects; whereas negligence under the present system is winked 
at by the only people who know how, or can inform against the 
Overseers; for strangers had rather encounter the inconven- 
ience of bad roads than the trouble of an information and go 
away prejudiced against the Country for the polity of it. With 
great esteem and respect etc. [v.s.l.] 


Mount Vernon, November 30, 1785. 
My dear Sir: Receive my thanks for your obliging communi- 
cations of the nth I hear with much pleasure that the Assembly 
are engaged, seriously, in the consideration of the revised Laws. 
A short and simple code, in my opinion, tho' I have the senti- 
ments of some of the Gentlemen of the long robe against me, 
would be productive of happy consequences, and redound to 
the honor of this or any Country which shall adopt such. 

27 The word "possible" seems to have been crossed off at this point. 


I hope the resolutions which were published for the con- 
sideration of the House, respecting the reference to Congress 
for the regulation of a Commercial system will have passed. 
The proposition in my opinion is so self evident that I confess 
I am at a loss to discover wherein lyes the weight of the objec- 
tion to the measure. We are either a United people, or we are 
not. If the former, let us, in all matters of general concern act as 
a nation, which have national objects to promote, and a national 
character to support. If we are not, let us no longer act a farce 
by pretending to it. for whilst we are playing a dble. game, or 
playing a game between the two we never shall be consistent 
or respectable; but may be the dupes of some powers and, most 
assuredly, the contempt of all. In any case it behoves us to pro- 
vide good Military Laws, and look well to the execution of 
them, but, if we mean by our conduct that the States shall act 
independently of each other it becomes indispensably neces- 
sary, for therein will consist our strength and respectabity in 
the Union. 

It is much to be wished that public faith may be held invio- 
late. Painful is it even in thought that attempts should be made 
to weaken the bands of it. It is a dangerous experiment, once 
slacken the reins and the power is lost, and it is questionable 
with me whether the advocates of the measure foresee all the 
consequences of it. It is an old adage that honesty is the best 
policy; this applies to public as well as private life, to States as 
well as individuals. I hope the Port and assize Bills no longer 
sleep, but are awakened to a happy establishment. The first 
with some alterations, would, in my judgment be productive of 
great good to this Country; without it, the Trade thereof I con- 
ceive will ever labor and languish; with respect to the Second 
if it institutes a speedier Administration of Justice it is equally 


It gives me great pleasure to hear that our assembly were in 
a way of adopting a mode for establishing the Cut betwn. Eliza- 
beth river and Pasquotank which was likely to meet the appro- 
bation of the State of No. Carolina. It appears to me that no 
Country in the Universe is better calculated to derive benefits 
from inland Navigation than this is, and certain I am, that the 
conveniences to the Citizens individually, and the sources of 
wealth to the Country generally, which will be opened thereby 
will be found to exceed the most sanguine imagination; the 
Mind can scarcely take in at one view all the benefits which 
will result therefrom. The saving in draught Cattle, preserva- 
tion of Roads &ca. &ca. will be felt most interestingly. This 
business only wants a beginning. Rappahanock, Shannondoah, 
Roanoke, and the branches of York River will soon perceive 
the advantages which water transportation (in ways hardly 
thought of at first) have over that of Land and will extend 
Navigation to almost every mans door. 

From the complexion of the debates in the Pensylvania it 
should seem as if that Legislature intended their assent to the 
proposition from the States of Virginia and Maryland (respect- 
ing a road to the Yohiogany should be conditional of permis- 
sion given to open a Communication between the Chesapeak 
and Delaware by way of the rivers Elk and Christeen, which I 
am sure will never be obtained if the Baltimore interest can give 
it effectual opposition. 

The Directors of the Potomack Company have sent to the 
Delegates of this County to be laid before the Assembly a Peti- 
tion (which sets forth the reasons) for relief in the depth of the 
Canals which it may be found necessary to open at the great and 
little Falls of the River. As public ceconomy and private inter- 
est equally prompt the measure and no possible disadvantage 


that we can see will attend granting the prayer of it, we flatter 
ourselves no opposition will be given to it. 

To save trouble to expidite the business, and to secure uni- 
formity without delay, or an intercourse between the Assem- 
blies on so trivial a matter we have taken the liberty of sending 
the draught of a Bill to Members of both Assemblies which 
if approved will be found exactly similar. With the highest 

esteem etc. 28 


Mount Vernon, December i, 1785. 

My dear Count: Your letter of the 2d. of June, which you had 
the goodness to write to me at the moment of taking leave 
of the venerable Doctr. Franklin, now lyes before me; and I 
read the renewed assurances of your friendship with sentiments 
of gratitude and pleasure, short of nothing but the satisfaction 
I should feel at seeing you, and the recollection of the hours, on 
which, toiling together, we formed our friendship. A friend- 
ship which will continue, I hope, as long as we shall continue 
Actors on the present theatre. 

A Man in the vigor of life could not have borne the fatigues 
oi a passage across the Atlantic with more fortitude, and greater 
ease than Doctor Franklin did; and since, instead of setting 
himself down in the lap of ease, which might have been ex- 
pected from a person of his advanced age, he has again entered 
upon the bustling scenes of public life, and in the chair of State, 
is endeavouring to reconcile the jarring interests of the Citizens 
of Pennsylvania. If he should succeed, fresh laurels will crown 
his brow; but it is to be feared that the task is too great for 

28 From a photostat o£ the original through the kindness of Judge E. A. Armstrong, 
of Princeton, N. J. 


human wisdom to accomplish. I have not yet seen the good old 
Gentleman, but have had an intercourse by letters with him. 

Rumours of War still prevail, between the Emperor and the 
Dutch; and seem, if News Paper Accounts are to be credited, 
to be near at hand. If this event should take place, more powers 
must engage in it, and perhaps a general flame will be kindled 
'ere the first is extinguished. America may think herself happy 
in having the Atlantic for a barrier, otherways, a spark might 
set her a blazing. At present we are peaceable; and our Gov- 
ernments are acquiring a better tone. Congress, I am persuaded 
will soon be vested with greater powers. The Commercial in- 
terest throughout the Union are exerting themselves to obtain 
these, and I have no doubt will effect it. We shall be able then, 
if a Commercial treaty is not entered into with Great Britain to 
meet her on the restrictive and contracted ground she has taken ; 
and interdict her Shipping, and trade, in the same manner she 
has done those of these States. This, and this only, will convince 
her of the illiberallity of her conduct towards us. or, that her 
policy has been too refined, and over strained, even for the ac- 
complishment of her own purposes. 

Mrs. Washington is thankful for your constant remembrance 
of her, and joins me in every good wish for you and Madame de 
Rochambeau. With sentiments of the warmest attachment, and 
greatest respect I have the honor etc. 29 


Mount Vernon, December 3, 1785. 
Gentn : As President of the Board of Directors for the Potomac 
company, I have the honor to enclose you a Petition which we 
pray you to present to your honorable House; and to use your 

29 From the original in the Rochambeau Papers in the Library of Congress. 


best endeavours to have the prayer of it enacted into a Law. 
The Petition is so full, and the request of it so reasonable, that 
we do not suppose there can be the least opposition to it, other- 
wise than by delay; because the enemies of it (if there are any) 
must on the score of public saving, yield assent to it. 

We have taken the liberty to accompany the Petition with the 
draft of a Bill to be enacted into a Law. A Petition and Bill 
similar to those have been sent to the Maryland Assembly. 
The reasons for this you will see into at once; they are, to render 
it unnecessary for the two Assemblies to correspond on so triv- 
ial a subject, to prevent trouble to each, to prevent delay, and 
that both Acts may be exactly similar. 30 I have the honor, etc. 31 


Mount Vernon, December 3, 1785. 

Dr. Sir: The Directors of the Potomac Corny, upon a strict 
examination of the ground at the Great Falls of the river, and 
their ideas of that at the little Falls, find it necessary to apply 
to the Assemblies of the two States, to be relieved from that 
depth of canal which the late Acts for improving and extend- 
ing the navigation of the river require. 

The reasons are set forth at large in the Petition which, as 
President of the Board of Directors I now have the honor to 
transmit to Mr. Chase as a delegate, and member of the com- 
pany; a similar one having gone to the Assembly of Virginia. 
But in a word, from our view of the matter, it is sufficient to 
inform you that to dig four feet at these places will add greatly 
to the expence, without deriving the smallest advantage: we 
have therefore prayed for two feet depth, instead of four; and 

30 Practically the same letter was sent to Samuel Chase, of the Maryland Legislature. 
A copy of this is in the " Letter Book " in the Washington Papers. 
31 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


apprehending no other opposition but what may proceed from 
delay, for friends and foes (if there are any of the latter) to the 
Undertaking, ought to support the Bill upon the principle of 
ceconomy, is the reason of my giving you the trouble of this 
Letter, praying your assistance in facilitating the passage of 
the Bill. 32 I have the honor, etc. 33 


Mount Vernon, December 4, 1785. 

Sir: Your letters of the 15th. and 26th. of last month, are 
both at hand. With respect to the latter, I agree that Danl. 
Harrel may have the Lott No. 2 on the terms mentioned there- 
in, and you may fill up Leases accordingly. 

In answer to the first letter, rather than involve myself in 
uncertain law suits, but certain expence and perplexity, I would 
allow for paper payments of rent, the same as specie; but as 
you know what has been the practice and the consequence 
thereof in your own case as Collector for Colo. Fairfax, and in 
that of others under similar circumstances, I should conceive 
that you could determine the point, of conduct proper to be 
pursued better than I, who have been entirely out of the way 
of knowing what the Law, custom, or judicial proceedings in 
the Courts have decided. However, as I have already observed, 
rather than go into a litigation of the matter (unless there is 
every reason to expect a decision in my favor) I wou'd make 
the same allowance for paper, however unjustly and rascally 
it has been imposed, as I would for specie, taking care to shew 
no indulgence hereafter to those who had made them. 

32 Practically the same letter was sent to William Ramsay. A copy of this is in the 
"Letter Book" in the Washington Papers. 

83 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papas. 


Receipts for rents, from my brother will be sufficient for the 
Tenants; but it will be necessary in your settlemt. with them, 
to take an account of all these payments, that I may be able to 
settle with his Estate. This is indispensably necessary, as, from 
what I can learn, he has been very inattentive himself in mak- 
ing proper entries of the sums paid him: the date of each re- 
ceipt is as essential as the name of the person is to whom given. 
I am, etc. 34 


Mount Vernon, December 5, 1785. 

Sir: I had the honor to be favor'd with your letter by Mr. 
Houdon, and thank you for your kind recollection of, and for 
the favorable sentiments you have expressed for me. 

The moments I spent with the army of France in this Coun- 
try, are amongst the most pleasing of my life, and I shall ever 
remember with grateful sensibility, the polite attentions of all 
the officers who composed it, and of none more than yours. 

I pray you to be persuaded of the interest I take in your happi- 
ness; and the pleasure I feel in assuring you of the esteem and 
regard with which, I have the honor, etc. 34 


Mount Vernon, December 5, 1785. 

Sir: The letter which you did me the honor to write to me 
on the 10th. of October, only came to hand the 28th. of last 

My particular acknowledgments are due to you for your 
recollection of, and attention to me; and I pray you to be as- 
sured of the pleasure I felt at hearing that the place lately filled 

34 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 
35 Charles Francois Louis Joseph Cesar, Comte de Damas. 

1785] A DELUSION 343 

by Mr. de Marbois, near the Sovereignty of these States, was 
so happily supplied. On this instance of his most Christian 
Majesty's attention to your merits, I offer you my sincere con- 

For the favourable sentimts. entertained of me in France 
and particularly at the Court all my gratitude is due; but to 
none in a higher degree than to die Chevalier de la Luzerne; 
for whom I have the highest esteem and regard. For your 
obliging offers of Service here, or in France, I sincerely thank 
you and at the sametime I give you the trouble of forwarding 
a few letters by the Packet, beg you to believe that with much 
truth I have the honor etc. 30 


Mount Vernon, December 5, 1785. 
Sir: Having, a few days ago only, received your letter of the 
13th. of August from Charleston, enclosing the duplicate of 
one from a Mr. Edmund Richards of Plymouth Dock, dated 
the first of Feby. last; I delay not a Post to inform you, as I 
have already done the said Edmd. Richards, that he is under 
a delusion which has not a single reality for a support, that I 
am astonished at his information, and which he had been at the 
trouble of enquiring a little more minutely into matters, before 
he had determined to make such a pointed application to me, 
or to have communicated his demands of me to others, for an 
Estate; First, because such an Estate as he speaks of was never 
left in trust to me; Secondly, because I never had the least ac- 
quaintance with his Uncle Richard Richards, or ever knew 
that there was such a man in existence; Thirdly, because I have 
just as much, and no more knowledge of Lawyer Haines and 

36 From the original in the Paris Archives, Aff. Estrang., Items, et Docs., E. U., vol. 6. 


Lawyer Baitain, than I have of Richd. Richards; And fourthly, 
because I never heard of such an Estate as he claims, or the most 
trifling circumstance concerning it. 

Of all these things Sir, you may, as I shall never write to 
Edmd. Richards again, give him the clearest and most unequiv- 
ocal assurances; and add, that the most incontestible proofs of 
wch. he, or you in his behalf, may find, if either are disposed to 
examine further into the matter. I am, etc. 37 


Mount Vernon, December 5, 1785. 

Sir: I am really ashamed to have been so long in acknowl- 
edging the receipt of your letter of the 3d. of August last year; 
but circumstances which would be more tedious in the recital, 
than important when told, have been the cause of it. 

I have now the honor of enclosing you the receipt of the 
Treasurer of the Society of the Cincinnati of this State, for your 
Bill on Colo. Wadsworth; and wish it was in my power to have 
accompanied it with a Diploma: but it has so happened, that 
except a few which were struck at Philadelphia for the Mem- 
bers of that State at their own expence, none have yet been 
presented to me by the Secretary, for signing. I have the honor, 
etc. 37 


Mount Vernon, December 5, 1785. 
Dr. Sir: Altho' I am so great a delinquent in the epistolary 
way, I will not again tread over the usual ground for an excuse, 
but rather silently throw myself upon your philanthropy to 
obtain one. 

From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


In reading the Memoir which passed thro' my hands to you 
(for I have no copy of it) I do not recollect that I was struck 
with any exagerations or improprieties in it; nor is it in my 
power to give you a precise detail of the facts about which you 
enquire, without unpacking my papers, and entering upon a 
voluminous research therefor; which might not after all eluci- 
date the points. Whether Genl. Howe commanded in person 
at the intended surprize and attack of the Marqs. de la Fayette 
at Barren Hill, I am unable positively to say : I would suppose 
however that he did, first, because the narrative says so, 2dly be- 
cause he did not relinquish the command until within a few 
days of the evacuation of Philada., and 3dly., because the Brit- 
ish army came out in full force. That the column on the right 
commanded by Genl. Grant was strong, can admit of no 
doubt; (and report to the best of my recollection made the 
number 7000) because it was design'd to turn the Marquis's left 
flank, get into his rear, and cut off his retreat by the nearest and 
most direct roads; whilst he was to have been attacked in front, 
and on his right (which was next the Schuylkill) by the Com- 
mander in chief, and light infantry; by the first in front, by the 
other on the flank. 

The French troops which were landed from on board the 
flat, formed a junction with the American Troops before, and 
were all under the command of the Marquis 'till my arrival. 
The position at Williamsburgh was taken I believe with a view 
to form the junction, being favorable to it; the defile between 
the College Creek which empties into James river and Queen's 
Creek which empties into York river, being very narrow, and 
behind the former of which the French landed in perfect 

My excursions up this river (for I have made several) have 
afforded me much satisfaction, as we find the Undertaking to 


extend and improve the navigation of it, is not only practicable; 
but that the difficulties which were expected to be met with, 
rather decrease than multiply upon us. 

I come now, My good Doctor, to acknowledge in a particular 
manner the receipt of your obliging favor of the 7th. Ulto., and 
to thank you for your kind and valuable present of Fish which 
is very fine and had a more successful passage than the last, no 
Accot. of which having ever yet been received. I have too Mrs. 
Washington's particular thanks to offer you for the flower 
roots and seeds, which she will preserve in the manner directed. 
I have put into a box with earth, shrubs of the redwood (or 
redbud) and Fringe tree, which General Lincoln promised his 
Vessel should heave to and take for you as she passed by. I was 
going to send other flowering shrubs, but upon mentioning the 
names of them, the Genl. and Colo. Henley said your Country 
already abounded with them. I forgot however, to ask them if 
you have the Magnolio; if you have not, I can send some by 
another opportunity. 

I hope this Letter will find you quite relieved from the fever- 
ish complaint you had when you wrote last, and Mrs. Gordon 
in perfect health, to whom and yourself Mrs. Washington and 
the family (who are all well) join me in every good wish. 
Fanny Bassett and my nephew Geo: A. Washington have full- 
filled an engagement of long standing, and are now one bone, 
and one flesh. With great esteem, etc. 38 


Mount Vernon, December 7, 1785. 
Sir: Your letter of the 26th. ulto: came to my hands by the 
last Post; and the object of this shall be confined to a single 

88 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


point, taking another opportunity of writing to you more 

The meaning of my last Letter to you was not well expressed, 
if it was understood that actions of Trespass were to be brought, 
before the issue of the ejectments was known. I had no idea of 
this, because if my opponents should succeed in the latter, 
there would be no ground for the former; and I should incur 
a certain expence without a chance of profit: from the state- 
ment of the cases which you have mentioned, I now leave it 
altogether discretionary in you, whether to bring them after- 
wards or not. I never should have thought of this mode of 
punishment, had I not viewed the Defendants as wilful and 
obstinate sinners; presevering after timely and repeated admo- 
nition, in a design to injure me, but I am not all tenaceous of 
this matter and take the chance of this letter's going by way 
of Baltimore, and another by the way of Philada., to request that 
these Actions may be at least delayed, if not altogether laid 
aside, according to circumstances. 39 I am, etc. 40 


Mount Vernon, December 10, 1785. 
Sir: Having delayed until this time to acknowledge the re- 
ceipt of your favor of the 4th. of May from New York, is to be 
ascribed more to the expectation I have been under of having 
the pleasure of seeing you in this State and at this house, than 
to any other cause: and I take the present occasion of assuring 
you that if business or inclination should bring you to the 

39 This letter was forwarded to Tench Tilghman with a brief note (December 6), 
asking him to forward it " as it is of some consequence to me that the enclosed should 
reach Mr. Smith before he commences his tour of the Western Counties in Pennsyl- 
vania." A copy of this is in the Toner Transcripts in the Library of Congress. 

^From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

41 Of the British Royal Fuzileers. 


southward, I should be happy in the opportunity of testifying 
my respect for the introduction of Sir Edward Newenham, and 
of offering you the civilities which are due to a gentleman of 
your merit. 

By mistake a packet which I herewith send was forwarded 
to me by a Mr. McKuinan, 42 to whose care with another for 
myself, it was comitted by Sir Edward. 43 I hope it will reach 
you safe, and that the delay occasioned by the circuitous rout it 
has taken will be attended with no inconvenience. I have the 
honor, etc. 44 


Mount Vernon, December 10, 1785. 

Dear Sir: Since writing to you by the last Post I have finished 
the measurement of my Corn, and find that I shall not make 
half enough to Serve me. Permit me to request the favor of you 
therefore to enquire upon what terms any of the Delegates from 
the Eastern Shore would contract with you in my behalf for 
800 Bushs. of clean and good Oats, to be delivered at my land- 
ing as soon after Christmas as may be. If you can engage the 
Oats at a price not exceeding three shillings pr Bushel, I would 
then pray you to close a bargain without the delay of advising 
me, and reduce it to writing with a penalty for Non-perform- 
ance on either side; but, if they are not to be had at this price to 
fix the lowest terms on wch. they may be had upon my saying 
yea by return of the Post after they are communicated to me. 

The above are for Horses. I am under as pressing a necessity 
to provide for my People, all the Corn I have made not being 
more than sufficient to support my Plantations. My house peo- 

42 Charles McKieinan (McKuinan). 

43 On December 10 Washington wrote McKieinan a brief acknowledgment. A copy 
of this letter is in the "Letter Book" in the Washington Papers. 
44 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

1785] SHEET COPPER 349 

pie are without, and none in these parts to be had. If there [fore] 
the Plantations below 45 (in New Kent and King William) have 
any to spare I should be glad to get two hundred Barrels for 
which I will allow the same they sell at to others, or the same 
price that Corn bears on that River. 46 This would be doubly 
convenient to me, for to be plain my Coffers are not overflowing 
with money. You cannot too soon give me a definitive answer 
on this point, Nor indeed with respect to the Oats, as I must not 
trust to the Chapter of Accidents for a supply. 
With great esteem etc. [hd.c.] 


Mount Vernon, December n, 1785. 

Dear Sir: I have received your favor of the 29th. Ulto. and 
thank you for your repeated offer of Services in Philadelphia. 
By Major Fairlie 47 1 send you Six pounds Pensylvania Curry, 
and would thank you to pay Mr. Gary Printer for his Paper, and 
to pay Oswald 48 for this. I know not upon what footing he 
sends them, by no order of mine do they come, and it is only 
now and then, I get one. yet I do not want to lay under any 
obligation to him. Claypoole and Dunlaps Papers now come 
regularly and I could wish they were also paid. 

For what can sheet copper be bought in Phila. at this time ? 
I believe I shall have occasion to add to the quantity which was 
sent me from thence last year, to complete my buildings. 

Mrs. join me in every good wish for you, Mrs. Biddle and 
family, with great esteem I am etc. [h.s.p.] 

4o The "Letter Book" has "o£ Mr. Custis." 
46 The Pamunky. 
47 Maj. James Fairlie. 

48 Eleazer Oswald. He was publisher of The Independent Gazetteer, of Phila- 
delphia, Pa. 



Mount Vernon, December 11, 1785. 

My dear Sir: Majr. Farlie 49 gave me the pleasure of receiving 
your letter of the 22cl. Instt., and thereby knowing that you, 
Mrs. Knox and the family were all well. 

It has always been my opinion you know, that our Affairs 
with respect to the Indians would never be in a good train 
whilst the British Garrisons remained on the American side of 
the territorial line, and that these Posts would not be evacuated 
by them, as long as any pretext could be found to with-hold 

They know the importance of these Posts too well to give 
them up soon, or quietly, their trade with the Indians in a 
great measure depend upon the possession of them, knowing 
full well that all the assertions of our Commrs. with respect to 
the Articles of Peace, and their obligation to surrender them, is 
no more than chaff before the wind when opposed by the 
scale of possession. 

I am sorry the State Societies should hesitate to comply with 
the recommendation of the General Meeting of the Cincin- 
nati, holden at Phila. in 1784. I then thought, and have no 
cause Since to change my opinion, that nothing short of what 
was then done would appease the clamours which were raised 
against this Institution. Some late attacks have been made 
upon it; amongst which a Pamphlet written by the Count de 
I Mirabeau, a French Gentleman, has just made its appearance. 
It is come to my hands translated into English, but I have not 
had time yet to read it. 

I am sorry you have undergone any chagreen on acct. of the 
lime Stone. I have got through my Summers work without 



any disappointment therefrom; having had it in my power at 
all times, when wanted, to buy Shells, nor would I wish to 
have any sent me now, unless by contract not to exceed One 
shilling and three pence at the ships side at Alexandria, or oppo- 
site to my House; and this I do not expect, as Stone lime is 
oftener higher at the former place. 

It is unnecessary to assure you of the pleasure I should feel at 
seeing you at this place, whenever business or inclination may 
bring you to this State. Every good wish, in which Mrs. Wash- 
ington joins me, is offered to you, Mrs. Knox and the Children, 
with every sentiment of friendship and regard, I am etc. 



Mount Vernon, December n, 1785. 

Dear Sir: I have been favoured with your letter of the 25th. 
of November by Major Farlie. 

Sincerely do I wish that the several State Societies had, or 
would, adopt the alterations that were recommended by the 
General meeting in May 1784. I then thought, and have had 
no cause since to change my opinion, that if the Society of the 
Cincinnati mean to live in peace with the rest of their fellow 
Citizens, they must subscribe to the Alterations which were at 
that time adopted. 

That the jealousies of, and prejudices against this Society 
were carried to an unwarrantable length, I will readily grant, 
and that less than was done, ought to have removed the fears 
which had been imbibed, I am as clear in, as I am that it would 
not have done it; but it is a matter of little moment whether the 
alarm which siezed the public mind was the result of foresight, 
envy and jealousy, or a disordered imagination; the effect of 


perseverance would have been the same: wherein there would 
I have been found an equivalent for the seperation of Interests, 
which (from my best information, not from one State only 
but many) would inevitably have taken place ? 

The fears of the people are not yet removed, they only sleep, 
and a very little matter will set them afloat again. Had it not 
been for the predicament we stood in with respect to the for- 
eign Officers, and the charitable part of the Institution I should, 
on that occasion, as far as my voice would have gone have en- 
deavoured to convince the narrow minded part of our Coun- 
trymen that the Amor Pate, was much stronger in our breasts 
than theirs, and that our conduct through the whole of the bus- 
iness was actuated by nobler and more generous sentiments 
than were apprehended, by abolishing the Society at once, with 
a declaration of die causes, and the purity of its intention. But 
the latter may be interesting to many, and the former, is an 
inseperable bar to such a step. 

I am sincerely concerned to find by your letter that the 
Baron 60 is again in straightened circumstances. I am much 
disinclined to ask favors of Congress, but if I knew what the 
objects of his wishes are I should have much pleasure in ren- 
dering him any services in my power with such members of 
that body as I now and then corrispond with. I had flattered 
myself, from what was told me some time ago, that Congress 
had made a final settlement with the Baron much to his 

My Compliments and best wishes, in which Mrs. Washing- 
ton joins me, are presented to Mrs. Hamilton. I am etc. 

PS. When you see Genl. Schuyler and family I pray you to 
offer my best respects to them. 51 

60 Baron Steuben. 

"From the original in the Hamilton Papers in the Library of Congress. 



Mount Vernon, December 16, 1785. 

Sir: Since I wrote you last I have received your letter of the 
28th. of Novr. Although you could not make out an exact 
statement of the Accts., as they stand between the Tenants and 
me, I wish you had returned me a list of them, and the Lots on 
which they live, with the Rent each man pays. 

I see no advantage that is to be derived now, from my being 
on the Tenemants. As you have power, and your judgment 
must direct, your enquiries may be extended as far as mine 
could, was I on the spot. Supposing this to be the case, what 
could I do, more than to see, in the first place, to whom Lot No. 
1 (and so on with all the rest) was originally granted; in whose 
possession it now is; and what transferances have taken place. 
What rents the lot has credit for in the acct. I sent you (which 
is the best that could be made out?) and what receipts can be 
produced, in case of a difference between my accts. and the 
Tenants, in proof of his having paid more than he stands cred- 
ited for. What, more than this, I say, could I do were I on the 
Land ? And is not all this in your Power ? The Leases which 
I gave you (for this purpose) testifies to the first. The Tentent 
[sic] on the land solves the second, and the information of 
themselves, compared, and corroborated by the testimony of the 
neighbourhood, if necessary, is the only means I know, of com- 
ing at the truth of the third matter, that is, the transferences. 
With respect to the Rents which are due on any lot, my Acct. 
compared with the Tenants receipts, is the only mode by which 
this can be ascertained. I readily grant that, my business with 
respect to these people have been most shamefully neglected but 
there is no help for that now, to recover it out of the State of 
disorder and confusion into which it has run, and to place it on 
as just a footing both for Landlord and tenant as the nature 


of the case will admit of, is all that remains to be done; and 
some of the letters which I have already written to you on this 
subject, and to which I now refer, gives you my ideas fully on 
the Subject, and wch. in one word are these, to deal justly, hon- 
ourably, and even generously by them; But where it shall ap- 
pear that the Tenants have disregarded every Covenant in the 
leases, which were intended to secure a mutual benefit to my- 
self; and their sole aim has been to make a Market of the Land 
for their own private emolument. Or where the tenant in pos- 
session has taken advantage of the times, and paid their rents 
in Paper money when it was of no value. In either of these 
cases, I should have no scruple to set the Leases aside, if they 
are clearly, and legally forfeited; provided, the Lots can be let 
to a better advantage than on the present terms, of the Leases. 
And all these things must be submitted to your own Judgment, 
after the fullest information of the circumstances, is obtained. 

If the Tenants have paid money to any other than Lund 
Washington or myself, I should have an acct. of it; and when 
it was done; that I may look for it in some quarter, but where 
there is no receipt, nor no credit in my acct., I shall pay no re- 
gard to bear ascertions. I may quit scores at once if these are 
to be considered as discharges. With respect to their being two 
tenants on a Lot, unless they have something to shew, which 
authorizes it, the Lease itself must be your guide and director, 
without application to me. It is evidence of the agreement be- 
tween the Landlord and tenant, and must be resorted to every 
year, to see that the terms are fulfilled on the part of the latter; 
for it may be laid down as a certainty that there is no obligation 
on the former that will not be exacted. 

Lund Washington's going upon the land could answer no 
purpose; he knows no more how matters stand than I do, and 
much less I believe than yourself, or the business would not be 
in the confusion it is at present. 


It is essentially necessary that yr. collection should be as large 
as possible, because, independant of other considerations, I have 
not made half bread Corn enough this year to serve my People 
and stock; and shall have to purchase it at a high price, in ad- 
dition to my other heavy and numerous expenditures notwith- 
standing this, it is my wish to push matters to the last extremty 
in order to obtain all the rents which may be due, unless there 
is, in your opinion, good cause for it. in short, circumstances 
and your own discretion must direct you. 

With respect to the vacant Lots I have in the Tracts com- 
mitted to your Inspection and management; I can give but 
one general direction for them all. And that is this: let the 
notice that they are to be let, be as long before hand, and as 
extensive as you can conveniently give of the day you will let 
them, (to the highest bidder if you shall think it best), and 
then let them for as much as you can obtain, for a term not 
exceeding 14 years; ten years I should prefer. If the Season is 
now too far advanced, (and it is highly probable that few Ten- 
ants have places to look for at this late Season of the year), per- 
haps it might be better to rent them upon any terms for the 
coming year, and endeavor in time next year, to render them 
as advantageous to me as the Land will procure. 

I think it would be best to divide the lot on Chattins run, oc- 
cupied by John Thompson, and to put it on the footing wch. 
you have suggested. It also appears that the other Lots on the 
same tract, had also better be divided; they will rent much 
higher for it, as there are so many more people of small force 
wanting land than great, and when they are divided, rent them 
for as much as you can get. An Advertisement of these vacant 
Lots in the Alexa. Paper, At Dumfries, Falmouth, and Port 
Tobacco would, I am persuaded, (if the Season is not too far 
advanced) bring you tenants in abundance, for many have 


applied to me, and I told them, as I really thought, that I had 
not an Acre of Land in those parts untenanted. 

It may be well to attend a little closely to the line between 
some person, or persons of the name of Rector, and me on 
Chattins run. It is now, some years ago, since I was told, his Mill 
was on my Land; and that he was making some other encroach- 
ments; and was endeavouring to support a claim to it, merely 
because it was convenient for, and his interest to possess it. 

Inclosed you have a memo, of the agreement between us, re- 
specting the Wheat. I made a bad bargain of it. not more than 
5/6 has been given at Alexandria for this Article, the market 
there now dull, and the price expected to fall. What Wheat of 
yours that has come to my Mill, the Miller says is good and I 
hope your orders will be fulfilled with respect to the good 
cleaning of that which is to come. It is all I can expect for the 
high price given. I am etc. 

PS. Williams not coming down, the Counter part of his 
Lease is not signed by him. I have directed that it shall be de- 
livered to you. This letter is written in so great a hurry, that I 
wish it may be understood. If you can get at my meaning it is 
all I wish. The opportunity for sending it being sudden and 
unexpected. 52 


December 17, 1785. 
Gentlemen: That I may be perspicuous and avoid miscon- 
ception, the proposition 53 which I wish to lay before you is 
committed to writing; and is as follows: 

52 From a photostat of the original kindly furnished by Lloyd W. Smith, of New 
York City. 

63 At the meeting of the trustees (December 17) which accepted this offer, those 
present were: Dr. William Brown, president; Benjamin Dulany, William Hartshorne, 
James Hendricks, John Fitzgerald, Samuel Hanson, and Charles Lee. Their letter of 
acceptance to Washington is dated Dec. 17, 1785, and is in the Washington Papers. 



It has long been my intention to invest, at my death, one 
thousand pounds current money of this State in the hands of 
Trustees, the interest only of which to be applied in instituting 
a school in the Town of Alexandria, for the purpose of edu- 
cating orphan children who have no other resource, or the 
children of such indigent parents as are unable to give it. The 
objects to be considered of and determined by the Trustees for 
the time being, when applied to by the parents or friends of the 
children who have pretensions to this provision. It is not in my 
power at this time to advance the above sum ; but that a measure, 
that may be productive of good, may not be delayed, I will until 
my death, or until it shall be more convenient for my Estate to 
advance the principal, pay the interest thereof (to wit, fifty 
pounds) annually. 

Under this state of the matter, I submit to your consideration 
the practicability and propriety of blending the two institutions 
together, so as to make one Seminary under the direction of 
the President, Visitors, or such other establishment as to you 
shall seem best calculated to promote the objects in view, and 
for preserving order, regularity, and good conduct in the Acad- 
emy. My intention, as I have before intimated, is, that the prin- 
cipal sum shall never be broken in upon; the interest only to be 
applied for the purposes above mentioned. It was also my in- 
tention to apply the latter to the sole purpose of education, and 
of that kind of education which would be most extensively 
useful to people of the lower class of citizens, viz. reading, 
writing and arithmetic, so as to fit them for mechanical purposes. 

The fund, if confined to this, would comprehend more sub- 
jects; but, if you shall be of opinion, that the proposition I now 
offer can be made to comport with the institution of the School 
which is already established; and approve of an incorporation 
of them in the manner before mentioned, and thereafter, upon 


a full consideration of the matter, should conceive that this fund 
would be more advantageously applied towards cloathing and 
schooling, than solely to the latter, I will acquiesce in it most 
cheerfully; and shall be ready, (as soon as the Trustees are 
established upon a permanent footing,) by Deed or other in- 
strument of writing, to vest the aforesaid sum of One thousand 
pounds, in them and their successors forever, with powers to 
direct and manage the same agreeably to these my declared 
intentions. 54 


Mount Vernon, December 18, 1785. 

Sir : Your letter of the 16th., with others, were put into my 
hands yesterday in Alexandria; but being engaged at that time 
I did not open them until I returned home in the evening; or, I 
would have sought an opportunity of conversing with you on 
the subject of it, whilst I was in Town. 

On the footing you have placed your offer, though I feel my- 
self obliged by it, I am unable, from the indecision of it, to 
return a satisfactory answer. It would by no means suit me 
to await the determinations of the Assemblies of those States 
(which are mentioned in your letter) on the applications you 
are about to make to them; and afterwards, a consultation of 
circumstances and your convenience, before you could resolve 
on what plan to fix. Nor indeed, does your offer go to more 
than one point, whilst I have three objects in view, namely : the 
education of the Children, Aiding me in my corrispondencies, 
and keeping my Accounts: The last of which, I believe might 
be dispensed with; or, at any rate when they are once digested, 
and brought into order (which is the present employment of 

54 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


Mr. Shaw) they will require very little attention; but the other 
two are essential to my purposes. 

I send you the sketches of American policy, 55 and conceive 
that the publication of extracts therefrom will be pleasing, and 
may be beneficial. All possible lights ought, in my opinion, to 
be thrown on subjects of this importance, for it should seem 
that ignorance, or design, have too great a share in the govern- 
ment of public measures. I am etc. [ n. y. p. l. ] 


Mount Vernon, December 18, 1785. 

My Dr. Sir: I have had the honor to receive your letter of the 
7th. inst: enclosing an Act of the General Assembly, which 
passed at my request. 50 

This new proof of the confidence repos'd in me by my Coun- 
try, lays me under additional obligations to it; and I am equally 
sensible of its favors, and the polite and friendly wishes with 
which you accompanied the act. 

If the etiquette of business makes it necessary for me officially 
to acknowledge the receipt of this Act, let me entreat you my 
Dr. Sir, to offer to the House in my behalf but in your own 
words, the grateful sense I have of its goodness upon this occa- 
sion, with assurances that the confidence reposed in me, shall 
not intentionally be abused. With great esteem, etc. 


December 19, 1785. 
The Bearer of this Pedro Tellez, is the Spaniard who was 
sent from Bilboa in Spain, with one of the Jack Asses which 

65 Webster's "Sketches of American Policy" was printed as a pamphlet in 1785. 
58 Act of Oct. 17, 1785, permitting Washington to dispose of the donated stock of 
the Potomac and James Rivers navigation companies, as he so requested. 


was presented to me by His Catholic Majesty, and is on his 
journey to New York, to the Minister of Spain, with a view of 
returning to his own Country from thence. 57 

Not being able to speak any other language than that of his 
native tongue, it is requested as a favor of the good people on 
the road to assist and direct him properly, which will be con- 
sidered as an obligation conferred on, G: Washington 58 


Virginia, December 19, 1785. 

Sir: My homage is due to his Catholic Majesty for the honor 
of his present. The value of it is intrinsically great, but is ren- 
dered inestimable by the manner and from the hand it is 

Let me entreat you therefore, Sir, to lay before the King my 
thanks for the Jack Asses with which he has been graciously 
pleased to compliment me; and to assure his Majesty of my 
unbounded gratitude for so condescending a mark of his royal 
notice and favor. 

That long life, perfect health, and unfading glory may attend 
his Majesty's reign, is my fervent wish. With great respect and 
consideration I have the honor etc. 59 


Mount Vernon, December 19, 1785. 
Sir: This letter will be handed to you by Mr. Peter Tellez 
who attended the Jack Ass, which arrived safe, to this place : 

67 A certificate also was furnished Tellez (December 19) that he had delivered one 
jackass and that his care and attention to the valuable animal was most acceptable. 
A copy of this certificate is in the "Letter Book" in the Washington Papers. 

58 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

50 From a photostat of the letter sent which is in Archivo Historico Nacional 
Madrid, Estado, Legajo 3885, Expedicnte 26. 


for want of an Interpreter I have not been able to understand 
him perfectly; but as far as his wishes have been explained to 
me, they are, that he may be permitted to return to Spain as 
soon as possible; that it is proper he should go by the way of 
New York to see his Excellency Don Gardoqui; that as he was 
employed by his Catholic Majesty, and in the Kings pay until 
he return'd (his wife receiving part of it from Mr. Gardoqui 
at Bilboa) he would take none from me. 

Under these circumstances I have forwarded him to Nw. 
York, after prevailing on him to take a trifle as an acknowledg- 
ment of the obligation I am under to him, for his care of the 
animal on which I set the highest value. He has some expec- 
tation indeed, that at his return his Majesty may bestow some 
humble appointment on him, in the Collection of his Customs; 
and therein he has my wishes, but I could not ask it for him, or 
even hint it to the Minister. 

Not having the honor of an acquaintance with his Excelly. 
Mr. Gardoqui, I have taken the liberty of making these com- 
munications to you; and to pray, if there is anything improper 
in my sending Mr. Tellez to Nw. York, or in my conduct towards 
him, that it may be ascribed to misconception, and misunder- 
standing his wants by bad interpretation. Altho' unknown, I 
pray you to make a tender of my respectful compliments to Mr. 
Gardoqui, and to accompany them with the strongest assur- 
ances of the pleasure I should feel in seeing him at this Seat of 
my retirement, if inclination should ever induce him to visit the 
States to the southward of Nw. York. It is unnecessary to offer 
you the same assurances, because I have repeatedly done it be- 
fore, and you must have been convinced of my sincerity. With 
very great esteem etc. 

P. S. Mr. Tellez is charged with a Letter from me to Mr. 
Carmichael, enclosing one to His Exy. the Count de Florida 


Blanca, praying that my homage and gratitude may be pre- 
sented to his Catholic Majesty for the favor he has conferred 
on me for the honor of his royal notice. 60 


Mount Vernon, December 19, 1785. 

Sir: One the Jacks with which his Catholic Majesty was 
pleased to present me, has arrived safe; and the enclos'd to his 
Minister is a testimony of my gratitude for the singular mark 
of his royal notice. I pray you Sir, to do me the honor of pre- 
senting it. I hesitate a while, whether to express my sense of 
this obligation at first, or second hand; but considering the 
value of it, I determined on the former, and at the same time 
that I would enclose you a copy of what I had written. 

The Spaniard, Seignor Pedro Tellez who accompanied the 
Jack which arrived safe, has expressed a wish to obtain a line 
of approbation from me ; by means of which he thinks he could 
obtain some low office in the King's Customs: but it was a 
liberty I could not take, further than to express in the Certifi- 
cate I have given him, my sense of his care of the animal which 
was entrusted to him. But if a word my good Sir, could oc- 
casionally drop from you to this effect, it might do an essential 
service to the poor fellow (who it seems has a wife and chil- 
dren) and would be considered as an additional favor con- 
ferred on, Sir Yrs. etc. 60 


Mount Vernon, December 20, 1785. 
Dr. Sir: From the assurances you gave me I had flattered my- 
self that I should 'ere this have received a payment from you; 

90 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


and I had no doubt of it after Colo. Fitzgerald informed me, 
five months ago that ^200 had passed thro' his hands from Mr. 
White to you; which was the fund, if I understood you rightly, 
which you had appropriated for this purpose. 

I beg you to be assured that the disclosure I made to you of 
my circumstances was candid; and that it cannot be more dis- 
agreeable to you to hear, than it is to me to repeat that my wants 
are pressing, some debts which I am really ashamed to owe, are 
unpaid ; and I have been, for want of money, unable to do more 
with my manufacturing Mill, (which is expensive to me with- 
out) than to grind up my own Crops; for wheat is not to be 
bought on credit, and I have not cash to pay for it. But this is 
not the worst, I have not made half grain enough to support 
my people and stock this year, the deficiency must be bought at 
a high price, and (for there is no question of the Articles bear- 
ing it) for ready money. I must therefore get it at an advanced 
price, if to be had at all, on credit; or I must sell something at a 
low price to enable me to pay ready money. This is truly my 
situation. I am, etc. 61 


Mount Vernon, December 20, 1785. 
Dr. Lund : Having come to a fixed determination (whatever 
else may be left undone) to attend to the business of my plan- 
tations; and having enquired of Geo: Washington 62 how far it 
would be agreeable to him and his wife to make this place a 
permanent residence, (for before it was only considered as 
their temporary abode, until some plan could be settled for 
them) and finding it to comport with their inclinations, I now 
inform you that it will be in my power to comply with your 

From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 
82 George Augustine Washington. 


wishes with less inconvenience than appeared when you first 
proposed to leave my employment. 

The business of the Mill is what both of us, will be most at a 
loss about at first; and as the people wanting flour are in the 
habit of applying to you for it, it would be rendering me a 
service to give your attention to this matter, until he can be- 
come a little acquainted with the mode of managing it; and 
your advice to him afterwards in this and other affairs may be 

The mode of paying the taxes, the times of collection, and in 
what kind of property it is most advantageous to discharge 
them, and the amount of them, is another business in which 
he will be to seek; and I have not sufficient knowledge of the 
practice to instruct him. 

Nothing else occurs to me at this time in which it is essential 
to give you any trouble after the present year; for if I should 
not be able to visit the plantations as often as I could wish, 
(owing to company or other engagements) I am resolved that 
an account of the stock and every occurrence that happens in 
the course of the week shall be minutely detailed to me every 
Saturday. Matters cannot go much out of sorts in that time 
without a seasonable remedy. For both our interests, the wheat 
remaining in the straw should be an object of your care. I 
am, etc. 63 


Mount Vernon, December 20, 1785. 

Dr. Sir: It so happened that your letter of the 4th. ulto. with 
its enclosures, did not meet a quick passage to me; and that 
some delays afterwards, more the effect of accident than neg- 
lect, prevented the Petition and Bill, 64 (which you are so oblig- 

63 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 
64 Of the Potomac Company. 


ing as to draw) from getting to the Assemblies of the two 
States, so soon as were to be wished; however they are now 
before them; and from that of Maryland, I am inform'd by a 
gentleman to whom I had written on the occasion, that the 
business could meet with no opposition there; and from that of 
this State that it was reported reasonable. Acts it is to be hoped, 
will therefore pass, conformably to our desires. 

I feel myself much obliged by the calculations you have been 
at the trouble to make and to transmit to me; and at all times 
shall be happy in a full and unreserved communication of your 
sentiments on this, or any other business. This in particular in 
a new work stands in need of all the information we can obtain, 
and is much indebted to you for many estimates, and ideas 
which have been very useful. 

It is to be apprehended, notwithstanding the great encour- 
agements which have been offered by the Directors of the 
Company for the hire of negroes, that we shall not succeed in 
obtaining them. An idea is entertained by the proprietors of 
them, that the nature of the work will expose them to dangers 
which are not compensated by the terms. Servants I hope are 
purchased 'ere this; Colo. Fitzgerald was to have gone yester- 
day to George town for this purpose. If the appearance of the 
people is at all favorable, the price at which Colo. Deakens offers 
them will be no obstacle. 

This letter, handed to the care of Colo. Deakens, will be ac- 
companied by a small bag of Spanish Chestnutts, half of which 
you will please to accept, and the other contrive to Mr. Lee; 
they were sent to the Alexandria races in October to be given 
to him, but the delivery was neglected. It might be well perhaps 
to put them in sand to prevent an over drying, to the injury of 
vegitation. With very great esteem, etc. 65 

From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 



Mount Vernon, December 24, 1785. 

Dr. Sir: I have received your favor of the 18th., and am ex- 
ceedingly obliged to you for the Contract you have entered 
into on my behalf, with Mr. Savage, 66 for 800 bushels of oats. 
If you can extend the quantity to be had from him, to 1200 
bushels in the whole, upon the same terms, it would add 
greatly to the favor as my crop of Corn is much worse than I 
had conceived it to be when I wrote to you last (not having 
received the tallies) which together do not amount to one third 
of what I made last year; which is insufficient to feed my 
negroes, much more to afford support for my Horses. This 
evinces the necessity also of my knowing speedily and pre- 
cisely, if I may depend upon any from the Estate below, and 
the quantity. 

The Eastern shore oats generally speaking, are light and 
indifferent; and what is worse, are often mixed with the wild 
onions : as I mean to sow oats next Spring to help me along, it 
would be obliging in Mr. Savage, if he could send me such as 
are free from this troublesome, and injurious plant to our 

I thank you too for the information respecting the interest 
of the loans to the Continent in this State : I send what Certifi- 
cates I possess, to you; but fear that those who live at a distance 
from the Theatre, have little chance of being benefited by the 
Act of the Legislature; although they may get their Certificates 
to the Treasury on or before the time limited, but if I should 
be mistaken in this, you would serve me essentially by bring- 
ing Cash in exchange for those which are enclosed, agreeably 
to the list which accompanies them. With great esteem, etc. 76 

86 George Savage, of. Northampton County, Va. 

97 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 



Mount Vernon, December 27, 1785. 

Dr. Sir : In looking over the list of premiums proposed by 
the Agricultural Society of Philada., I perceive that those of- 
fered for the 2d. 3d. and 4th. articles, were to have been pro- 
duced according to the requisin. by the 20th. inst: 

Each of these being interesting to a farmer you would oblige 
me much therefore by giving me the result of the communi- 
cations on these heads to the Society, if any discoveries worth 
notice have been handed to it. 

Mrs. Washington joins me in offering the compliments of 
the season to Mrs. Powel and yourself, and in best wishes that 
you may see many returns of it. With great esteem, etc. 68 


Mount Vernon, January 5, 1786. 

Sir : A few days ago a Mr. Isaac Jenny of Loudon County was 
with me respecting a Piece of Land, which he Supposing was Va- 
cant had been endeavouring to obtain, but which upon investi- 
gation, he finds belongs to me, and in part of my Chattins Run 
tract, (adjoining Robt. Ashbys), though Claimed by Mr. Robt. 
Scott, who has Placed a tenant thereon (One Jesse Hite) whose 
first years Rent is now due. As far as I can understand the mat- 
ter, the following is a true State of the case; 

Both Scott and I bind upon Burgess's Patent, and call for his 
Lines. One of which it Should seem, runs a Certain Course and 
Distance, and Calls for a Red Oak; but in Place of a Red Oak, 
there is a White Oak, which Mr. Jenny says all the Neighbours 
know to be Burgess's Corner, and he is informed that the Sur- 
veyor of the County has established it as such. From hence I 

68 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


Run Two or Three Short Courses with Burgess's lines to a Red 
Oak. And from thence a line with Scott; But Scott wants, and 
it Should Seem (from Mr. Jenny's Account) actually got Ashby 
when he was laying my Land off into Lotts, to leave out those 
Short courses above mentioned, by which is a line of Blazed 
Trees, which were then, or at Some other time, made to Sub- 
serve the Purpose; I am Cut out of 170 or 180 Acres of Land, 
which are within the lines of my Patent, and now Tenanted by 
Scott, to Hite. Inclosed I Send you a copy of the Courses and 
Boundaries of my Land, taken from the Original Patents 
and Pray the first time you go into the Neighbourhood, that you 
would have the matter enquired into. I have no objection to 
Hite's having the Land, and would give him the Preference, 
but Shall not by any means (If the Land is mine) think myself 
bound to fulfill Scott's agreement with him. He must (except 
in the Preference above) Stand upon the Same footing with me, 
as another Man. 

Sometime ago Mr. Landon Carter informed me that a Patent 
of which he is Possessed takes away part of my Tract in Ashby's 
Bent. I replyed that I wanted no Land but my own, nor to go 
into a Litigation of the right. If it was realy his. But this Right 
must be clearly ascertained before I shall Surrender the land: 
which I mention that if upon enquiry you find he has taken 
possession of any part of what I hold by Purchase there, and 
which I laid out into lots, I may be informed thereof, and to 
prevent his doing it, if it remains to be done. Be so good as 
to inform me by the first conveyance, whether Clover Seed, 
is to be bought in your Neighbourhood, and if so the quantity 
and Place of it. On your answer will depend my Purchase with 
you, or at Philadelphia. I have great reason to fear, that that 
which you bought for me last year was good for nothing. If so, 
and the Man of whom you got it, was apprized thereof, I Shall 
view him in a light infinitely worse than a pick pocket, because 

1786] THE NEW ROOM 369 

the latter only takes your Money, whilst the former does this 
also, runs you to a useless cost, of Putting land in fine Tilth, for 
the Seed, and occasions the loss of a year in ones Projects. 

I have heard nothing more of the Butter, which you were to 
have lodg'd at Mr. Wayles's by the 23d. of last Month, I hope 
no disappointment will take Place, now especially as I Could 
after I had engaged this of you, have Purchased any quantity, 
of very fine Butter in Alexandria, at gd. p lb. having obtained 
200 lbs. at that Price. I am etc. 69 


Mount Vernon, January 7, 1786. 

Dear Sir: Your favor of the 30th. Ulto. did not reach me until 
last night. Except it is by chance, letters by the Stage never get 
to my hands so quickly as they do by the Post; nor so safely, 
because I send regularly every post day to the Office in Alex- 
andria, whilst those by the Stage getting into private hands 
await accidental conveyances from that place. I mention this 
circumstance as a reply might have been expected from me 

As it is convenient and indeed essential to me, to have the use 
of my unfinished room as soon as may be, I agree to Mr. Raw- 
lins's terms (as stated in your letter) in all their parts; not but 
that I am convinced from what I know of the business (being 
once part owner of as accomplished a workman as ever came to 
this Country, in that way, and the manner of its execution) that 
Mr. Rawlins has imposed upon Mr. Gough and now avails him- 
self of the scarcity of Artisans of his profession, to extort high 

^In the writing of William Shaw. This letter is inadvertently entered as Jan. 5, 
1785, in the "Letter Book" in the Washington Papers. 

On January 5 Washington entered into articles of agreement with Thomas Green 
to serve [as a carpenter] for one year. This agreement, in Washington's writing, is 
in the Washington Papers. 


terms from me. Most of this work is cast, and is as quickly done 
as lead is run into a mould. But rather than encounter further 
delay, perhaps a disappointment, or ask the favor of a stranger 
to engage an undertaker to cross the Atlantic who might be 
troublesome to me thereafter, I submit to this imposition as the 
lesser evil. 

As Mr. Rawlins is a stranger to me, and one, of whose char- 
acter I have not the smallest knowledge ; and as I have had some 
reason to remember an old adage, that one of the bad paymas- 
ters is him that pays before hand, I persuade myself that you 
will be satisfied I shall run no risk in advancing him money to 
the amount of ^50 in the course of the winter, 'ere it is done. 
And as you are so obliging as to offer to do this, your drafts on 
me for such advances as you make him, shall be punctually paid. 

When the agreement is specifically entered into, and bound, 
be so good as to request Mr. Rawlins to point out the prepara- 
tive steps for me, that no delays may follow his arrival. I shall 
rely more upon your friendship and goodness, than upon any 
apology I could make, for an excuse for the trouble this business 
has already give you, and is likely to give, you before its finally 
accomplishment; and can only assure you that with unfeigned 
esteem and Affection I am, etc. 

P. S. I send this letter to Alexa. to take the chance of a private 
conveyance, but it is probable the Post will offer the first. 


Mount Vernon, January 10, 1786. 
Madam : I wish my expression would do justice to my feel- 
ings, that I might convey to you adequate ideas of my grati- 
tudes for those favourable sentiments with which the letter you 
did me the honor to write to me from New York, is replete. 
The plaudit of a lady so celebrated as Mrs. Macauly Graham 


is, could not fail of making a deep impression upon my sensi- 
bility; and my pride was more than a little flattered by your 
approbation of my conduct thro' an arduous and painful contest. 

During the time in which we supposed you to have been on 
your journey to New York, we participated in the distresses 
which we were sure you must have been involved in on ac- 
count of the intemperature of the air, which exceeded the 
heats common in this Country at the most inclement season : 
and tho' your letter was expressive of the great fatigue you had 
undergone, still we rejoiced that the journey was attended with 
no worse consequences. 

I hope, and most sincerely wish that this letter may find you 
happily restored to your friends in England, whose anxiety for 
your return must, I am persuaded, have been great; and that 
you will have experienced no inconvenience from your voyage 
to America. 

Mrs. Washington who has a grateful sense of your favorable 
mention of her; and Fanny Bassett and Major Washington 
who, since we had the honor of your company, have joined 
their hands and fortunes, unite with me in respectful compli- 
ments to you; and in every good wish that can render you and 
Mr. Graham happy. The little folks enjoy perfect health. The 
boy, whom you would readily have perceived, was the pet of 
the family, gives promising hopes from maturer age. 

With sentiments of great respect and esteem:, I have the 
honor, etc. 70 


Mount Vernon, January 20, 1786. 
Dr. Sir: I have been favored with your letter of the 10th. 
inst: with its inclosures, the last are returned signed. I also 

'"From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


send you a copy of the courses of the Lotts purchased by your- 
self and me at the sale of your brother's Land, and shall thank 
you for the conveyances which are necessary to secure the legal 
right to those which I hold. 

I am sorry to hear that you still continue indisposed, you 
have my best wishes for a speedy and perfect recovery of your 
health, and with sentimts. of sincere esteem etc. 

P. S. A few days ago I received under cover, several copies 
of the inclosed proposals 71 from the Author; one of which has 
obtained a good many subscribers in Alexa. I use the freedom 
of sending a copy to you, that in case yourself and friends in 
and about Fredericksburgh should incline to become subscrib- 
ers to the work, an opportunity may be furnished. As the 
Doctr., 72 it is to be presumed, will look to me for a return of 
the number committed to my charge, I shall be glad to re- 
ceive the enclosed when you shall find it convenient and 
proper, so as to be ready for his call. I have only to pray that the 
conditions may be complied with respecting the advance, as I 
would not incline to have any thing more to do in the business, 
after the subscription papers are returned. 73 


Mount Vernon, January 20, 1786. 
Sir: The letter which your Excellency did me the favor to 
write to me on the first of this month does me great honor: the 
sentiments which you have been pleased to entertain of my con- 
duct are very flattering; and the friendly manner in which they 
are expressed is highly pleasing. They meet the approbation 

"No subscription proposals for Gordon's "History of the Rise, Progress, and Estab- 
lishment of the Independence of the United States of America" are now found in the 
Washington Papers. The work, in 4 volumes, first appeared in London in 1788. 

72 Rev. William Gordon. 

™From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


of a gentleman whose good wishes were early engaged in the 
American cause, and who has attended to its progress thro' 
the various stages of the revolution, must be considered as a 
happy circumstance for me; and I shall seek occasionally to 
testify my sense of it. 

With much truth, I repeat the assurances offered to your 
Excellency thro' Mr. Rendon, of the pleasure I should have in 
seeing you at my Seat in this. State, that I might express per- 
sonally to you, how sensibly I feel for the proposed honor of 
your correspondence, and pray you to offer in such terms as 
you know would be most acceptable and proper, my gratitude 
to His Catholic Majesty, for his royal present to me, than which 
nothing could have been more flattering or valuable. 

With much esteem, respect and consideration, I have the 
honor, etc. 74 


Mount Vernon, January 30, 1786. 

Dr. Sir: The letter which you dropped for me at Alexandria 
I have received. If you can make it convenient to lodge the 
money in the hands of any person at that place, it would oblige 
me. I lie quite out of the line of opportunities to Annapolis, 
and to send there on purpose, would cost me 2/2, or perhaps 
5 pr Ct. to fetch it. 

If Mr. Pine, the Portrait Painter, should still be at Annapolis 
(which is scarcely to be expected) you would oblige me by 
paying him Twenty Guieneas, and Sixteen dollars; and his 
receipt for these sums, will be equal to that much of the ^200 
promised me. If he should have left Annapolis, I will remit the 
money to him myself. 

74 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


Mrs. Washington joins me in compliments to Mrs. Mercer. 
We shall always be glad to see you both at this place on your rout 
to or from Annapolis. My best respects attend Mr. Spriggs 75 
family. I am etc. [h.s.p.] 


Mount Vernon, January 31, 1786. 
Sir: If you have no cause to change your opinion respecting 
your mechanical Boat, and reasons unknown to me do not 
exist to delay the exhibition of it, I would advise you to give it 
to the public as soon as it can be prepared, conveniently. The 
postponement creates distrust in the public mind; it gives time 
also for the imagination to work, and this is assisted by a little 
dropping from one, and something from another, to whom 
you have disclosed the secret: should therefore a mechanical 
genius hit upon your plan, or something similar to it, I need not 
add that it would place you in an awkward situation, and per- 
haps disconcert all your prospects concerning this useful dis- 
covery; for you are not, with your experience in life, now to 
learn that the shoulders of the public are too broad to feel the 
weight of the complaints of an individual, or to regard prom- 
ises, if they find it convenient, and have the shadow of plausi- 
bility on their side, to retract them. I will inform you further, 
that many people in guessing at your plan, have come very 
near the mark; and that one, who had something of a similar 
nature to offer to the public, wanted a Certificate from me that 
it was different from yours. I told him, that as I was not at 
liberty to declare what your plan was, so I did not think it 
proper to say what it was not. 

75 Richard Sprigg. 


Whatever may be your determination after this hint, I have 
only to request that my sentiments on the subject may be as- 
cribed to friendly motives, and taken in good part. 

I should be glad to know the exact state in which my houses 
at Bath are. I have fifty pounds ready, for which you may draw 
on me at any time; and I will settle for the whole as soon as 

Herewith you will receive a Magazine containing the esti- 
mates of the expence of the Canal in Scotland. It belongs to 
Mr. Johnson who requested me to forward it to you after I had 
read it, to him you will be pleased to return the book when 
you are done with it. With esteem, etc. 76 


Mount Vernon, February 4, 1786. 

Sir: My last by Mr. Daniel McPherson would inform you 
why I did not write more fully by that opportunity; and my 
attendance since on the business of the Potomac Company at 
the Great Falls, is the reason of the delay in doing it until now. 

Your letters, of the 10th. of Deer, and of the 12th. 17th. and 
18th. of last month are before me, and such parts of them as 
have not been answered and appear to require it, shall be the 
subjects of this letter; taking them in the order of their dates. 

The Butter is at length arrived, and as I had depended upon 
it, I shall keep the whole tho' the price is at least 2d. pr. Ct. 
more than I was supplied with very good for, at Alexandria in 
the fall. Where there is an evidence of exertion in the Tenants 
to pay rents and arrearages, I think you act very properly by 
giving them encouraging words, and assurances of indulgence: 

"From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


distress to them, and little advantage to me, would accrue 
from a contrary conduct. But where it shall appear that 
there is no such intention; that to postpone payment is the 
sole aim; and where the conditions of the Leases have been 
unattended to by them, and their only object has been to carry 
the land, and not the produce of it to market, here, no favor 
is due. 

Abner Grigg has never appeared here, if he comes, I shall 
not forget your information respecting him. In the meanwhile 
let me observe, that it is the compliance or non-compliance 
with the Lease which is to determine his right to return. If he 
is warranted by the tenor of the lease to do so, I shall not dis- 
pute the point with him; but watch his ways well in future 
without granting him any endulgences; if he is not, then take 
the speediest and most effectual mode to get rid of him. For 
your exertions in following and catching him, I feel myself 
obliged to you; as I also do for your endeavours to rent the 
vacant Lotts, altho' they should not be crowned with success. 

I hope you will be more fortunate in your collection than 
your letter of the 12th. seems to indicate, as it is on this I much 
depend for the payment of your wheat. It was unquestionably, 
my intention that Mr. Airess should pay the taxes of the Tene- 
ment he holds; as an evidence of it every Lott let at, and since 
that time, have been so expressed in the Leases: but whether it 
was declared in explicit terms, or even by implication to him 
at the time, my memory does not now serve me, and therefore 
I will not insist upon anything I am not clear in. The term 
for which he is to hold it, I recollect well is for his own and his 
wif es life, and must be so filled. 

As I have only Mr. Jenny's Accot. of the interference of lines; 
and as Surveyors fees (as established by Law) are high, perhaps 
it might be as well in the first instance to get the line between 


Mr. Scott and me run by any accurate man you can hire as 
the Surveyor of the County, and hear what he (Mr. Scott) 
has to say upon the subject. I want nothing but justice, and 
that, if to be obtained, I will have. But if, upon the whole, you 
find the business cannot be so well done by any other as the 
Surveyor of the County, I consent very readily to your employ- 
ing him. 

Having every reason to believe that the clover seed which 
you sent me last fall was bad, I can by no means think of taking 
more of it. If my fears of its not vegitating should be realized, 
I would rather have given £50, for a bushl. of good seed, than 
encounter the disappointment and loss of time will be conse- 
quent of it. I will not absolutely pronounce it bad, 'till the 
Spring vegitation comes on; but I have all the reason imag- 
inable to dread it. The seed had from Philadela. is not import- 
ed, but the growth of the Country and cheaper than Mr. Ro- 
pers; but cheapness was not the point I aimed at, certainty was 
my mark, and if I have missed it, I have lost a season and my 

Your letter of the 18th. was accompanied with a statement 
of the Tenements and rents of my Land in Fauquier &c. for 
which I am obliged to you. That you will have trouble in re- 
ducing these matters to order, I have not, nor ever had any 
doubt of, but they will be plain and easy after this year, which 
will make amends; as I am determined to continue the collec- 
tion in the hands of an agent who by close attention will see 
that I have justice done me, not only in the punctual payment 
of the rents, but that the covenants thereof are duly attended to 
and complied with. 

What reply to make to that part of your letter, wherein you 
speak of difficulties which may arise in case of the death of 
either of us, in the settlement of Accots., I know not: you have 


powers to act, and instructions how to act; and I here declare 
that if neither of these will comprehend all the cases which may 
arise in the prosecution of this business, my desire is that you 
would act for me as you would do for yourself: there can be no 
difficulty then, which I can foresee in the case; for these powers, 
these instructions and declaration will always justify a conduct 
that is not evidently fraudulent ; of wch. there is not the smallest 
suspicion in the present case. But when time will admit of it, 
state the cases fully wherein directions are wanted, and my 
sentiments thereon shall be handed to you, this will be a fur- 
ther justification for your conduct. 

Inclosed you have copies of the Accots. handed in by Lewis 
Lamont and his widow, together with copies of the Sheriff's 
receipts, which convey every information that is in my power 
to give you respecting his collection. I am, etc. 77 


Mount Vernon, February 5, 1786. 

Dear Sir: The Vessel which brought the inclosed, has de- 
livered the 800 Bushels of Oats for which you contracted with 
Mr Savage. Besides these, I have taken 100 more; for which I 
am to pay Flour. L Washington has taken anothr. and the re- 
maining 200 hundred are taken to Alexandria for you. 

I have engaged this man to bring the Corn from York River. 
He expects to stay no longer than Monday (tomorrow) at 
Alexandria; if you propose therefore to send wheat fans by him 
to the Plantations below you have no time to loose in getting 
them on board. I hope Mrs. Stuart, to whom and yourself I 
offer congratulations on the encrease of your family, is quite 
recovered. With great esteem and regard I am etc. 

"From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

1786] MR. LEAR'S DUTIES 379 

Mrs. Washington presents her love to Mrs. Stuart and wishes 
to know how she is. 78 


Mount Vernon, February 6, 1786. 

My dear Sir: Your favour of the 4th. of Jany. never reached 
me till yesterday, or the receipt of it should have had an earlier 
acknowledgment. Let me in the first place thank you for your 
kind attention to my enquiries. And in the next, pray you to 
learn, precisely from Mr. Lear, upon what terms he would 
come to me; for I am not inclined to leave matters of this sort 
to after discussion, or mis-conception. Whatever agreement is 
previously made, shall be pointedly fulfilled on my part, wch. 
will prevent every cause of complaint on his. 

Mr. Lear, 79 or any other who may come into my family in the 
blended characters of preceptor to the Children, and as a Clerk 
or private Secretary to me, will sit at my Table, will live as I 
live, will mix with the Company which resort to the Ho., and 
will be treated in every respect with civility, and proper atten- 
tion. He will have his washing done in the family, and may 
have his linnen and Stockings mended by the maids of it. The 
duties which will be required of him are, generally, such as 
appertain to the offices before mentioned. The first will be very 
trifling 'till the Children are a little more advanced; and the 
latter will be equally so as my corrispondencies decline (which 
I am endeavouring to effect) ; and after my accts; and other 
old matters are brought up. To descend more minutely into his 
avocations I am unable, because occasional matters may require 

78 From a photostat of the original through the kindness of Judge E. A. Armstrong, 
of Princeton, N. J. 

79 Tobias Lear, of Portsmouth, N. H. He was employed by Washington as a secretary. 


particular Services; nothing however derogatory will be asked, 
or expected. After this explanation of my wants, I request Mr. 
Lear would mention the annual sum he will expect for these 
Services, and I will give him a decided answer by the return of 
the Stages, which now carry the Mail and travel quick. A good 
hand, as well as proper diction would be a recommendation; 
on acct. of fair entries; and for the benefit of the Children, who 
will have to copy after it. 

The discovery of extracting fresh water from Salt Water, by 
a simple process, and without the aid of fire, will be of amazing 
importance to the Sons of Neptune; if it is not viciated, or ren- 
dered nauseous by the operation; but can be made to answer all 
the valuable purposes of other fresh water, at Sea. Every mari- 
time power in the world, in this case, ought, in my opinion, to 
offer some acknowledgment to the Inventor. With sentiments 
of great regard and friendship I am etc. 80 


Mount Vernon, February 8, 1786. 

Gentn: I have received your favor of yesterday, and thank 
you for your ready compliance with my request. As soon as 
my Boat returns from Alexandria, I will immediately dispatch 
it with 25 barrels of superfine flour for your vessel, for the pur- 
pose of procuring if possible a she Ass, for my benefit, at 
Surinam. 82 

I should be glad to know whether you commit the negotia- 
tion of your own business to the Captain, or consign it to a 

80 From a photostat of the original through the kindness of Judge E. A. Armstrong, 
of Princeton, N. J. 

81 Merchants of Alexandria, Va. 
62 Dutch Guiana, South America. 

1786] OATS AND CORN 381 

Merchant of that place, that I may entrust mine to the same 
person; and as I shall have to write to the gentleman, would 
wish in the one case or the other to know the name and 
address of the Consignee. 

If I should not succeed in procuring the Ass; I will, if 
equally agreeable to you, abide the sale of the flour at Surinam, 
and receive the amount in Rum, Molasses or such other articles 
as come well from that place, advice of which I would thank 
you for; but if this should interfere in the smallest degree with 
your freight, it will be perfectly agreeable to me to have the 
returns in cash. I am, etc. 83 


Mount Vernon, February 8, 1786. 

Sir: Your skipper, Mr. Jno. Whitney, has delivered me eight 
hundred bushels of oats, agreeably to the Contract made with 
Doctr. Stuart in my behalf. They are good and clean, for 
which I thank you. 

Mr. Whitney informing me that he was authorized to pro- 
vide a freight for the Schooner he is in, I have engaged him pos- 
itively, to bring me eight hundred bushels of Indian corn from 
the plantations of the deceased Mr. Custis on Pamunky river. 
I hope it is to be had at the lowest plantation (a few miles above 
West Point), but of this I am not certain. I am to pay him six 
pence a bushel freight, delivered at my landing. 

I expect no delay or disappointment will take place in this 
contract, as I have had the offer of two other vessels on the 
same terms, and have rejected them on account of this engage- 
ment. I am, etc. 83 

83 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 



Mount Vernon, February 10, 1786. 

Gentn : As it is my wish to obtain a she Ass of the first kind, 
and think it is more in the power of a resident at Surinam, than 
it can be in that of the Captn. to procure such an one, I have 
written the enclosed letter to Mr. Branden requesting him to 
make the purchase accordingly. I hope the Captn. will ascribe 
this preference to no other cause than the one assigned; at the 
same time that I earnestly request his particular attention to 
the animal, if one should be shipped on my account. 

In case of the failure in such purchase, I have requested Mr. 
Branden to send the proceeds of the sales of the flour, in Mo- 
lasses and Coffee. You would oblige me by having the flour 
inspected, properly marked for Mr. Branden, and the bill of 
lading therefor put under cover with my letter to that Gentn., 
as it will save time and trouble. 1 am, etc. 84 


Mount Vernon, February 10, 1786. 

Sir: I have lately received from Spain, a Jack Ass of the first 
race in the Kingdom, and am very desirous of availing myself 
of his breed. Hearing that she Asses of good appearance are to 
be had at Surinam, I take the liberty of asking your assistance 
to procure me one of the best kind; to be sent by the return of 
Captain Bartlett, who will deliver this letter to you. 

Neither the Captn., or any body else with whom I have had 
opportunities of conversing, could tell me the cost of one of 
these animals at Surinam; but have supposed that twenty five 
barrels of superfine flour, would be adequate to the purchase. 
This quantity (equal I believe in quality to any made in this 

84 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

1786] BOOTS AND SHOES 383 

Country) I have the honor of shipping to your address: but if 
it should prove inadequate, the deficiency shall be made up in 
the way most agreeable to yourself. All I pray is, that I may 
receive one of the largest and best she Asses that can be obtained 
in your Country fit to breed from. 

As the Captain is commissioned to purchase a She Ass for 
his owners, I should be glad, if the Bill of lading for mine (if 
one is sent to me) may be minutely descriptive of her. I hope 
every provision will be made for the accommodation and sup- 
port of her on ship board : but if contrary to my wishes, and 
a disappointment happens, I request in that case that you 
would be so obliging as to send me in return for the flour, two 
hogsheads of Molasses, and the remainder in the best CofTee 
of your Country. 

If, in this request, I have used an unwarrantable freedom, it 
proceeds from the good character given of you to me, by 
Messrs. Fitzgerald and Lyles of Alexandria, by whose vessel I 
write and who have offered me a passage for the animal. 
I am, etc. 85 


Mount Vernon, February 10, 1786. 

Dear Sir: A hasty letter which I wrote to you by Colo. Gray- 
son, was accompanied with ten half Johans.; the application of 
which I informed you shd. be directed in a subsequent letter. 86 
Let me now request the favour of you to send me the following 
articles if to be had. 

A pair of Boots, and two pair of Shoes, to be made by Mr. 
Star (who has my measure) agreeably to the enclosed Memo. 

85 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

S8 This letter was dated Jan. 30, 1786. It was very brief and stated that "when I 
have more leizure to write" he would be "able to mention the purposes for which 
they [the ten half Johannes] are intended." This letter is in the Historical Society of 


Young's Six Months tour through England (his tour thro' 
Ireld. I have). 

The Gentleman Farmer, by Henry Home. 

Tulls Husbandry. All to be neatly bound and lettered. 

200 Weight of Clover seed; to be fresh and good. 

12 lbs. of Saint foin seed I 
6 lbs. of the field Burnet] ° ^°° 

A Common Hunting horn of the largest and best sort. 

It will readily occur to you, my good Sir, that these Seeds (as 
they are to be sown this Spring) cannot be forwarded too soon. 
I ought indeed to have wrote for them at an earlier period, but 
they may yet arrive at a proper Season if they are quickly dis- 
patched. At any rate, inform me if they are to be had, and the 
prospect there is of forwarding them, for thereon will depend 
my preparation of the ground. 

The Gazettes which were furnished by Mr. Dunlap, for my 
use, during my Military appointment, ought, undoubtedly be 
paid for by the public; and I had no doubt but that this had 
been done, regularly, by the Qr Mr General or his assistt. in 
the State of Pensylvania. If the case is otherwise, I am ready 
to give my aid towards his obtaining it. My respects to Mrs. 
Biddle. lam, etc. 

I pray you to be pointed with respt. to the goodness of the 
Seeds : an imposition of bad seed is a robbery of the worst kind; 
for your pocket not only suffers by it but your preparations are 
lost, and a season passes away unimproved. lh.s.p.] 


Mount Vernon, February 20, 1786. 
Sir: I ought to have acknowledged the receipt of your letter 
of the 10th. sooner, tho' I am at a loss what answer to give it 


When I sent to Boston for my Jack Ass, which was previous 
to the presentation of Captn. Pearce's order, tho' subsequent to 
the date of it, I requested Mr. Cushing (the Lieut: Governor) 
to whose care this animal was addressed, to pay all the charges 
which had accrued for freight and other accidental expences 
attending the importation of him, and to draw upon me for the 
amount. In consequence, I have answered a Draft, to Mr. Tay- 
lor of your town, for 300 Dollars; and was informed by Mr. 
Cushing, by letter of equal date with the Draft, that he had not 
at that time been able to obtain Captn. Pearce's Accot., but that 
it should be transmitted as soon as the matter could be settled 
with him. In this way the thing has lain ever since; Post after 
Post I have been looking for some further advice respecting this 
business, but hitherto in vain. I am ready at any moment to 
answer Captn. Pearce's demand, when it is properly ascertained 
(if it has not been already paid), but it would be inconvenient 
for me to advance the money twice : of this, I think both Mr. 
Shaw and L. Washington were requested some time ago to in- 
form you, for if the 300 Dollars has not, in part, been appro- 
priated to the payment of Captn. Pearce's demand, I know not 
for what purpose the order was drawn upon me. All the other 
charges did not amount to more than one third of that sum. 

I depended so much upon others to enquire into the usual 
freight of a horse from London to this Country, as not, hither- 
to, to have taken any steps myself, to obtain information ; and 
it is to be feared none has been taken either by Mr. Shaw or 
L. W., nor do I know at this moment where to direct my 

I am thankful for your attention to my request respecting the 
Buck Wheat and Flax seeds, and shall be glad to know when 
they arrive, as I wish to secure all my Seeds for Spring sowing, 
in time. I am, etc. 87 

87 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers, 



Mount Vernon, February 21, 1786. 

Sir: Your Letter of the 17th. did not get to my hands 'till yes- 
terday, or it should have received an earlier acknowledgment. 

Mr. Herbert either mistook me, or Messrs. Valk, Berger and 
Schouter have misunderstood him.: for acquainting the former 
that a company of which I am a member, was desirous of my 
employing a number of hands to drain the great Dismal Swamp 
near Norfolk, and that I had been requested by it to enquire 
upon what terms two or three hundred Palatines or Hollanders 
could be imported for that purpose; his opinion being asked, 
he answered that he should see Messrs. Valk, Beyer and Schou- 
ter in a few days, (for he was then on the eve of a journey to 
Boston) and would know from them, or advised me to apply 
to them (I do not now recollect which) to obtain knowledge of 
the practicability and convenience of this measure. All I aimed 
at was information myself; and if the above gentlemen can 
give it to me, it would oblige me. The Company would wish 
to know upon what terms they, or any others, in their opin- 
ion would engage to deliver 300 able labourers, Germans or 
Hollanders, not more than eight women, at Norfolk. Whether 
these would come under Indenture, and for what term, or upon 
wages, and what. In a word what they would stand the Com- 
pany pr. poll, in either case, delivered at Norfolk, freight, pro- 
curing them, and every accidental expence included, to the 
moment of such delivery at the Ship's side. I am, etc. 88 


Mount Vernon, February 26, 1786. 
Sir: Your favor of the 16th. of Decemr. (tho' some what 
delayed) came safely to hand. 

8S From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

1786] A CHARACTER 387 

The pictures arrived shortly after in good order, and meet 
the approbation of Mrs. Washington and myself, the first of 
whom thanks you for the portrait of Fanny Washington, with 
which you have been so polite as to present her: She with the 
Major are on a visit to her friends in the lower parts of this 
State, and have been so since the middle of December. 

It is some time since I requested a Gentleman of Annapolis 
(who is owing me money and was to have sent it to me) to pay 
you Twenty guineas and sixteen Dollars; the first for balance 
due on the pictures, the latter for their frames; but having 
heard nothing from him respecting it, I begin to suspect it 
never has been done, and therefore send these sums by Mr. 
Hunter of Alexandria. 

I have lately received a Letter from our old and worthy 
acquaintance Colo. Fairfax, who again mentions you in terms 
of great regard. Mrs. Washington unites her best wishes to me 
for you, on congratulations on the safe arrival of Mrs. Pine &ca. 
With great esteem I am, etc. 89 


Mount Vernon, February 27, 1786. 

Sir: At the request of Mr. Booth 90 1 give you the trouble of 
this Letter : this request, added to an inclination to do justice, 
must be my apology for it. I have no other motive than to 
rescue his character from the injurious aspersions, which he says 
have been cast at it. 

My acquaintance with Mr. Booth is of more than thirty years 
standing. I have known him in the characters of Bachelor, 
Husband and widower, in all of which conduct has been unex- 
ceptionable. In that of husband and father it was ever esteemed 

89 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 
90 William Booth, of Westmoreland County, Va. 


kind, affectionate and remarkably indulgent. In a word he has 
passed thro' life unimpeached by those who have had the 
best opportunities of forming a judgment of him, and to my best 
knowledge and belief has in every instance supported the char- 
acter of a Gentleman. 
I am, etc. 91 


Mount Vernon, February 27, 1786. 

Sir: Mr. Shaw informing me of your intended journey to 
Philadelphia, I take the freedom of asking you to carry Twenty 
guineas, and Sixteen Dollars for Mr. Pine the Portrait Painter; 
whom you will find at Baltimore or Philadelphia, at Col Rogers's 
if in the former, and at the Slade House, if at the latter. 

Be so good as to take his rect. for the money; but previous to 
paying it, ask if this sum has not been offered by Mr. Jno. F. 
Mercer. This Gentleman is owing me money and out of it, was 
requested to pay the above sums whilst Mr. Pine was at An- 
napolis; but having no acct. of the compliance it is questionable, 
his having done it. 

The bearer will deliver you the above sums, I wish you a 
pleasant journey and safe return and, with esteem and regard 
am etc. 92 


Mount Vernon, March 5, 1786. 
Sir: Your Excellency's favor of the 6th. ulto. came duly to 
hand, but I had no opportunity before the 2d. inst: of laying 
it before the Directors of the Potomac Company. 

From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 
02 From a copy of the original kindly furnished by W. L. R. Gifford, librarian of 
the St. Louis Mercantile Library Association. St. Louis. Mo. 


By the Board, I am desired to inform your Excelly., that they 
decline taking the six felons in the public Goal ; at the same 
time that they feel themselves obliged by the offer. 93 I have the 
honor, etc. 94 


Mount Vernon, March 6, 1786. 

Dr. Sir : The Treasurer of the Potomack Company being de- 
sired by the Directors of it to send a careful hand to Annapolis 
for the advance due on the State subscription; I pray you to pay 
the Bearer (who will be that person) the ,£200, for which you 
requested me to draw on you at that place. I am, etc. 

P. S. Since writing to you the 30th. of Jany. on this subject, I 
have myself sent the 20 guineas &c. to Mr. Pine. 94 


Mount Vernon, March 8, 1786. 
Gentn: Your letter of the 6th. in answer to mine of the same 
date, is before me ; but from the present view I have of the sub- 
ject, I do not conceive that my entering into a Contract for 
Herrings on the terms offered by you, would be eligible; 1st. 
because in my judgment, you estimate them too low, lower than 
they usually sell for at the landings. 2dly. because your Salt is 
rated higher than, I believe it is to be bought for, more than I 
have lately given. 3dly. because Liverpool Salt is inadequate to 
the saving of Fish, and therefore useless in this business. 4thly. 
because I would not, on any terms, go to Dumfries for this Ar- 
ticle; and fifthly, because it does not suit me to receive Salt alone 
in paymt. 

83 Governor Henry's letter is in the Washington Papers. 
84 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 
93 Of Alexandria, Va. 


Moreover, if your coarse salt is allum or lump Salt, I con- 
ceive it must be reduced by pounding, before it can be applied, 
which would add to the expence of curing. Lisbon is the proper 
kind of Salt for Fish. 

From these considerations I must decline contracting to fur- 
nish Herring unless you are disposed to offer more favourable 
terms. I am, etc. 90 


Mount Vernon, March 8, 1786. 

Sir : I have just received your letter of the 20th. of last month, 
and request that you will proceed as you have begun, that is, to 
do equal and impartial justice to the Tenants and myself. I 
want no improper advantage of them on the one hand : on the 
other, where leases are clearly forfeited, by a manifest intention 
on the part of the Tenant to neglect all the Covenants in them, 
that were inserted for my benefit; and their sole aim has been 
to make traffic of the Land, I shall have no scruple in getting 
them aside, and beginning afresh upon the best rents I can get 
for ten years. 

At any rate, it is my wish that you would be as attentive to 
the other Covenants of the Leases, as to that which exacts the 
rent: particularly to those which require a certain proportion 
of wood-Land to be left standing in one place, to orchards, to 
Meadows, and to buildings. These were as much objects with 
me, as the Rent, nay more, because to these I looked, to have 
the value of my land enhanced, whilst I was, in the first in- 
stance, contenting myself with low Rents. If therefore, these 
have passed off unnoticed by the Tenants, it should be punished 
equally with the non-payment of Rents. I mention these things 
because it is my wish they should be strictly complied with. 

80 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


There is another matter, or two which, in renting my Lands, 
I am desirous you should always keep in view, first, to lease to 
no person who has Lands of his own adjoining them; and 2dly. 
to no one who does not propose to live on the premises. My 
reasons are these, in the first case my Land will be cut down, 
worked and destroyed to save his own, whilst the latter will 
receive all the improvements. In the second case, if the Tenant 
does not live thereon it will not meet a much better fate, and 
negro Quarters and Tobacco pens will probably be the best 
edifices of the Tenement. One Grigg (I think his name is) an 
overseer to Colo. John Washington, 97 must be an exception, be- 
cause, at the instance of my Brother, I consented to the purchase 
he has made. 

Inclosed you have a Letter for Mr. Robt. Rutherford, of whom 
you will endeavor to receive the amount of the within. If you 
should succeed in this, you may carry it to my credit and draw 
a commission thereon as if collected for rent. I also send you an 
Account against a Captn. David Kennedy (I believe of Win- 
chester) to receive if you can, on the same terms. I put this 
accot. about eighteen months ago into the hands of Genl. Mor- 
gan to whom Kennedy had, I believe, made sale of a Lott in 
Winchester, but know not to what effect. It may be well to 
enquire of Morgan concerning it, previous to an application 
to Kennedy. I am, etc. 98 


Mount Vernon, March 10, 1786. 
Sir: For the honor you have done me in calling your only 
child by my name, and that too, you add, when the issue of the 

97 John Augustine Washington. 
s From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


American struggle stood suspended. I pray you to accept my 
best acknowledgments. 

My thanks are also due for your politeness in sending me a 
piece of Linen of your staple manufacture : and I am particu- 
larly indebted to you for the favourable wishes and flattering 
expressions of your letter to me of the 4th. of August last. 

Your Country has my best wishes for the fullest of every- 
thing which is interesting to the rights of mankind, and you 
Sir, that you may be principal sharer of them, being, Your etc." 


Mount Vernon, March 10, 1786. 

Sir: Your Letter of the 6th. inst: is this moment put into my 
hands; was it in my power I would cheerfully answer your 
queries respecting the settlements on the Kanhawa; the nature 
of the water and quality of the soil. 

But of the first, I only know from information that Colo. 
Lewis is settled there : from his own mouth I learnt that it was 
his intention to do so, and to establish a Town in the fork of the 
two rivers, where he proposed to fix families in the vicinity on 
his own Lands. Of the second, I never could obtain any distinct 
account of the navigation. It has been variously represented; 
favorably by some, extremely difficult by others, in its passage 
thro' the Gauley mountain, (which I presume is the Laurel 
hill) : but the uncertainty of this matter will now soon be at an 
end, as there are commissioners appointed by this State to ex- 
plore the navigation of that river and the communication be- 
tween it and James river, with a view to a portage. This, equally 
with the extension of the Potomac navigation, was part of my 
original plan, and equally urged by me to our Assembly; for 

"From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


my object was to connect the Western and Eastern or Atlantic 
States together by strong commercial ties. 

I am a friend, therefore on this principle to every channel 
that can be opened, and wish the people to have choice. The 
Kanhawa, and James river, if the obstacles in the former are 
not great, are certainly the shortest and best for the settlers 
thereon, for those on the Ohio below, above, perhaps as high 
as the little Kanhawa and for the Country immediately west of it. 

The Monongahela and Yohoghaney with the Potomac are 
most convenient for all the settlers from the little Kanhawa, 
inclusively, to Fort Pitt and upwards, and west as far as the 
Lakes. Susquehanna and the Alleghany above Fort Pitt some 
distance, will accommodate a third District of Country; and 
may for ought I know, be equally convenient to the trade of 
the Lakes. All of them therefore have my best wishes; for as I 
have observed already, my object and my aim are political. If 
we cannot bind those people to us by interest, and it is no other- 
wise to be effected but by a commercial knot, we shall be no 
more to them after a while, than G. Britain or Spain, and they 
may be as closely linked with one or other of those powers, as 
we wish them to be with us, and in that event, they may be a 
severe thorn in our side. 

With respect to the nature of the soil on the Kanhawa, the 
bottoms are fine, but the lands adjoining are broken. In some 
places the hills are very rich, in others piney and very poor: 
but the principal reason, as I conceive, why the settlement has 
not progressed more, is that the greater part if not all the good 
Lands, on the main river, are in the hands of persons who do 
not incline to reside thereon themselves, and possibly hold them 
too high for others, as there is a surrounding country open to 
them; this I take to be my own case, and might be an induce- 
ment to concur in any well concerted measures to further a 


settlement, which might ultimately, not at too great a distance, 
subserve my interest in that quarter. 

The Great Kanhawa is a long river with very little interrup- 
tion for a considerable distance : No very large waters empty 
into it, I believe; Elk river, Coal river and a Creek called Poki- 
tellico below the falls, and Green river above them, are the most 
considerable. I am glad to hear that the Susquehanna canal is 
so well advanced. I thank you for the offer of Mr. Nielson's 
services in the western country, and am, with very great, &c. 


Mount Vernon, March 25, 1786. 

Sir : The Letter which you did me the honor to write to me 
on the 23d. of November last, came safely; tho' not at so early a 
period as might have been expected from the date of it. I re- 
mark this by way of apology for my silence 'till now. 

I feel very sensibly, the honor conferred on me by the South 
Carolina Society for promoting and improving agriculture and 
other rural concerns, by unanimously electing me the first hon- 
orary member of that Body; and I pray you Sir, as Chairman, 
to offer my best acknowledgements and thanks for this mark of 
its attention. To you, for the flattering terms in which the desires 
of the Society have been communicated, my thanks are particu- 
larly due. 

It is much to be wished that every State in the Union would 
establish a Society similar to this; and that these Societies 
would correspond with, and fully and regularly impart to each 
other, the result of the experiments actually made in husbandry 
together with such other useful discoveries as have stood, or are 
likely to stand the test of investigation. Nothing in my opinion 
would contribute more to the welfare of these States, than the 


proper management of our Lands; and nothing, in this State 
particularly, seems to be less understood. The present mode of 
cropping practised among us, is destructive to landed property ; 
and must, if persisted in much longer, ultimately ruin the holders 
of it. I have the honor, etc. 1 


Mount Vernon, March 27, 1786. 

Dear Brother : Your letter of the 17th did not reach me till 
yesterday afternoon. Whence your overseers apprehensions 
proceed, I know not; for if I recollect right, I gave him, myself, 
assurances of the plan when I was in Berkeley in the fall of 
1784; and since, have informed Mr. Muse that he was to receive 
a confirmation of the lease. It is true that, being a nonresident 
on the Lott he would have been excluded, had it not been for 
the communication of your wishes, that he might have it, ante- 
cedant to the above period; because, for reasons which will 
readily occur to you, I had established it as a maxim to accept 
no Tenants that did not mean to reside on the Land; or who 
had land of their own adjoining to it, not expecting, in either 
case, much improvement on, or much justice to mine under 
these circumstances. 

At the time I sent you the flour that was manufactured at my 
Mill, I requested to be informed if you could tell me where 
corn was to be had in your parts, or within your knowledge; 
but having received no answer to that letter, nor any one from 
you since, till the one above acknowledged; I sent to York 
River for 200 Barr., which I have just landed. I do not there- 
fore stand in need of that at the little Falls Quarter. 

1 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


Herewith you will receive an Alexandria Gazette containing 
a demd. upon the subscribers to the Potomack Navigation for 
two other dividends for carrying on the work, which the direc- 
tors mean to do with spirit; and they hope to good effect this 
summer. It also contains an address from Mr. Stoddart to 
Messrs. Washington & Co. the first of whom I hope has, 'ere 
this, seen the impropriety of hazarding a valuable estate upon 
so precarious a tenure as trade and either has, already, or soon 
will withdraw himself from it. I beg when you see him, that 
you will give my love and thanks to him, for the fruit trees he 
sent me, which came safe, and were a very valuable present. 

All here join most cordially, in every good wish for you, my 
sister and family, and with every sentiment of regard and 
affection I am ever yrs. 2 


Mount Vernon, March 30, 1786. 

Dr. Sir : Having cause lately, to apprehend a miscarriage of 
the letter, of which the enclosed is a duplicate, I do myself the 
honor of forwarding this copy as the best apology as I can make 
for a silence that might otherwise be ascribed to inattention, 
which would give me pain, as I have pleasure in your corre- 
spondences, and would wish to keep up a friendly intercourse 
with you by letter. 

As your last letters gave me hopes of seeing you in Virginia 
this Spring, and nothing since has contradicted it, I think I 
may shortly look for that pleasure, and therefore shall add 
nothing more in this letter than my best wishes for the pleas- 

2 The text is from a typed copy of the original, in the possession of Mrs. John A. 
Thomson, of Winchester, Va., furnished through the kindness of C. Vernon Eddy, 
librarian of the Hendley Library, Winchester, Va. 

1786] POTOMAC LOCKS 397 

antness of your voyage, and assurances of the happiness I shall 
derive from saluting you under my own roof; being, with 
every sentiment of esteem and regard Dr. Sir Yr., etc. 3 


Mount Vernon, March 31, 1786. 

Gentn.: Yesterday Mr. Brindley, in company with a Mr. 
Harris, Manager for the James river Company (the latter hav- 
ing been sent for the former, by the Directors thereof) left this 
on their way to Richmond, from whence Mr. Brindley expects 
to be returned, as far as Alexandria, in seven days from the date 
hereof. I have engaged him to call upon Colo. Gilpin on his 
rout back. 

Mr. Brindley and Mr. Harris took the great Falls in their 
way down and both approve of the present line for our Canal: 
the first very much; he conceives that 9/ioths of the expence of 
the one fifth proposed, will be saved by this cut; the work alto- 
gether as secure, and the entrance into the river by no means 
unfavorable. He thinks however that a good deal of attention 
and judgment is required in fixing Locks there; the height of 
which he observes is always governed by the ground; they fre- 
quently run from four to eighteen feet, and some times are as 
high as twenty four. 

The nature and declination of the ground, according to him, 
is alone to direct, and where this will admit he thinks the larger 
the Locks are made the better, because more convenient. 

With respect to this part of the business I feel, and always 
have confessed an entire incompetency : nor do I conceive that 
theoretical knowledge alone is adequate to the undertaking. 
Locks, upon the most judicious plan, will certainly be expen- 
sive; and if not properly constructed and judiciously placed, 

3 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


may be altogether useless. It is for these reasons therefore that 
I have frequently suggested (though no decision has been had) 
the propriety of employing a professional man. 

Whether the expense of obtaining one in, and bringing him 
from Europe has been thought unnecessary, or too burthen- 
some for the advantages, which are to be expected, I know not: 
but as it is said no person in this country has more practical 
knowledge than Mr. Brindley, I submit to your consideration 
the propriety of engaging him to take the Falls in his way back ; 
to examine, level and digest a plan for Locks at that place; if it 
shall appear good, and his reasons in support of the spots and 
sizes conclusive it will justify the adoption; if palpably erro- 
neous, there is no obligation upon us to follow him; and the ex- 
pence in that case [is the only evil which can result from it. 
this for the chance of a probable benefit, I am not only willing, 
but desirous of encountering; and if Colo. Gilpin has not 
already made the trip to that place which he proposed at our 
last visit, and disappointment there, it would give me great 
pleasure if it could be so timed as for him to accompany Mr. 
Brindley. This would not only give countenance to the latter, 
but afford him aid also; and might be a mean of preventing the 
little jealousies which otherwise might arise in the minds of 
our own managers. Taking Mr. Brindley to the works now, 
may, ultimately, save expence; at the same time, having a plan 
before us, would enable us at all convenient times, to be provid- 
ing materials for its execution. I am, &c. 

P. S. If my proposition is acceded to, it might be well to fix, 
at once what shall be given to Mr. Brindley. I will readily sub- 
scribe to what you two Gentlemen may agree to give him on 
this occasion] 4 

4 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Tapers. The part in brackets 
is from a facsimile, in Washington's writing, in the University of California Chron- 
icle, October, 1925, where a note is added by Washington, April 2, explaining the 
delay in sending the letter. 



Mount Vernon, April i, 1786. 

Sir: I have been favored with a letter from you (without 
place or date) accompanying the Conquest of Canaan; 5 for 
both I pray you to accept my grateful thanks, and the acknowl- 
edgment of the honor you have done me by the dedication. 

Your fears with respect to the merits of the Poem, I hope are 
removed, for it is a pleasing performance, and meets the appro- 
bation of all who have read it. I have never had an opportunity 
of subscribing to the work, or I should have done it with 

With very great esteem and respect I am, etc. 6 


Mount Vernon, April 5, 1786. 

Dr. Sir: I have now the honor to acknowledge the receipt of 
your several favors of the 6th. 9th. and 16th. of Novr. and 22d. 
of Feby. I purposely delayed my acknowledgements of the first 
three, 'till I should receive the one promised therein, that I 
might give you no more trouble with my concerns than was 

I feel myself under great obligation to you for your obliging 
and disinterested attention to my Jack; and for your kindness 
to the person who was sent to conduct him home: he, the 
Spaniard, and the Jack Ass all arrived safely, and in as short 
a time as could well have been expected from the great dis- 
tance, and manner of their traveling. 

Your Draft on me in favor of Messrs. Isaac and William 
Smith, was paid the moment it was presented; and I have since 

"An epic poem in n books, published in 1785. 

6 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


paid Captn. Pearce's Accot., but not to the amount of his order 
in favor of a Mr. Hartshorne Mercht. in Alexandria : for I be- 
lieve Captn. Pearce was ashamed himself of his charges after 
they were made, as he requested the above Gentleman, in a 
second letter, to receive whatever should be thought right. Mr. 
Hartshorne therefore, adding for the full passage of the Jack, 
made the A/c. of Mr. Ashton, in other respects, his govern- 
ment for the residue and instead of demanding ,£63.5.6. was 
content to receive ,£33.3.6. and thought it enough. You have, I 
am persuaded, hit upon the true and only reason why Captn. 
Pearce withheld his Accot. from your examination; preferring 
to send it hither, exorbitant as it appeared from the face of it, 
rather than have entered into any dispute concerning it, I should 
have paid it had I not waited a while to learn the result of your 

Mrs. Washington joins me in respectful compliments to your- 
self and Lady, and with sentiments of great esteem and regard, 
I am, 7 


Mount Vernon, April 5, 1786. 
Sir: The Revd. Mr. Griffith 8 who will present this letter to 
you is possessed of much property in the town of Alexandria, 
the value of which he is desireous of encreasing by buildings. 
To enable him to do this he wishes to borrow on interest, about 
^2500. As security for such a loan, he is willing to mortgage 
his interest in the above place, and proposes as a further secu- 
rity to offer other means; the nature of all he will explain to 
you. They are in my opinion amply sufficient, such as I should 

7 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 
8 Rev. David Griffith. 

17861 POTOMAC LOCKS 401 

not hesitate to take if I had the money to lend ; but you will be 
able to judge more fully of the matter, when they are laid 
before you. 

From a long and intimate acquaintance with Mr. Griffith, 
I have a high opinion of his worth and entire dependance on 
his representations, which (as he may in some degree be a 
stranger to you) I have thought an act of justice to mention. 9 
I am, etc. 10 


Mount Vernon, April 5, 1786. 

My Dr. Sir: Ascribe my silence to any cause rather than a 
want of friendship, or to a disclination to keep up a friendly 
intercourse with you, by letter. Absences from home, hurry 
of business, Company &c, however justly they might be of- 
fered, are too stale and common place to be admitted. I there- 
fore discard them; throwing myself upon your lenity, and 
depending more upon your goodness, than on any apology I 
can make as an excuse for not having acknowledged the re- 
ceipt of your favours of the 16th. of Feby. and 2d. of March, 
before this time. 

The first came to hand just after I had made one trip to our 
works at the great Falls of this River; and when I was upon 
the eve of another to the same place, where the Board of Di- 
rectors by appointment met the first of last month. I can there- 
fore inform you from my own observation, that this business 
is progressing in a manner that exceeds our most sanguine 
expectation, difficulties vanish as we proceed, the time and 
expence which it was supposed we should have to encounter 

9 As printed from the letter sent, in the Long Island Historical Society Memoirs 
(vol. 4), the text varies in minor verbal details from this letter. 
10 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


at this place, will both be considerably reduced. After a thor- 
ough investigation of the ground there we have departed from 
Ballandine's rout for the Canal, and marked a fresh cut, which 
in our judgments will save 4/5th. of the labour, consequently 
proportionate time and expence, and in the opinion of Mr. 
Brindley who has just been to see it, 9/ioths., and be equally 
good when effected. Upon the whole, to be laconic, if there 
are any doubts remaining of the success of this work, they 
must be confined to three classes of men, viz : those who have 
not opportunities of investigations, who will not be at the 
trouble of doing it when it is in their power, and those whose 
interests being opposed, do not wish to be convinced. The 
great Fall is the only place where, under our present view of 
the River, we conceive it necessary to establish Locks; the 
ground favors them, and there can be no doubt (this being 
the case) of Locks succeeding as well in this as in other Coun- 
tries, as the materials for erecting them are abundant. What 
difficulties may be found where no difficulty was apprehended, 
I will not take upon me to declare: where they were thought 
wholly to lie, we are free from apprehension. 

My sentiments with respect to the foederal Government, are 
well known, publicly and privately have they been communi- 
cated without reserve; but my opinion is, that there is more 
wickedness than ignorance in the conduct of the States, or in 
other words, in the conduct of those who have too much in- 
fluence in the government of them; and until the curtain is 
withdrawn, and the private views and selfish principles upon 
which these men act, are exposed to public notice, I have little 
hope of amendment without another convulsion. The picture 
of our Affairs as drawn by the Committee, approved by Con- 
gress and handed to the public, 11 did not at all surprize me: 

"See Journals of the Continental Congress, Mar. 28, 1785. 

1786] A HISTORY 403 

before that report, tho' I could not go into the minutiae of mat- 
ters, I was more certain of the agregate of our 12 than 
I am now of the remedy which will be applied; without the 
latter I do not see upon what ground your Agent at the Court 
of Morocco, and the other at Algiers, are to treat, unless, hav- 
ing to do with new hands, they mean to touch the old string, 
and make them dance awhile to the tune of promises. 

I thank you for the pamphlet which contains the corre- 
spondence between Mr. Jay and Mr. Littlepage; 13 and shall 
be obliged to you for a Gazette containing the publication of 
the latter, which appears to have given rise to them. I am, etc. 14 


Mount Vernon, April 5, 1786. 

Sir: I pray you to accept my best acknowledgments of your 
letter of the 22d. of Feby., and thanks for the history of the 
Revolution of South Carolina, 15 with which you have been so 
good as to present me. From what I have heard of its merits, 
I anticipate much pleasure in the perusal of the work. 

It is to be regretted that your local situation did not allow 
you, with convenience, to take a more comprehensive view of 
the war. My gratitude for the favourable sentiments you have 
been pleased to express for me is due, and with esteem, etc. 14 


Mount Vernon, April 9, 1786. 
Sir: I have been favored with your letters of the 20th. of 
Jany., 24th. of Feby. and 13th. of March, the last of which 

3 *Left blank in the "Letter Book" in the Washington Papers. 
13 Lewis Littlepage. 

From the " Letter Book " copy in the Washington Papers. 
"Published in 1785 in two volumes. 


speaks of a letter written by you to me of the same date, this 
letter has never got to hand: but I have received in Alexandria 
the £60, which Messrs. Pennock & Skipwith promised to re- 
mit me on your accot., as also the Wine from Captn. Earle, in 
very good order. 

My situation, since my retreat from public life, has been such 
as to put it out of my power to go into an examination and 
settlement of Accots. with that precision which is requisite; 
and among others, the transactions between the deceased Colo. 
Lewis and myself stand open. I do not know (from any thing 
my memory affords) on what account he could draw an order 
in favor of Henry Mitchell, as I recollect no dealings with 
that Gentn., but presume it must be right. Nevertheless, if 
there is an Accot. annexed to the order, or if the order is ex- 
pressive of the purpose for which it was drawn, you would do 
me a favor in transmitting a copy of it. 

I have made several ineffectual applications for my accot. 
with Mr. Hill; but as Dr. Stuart is again going into that part 
of the Country in which he lives, I will make one effort more 
to obtain it, 'till this happens I can say nothing with respect to 
his credits, but will advise you as soon as it is in my power. 

In one of your former letters you intimated that my super- 
fine Flour would sell well in Norfolk, and it was my intention 
to have consigned you some 'ere this; but as the quantity I 
make is small, the demand for it in Alexandria has generally 
kept pace with my manufactory. However I believe it would 
now be in my power to send you from 50 to 100 barrels, if 
you thought the present prices in your Town would answer; 
and that you may be enabled to judge, I shall inform you that 
I have not sold one barrel this year which has not netted at 
my Mill 38/, cash paid on delivery; and some at 40/. Would 
it nett the former at Norfolk, free of freight commission and 

1786] MR. LEAR'S TERMS 405 

storage? Your answer would determine my conduct, and I 
shall be glad to receive it by the return of the Post. I am, etc. 16 


Mount Vernon, April 10, 1786. 
My Dr. Sir: The violent rains and consequent freshes, have 
given such interruption to the Stages in this part of the world, 
that your favor of the 15th. ulto. did not reach my hands 'till 
Saturday last. I accede to the pecuniary allowance of two 
hundred Dollars pr. Am: required by Mr. Lear, in addition 
to the stipulations mentioned in my last, as a compensation for 
his services, and shall be glad to receive him into my family 
as soon as he can make it convenient to repair to it. At any 
rate I shall be glad to know, as nearly as may be, when to 
expect him, that I may arrange matters accordingly. There 
can be little doubt of Mr. Lear's finding, by method and ar- 
rangement, more than the time he speaks of for Study, to 
facilitate, rather than impede which would give me pleasure, 
as far as it can be made to comport with the purposes for 
which he is employed. With the greatest esteem, etc. 10 


Mount Vernon, April 10, 1786. 
Dr. Sir: Three days ago only, I had the pleasure to receive 
your favor of the 18th. of December, under cover of one from 
Mr. Hammond of Baltimore. This gentleman writes me that 
the boxes which you had the goodness to send me, were then 
shipped on board the Baltimore packet for Alexandria. I 
every moment look for them, and feel myself much indebted 

16 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


for your kind attention to my request in this instance. I shall 
plant the acorns, and nurture the young trees, when they 
arrive, with great care; those brought last year by my Nephew 
(chiefly of the Laurel) stood the passage, the summer and the 
Winter, with very little covering, very well. I am now trans- 
planting them from the box in which they were brought. 

At the proper season if you could make it convenient, I 
should be obliged to you for saving for me some seed of the 
Palmetto, and of any other trees or shrubs that are curious, 
in Carolina, and not natives of this Country. 

Mrs. Washington, and my Nephew Geo. A. Washington 
who has taken unto himself a wife, join me in every good 
wish for your Lady and Self, and with sincere esteem and 
regard, I am, etc. 17 


Mount Vernon, April 10, 1786. 

My dear Sir: Your favor of the 20th. of Feby. came safely, 
tho' tedeously; as it is not more than a few days since I 
received it, and the inclosure, for which I thank you. The 
author, at the sametime that he pays a just tribute to the de- 
ceased does no discredit to his own talents. 

I hope nothing will intervene to prevent the tour you have 
in contemplation to the Southward; and I persuade myself 
you will believe me very sincere, when I assure you of the 
pleasure I shall feel at seeing you under my roof; in wch. 
every inhabitant of the mansion (acquainted with you) will 
participate. Your acquaintance G. A Washington, has taken 
unto himself a wife (Fanny Bassett the Neice of Mrs. Wash- 
ington) both of whom live with us. 

"From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


The inclosed for Mr. Dwight, I take the liberty of com- 
mitting to your care, because the letter which I received from 
him (and of which this is an acknowledgment) having neither 
date nor place to it, I am at a loss where to direct it. If my 
address is wrong (for your Parsons sometimes turn Lawyers) 
I pray you to correct it. 

Mrs. Washington and George, join me in every good wish 
for yourself, Mrs. Trumbull and family, and with sentiments 
of sincere esteem and perfect friendship I am etc. 18 


Mount Vernon, April 12, 1786, 
Dear Sir: I give you the trouble of this letter at the instance 
of Mr. Dalby of Alexandria; who is called to Philadelphia 
to attend what he conceives to be a vexatious lawsuit respect- 
ing a slave of his, which a Society of Quakers in the city 
formed for such purposes) have attempted to liberate; The 
merits of this case will no doubt appear upon trial, but from 
Mr. Dalby 's state of the matter, it should seem that this Society 
is not only acting repugnant to justice so far as its conduct 
concerns strangers, but, in my opinion extremely impolitickly 
with respect to the State, the City in particular; and without 
being able, (but by acts of tyranny and oppression) to accom- 
plish their own ends. He says the conduct of this society is 
not sanctioned by Law: had the case been otherwise, what- 
ever my opinion of the Law might have been, my respect for 
the policy of the State would on this occasion have appeared 
in my silence; because against the penalties of promulgated 
Laws one may guard; but there is no avoiding the snares of 

lb From a photostat in the Washington Papers. 


individuals, or of private societies. And if the practice of this 
Society of which Mr. Dalby speaks, is not discountenanced, 
none of those whose misfortune it is to have slaves as attend- 
ants, will visit the City if they can possibly avoid it; because 
by so doing they hazard their property; or they must be at 
the expence (and this will not always succeed) of providing 
servants of another description for the trip. 

I hope it will not be conceived from these observations, that 
it is my wish to hold the unhappy people, who are the sub- 
ject of this letter, in slavery. I can only say that there is not 
a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do, to see a 
plan adopted for the abolition of it; but there is only one 
proper and effectual mode by which it can be accomplished, 
and that is by Legislative authority; and this, as far as my 
suffrage will go, shall never be wanting. But when slaves 
who are happy and contented with their present masters, are 
tampered with and seduced to leave them; when masters 
are taken unawares by these practices; when a conduct of this 
sort begets discontent on one side and resentment on the other, 
and when it happens to fall on a man, whose purse will not 
measure with that of the Society, and he looses his property 
for want of means to defend it; it is oppression in the latter 
case, and not humanity in any; because it introduces more 
evils than it can cure. 

I will make no apology for writing to you on this subject; 
for if Mr. Dalby has not misconceived the matter, an evil 
exists which requires a remedy; if he has, my intentions have 
been good, though I may have been too precipitate in this 
address. Mrs. Washington joins me in every good and kind 
wish for Mrs. Morris and your family, and I am, &c. 19 

"From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

1786] AN INSTRUCTOR 409 


Mount Vernon, April 13, 1786. 

Dear Bushrod: If Royal gift 20 will administer, he shall be 
at the Service of your Mares, but at present he seems too full 
of Royalty, to have any thing to do with a plebean race; per- 
haps his Stomach may come to him, if not, I shall wish he had 
never come from his Most Catholic Majesty's Stables. 

Your Papa has not been here yet. I am just come in from a 
Ride, the Dinner bell rings, and your Man says he must go 
off after it. So offer me affectionately to all, and believe me 
to be sincerely 21 


Mount Vernon, April 17, 1786. 

Sir: Mr. Lee, 22 yesterday evening, gave me the pleasure of 
receiving your letter of the 31st. ulto, and the book with which 
you were so obliging as to accompany it, for both I pray you 
to accept my thanks. The author some time ago had the good- 
ness to send me two copies of the poem." 3 

I am equally obliged to you, Sir, for your kind assurance 
of looking out for an Instructor for the little folks of this fam- 
ily; but believe I have no occasion to trouble you in this 
business now. Sometime in the course of last summer, when 
Genl. Lincoln was here, I made particular enquiry of him 
on this head; and though he could not at that time, point out 
a character which he thought would answer my purposes in 
all respects, yet he has lately named a Gentleman of whom 

20 Washington had named the jack from the King of Spain "Royal Gift." 

21 From the original in the John Davis Batchelder Collection in the Library of 

22 Arthur (?) Lee. 

23 Rev. Timothy Dwight's "Conquest of Canaan." 


he speaks in high terms; and has given the conditions on 
which he wd come; which being acceded to on my part and 
a letter written to that effect, I conceive the matter is closed. 
If it should be otherwise, I will again give you the trouble 
of hearing from me on this subject. 

My best wishes will attend you in your lectures, and in the 
prosecution of your design of refining the language, and im- 
proving the system of education, so as to reduce it to perfect 
regularity. I am, etc. [n.y.p.l.] 


Mount Vernon, April 17, 1786. 
Sir: It has been my hope since my return, that it would be 
unnecessary for me to remind you of the debt due to me from 
the Estate of your deceased Father; the speedy payment of 
which, at different times I have received assurances of from 
yourself. Besides standing much in need of the money (which 
alone will, I persuade myself, be a stimulus to the discharge 
of my claim) it may be well for you to consider the nature of 
it, and with what rapidity a protested Bill encreases the original 
sum. This is no inducement however for me to let it lie; for, 
as I have just hinted, I can with truth declare to you that my 
want of the money is more essential to me, than the interest 
arising therefrom. I am, etc. 24 


Mount Vernon, April 19, 1786. 
Sir: I am sorry that I have been so troublesome and teas- 
ing to you on accot. of the seeds you were so obliging as to 

u From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Tapers. 

1786] A HISTORY 411 

endeavour to procure for me; but as my Boat is sent to Town, 
I am induced to ask if they are arrived, that they may in that 
case embrace the present conveyance. If they are not already 
at hand, I shall be obliged to you for countermanding the or- 
der for the Buck wheat, as it is now totally useless for the 
experimental purposes for which I wanted it. This is nearly 
the case with respect to the Flax seed; but I will try late sow- 
ing, rather than let the season pass over altogether, conse- 
quently will wait a few days longer for this, in which time 
if it does not arrive, I pray it may be countermanded also. I 
am, etc. 25 


Mount Vernon, April 20, 1786. 

Dr. Sir: Mr. Lund Washington having expressed a wish 
to quit business and live in retirement and ease, I could not 
oppose his inclination; and his having carried these desires 
into effect, that kind of business which he usually transacted 
for me, is now thrown on my shoulders in addition to what 
they bore before, and has left me less time than ever for my 
numerous correspondences and other avocations. I mention 
this by way of apology for not having acknowledged the 
receipt of your several late favors, at an earlier date. 

As soon as your subscription papers came to my hands, I 
offered one in Alexandria and sent another to Fredericks- 
burgh : from the first, a specific return has been made of the 
subscribers and is now enclosed; from the other, eleven pounds 
have been sent me with out the paper; the Gentleman (the 
Honl. James Mercer Esqr. one of the Judges of our General 
Court) having informed me that he would take it with him 

20 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


to Richmond, and endeavor to encrease the number of sub- 
scribers there. This sum of eleven pounds added to the amount 
of the paper inclosed, makes £42 with which I have bought 
a Bill on Rhode Island. 20 I endeavoured to get one on Boston, 
but could not without waiting; which I thought might be 
more inconvenient, than the negotiation at the former place. 
Your Cypher came safely to hand. I have not had leisure 
to examine it, but presuming no difficulty will arise in the 
use, I have laid it by 'till occasion may call it forth. From 
the purport of your letters, you must be on the eve of your 
departure for Europe. My best wishes, in wch. Mrs. Wash- 
ington and the family join me, are offered for a prosperous 
voyage, and the accomplishment of your plans. I am, etc. 27 


Mount Vernon, April 20, 1786. 

Dear Sir: As Doctr. Gordons departure for England is an 
event that was to have taken place about this time and may 
have happened I take the liberty, in that case, of requesting 
the favor of you to do what shall appear right with the inclosed 
Subscription Paper and Bill. 

I will make no apology for the trouble this request may 
give you as I persuade myself your inclination to serve the 
Doctr. will keep pace with mine, and neither can have any 
other motive in the business than to serve and oblige him. 

With every sentiment of esteem, etc. [hv.l.] 

20 The "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers has the following note: "The 
Bill referred to in the above is drawn by Josiah Watson & Co., on Messrs. Cromel & 
Caleb Child, Merchants, Warren, Rhode Island, for £ 42. at three days sight with or 
without advice; and is dated the 19th. April 1786." 

21 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 



Mount Vernon, April 20, 1786. 

Sir: Within these few days I have received your letter of 
the 12th., and some time ago, I recollect to have been favored 
with another letter from you, which in the hurry of business 
got overlooked. 

It is now more than two years since indirectly I obtained 
a sight of the deceas'd Mrs. Savage's Will. I then thought, 
and still do think it strange that the Executors of this Will, 
should never have made any official communication thereof 
to the Trustees of that Lady in this Country; nor have made 
any direct enquiry concerning the situation of her affairs here. 
These may be summed up in a few words ; and shall be found 
to be as follows. When matters came to extremity between 
Doctr. Savage and his wife, and Mr. Fairfax and myself were 
obliged to put the trust Bond in suit to recover her annuity; the 
Doctor made use of all the chicanery of Law and Lawyers, to 
procrastinate the Suit; which the tardiness of our Courts (and 
during one period of the Revolution the suspension of jus- 
tice) but too well enabled him to effect. It was therefore long 
before a judgment at common Law could be obtained; and 
this was no sooner done, than he threw the matter into Chan- 
cery, where I am told, for I have had no share in the manage- 
ment of this business for the last ten years, (that is since I 
took the command of the American forces) it has lain ever 
since. I believe Mr. Fairfax has done every thing in his power 
to bring the matter to issue; and I have heard, I think from 
himself, that there is now a probability of its happening soon. 
With great truth I can assure you that not one farthing of 

28 Of Baltimore, Md. 


Mrs. Savage's annuity was ever paid to the Trustees; whilst 
we have been obliged to advance money out of our own pock- 
ets to carry on the prosecution, and whilst, moreover, from a 
representation of the distress that Lady was involved in, I 
gave her a Bill to the amot. of £$3., on Jas. Gildart Esqr. of 
Liverpool, which is still due to me. 

This is the best Accot. I am able to give you of the Trust, 
and you are at liberty to communicate the purport of it to 
Mrs. Innis. 29 I am, etc. 30 


Mount Vernon, May 3, 1786. 

Sir: Being informed that you receive the lists of Taxable 
property in Truro Parish, I do, tho' late send you that of mine. 

Do you hire your Negro Tailor by the year ? If so, on what 
terms? and is he now, or will he soon be, disengaged? My 
Compliments, in which Mrs. Washington joins, are offered to 
Mrs. Cockburn. 

With esteem, I am etc. 31 


May 8, 1786. 
Sir: Vale. Crawford died indebted to me, say ^100 Virga. 
Curry., more or less, previously thereto he wrote me the let- 
ter dated Jacobs Creek May the 6th. 1774, and accompanied 
it with the Bill of sale herewith enclosed, dated May 8th. 
1774. Query. Is this Bill now valid ? Will it secure my Debt ? 

29 Ann (Mrs. Richard) Ennis (Innis), of Dublin, Ireland. 
?0 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 
From a photostat of the original in the "Washington Photostats" in the Library of 

1786] SALE OF NEGROES 415 

this is all I want. And can it be recovered without my hazard- 
ing a defeat; which may add cost without benefit. 

If these points are determined in the affirmative, I would 
endeavour to secure my Debt under the cover of the bill, and 
desire that you would prosecute my claim accordingly, but 
not otherwise. With great esteem, I am, etc. 32 


Mount Vernon, May 8, 1786. 

Sir : Your letter of the 8th. of last month came to my hands 
just as I was leaving home for Richmond, which is the reason 
you have not received an earlier acknowledgment of it. 

I am not a member of, nor am I in any manner, interested 
in the affairs of the Ohio Company, nor indeed do I know 
at this time, of whom it consists, further than of those claim- 
ing under, and mentioned by you, of Colo. Mason and of the 
heir of my brother Augustine, who lives at the distance of an 
hundred miles from me; and is one whom I scarcely ever saw. 

I feel myself much obliged by your polite attention in offer- 
ing me a Lott at the mouth of the South branch; it will, I 
dare say, be a convenient spot, where on to establish a Town. 
I am, etc. 32 


Mount Vernon, May 8, 1786. 

Sir : Being informed that Mrs. Crawford is on the point of 

having her negroes sold to discharge a Debt due from her 

late husband, Colo. Crawford, to Mr. James Cleveland, for 

whom you are Agent; I will, rather than such an event shall 

""From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


take place, agree to apply any money of mine, which may be 
in your hands, towards the discharge of the execution; and 
desire, in that case, you will receive such security as Mrs. Craw- 
ford can give for reimbursing me. I am, etc. 33 


Mount Vernon, May 10, 1786. 

Sir: I received with great pleasure (a few days ago in a 
letter from the Marquis de la Fayette) the news of your being 
in good health. The recollection of your gallant services, and 
the happy moments I have had the honor to spend with you 
in this country, will always be dear to me. 

It appears by the Marquis's letter that the answer to a letter 
which you did me the honor to write to me (now more than 
two years) respecting the order of the Cincinnati, had never 
come to your hands. I cannot tell how to accot. for it, as all 
the papers are in the hands of the Secretary General. I well 
remember however, that at the general meeting which was 
held at Philadelphia in May 1784, that I laid all the letters 
with which I had been favored on that subject, before the 
members which constituted it; and that the Secretary was 
ordered to communicate the determinations which that meet- 
ing had come to, to the gentlemen who had written to the 
President, one of which was, that the members of the Society 
in France were to constitute a meeting of themselves in order, 
among other things, to investigate the claims of those who 
conceived they were entitled to the order, and to decide on 
them accordingly; in as much as the Meeting in this Country 
was not intended to be held oftener than triennially; and 
could not well at those times enter into the detail of a business 

3 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


which with more propriety would be taken up by the several 
State Meetings, and the one it had just authorized to be held 
in France. 

If Mr. de Menonville should happen to be with you, I pray 
you to offer him my Compliments, and to be assured yourself 
of the sentiments of esteem and respect with which, I have 
the honor, etc. 34 


Mount Vernon, May 10, 1786. 

Sir: Being at Richmond when your favor of the 22d. ulto. 
came to this place, is the reason of its having lain so long 
unacknowledged. I delayed not a moment after my return, to 
discharge the balance of your decead. Brother's Accot. against 
me, to Mr. Watson; probably he has informed you of it. 

As there were few men for whom I had a warmer friend- 
ship, or greater regard, than for your brother, 35 while living; 
so with much truth I can assure you that there are none whose 
death I more sincerely regret; and I pray you and his numer- 
ous friends to permit me to mingle my sorrows with theirs 
on this unexpected and melancholy occasion, and that they 
would accept my compliments of condolance. I am, etc. 34 


Mount Vernon, May 10, 1786. 
Madam: Of all the correspondencies with which I am hon- 
ored, none has given me more pleasure than yours, none which 
I am more desireous of continuing, or more ambitious to 
deserve. What then My Dr. Madam, must have been my 

34 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 
35 Tench Tilghman. 


mortification when, instead of receiving the letter you did 
me the honor to write to me on the 15th. of April last year, 
in due time, it was not 'till sometime in the course of last 
month, that I received it at all, and the parcels with which 
you were pleased to accompany it. By mistake these parcels 
lay at Bordeaux a considerable time after they had arrived 
there, before it was discovered for whom they were intended, 
and then were sent by a Vessel which took a very circuitous 
voyage to this Country. I trouble you with this detail of mat- 
ters by way of apology for what otherwise might appear a 
want of sensibility in me for your distinguished and valuable 
favors, than which nothing is, or can be more flattering and 
pleasing to my vanity. 

The tokens of regard with which Miss de la Fayette and 
my name-sake have honored the young folks of this family, 
will cement the friendship which seems to be rising in their 
tender breasts; and will encrease those flames of it which they 
have imbibed from their parents, to which nothing can add 
strength, but the endearments which flow from personal in- 
terviews, and the unreserved exchange of liberal sentiments. 
Will you not then Madam, afford them this opportunity? 
May we hope for it soon? If the assurances of the sincerest 
esteem and affection: if the varieties of uncultivated nature; 
the novelty of exchanging the gay and delightful scenes of 
Paris with which you are surrounded, for the rural amuse- 
ments of a country in its infancy; if the warbling notes of the 
feathered songsters on our Lawns and Meads, can for a mo- 
ment make you forget the melody of the Opera, and the pleas- 
ure of the Court, these, all invite you to give us this hon- 
our, and the opportunity of expressing to you personally, 
those sentiments of attachment and love with which you have 
inspired us. 

1786] A NEWSPAPER 419 

The noon-tide of life is now passed with Mrs. Washington 
and myself, and all we have to do is to spend the evening of 
our days in tranquillity, and glide gently down a stream which 
no human effort can ascend. We must therefore, however 
reluctantly it is done, forego the pleasures of such a visit as 
you kindly invite us to make. But the case with you, is far 
otherwise, your days are in their meidian brightness. In the 
natural order of things you have many years to come, in which 
you may endulge yourself in all the amusements which variety 
can afford, and different countries produce; and in receiving 
those testimonies of respect, which every one in the United 
States would wish to render you. 

My Mother will receive the compliments you honor her 
with, as a flattering mark of your attention; and I shall have 
great pleasure in delivering them myself. My best wishes and 
vows are offered for you, and for the fruits of your love, and 
with every sentiment of respect and attachment. I have the 
honor, etc. 36 


Mount Vernon, May 10, 1786. 
Sir: I have had the honor to receive your favor of the 20th. 
ulto. and its enclosure. I was indebted to Doctr. Gordon before 
he left the Country, for the Boston Independent Chronicle; 
and am so since to your goodness for offering to continue them. 
The Doctr. sent these papers unasked, after having read them 
himself (being a subscriber), but as their continuation must 
be attended with expence and trouble, you would oblige me 
by withholding them. To be candid, my avocations are so 
numerous that I very rarely find time to look into Gazettes 

S0 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 
37 Of Boston, Mass. 


after they come to me. I feel myself, however, not less in- 
debted to your politeness, and obliging offer, by the non-accept- 
ance of it. With respect, I am, etc. 38 


Mount Vernon, May 10, 1786. 

My dear Marquis: The Letter which you did me the favor 
to write to me by Mr. Barrett dated the 6th. of Feby., together 
with the parcel and packages which accompanied it, came 
safely to hand; and for which I pray you to accept my grateful 

The account given of your tour thro' Prussia and other 
States of Germany, to Vienna and back; and of the Troops 
which you saw reviewed in the pay of those Monarchs, at 
different places, is not less pleasing than it is interesting; and 
must have been as instructive as entertaining to yourself. 
Your reception at the Courts of Berlin, Vienna, and elsewhere 
must have been pleasing to you : to have been received by the 
King of Prussia, and Prince Henry his brother, (who as sol- 
diers and politicians can yield the palm to none) with such 
marks of attention and distinction, was as indicative of their 
discernment, as it is of your merit, and will encrease my opin- 
ion of them. It is to be lamented however that great charac- 
ters are seldom without a blot. That one man should tyranise 
over millions, will always be a shade in that of the former; 
whilst it is pleasing to hear that a due regard to the rights of 
mankind, is characteristic of the latter: I shall revere and love 
him for this trait of his character. To have viewed the several 
fields of Battle over which you passed, could not, among other 
sensations, have failed to excite this thought, here have fallen 

38 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

1786] SLOW REMEDIES 421 

thousands of gallant spirits to satisfy the ambition of, or to 
support their sovereigns perhaps in acts of oppression or in- 
justice! melancholy reflection! For what wise purposes does 
Providence permit this ? Is it as a scourge for mankind, or is 
it to prevent them from becoming too populous ? If the lat- 
ter, would not the fertile plains of the Western world receive 
the redundancy of the old. 

For the several articles of intelligence with which you have 
been so good as to furnish me, and for your sentimts. on Euro- 
pean politics, I feel myself very much obliged; on these I can 
depend. Newspaper accounts are too sterile, vague and con- 
tradictory, on which to form any opinion, or to claim even the 
smallest attention. 

The account of and observations which you have made on 
the policy and practice of Great Britain at the other Courts of 
Europe, respecting these States, I was but too well informed 
and convinced of before. Unhappily for us, though their ac- 
counts are greatly exaggerated, yet our conduct has laid the 
foundation for them. It is one of the evils of democratical gov- 
ernments, that the people, not always seeing and frequently 
misled, must often feel before they can act right; but then evils 
of this nature seldom fail to work their own cure. It is to be 
lamented, nevertheless, that the remedies are so slow, and that 
those, who may wish to apply them seasonably are not attended 
to before they suffer in person, in interest and in reputation. I 
am not without hopes, that matters will take a more favorable 
turn in the fcederal Constitution. The discerning part of the 
community have long since seen the necessity of giving ade- 
quate powers to Congress for national purposes; and the 
ignorant and designing must yield to it ere long. Several late 
Acts of the different Legislatures have a tendency thereto; 
among these, the Impost which is now acceded to by every 


State in the Union, (tho' clogged a little by that of New York) 
will enable Congress to support the national credit in pecuni- 
ary matters better than it has been; whilst a measure in which 
this state has taken the lead at its last session, will it is to be 
hoped give efficient powers to that Body for all commercial 
purposes. This is a nomination of some of its first characters to 
meet other Commissioners from the several States in order 
to consider of and decide upon such powers as shall be neces- 
sary for the sovereign power of them to act under; 89 which are 
to be reported to the respective Legislatures at their autumnal 
sessions for, it is to be hoped, final adoption; thereby avoiding 
those tedious and futile deliberations, which result from rec- 
ommendations and partial concurrences; at the same time that 
it places it at once in the power of Congress to meet European 
Nations upon decisive and equal ground. All the Legislatures, 
which I have heard from, have come into the proposition, and 
have made very judicious appointments: much good is expected 
from this measure, and it is regretted by many, that more ob- 
jects were not embraced by the meeting. A General Conven- 
tion is talked of by many for the purpose of revising and 
correcting the defects of the foederal government; but whilst 
this is the wish of some, it is the dread of others from an opinion 
that matters are not yet sufficiently ripe for such an event. 

The British still occupy our Posts to the Westward, and will, 
I am persuaded, continue to do so under one pretence or an- 
other, no matter how shallow, as long as they can : of this, from 

39 "The General Assembly have appointed Edmund Randolph, James Madison, 
junr., Walter Jones, St. George Tucker, Meriwether Smith, David Ross, William 
Ronald and George Mason Commissioners to meet others from the different States 
. . . for the purpose of framing, such regulations of Trade as may be judged neces- 
sary to promote the general interests. I have to request your Excellency's attention to 
this subject, and that you will be pleased to make such communications of it as may 
be necessary to forward the views of this Legislature." — Patrick Henry to the Presi- 
dent of Pennsylvania, Feb. 23, 1786. 

This convention met at Annapolis in September, 1786. 

1786] JACKASSES 423 

some circumstances which had occurred, I have been convinced 
since August, 1783 and gave it as my opinion at that time, if not 
officially to Congress as the sovereign, at least to a number of 
its members, that they might act accordingly. It is indeed evi- 
dent to me, that they had it in contemplation to do this at the 
time of the Treaty; the expression of the Article which respects 
the evacuation of them, as well as the tenor of their conduct 
since relative to this business, is strongly marked with decep- 
tion. I have not the smallest doubt but that every secret engine 
is continually at work to inflame the Indian mind, with a view 
to keep it at variance with these States, for the purpose of re- 
tarding our settlements to the Westward, and depriving us of 
the fur and peltry trade of that country. 

Your assurances my dear Marquis, respecting the male and 
female Asses, 40 are highly pleasing to me, I shall look for them 
with much expectation and great satisfaction, as a valuable 
acquisition and important service. 

The Jack which I have already received from Spain, in ap- 
pearance is fine; but his late royal master, tho' past his grand 
climacteric, cannot be less moved by female allurements than 
he is; or when prompted, can proceed with more deliberation 
and majestic solemnity to the work of procreation. The other 
Jack perished at Sea. 

Mr. Littlepage in his dispute with Mr. Jay seems to have for- 
got his former situation. It is a pity, for he appears to be a 
young man of abilities. At the next meeting of the Potomac 
Company (which I believe will not be 'till August) I will com- 
municate to them your sentiments respecting the terms on 
which a good Ingenieur des ponts and chaussees may be had 
and take their opinion thereon. 

40 From the island of Malta. 


The benevolence of your heart my Dr. Marqs. is so conspicu- 
ous upon all occasions, that I never wonder at any fresh proofs 
of it; but your late purchase of an estate in the colony of Cay- 
enne, with a view of emancipating the slaves on it, is a gen- 
erous and noble proof of your humanity. Would to God a like 
spirit would diffuse itself generally into the minds of the peo- 
ple of this country; but I despair of seeing it. Some petitions 
were presented to the Assembly, at its last Session, for the aboli- 
tion of slavery, but they could scarcely obtain a reading. To set 
them afloat at once would, I really believe, be productive of 
much inconvenience and mischief; but by degrees it certainly 
might, and assuredly ought to be effected; and that too by 
Legislative authority. 

I give you the trouble of a letter to the Marqs. de St. Simon, 
in which I have requested to be presented to Mr. de Menonville. 
The favourable terms in which you speak of Mr. Jefferson gives 
me great pleasure: he is a man of whom I early imbibed the 
highest opinion. I am as much pleased, therefore, to meet con- 
firmations of my discernment in these matters, as I am morti- 
fied when I find myself mistaken. 

I send herewith the copies of your private Letters to me, 
promised in my last, and which have been since copied by 
your old aid. As Mrs. Washington and myself have both 
done ourselves the honor of writing to Madame de la Fayette, 
I shall not give you the trouble at this time of presenting my 
respects to her; but pray to accept every good wish which 
this family can render for your health and every blessing this 
life can afford you. I cannot conclude without expressing to 
you the earnest enquiries and ardent wishes of your friends 
(among whom, I claim to stand first) to see you in America, 
and of giving you repeated assurances of the sincerity of my 
friendship, and of the Affectionate regard with which I am etc. 

1786] WHEAT 425 

P. S. I had like to have forgotten a promise which I made 
in consequence of the enclos'd application from Colo. Carter. 
It was, that I would write to you for the wolf hound if to be 
had conveniently: The inducements, and the services you 
would render by this act, will be more evident from the ex- 
pression of the letter than from any thing I can say. 

The vocabulary 41 for her imperial Majesty, 42 I will use my 
best endeavours to have compleated; but she must have a little 
patience, the Indian tribes on the Ohio are numerous, dispersed 
and distant from those who are most likely to do the business 
properly. 43 


Mount Vernon, May 12, 1786. 

Sir: I have received your letter of the 6th. instt. but not in- 
clining to take your surplus Wheat, on purchase, will order 
it to be ground and packed, subject to your order. As you did 
not direct what kind of flour it should be made into, it will 
be fine only, unless you should in time direct otherwise. 

I lost very considerably by the delay of your Wheat. In the 
first of the Manufactury of it I had a brisk demand for my 
superfine flour at 40/. and 38/. per Barrl. and for that which 
has been lately ground I have not had more than 32/. offered, 
and this price for a small quantity only. 

The inclosed was brought to me (under cover) by the per- 
son whose name is mentioned therein and with whom I have 
agreed. I am etc. 44 

U A vocabulary of the Shawano and Delaware Indians was compiled and forwarded 
two years later. (See Washington's letter to Marquis de Lafayette, ]an. 10, 1788, post.) 

^The Empress of Russia. 

42 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

44 From a photostat of the original through the kindness of Judge E. A. Armstrong, 
of Princeton, N. J. 



Mount Vernon, May 15, 1786. 

Sir: I am indebted to you for your favor of the 5th. of Sep- 
tember, and to Messrs. Robinson, Sanderson and Rumney for 
their letter of the 28th. of Jany. in the present year. The last 
was accompanied with 1400 Flags, which came with very lit- 
tle brakages; and for your care of, and attention to which, I 
beg you to accept my sincere thanks. 45 

On the 18th. of Novr. I inclosed you a Bill on Wakelin 
Welch Esqr. of London for £50 Sterg.; and will, before Mr 
Sanderson leaves the Country, settle with him for the Ballance. 
It gives me pleasure to hear that we may soon expect to see 
you in this Country again. With great esteem and regard, I 
am, etc. 46 


Mount Vernon, May 15, 1786. 
Dr. Sir: Your favor of the 13th. came to me this day. Partic- 
ular attention shall be paid to the mares which your servant 
brought; and when my Jack is in the humour they shall derive 
all the benefits of his labours. At present, tho' young, he fol- 
lows what one may suppose to be the example of his late Royal 
Master, who cannot, tho' past his grand climacteric, perform 
seldomer or with more majestic solemnity than he does. How- 
ever I have my hopes that when he becomes a little better 
acquainted with republican enjoyments, he will amend his 

45 The following is noted in Washington's "Diary" under date of Monday, May 22, 
1786: "Began to take up the pavement of the Piaza." May 23: "this day began to 
lay the Flags in my Piaza." May 27: "Finished laying 28 courses of the pavement 
in the Piaza." 

40 From a photostat of the original in the "Washington Photostats" in the Library of 

1786] EWE LAMBS 427 

manners and fall into our custom of doing business; if the case 
should be otherwise, I shall have no disinclination to present 
his Catholic Majesty with as valuable a present as I received 
from him. 

I am very sorry to hear of the accident which befel Colo. 
Fitzhugh in his late trip to Virginia; but from the effect of 
the fall I hope he will soon be recovered. I am happy in having 
it in my power to furnish him with a bushel of the Barley re- 
quested in your letter. A propos, are there any persons in your 
neighbourhood who raise Lambs for sale ? My stock of Sheep 
were so much neglected during my absence, that I would 
gladly buy one or two hundred ewe lambs, and allow a good 
price for them, in order to get it up again. A line from you 
when convenient, in answer to this query, would be obliging. 
Mrs. Washington and the rest of the family join me in every 
good wish for the Colo., his Lady and yourself. I am, etc. 47 


Mount Vernon, May 18, 1786. 

Sir: You will excuse me I hope for not having acknowl- 
edged the receipt of your favors of the 21st. and 25th. of Feby. 
at an earlier period. The truth is, I have been much hurried 
and a good deal from home since they came to this place. 

I thank you for your obliging attention to the apples, which 
were very good, and arrived safely; and Mrs. Washington 
joins me in thanking you also for your kind present of pickled 
and fried Oysters, 49 which were very fine. This mark of your 
politeness is flattering, and we beg you to accept every good 
wish of ours in return. With esteem, I am, etc. 47 

47 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 
48 Of New York. He had been one of Varick's writers. 
49 The pickled and fried oysters were preserved in pots. 



Mount Vernon, May 18, 1786. 

Gentn: Waiting to be informed of what I stand indebted 
to you, is the cause of my not acknowledging sooner the re- 
ceipt of your favor of the 24th. of May last year. I have now 
requested Colo. Biddle to enquire into, and to discharge what 
is due from me. 

I feel myself very much obliged to you for the trouble you 
have had in obtaining a Miller for me. Mr. Davenport seems 
to be a very honest, good kind of man; but as a miller, and as 
a person skilled in the art of keeping a mill in order, I think 
him much inferior to Roberts. In these points perhaps Roberts 
had no superior; but his propensity to liquor, and his turbulent 
temper when under the intoxicating doses of it, were not to be 
borne. I have no trouble at all with Davenport; he is steady, 
orderly and quiet, and does, I believe, as well as he knows how. 
We have neither of us intimated any inclination to part; and 
if the reputation of my flour (which stood very high under 
Robert's management) can be maintained, it is all I want. 

The Agreement which you entered into with him is per- 
fectly satisfactory to me, and I thank you for your attention to 
the business. With great esteem, I am, etc. 50 


Mount Vernon, May 18, 1786. 
Dear Sir: Your favors of the 19th. of Feby. and 16th. and 
19th. March, are before me; And would have been acknowl- 
edged Sooner, had anything material, occurred. 

""From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

1786] A DEBT 429 

The Clover Seed, Boots &c. came in Season; but I must take 
care to be earlier in my application another year, as the Expence 
of getting heavy articles from Baltimore by land, comes high; 
I was charged forty odd Shillings for the Transportation of 
those Seeds, by the Stage, from that Place. I am nevertheless 
obliged to you for forwarding of them in that manner; as the 
delay would have rendered the Seeds useless for Spring Sow- 
ing, and altogether defective, perhaps, by the Fall. I am obliged 
to your Good Father for the Trouble he was at in choosing 
them, they are very good, and pray you, to Offer my Complts. 
and Thanks, to him therefore, and to Capt. Morris, for his kind 
present of a hunting horn, as I was unable to get One in Vir- 
ginia, or at Baltimore. 

If you Should not have purchased Young's Tour Through 
Great Britain, before this Reaches you, be pleased to decline 
doing it, as I have Just received a very Polite letter from that 
Gentleman, informing me of his having dispatched a Compleat 
Sett of his Works for my acceptance. 

The Person in whose Name, the inclosed certificate, has Is- 
sued, 51 is owing me a considerable Sum, (indeed half the Flour, 
and Meal, for which the Certificate was granted, belonged to 
me) and having requested that it may be Sold for what it will 
fetch, and his part of the Money applied to my Credit, I pray 
you to do it accordingly; but at the Same time, I must desire, 
as Half the Property is my own, that if it Shall appear to you, 
to be for my Interest, that it Should be bought in again on my 
Accot., that you would do so. In either case, place the Amot. 
to my Credit in your Books, Subject to a future disposition. 

I must be owing Messrs. Robt. Lewis & Sons (of Philada.) 
some Trifle, on Accot. of a Miller which they procured for me, 

51 A copy of the certificate which is entered in the "Letter Book" in the Washing- 
ton Papers, and dated May 18, 1785, shows that the United States owed Gilbert 
Simpson 339 dollars and 53/aoths of a dollar, with interest at 6% from Nov. 4, 1780. 


last year, but have never yet been able to get their Accot. Be so 
good as to know what the Amot. is, and Pay it; the Inclosed 
Informs them thereof. 

I have Such a number of Gazettes crouded upon me, (many 
without orders) that they are not only Expensive, but really 
useless; as my other avocations, will not allow me time to Read 
them oftentimes, and when I do attempt it, find them more 
troublesome, than Profitable, I have therefore to beg if you 
should get money into your hands, on Accot. of the Inclosed 
Certificate, that you would be so good as to pay what I am 
owing to Messrs. Dunlap & Claypole, Mr. Oswald, and Mr. 
Humphreys. 52 If they consider me, however, as engaged for 
the year, I am content to let the matter run on, to the expira- 
tion of it; but as my Expences run high, it would be impru- 
dent in me to encrease them unnecessarily. 

I am in want of Glass (for a Particular purpose) and beg 
you to Send it to me, by the first opportunity, agreeably to the 
Inclosed Patterns, and Quantities. 

Is Linnen to be had cheap, at the Vendues in Philadelphia, 
for ready Money ? And at what price, could the best dutch, or 
Strip'd Blanketts, be bought by the piece, of 15 or 16 in each, 
which I think is the usual number ? I may want 200 of them. 
My Compliments, in which Mrs. Washington Joins, are Of- 
fred to Mrs. Biddle, and I am, etc. 53 [h. s. p.] 


Mount Vernon, May 18, 1786. 
Dear Sir: In due course of post, I have been honored with 
your favors of the 2d. and 16th. of March; since which I have 

52 Daniel Humphreys. He was publisher of the Pennsylvania Mercury and Phila- 
delphia Price -current. 

63 In the writing of Tobias Lear. 


been a good deal engaged and pretty much from home. For 
the enclosure which accompanied the first, I thank you. Mr. 
Littlepage seems to have forgot what had been his situation, 
forgot what was due to you, and indeed what was necessary to 
his own character: and his guardian, I think, seems to have 
forgotten every thing. 54 

I coincide perfectly in sentiment with you, my Dr. Sir, that 
there are errors in our national Government which call for 
correction, loudly I would add ; but I shall find myself happily 
mistaken if the remedies are at hand. We are certainly in a 
delicate situation, but my fear is that the people are not yet 
sufficiently misled to retract from error. To be plainer, I think 
there is more wickedness than ignorance mixed in our Coun- 
cils. Under this impression, I scarcely know what opinion to 
entertain of a general convention. That it is necessary to revise 
and amend the articles of confederation, I entertain no doubt; 
but what may be the consequences of such an attempt is doubt- 
ful. Yet something must be done, or the fabrick must fall, for 
it certainly is tottering. 

Ignorance and design are difficult to combat. Out of these 
proceed illiberal sentiments, improper jealousies, and a train 
of evils which oftentimes, in republican governments, must be 
sorely felt before they can be removed. The former, that is 
ignorance, being a fit soil for the latter to work in, tools are 
employed by them which a generous mind would disdain to 
use; and which nothing but time, and their own puerile or 
wicked productions can show the inemcacy and dangerous tend- 
ency of. I think often of our situation and view it with con- 
cern. From the high ground we stood upon, from the plain 
path which invited our footsteps, to be so fallen! so lost! it is 

w The Lewis-Littlepage controversy was merely a matter of personal irritation and 
of no public importance. 


really mortifying; but virtue, I fear has, in a great degree, taken 
its departure from us; and the want of disposition to do justice 
is the source of the national embarrassments; for whatever 
guise or colorings are given to them, this I apprehend is the 
origin of the evils we now feel, and probably shall labour under 
for some time yet. With respectful complimts. to Mrs. Jay, and 
sentiments of sincere friendship, I am &c. 55 


Mount Vernon, May 20, 1786. 

Sir: Messrs. Balfour and Barraud of Norfolk died indebted 
to me in a pretty considerable sum. Meeting with Mr. New- 
ton a few days ago at Richmond, 56 he informed me that the 
books of that Company had been in the hands of a Mr. Schau 
deceased, to whom you were an Exor.; and that it was highly 
probable you could in this character, give me some clue by 
which I could recover my Debt; for he added, that he was 
certain money was due in and about Norfolk to Messrs. Bal- 
four and Barraud, and might be obtained, if a list of the Debts 
cou'd be had. 

My debt was contracted for flour sold these Gentlemen. 
This flour was for Mr. Hansbury of London, and there can 
be little doubt of their connexion in trade; but whether of 
such a nature as to make the latter liable for the debt, I am 
unable to say. 

If my present application to you is improper, or likely to 
give you any trouble in affording me the requisite information, 
you will please to place the liberty I take, to a former acquaint- 
ance, and have the goodness to excuse it. I am, etc. 55 

55 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

6 " Washington went to Richmond in connection with some land purchases from Col. 
George Mercer. He left Mount Vernon, April 23; arrived at Richmond, April 26; left 
Richmond, April 28; and reached Mount Vernon, April 30. 

1786] SHIPMENTS 433 


Mount Vernon, May 20, 1786. 

Sir: Your favors of the 24th. of January and 5th. of Feby. 
are at hand; but I have heard nothing of the Vine slips men- 
tioned therein, nor do I know where to direct my enquiries 
for them, as you do not mention the Port or State to which 
the Industry, Captn. Gibson was bound. For your good inten- 
tions however, I am as much indebted, as if the slips had 
actually been delivered to me. 

It is to be hoped and much to be wished that the negotia- 
tions of Messrs. Barclay and Lamb, 57 at the Court of Morocco, 
and with the State of Algiers, may terminate favourably for 
America. Should they not, our trade will be exceedingly in- 
commoded by the piratical States of the Mediterranian. 

At present, thro' the early attention of Messrs. Jno. Searle 
& Co., and some others, (formerly my correspondents in Ma- 
deria) together with the purchases I have occasionally made 
in this Country since the re-establishment of peace, I am more 
than usually well stocked with Madeira Wine. I am, etc. 58 


Mount Vernon, May 20, 1786. 

Sir: Since my last dated the 20th. of August, I have been 
favored with your letters of the 31st. of Augt., 7th. of Septr. 
and 4th. of Novembr. in the past year. 

The packages by the Peggy, Capt. Cuningham are safely 
arrived. I am sorry they should have given you any trouble, 
and am much obliged by your care of them. 

"Thomas Barclay and John Lamb. 
From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


I have paid Colo. Fitzgerald the full amount of the Wine 
and other articles wch. were sent to me by Captn. Smith; and 
am sorry to add that the quality of the Claret on proof, did not 
answer my expectation, and was far short of some other of the 
same cargo, wch. I had drank at other places. I ascribe this 
however, to chance; it may be my luck next time to get better, 
and therefore when your Vessel comes to this River again, I 
request that a gross of the best may be sent to me. 

Excuse the liberty I take of addressing a packet containing 
papers of consequence, to your care for the Marqs. de la 
Fayette, and a barrel; to both of wch. I ask your particular 
attention. I am, etc. 59 


Mount Vernon, May 20, 1786. 

Sir: The letter which you did me the favor to write to me 
from Philadelphia on the 5th inst: 61 came safely to hand, and I 
should have given it an earlier acknowledgment, had not fre- 
quent calls from home, and unavoidable business prevented it. 

I do not perceive, upon recurring to the subject, that I can be 
more explicit in the description of my Lands on the Big Kan- 
hawa, and on the Ohio between the two Kanhawas, than I was 
when I had the pleasure of seeing you at this place. If I recollect 
rightly I then informed you, that from the accounts given me 
of them by the Surveyor; from what I had seen of them myself, 
(especially the tract on the big Kanhawa) from every other 
source of information, and from my best knowledge and belief, 
there can be no finer land in that or any other Country; or lands 
more abounding in natural advantages. 

68 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

w Or Chaston, or Le Chaston. The "Letter Book" addresses him as "Monst." 

"Not now found in the Washington Papers. 


The whole of them are washed by the rivers I have men- 
tioned, are furnished with land streams fit for water works of 
various kinds, stored with meadow ground wch. may be re- 
claimed in the cheapest and most expeditious manner imagin- 
able, (by only cutting away trifling banks of earth, which 
have been formed by the Beaver) and abound in fish and wild 
fowl of all kinds, as well as every other sort of game with which 
the country is filled. With respect to the quality of the soil, it 
may be conceived that none can exceed it when I relate a single 
fact, namely, that it was the first choice of the whole country 
thereabouts, after a thorough research of it by an excellent 
judge, the late Colo. Crawford. 

As to the situation of them, none can be more advantageous; 
for living about midway between the upper and lower settle- 
ments on the Ohio, the trade must pass within sight of those 
Lands, whilst the occupants of them, equally convenient to 
both might embrace the inland navigation of either Potomac or 
James river, as soon as they are made to communicate with the 
Western Waters ; which no doubt will soon be effected. I think 
too, I should not be mistaken were I to add that 'ere long a 
town of some importance will be established in the vicinity of 
them, viz, at the confluence of the big Kanhawa and Ohio; 62 
which is the point at which the trade to Richmond, and that 
which is carried to the northern parts of this State, and to Mary- 
land and Pennsylvania, must separate. But to go into a more 
minute detail in writing of what has before been the subject of 
oral conversation, would be more tiresome than interesting; 
especially as it is by no means my wish that any purchaser what- 
ever, should rely upon my accot. of this matter, or on those of 
any others, but judge for himself or themselves, in all things. 

02 Point Pleasant and Henderson are now at the mouth of the Great Kanawha, on 
either bank of the river. 


When you asked me if I was disposed to sell these Lands, I 
answered and truly that I had never had it in contemplation, 
because I well knew they would rise more in value than the 
purchase money at the present time would accumulate by in- 
terest; consequently under these circumstances it would be dif- 
ficult in the present moment to fix on a price which would be 
acceded to, that would be an equivalent for them hereafter. 
However as I had no family, wished to live easy and to spend 
the remainder of my days with as little trouble as possible, I 
said I would part with them if a good price could be obtained, 
and that my sense of their value might easily be ascertained by 
the terms on which I had proposed to rent them; (and which 
I think you told me you had seen). One of which amounting 
in fact to an absolute sale, being on a Lease of 999 years, renew- 
able, was at ten pounds this currency per hundred acres, which 
at 5 pr Ct. (the legal interest in this State), would have come to 
40/ like money pr. acre for the land on purchase; but I added, 
that if any one person, or sett of men would take the whole, I 
would make the terms of payment easy and abate considerably 
in the price. I therefore now inform you that the lands (the 
patents and plats of which I shewed you) the titles to which are 
uncontrovertible, free from those clashing interests and jarring 
disputes with which much of the property in that country is 
replete, are in quantities and situation as follows, 

1st. 2314 on the Ohio river three or four miles below the 
mouth of the little Kanhawa. 

2d. 2448 acres on the said river abt. sixteen miles below the 

3d. 4395 acres on Ditto, just above the great bend in it, & 
below the other two. 

4th. 10,990 on the big Kanhawa (West side) beginning 
within two or three miles of its conflux with the Ohio, and 
extending up the former 17 miles. 

1786] TERMS FOR LAND 437 

5th. 7,276 acres a little above this on the East side of the same 
river Kanhawa. 

6th. 2,000 acres higher up the Kanhawa (west side) in the 
fork between Coal river and it. 

7th. 2950 acres opposite thereto, on the East side. In all 
32,373 acres on both rivers. 

For these lands I would take Thirty thousand English guin- 
eas (of the proper weight) or other specie current in the coun- 
try, at its equivalent value. Two thousand five hundred of 
which to be paid at the execution of the Deeds and the remain- 
der in seven years therefrom, with an interest of five pr. Ct. 
pr. ann: regularly paid at my seat 'till the principal shall be 

I am not inclined to part with any of these Lands, as an in- 
ducement to settle the rest. My mind is so well satisfied of the 
superior value of them to most others, that there remains no 
doubt on it of my obtaining my own terms, as the country pop- 
ulates and the situation and local advantages of them unfold. 
These terms have already been promulgated, but I have not a 
copy of them by me, or I could send it to you : they were in- 
serted in Dunlaps & Claypooles Gazette about two years ago, at 
whose Office it is probable a copy might be had. One of the 
conditions was, if my memory serves me, an exemption from 
the payment of rent three years whilst the tenements were 
opening and improvements making; this I am still inclined to 

The rents were different according to the term for which 
leases were to be granted. 

If for twenty one years only, they were to commence and end 
at £5 P r « hundred ; for in that case the stipulated improvements 
being made, I knew that almost any rent might be had for the 
Tenement thereafter. 


If on leases renewable every ten years forever, the rents were 
in that case to advance in a certain ratio, to keep pace with the 
encreasing value of the Land. And if given in the first instance 
for 999 yrs. as has been mentioned before, then the rent was to 
commence at ten pounds pr. hund. acres; which being in fact 
an alienation of the property, shewed my ideas of its present 
value and purchase money, as mentioned already. These, as far 
as I can recite from memory, were the terms on which I offered 
to rent, and from which I feel no disposition to relax; unless, as 
in the case of a purchase, some one or more persons would take 
the whole off my hands at once, and become responsible for the 
rent; in which case being influenced by similar principles, I 
might abate accordingly. 

I should have great pleasure in giving such letters as you 
have asked, to the Marquis de la Fayette and Chevr. de la 
Luzerne, but conceive they could only have an embarrassing 
operation. It is certainly as consistent with the policy of one 
country to discourage depopulation, as it is for another to en- 
courage emigration. Considering the matter in this point of 
view I cannot suppose, however well disposed either of the 
above gentlemen may be to serve this Country, that they would 
do it at the expence of, and perhaps hazard of censure from 
their own. 

One of these gentlemen too being in the diplomatic or min- 
isterial line would, undoubtedly, be very cautious in expressing 
a sentiment favorable to a business of this kind. My best wishes 
however will follow you thro' all the stages of it; and with 
esteem, I am, &c. 

P. S. I shou'd be glad to know whether this letter found you 
in Philadelphia. 63 

"From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

1786] LOCK WORK 439 


Mount Vernon, May 25, 1786. 

Dr. Sir: The Letter which your Excellency did me the honor 
to write to me, of the 7th. ulto. came safely to hand; and I 
should feel very happy if I could render the Company (who 
are engaged in the laudable and important design of opening 
a cut between the Rivers Cowper and Santee) any services. 

Mr. Brindley, nephew to the celebrated person of that name 
who conducted the work of the Duke of Bridgewater and 
planned many others in England, possesses, I presume, more 
practical knowledge of Cuts and Locks for the improvement 
of inland navigation, than any man among us, as he was an 
executive officer (he says) many years under his uncle in this 
particular business: but he is, I know, engaged with the Sus- 
quehanna company, who are I believe (for I saw Mr. Brindley 
about six weeks ago) in a critical part of their work. I have 
notwithstanding, written to a gentleman of my acquaintance 
who is not only a member of that Company, but one to whom 
the business is chiefly confided, and near the spot, to know 
if Mr. Brindley 's services can be dispensed with long enough 
to answer the purposes mentioned in your letter: his answer 
shall be forwarded as soon as it comes to my hands. 

It gives me pleasure to find a spirit for inland navigation 
prevailing so generally. No country is more capable of im- 
provements in this way than our own, none which will be 
more benefited by them; and to begin well, as you justly ob- 
serve, is all in all: error in the commencement will not only 
be productive of unnecessary expence, but, what is still worse, 
of discouragements. It appears to me therefore, that if the 
cost of bringing from Europe a professional man of tried and 


acknowledged abilities, is too heavy for one work; it might 
be good policy for several Companies to unite in it; contribut- 
ing in proportion to the estimates and capital sums established 
by the several Acts. I see no necessity for confining the serv- 
ices of such a person to a single undertaking, one man may 
plan for twenty to execute; and the distance from Delaware 
(between which and Chesapeak a cut is in contemplation and 
Commissioners appointed by the two States to agree on a 
plan) to the Cowper river is not so great but that one person 
of activity might design for all between them, and visit the 
whole three or four times a year. 

This is only a thought of my own, I have no authority for 
suggesting it; but for my private satisfaction had written both 
to England and France, to know on what terms a person of 
competent skill could be obtained, and have received the fol- 
lowing answer from my friend the Marqs. de la Fayette; 
"There is no doubt but what a good Engineer may be found 
in this country to conduct the work. France in this point ex- 
ceeds England; and will have I think every advantage but 
that of the language, which is something, altho' it may be sup- 
plied by an Interpreter. An application from Mr. Jefferson 
and myself to the Ministry, and more particularly an intima- 
tion that you set a value on that measure, will ensure to us 
the choice of a good Engineer. They are different from the 
military ones, and are called Ingenieurs des ponts and chaus- 
sees. I think five hundred guineas a year while the business 
lasts, and an assurance not to loose his rank in France will be 
sufficient to provide you with the gentleman you want." 

I have also received an acknowledgmt. of the letter I had 
written to England; but the Gentleman there goes no further 
than to assure me he will make every necessary enquiry, and 
has no doubt but that a person may be obtained. He says 



nothing however respecting the terms on which he could be 
had. Mrs. Washington joins me in compliments and every 
good wish for Mrs. Moultree and yourself. With great esteem 
and respect, I am, etc. 64 


Mount Vernon, May 25, 1786. 

Dear Sir: The Letter which you did me the honor to write 
to me on the 10th. inst: came safely to hand, and claims my 
particular acknowledgments and thanks. 

When I beheld the trouble I had given you, in the long tran- 
script from the essay on the farmyard, I was quite ashamed 
of the request I had made; but having no just plea to offer 
as an apology for doing so, I will rely on your goodness rather 
than a lame excuse, for pardon. 

The Society, 65 in my opinion, have judged rightly in deter- 
mining to continue their premium for the best Barn-yard; 
for whatever merits Colo. Morgan's Essay may have, some- 
thing yet more perfect may be hit upon; and this being, as 
you justly observe, the basis of all good husbandry, too much 
encouragement cannot be given to men of ingenuity and in- 
dustry, to turn their thoughts to an object of this magnitude, 
to induce endeavors to improve it. 

It is from such attention as these, by similar societies, that 
Agriculture has been brought to the perfection it now is in 
England; and this certainly is the readiest path by which we 
can arrive at it here. Practices founded on experiments, and 
approved by these societies, are the best touch stones, and will 
prove our guide and director in all cases whatsoever. 

64 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 
65 The Agricultural Society of Philadelphia, Pa. 


Will Mrs. Powel never visit her friends on James River ? Is 
it necessary to add how happy she and you would make Mrs. 
Washington and myself, to set this down as a halting place ? 
If it was I would add the most unequivocal assurances of it. 
We unite in every good wish for you both, and I am, etc. 60 


Mount Vernon, May 25, 1786. 

Sir: As I have no information of Doctr. Shiell's 67 death, 
nor any connexion with his family or affairs; I return the 
letter which you sent me for him (and which came to hand 
last night only) unopened. The Doctr. married a lady of New- 
town in Pennsylvania, a Miss Harris, and had connexions, I 
believe, in trade with some gentn. in the City of Philada., but 
with whom they were formed, I am unable to inform you. 

Altho' I have no doubt but that the Account, rendered by 
you of your services and sufferings, is literally true; yet as 
they did not happen to fall within my own knowledge, there 
would be an impropriety in my certifying them. Indeed it has 
always been a maxim with me, to grant Certificates to no offi- 
cers in a subordinate character, who did not apply thro' the 
Colonel and genl. officer under whom they had served; or 
from the head of the department in which they had acted 
if in the staff; the presumption being, tho' the fact in some 
instances might be otherwise, that I could only be acquainted 
with their characters and conduct thro' one or the other of 
these channels. Congress have not, I believe, made provision 
for losses of property sustained in the course of the War, in- 
stances of which are without number; but for invalids and 

"From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

r Dr. Sheal, of Philadelphia. He removed to Kentucky and died there. 

1786] F LOUR SHIPPED 443 

those who have been disabled they have, I believe, where the 
regular modes pointed out by their Resolves, have been pur- 
sued, made allowances, but what, or how to come at them, 
I am unable to inform you, as this business never went thro' 
my hands. I am, etc. 68 


Mount Vernon, May 25, 1786. 
My Dr. Sir: I have been favored with, and thank you for 
your letter of the 14th inst: The reasons which you have been 
at the trouble to assign for the Executive's not calling the As- 
sembly at an earlier period than the annual meeting, are very 
satisfactory; and I am much obliged to you for the recital of 
them, for I confess to you that I was not only among the num- 
ber of those who expected this event, but under the publica- 
tion of Congress of the 15th. of Feby. and my want of infor- 
mation of the precise state of matters in other States, was 
among those also who could not account for the postponement. 
It will always give me pleasure to hear from you, because it 
will afford me fresh occasion for assuring you of the sincere 
esteem, etc. 68 


Mount Vernon, May 26, 1786. 

Dr. Sir: Inclosed you have Peter Kirwins receipt for fifty 
barrels of superfine flour, which I beg you to sell to the best 
advantage, and remit what may be due to me, after deducting 
what I am owing to you. 

Twenty four of these fifty barrels are inspected; the others, 
tho' of equal quality, are not. The reason is, the bearer calling 

68 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


unexpectedly, and being in a hurry, would not allow time to 
get the Inspectors from Alexandria; I was obliged therefore 
to send them without, or miss the conveyance; the former I 
preferred, as I have been some time on the enquiry for a Ves- 
sel. The quality of the uninspected, my miller assures me, is 
at least equal to the inspected, being quite fresh. With esteem 
and regard, I am, etc. 69 


Mount Vernon, May 30, 1786. 

Sir: I have been favored with your letter of the 12th. of Sep- 
tember, 71 and thank you for the prints which accompanied it, 
by the Ship Potomac which arrived safely. The frames of these 
pictures are quite equal to my wishes, and you will please to 
accept my best acknowledgments of it; and assurances that an 
apology for their being inferior to those sent to Congress, was 
altogether unnecessary. 

It gives me concern to learn from yourself, that the late war 
has been so injurious to your income, and so destructive of your 
hopes. By best wishes will attend any plan you may adopt for 
the perfect restoration of both. Of the obliging expressions of 
your letters, as they respect myself, I have a grateful sense, 
and am, 69 


[Mount Vernon] May 31, 1786. 
Articles of Agreement entered into this 31st. day of May in 
the year 1786 between George Washington Esqr. of the County 

69 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

70 Of Islington, near London. 

71 Not now found in the Washington Papers. 



of Fairfax and Commonwealth of Virginia of the one part, and 
James Bloxham lately from the Shire of Gloucester in the King- 
dom of England Farmer of the other part. Witnesseth, That 
the said James Bloxham for and in consideration of the wages, 
allowances, and priviledges hereinafter mentioned, doth agree 
with, and oblige himself to serve, the said George Washington 
for the space of one year; to commence the first day of the pres- 
ent Month, in the capacity of a Farmer and Manager of such 
parts of Husbandry, as shall be committed to his charge; and 
will, to the utmost of his skill and abilities, order and direct 
the same (with the approbation of the said George Washing- 
ton) to the best advantage. That he will, at all times, and upon 
all occasions, suggest such plans for the improvement of the 
said Washingtons Farms, and the stocks of Horses, Cattle, 
Sheep, Hogs &ca. which are on them, as to him shall appear 
most conducive to his interest. Will keep regular Accts. of the 
said Stock, and will strictly observe and follow all such orders 
and directions as he shall, from time to time, receive from his 
said employer; for this, and for other purposes. That when 
thereunto required, he will buy, at the expence of the said 
Washington, Cattle or Sheep for feeding, or for Store; and will 
dispose of the same, or any others, to the best advantage; at- 
tending particularly to the care and management of the Stock 
of every kind, both in Winter and Summer, as well those for 
the use and benefit of the Farms, and for family consumption, 
as those which may be fatted for Market. That he will use his 
utmost endeavours to encrease, and properly distribute, the Ma- 
nure in the farms; and also will improve to the best of his 
judgment, the impliments of husbandry necessary thereto, and 
will instruct, as occasion may require, and opportunity offer, 
the labourers therein how to Plow, Sow, Mow, reap, Thatch, 
Ditch, Hedge &ca. in the best manner. And generally, That he 


will consider the said Washingtons interest as his own, and use 
his true endeavour to promote it accordingly. In consideration 
whereof, the said George Washington doth agree to pay the 
said James Bloxham Fifty Guineas for his years Services, to be 
compleated on the first day of May 1787; and will allow him 
the said Bloxham, ten guineas besides, towards defraying the 
expences of bringing his wife and family to this Country. That 
when they shall have arrived, he will provide him, and them, a 
decent and comfortable House to reside in, by themselves; will 
lend them two Cows for Milk, a Sow to raise Pigs for their own 
eating (but not to sell), and give them as much Bran as is suffi- 
cient to brew Beer for his family, use. And moreover, will allow 
them for the part of the year which will remain after the arrival 
of his family and leaving his present board, at the rate of Six 
hundred pounds of Porke or Beef, and Eight hundred pounds 
of middling flour, per Annum, and likewise a piece of ground 
sufficient for a Garden, and firewood. The said George Wash- 
ington also agrees to provide the said James Bloxham with a 
horse to ride on for the purpose of superintending the business 
herein required, or, if the said Bloxham shall find his own 
horse, to allow pasturage, and reasonable feed for him. Lastly, 
it is agreed between the said George Washington and James 
Bloxham, that if the said James should not return to England 
at the expiration of the year for which he now engages, and his 
conduct shall be such as to merit the approbation of the said 
George Washington, that then, and in those cases, his wages 
for the next year shall be Sixty Guineas; and the other allow- 
ances and privileges the same as those of the present year. In 
testimony of all, and each of these Articles, and for the full and 
perfect compliance therewith, the parties to these presents hath 
interchangeably set their hands and Seals, and to the other, 
doth bind himself in the Sum of One hundred pounds Currt. 
Money of Virginia, the day and year first written. 



Mount Vernon, June i, 1786. 

My dear Sir: The Post of last week brougt. me (by way of 
New York) a letter, 72 of which the inclosed is a Copy. I transmit 
it, not only for your perusal, but for information, and advice. 
All the papers respecting the Society of the Cincinnati being in 
possession of the Secretary Genl. or the Assistant Secretary, and 
my memory very defective, I cannot speak with precision to 
Mr. Jefferson, or decide on any thing which is pleasing to my- 
self. From what I can recollect of the matter, all the Officers 
who chose to make use of Major L'Enfant's Agency to obtain 
the badge of the Society, not only commissioned him to bring 
them from France, but furnished him with the means. 

I did this myself for 6 or 8. He brought many more. I have 
some reason to believe on a speculating Scheme; and de- 
manded so much for them, as, if my Memory serves me, to 
disgust many Members of the Society, and induce them to ap- 
ply to an Artist in Philadelphia, who, it was said, would not 
only execute them as well, (and without the defect which 
was discovered in the French ones,) but furnish them cheaper. 
This and L'Enfant's misapplication of the money (if the 
fact is so) for those he did receive, may have been the Sources 

72 Jefferson's letter to Washington, misdated Jan. 17, 1785, when it should have 
been 1786, states that "the person who furnished the badges for the Cincinnati," 
that is, the jeweler Francastel in Paris, had not been paid by Major L'Enfant although 
he delivered the "eagles" to him. "Count Rochambeau has written to Major L'En- 
fant, and the answer is that he has never received the whole, nor expects to be able 
to collect it, and that being without resources he is obliged, as fast as he collects it, 
to apply it to his own sustenance. Count Rochambeau told the workman he would 
pay for the badges delivered him for the French officers (I think he said about 40 in 
number) but that for the others he must apply to the Marquis de la fayette and 
Count d'Estaing. As L'Enfant's letter gives room to suppose a misapplication of 
these monies, and in the meantime the honour of American officers stands com- 
mitted, and in danger of being [mutilated] publicly. I thought it my duty to apprise 
you of this, that you may [mutilated] such measures herein as you think best." A 
press copy of this letter is in the Jefferson Papers under date of Jan. 17, 1785. 
Lafayette paid for the "eagles" and was, later, reimbursed by the Society. 


of the present difficulty. On the one hand, it will be very 
disagreeable to the American Officers to be freely spoken 
of on this occasion. On the other, it may not only be hard 
but distressing to comply with the demands of the Parisian 
Artisan, as we are not only unacquainted with the extent, but 
in some measure with the nature of them. What is become 
of L'Enfant ? I have not seen him since the general Meeting of 
the Society which was held at Philadelphia in May 1784, nor, 
that I recollect, have heard of him 'till Mr. Jefferson's Letter 
came to hand. 

Mrs. Washington joins me in every affectionate wish for 
Mrs. Knox, yourself, and family. And with sentiments of the 
warmest friendship. I am etc. 

[By forwarding the inclosed letter you will oblige.] 73 



Mount Vernon, June 2, 1786. 
Madam: Though small were the Services I rendered you, 
consequent of your first application to me; yet it behoves me 
to add, in answer to your favor of the 15th. of December last, 
that it was all I then had, or now have it in my power to offer. 
For having no share in the Legislative or Executive concerns 
of this Country, I could do no more than to bring your Peti- 
tion before the former. This I did by a letter to the Governour 
inclosing it. What the ultimate determination of the Assem- 
bly was, respecting this matter, I am unable with precision, to 
inform you. Generally, I was given to understand, that how- 
ever hard the case might appear to be, it was to be ascribed to 
the nature of the contest in which we had been oppressively 
involved, and tho' to be lamented as a Misfortune, was not 

In the writing of Tobias Lear. The sentence in brackets is in the writing of 


to be attributed as a fault in the justice of this Country, since 
it was difficult, if not impracticable to draw a line between the 
promoters, and actors, and innocent Victims, of the War, in 
a national point of view. How far the reasoning is good I 
shall not take upon me to decide; but with much truth may 
assure you that I can readily enter into your feelings on this 
occasion, and sincerely wish that those who were the contrivers 
and abetters were alone to be the Sufferers by the War. I have 
the honor to be, etc. 74 


Mount Vernon, June 4, 1786. 

Sir: I have to acknowledge the politeness of the offer con- 
tained in your letter of the 26th. ulto., and to thank you for 
the disinterestedness of it. 

I shall have no scruple when occasion occurs to accept (in 
the small way I am in) the services you obliging you tender 
me, as proofs of my sensibility for your kindness, and as a testi- 
mony of my regard for the memory of your deceased brother, 75 
who I knew took pleasure in obliging me by acts of this nature. 
With great esteem, I am, etc. 76 


Mount Vernon, June 4, 1786. 
Dear Sir : The Letter with which you favored me on the 24th. 
ulto. and the enclosures, 77 came to my hands by the last post, 

w In the writing of Tobias Lear. From the original in the British Museum Addi- 
tional Manuscript 9828. 

75 Tench Tilghman. 

76 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

"The enclosure was the 25 pp. 12 pamphlet containing the report of the Intend- 
ant, Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer, and the action of the Maryland House. The letter 
and enclosure are in the Washington Papers. 


and I thank you for the information I have received from them. 
The Committee, by its Report, seemed disposed to run you 
hard ; but happily the House viewed matters in a different light, 
and rendered you the tribute of applause which was due to 
your services; which, as every circumstance that can contribute 
to your honor or satisfaction, has afforded me much pleasure, 
being Dr. Sir, etc. 78 


Mount Vernon, June 5, 1786. 

Dear Sir: I have just had the honour to receive your favour 
of the 26th ulto. Of all the numerous acquaintances of your 
lately deceased son, 79 and amidst all the sorrowings that are 
mingled on that melancholy occasion, I may venture to assert 
(that excepting those of his nearest relatives) none could have 
felt his death with more regret than I did because no one en- 
tertained a higher opinion of his worth, or had imbided senti- 
ments of greater friendship for him than I had done. 

That you, Sir, should have felt the keenest anguish for this 
loss, I can readily conceive, the ties of parental affection united 
with those of friendship, could not fail to have produced this 
effect. It is however a dispensation the wisdom of which is 
inscrutable, and amidst all your grief there is this consolation 
to be drawn, that while living, no man could be more esteemed, 
and since dead, none more lamented than Col. Tilghman. 

As his correspondence with the Comee. of New York is 
not connected with any transactions of mine, so, consequently, 
it is not necessary that the Papers to which you allude should 
compose part of my public documents ; but if they stand single, 
as they exhibit a trait of his public character, and like all the 

78 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 
70 Col. Tench Tilghman. He died on Apr. 18, 1786. 

1786] ASG1LUS CONDUCT 451 

rest of his transactions will, I am persuaded, do honor to his 
understanding and probity, it may be desirable, in this point 
of view, to keep them alive by mixing them with mine ; which, 
undoubtedly, will claim the attention of the Historian, who, 
if I mistake not, will upon an inspection of them, discover the 
illiberal ground on which the charge mentioned in the extract 
of the letter you did me the honor to inclose me is founded. 
That a calumny of this kind had been reported, I knew; I 
had laid my acct. for the calumnies of anonymous scribblers; 
but I never before had conceived that such an one as is related, 
could have originated with, or have met the countenance of 
Captn Asgill, whose situation often filled me with the keen- 
est anguish; I felt for him on many accts. and not the least, 
when viewing him as a man of honor and sentiment, how 
unfortunate it was for him that a wretch who possessed neither, 
should be the means of causing in him a single pang, or a 
disagreeable sensation, My favourable opinion of him how- 
ever is forfeited if, being acquainted with these reports, he 
did not immediately contradict them. That I could not have 
given countenance to the insults which he says were offered 
to his person, especially the grovelling one of erecting a Gibbet 
before his prison window, will I expect, readily be believed 
when I explicitly declare that, I never heard of a single at- 
tempt to offer an insult, and that I had every reason to be 
convinced that he was treated by the officers around him, with 
all the tenderness and every civility, in their power, I would 
fain ask Captn. Asgill how he could reconcile such belief (if 
his mind had been seriously impressed with it) to the con- 
tinual indulgences, and procrastinations he had experienced ? 
He will not, I presume deny that, he was admitted to his parole 
within 10 or 12 miles of the British lines, if not to a formal 
Parole, to a confidence yet more unlimited, by being permitted, 


for the benefit of his health, and recreation of his mind, to 
ride, not only about the Cantonment, but into the surround- 
ing country for many miles, with his friend and companion 
Maj. Gordon, constantly attending him. Would not these in- 
dulgences have pointed a military character to the fountain 
from which they flowed ? Did he conceive that discipline was 
so lax in the American Army as that any officer in it could 
have granted these liberties to a Person confined by the ex- 
press order of the Commander in chief unless authorized to 
do so by the same authority ? and to ascribe them to the inter- 
ference of Count de Rochambeau, is as void of foundation as 
his other conjectures; for I do not recollect that a sentence 
ever passed between that General and me, directly, or indi- 
rectly, on the subject, I was not without suspicions after the 
final liberation and return of Captn. Asgill to New York that 
his mind had been improperly impressed or [that he was de- 
fective in politeness. The treatment he had met with, in my 
conception, merited an acknowledgement, none however was 
offered, and I never sought for the cause. 

This concise acct. of the treatment of Captn. Asgill is given 
from a hasty recollection of the circumstances. If I had had 
time, and it was essential, by unpacking my papers and re- 
curring to authentic files, I might have been more pointed, 
and full. It is in my power at any time to convince the 
unbiassed mind that my conduct through the whole of this 
transaction was neither influenced by passion, guided by inhu- 
manity, or under the controul of any interference whatsoever. 
I essayed everything to save the innocent and bring the guilty 
to punishment, with what success the impartial world must 
and hereafter certainly will decide. With very great esteem, 
etc.] 80 

80 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. The portion in brackets 
is from a facsimile of the original in Washington's writing, from a sales catalogue, 1929. 

1786] FLAGSTONES 453 


Mount Vernon, June 5, 1786. 

Sir: Since my last of the 15th. of May to Messrs. Robertson 
Sanderson and Rumney, I have been favoured with your letter 
of the 16th. of April by Captn. Aitkinson. The cost of the Flags 
is finally settled, with other articles had from your store in 
Alexandria; and I again thank you for the trouble you have 
had in this business, more so, as neither Commissions nor 
freight are charged, nor would be received, although I am 
very willing, and offered to pay both to Mr. Sanderson. 

The Flags came very reasonably and will answer my pur- 
poses very well, though the workman did not keep to the 
sample in two or three respects, particularly in the thickness, 
and dressing of the Stones; some not being more than % of an 
inch thick (scarcely that on one side) and none with the 
same polish of the pattern : enough however may be picked out 
of the whole to floor my Gallery which is all I wanted. With 
great esteem and regard, I am etc. 81 


Mount Vernon, June 5, 1786. 

Dr. Sir: Whatever number of servants you and Colo. Gilpin 
may think it advisable to purchase in behalf of the Potomac 
Company from the Ship which is just gone up, will meet my 
approbation ; and I shall readily concur with you in price. There 
is a Black smith on board highly recommended, and one or two 
stone masons which may be useful at our works. 

Have you received any precise account of the appearance or 
effect of the late fresh, at the great Falls ? From the swell of 

81 From a photostat of the original in the "Washington Photostats" in the Library of 


the water and quantity of drift wood at this place, I am led to 
believe that it must have exceeded in height, any within the 
memory of man; which makes me anxious to hear from our 

If there is anything which may require a meeting of the Di- 
rectors, it would be convenient for me to attend (at any hour 
which may be named) on Wednesday next. I am, etc. 82 


Mount Vernon, June 5, 1786. 

Dr. Sir: Your favor of the 26th. ulto. from Baltimore did not 
reach me 'till the 2d. inst: I will take the ewe lambs at the price 
they are offered by Mr. Reynolds; but not knowing the age of 
them, or when it may be proper to remove them, will wait 'till 
I hear from you again before I send, which may be when the 
mares are taken from this; and when I send, the money shall 
also go for Mr. Reynold's Lambs, and others, if more can be 
added to them of good quality, at the same price. 

My Jack has favored one of your mares with a cover; which, 
with three others, is the sum total of his performances to this 
time. I do not intend to withhold my own mares more than 
three days longer from Magnolio, in expectation of the Jacks 
serving them. If Colo. Fitzhugh should incline to let his other 
mare (if the Jack should not come to) go to the same horse, he 
shall be heartily welcome to the use of him. With very great 
esteem I am, etc. 82 


Mount Vernon, June 7, 1786. 
My Dr. Sir: Inclosed is a copy of my last to you, soon after 
writing which I heard of Doctr. Gordon's sailing. Not know- 

82 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


ing who his agent is, I again take the liberty of putting under 
this cover, the second Bill of exchange for him, and the origi- 
nal subscription paper on which the eleven pounds arose as 
part of the Bill (just mentioned) for forty two pounds which 
was the amount of both the Alexandria and Fredericksburgh 
subscriptions. As I have passed my receipts to the gentlemen 
who collected the money at the places above named; I wish 
the Doctors Agent, or Attorney if he has appointed one, would 
acknowledge the receipt of the Bill to me. 

Mr. Lear arrived here a few days ago, and appears to be 
a genteel, well-behaved young man; he delivered me your 
letter, in consequence of which I applied to, and have received 
a promise from Charles Lee Esqr. (brother to the Colonel) 
to furnish him with such Law Books as he may have occasion 
for. I wish you success in your Passamaquady undertaking, 
and with sentiments of very great esteem and regard, am, etc. 83 


Mount Vernon, June 7, 1786. 
Sir: Your letter of the 27th. ulto. with the patterns enclosed, 
I have received. I am sorry for the misfortunes which you 
have met with in the course of your business, and heartily 
wish that your future attempts to carry on any useful manu- 
factory, may succeed; but I think Sir, that it would be pre- 
sumption in me to recommend to any gentleman in the State 
of South Carolina, a person fromPhilada. with whom I have no 
acquaintance, and of whose abilities in his business I have not 
a complete knowledge. I might with more propriety, venture 
to do it in my neighbourhood, or in this State, than in South 
Carolina, but even here, I should not feel myself perfectly 

83 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


justified in doing it. Letters from some Gentlemen in Phila- 
delphia to their friends in So. Carolina would, in my opinion, 
be more suitable, and have their proper effect. You will have 
my best wishes for the success of any attempt that may prove 
useful and beneficial to the country. I am, etc. 84 


Mount Vernon, June 7, 1786. 

Sir: I received your letter of the 5th. inst. together with the 
MSS. and other papers sent with it, which I have returned. 

It gives me pleasure to see any attempts made towards im- 
proving literature and science, more especially when they tend 
to the immediate and particular advantage of this country, 
and I should always wish to encourage and promote them; but 
I cannot with propriety enter into your plan, and offer you 
the encouragement you desire, as I am not so well acquainted 
with your character and abilities as many Gentlemen in Alex- 
andria undoubtedly are, who will have an opportunity of at- 
tending your lectures, which I shall not; and are capable of 
giving your plan every encouragement which it deserves. I 
am, etc. 

P. S. As the patterns and drawings may be useful to you on 
some other occasion, I return them. 84 


Mount Vernon, June 8, 1786. 
My Dr. Marqs. You would be surprised at the old date of 
the letter herewith sent you, were I not to tell you that the 
vessel which carries it was to have sailed agreeably to the date, 

84 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 



and by information was to do so every day since. Nothing 
new has occurred since it was written, nor should I have given 
you the trouble of a seasons letter by the same ship, had I not 
forgotten to mention in my last that Mrs. Washington had 
packed and sent for Madame de la Fayette's acceptance, a bar- 
rel of Virginia Hams. I do not know that they are better, or 
so good as you make in France, but as they are of our own 
manufacture (and you know the Virginia Ladies value them- 
selves on the goodness of their bacon), and we recollect that 
it is a dish of which you are fond, she prevailed on me to 
ask your's and Madame de la Fayette's acceptance of them. 

I wanted to have accompanyed them with an anchor of 
old peach brandy, but could not provide any which I thought 
of such a quality as would do credit to the distillery of this 
liquor, and therefore sent none; and after all, both perhaps 
would have been better furniture for your Canteens on a long 
wet march, than for your table in Paris. It is unnecessary to 
repeat the assurances of the affection and regard with which 
I am, etc. 85 


Mount Vernon, June 10, 1786. 

Dear Sir : I cannot omit so good an opportunity as Mr. Wal- 
lace affords, of addressing a few lines to you; altho' from the 
barrenness of the times I have little to say. 

Our Country is at present in peace, and measures are pur- 
suing to give adequate powers to Congress to form such a 
commercial system as shall pervade equally every branch of 
the Union; without which we are unable to meet European 
powers on equal ground, and our trade with them will con- 
tinue under many disadvantages. 

85 From die "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


I begin to despair (the season being so far advanced) of the 
pleasure of seeing you in Virginia this year; unless, instead 
of a Spring Voyage, you should incline to make an autumnal 
one. It would be but a repetition of former assurances were 
I to add, that I should be happy to see you in either, when 
ever your convenience and the affairs of Ireland will permit. 

I little expected when I wrote you last, that Tharpe 80 was 
to be the principal workman in the ornamental parts of my 
new room. I had not, at that time, even heard of his arrival 
in this country; but having engaged one Rawlins of Balti- 
more in Maryland (lately from England) to finish it, I found 
when he had brought his men and tools here, that Tharpe 
had been contracted with and was the person on whom Raw- 
lins depended for the execution of the plan on which we had, 
two or three months before, agreed. To this man I objected 
'till it became evident that it must be him, or no work; there 
being no other, Rawlins said, competent to the undertaking. 
This being the case, and the inconvenience of laying another 
year out of the room being great, I consented to try him on 
condition that Rawlins, who I believe has left of? work, him- 
self should superintend it closely. Tharpe has been here now, 
more than six weeks, and hitherto has demeaned himself so- 
berly and well. With great esteem and regard, I have the 
honor, etc. 87 


Mount Vernon, June 14, 1786. 
Dr. Sir: Since I had the honor of writing to your Excellency 
last, I have been favored with the enclosed from Mr. Hughes, 
in answer to mine respecting Mr. Brindley. If you Sir, or the 

80 Richard Tharp (Tharpe). 

"From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

1786] SPRING RAINS 459 

Board of Directors of the So. Carolina canal, should incline 
to return the answer requested and will commit it to my care; 
I will be particularly attentive to it, as I shall have pleasure 
in obliging you, or them. I have the honor, etc. 88 


Mount Vernon, June 18, 1786. 

My Dr. Sir: Under cover of your favor of the 21st. of April, 
which came duly to hand, was a letter from Arthur Young 
Esquire, (Author of the tours thro' England and Ireland, with 
his observations on the Husbandry of those Kingdoms) in- 
forming me that he had sent me a compleat sett of all his works. 
As these have never yet come to hand, nor any advice of them, 
you would do me a favor (if you can recollect of whom you re- 
ceived the letter) by enquiring whether it was, or was not 
accompanied with a parcel. Mr. Young's account is, that these 
Books were sent to the care of Mr. Athaws, mercht. of London : 
but why Mr. Athaws should send the letter without the parcel, 
or either by way of New York, I cannot readily conceive; as 
there are vessels from London passing my door (the situation 
of which is well known to him) every day. 

The winter and Spring has been exceedingly opposed to our 
works at the great Falls; the incessant rains often preventing, 
and at all times retarding the removal of earth. The latter rains 
in May which were continued for more than twenty days, have 
produced very calamitous effects in this country: half the 
wheat, (some say much more) and three fourths of the rye, are 
blasted, and the ground surcharged to that degree with water 
as to have rendered ploughing impracticable, which has in- 
volved the Indian corn which did come up, so much in weeds 

88 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


and grass as to leave a melancholy prospect in level lands, of 
this crop also. 

The advantages with which the inland navigation of the 
rivers Potomac and James are pregnant, must strike every 
mind that reasons upon the subject; but there is, I perceive, a 
diversity of sentiment respecting the benefits and the conse- 
quences, which may flow from the free and immediate use of 
the Mississippi. My opinion of this matter has been uniformly 
the same, and no light in which I have been able to consider the 
subject is likely to change it. It is, neither to relinquish nor 
to push our claim to this navigation; but in the mean while to 
open all the communications which nature has afforded, be- 
tween the Atlantic States and the Western Territory, and to 
encourage the use of them to the utmost. In my judgment it is 
a matter of very serious concern to the well being of the former, 
to make it the interest of the latter to trade with them; without 
which, the ties of consanguinity which are weakening every 
day will soon be no bond, and we shall be no more a few years 
hence to the inhabitants of that country, than the British and 
Spaniards are at this day; not so much indeed, because commer- 
cial connexions, it is well known, lead to others, and united, are 
difficult to be broken; and these must take place with the Span- 
iards, if the navigation of the Mississippi is opened. 

Clear I am that it would be for the interest of the Western 
settlers, as low down the Ohio as the Big Kanhawa, and back to 
the Lakes, to bring their produce thro' one of the channels I 
have named; but the way must be cleared, and made easy and 
obvious to them, or else the ease with which people glide down 
stream will give a different bias to their thinking and acting. 
Whenever the new States become so populous and so extended 
to the westward, as really to need it, there will be no power 
which can deprive them of the use of the Mississippi. Why 

1786] A MISSING BOND 461 

then should we prematurely urge a matter, which is displeasing 
and may produce disagreeable consequences, if it is our interest 
to let it sleep ? It may require some management to quiet the 
restless and impetuous spirity of Kentucke, of whose conduct 
I am more apprehensive in this business, than I am of all the 
opposition that will be given by the Spaniards. Mrs. Washing- 
ton and George and his wife join me in compliments and good 
wishes to your lady. With great esteem &c. 89 


June 18, 1786. 

Madam : A tract of land which I bought of Captn. Johnston 
(your deceas'd husband) lying on Bullskin in Frederick (now 
Berkeley) county, is, as well as a great many others, compre- 
hended in the judgment lately obtained in the General Court 
in favor of the Hites; but may, it is said, be relieved from the 
consequences if it shall appear that this land was originally 
purchased from Hite. That the fact is so there can be no doubt, 
but the difficulty lies in proving it. It would seem by some pa- 
pers in my hands that Captn. Johnston bought this land, wch. 
he sold me from one Lewis Thomas; and that Lewis Thomas 
bought it of old Jost Hite, father of the present complainants, 
who passed his Bond for the conveyance; which bond it further 
appears was assigned to Captn. Johnston. Now, if this bond is 
to be found among the papers of Captn. Johnston, for I have it 
not, it will render null and void the claim of the Hites; unless it 
may be for the original purchase money (which was very tri- 
fling), if it cannot be proven that it has been paid. 

But if this bond is not in being, it is highly probable the Land 
will be lost. 

"From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


The person to whom I sold this land is now calling upon me, 
this will oblige me in turn to resort to the representatives of 
Capt. Johnston of whom I purchased, and whose Deeds to me 
warrant it against the claim of every person whatsoever. But 
all these difficulties (except as to the original sum, which was to 
have been paid by Lewis Thomas to Hite) may be avoided if 
you fortunately should find among Captain Johnston's papers, 
the original bond from Hite to Thomas for conveyance of the 
land. It is for this reason I give you the trouble of the present 

I am informed that commissioners are to meet some day this 
month, to receive such evidence as can be offered in favor of the 
present possessors of the land, without which the judgment will 
be final, I therefore pray that diligent search may be made for 
Hites Bond, which may prevent a heavy loss, as the land, with 
the improvements thereon, is now become very valuable. I am, 
etc. 90 


Mount Vernon, June 19, 1786. 

Sir : The Letter which you did me the honor of writing to me, 
of the 5th. of Feby., I have received. I am highly oblig'd to you 
for the compliment which you pay me in desiring my accept- 
ance of a portrait of Lewis the fifteenth, on horse back, which 
[was] done by you and is at your disposal. 

I have not the least doubt Sir, but that the performance does 
honor to your abilities, and I join with you in wishing that it 
might be placed in some public and conspicuous situation, 
where the world could be gratified by seeing the picture of a 
good King, and where the merit of the performer meet with 
the applause which is due to it. Upon this principle Sir, 
(though I feel a grateful sense of the honor which you intended 

""From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


me) I must beg leave to decline the acceptance of it, as it could 
not here be placed in that conspicuous point of view which 
would do it justice. I am, etc. 91 


Mount Vernon, June 20, 1786. 

Sir: Your letter of the 25th. of March did not come to hand 
'till lately, or it should have had an earlier acknowledgment. 

It gives me the highest satisfaction to find the Arts and sci- 
ences making a progress in any Country; but when I see them 
advancing in the rising States of America, I feel a peculiar 
pleasure, and in my opinion, every effort of genius and all at- 
tempts towards improving useful knowledge ought to meet 
with encouragement in this Country. Your performance is of 
the most useful and beneficial kind, and from the opinion of 
those Gentlemen who have inspected it, I have not the least 
doubt but that it is a very valuable one. 

I feel a grateful sense of the honor which you designed me 
by wishing to dedicate your Book 93 to me, and would even sac- 
rifice my own ideas of propriety respecting the matter, so far 
as to comply with your request, if I thought that by a non-com- 
pliance I should discourage, so good a work. But Sir, as there 
are several characters in your part of the country who deserv- 
edly hold a high rank in the literary world, and whose names 
would add dignity to such performance; it would be more 
proper (if I might presume to offer my opinion upon the mat- 
ter) to dedicate your book to them. 

91 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

On June 19 Washington wrote also to Comte de Grouchet, referring his application 
for membership in the Society of the Cincinnati to the Society in France. This letter 
is entered in the "Letter Book." 

92 New Hampshire teacher and arithmetician. 

93 A New and Complete System of Arithmetic, Composed for the Use of the Citizens 
of the United States, published in 1788. 


I must therefore beg leave to decline the honor which you 
would do me, as I have before done in two or three cases of a 
similar kind. 

With the sincerest wishes for the success of your work, and 
much esteem, I am, etc. 94 


Mount Vernon, June 20, 1786. 

My Dr. Humphreys : Your letter from New York (as did the 
proceeding one from London) came duly to hand, and claim 
my particular acknowledgments. On your return to America 
I sincerely congratulate you, and shall rejoice to see you at this 
place, which soon expecting shall add little at this time. 

The only end of this letter is to assure you, that you will have 
no occasion for Horses, for mine will always be at your service; 
and very little for a servant, as your old acquaintance Will, who 
is scarcely fit for anything else, can whiten your head, and 
many idlers about the house can blacken your shoes. But in the 
latter case I entreat you to be governed altogether by your incli- 
nation and convenience. 

Not knowing to what place to direct for you, I send this letter 
under cover to Colo. Lee. 

Mrs. Washington, and George and his wife join me in every 
good wish for you, and I am, etc. 94 


Mount Vernon, June 21, 1786. 
Dear Sir: Enclosed is a copy of my last. It is so long since 
it was dispatched (without an acknowledgment of it) that I 

94 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

1786] CYPRESS POSTS 465 

begin to fear some accident must [sic] happened, altho' it was 
sent to the Post Office in Alexandria by a very safe hand. Should 
this be the case, I pray you to notify the Office of the loss of the 
Certificate which was inclosed, that neither principal nor inter- 
est may be paid to the bearer till an investigation of his, or her 
claim to it, is first had. For this reason I send you an exact copy 
of the certificate, taken from the original before it was inclosed 
and wish that every proper step may be taken to recover it. 

Not being able to discover how the letter should get lost, and 
still hoping it is not, I do not, at this time, send you patterns for 
the glass then required, but will do so if necessary as soon as I 
hear from you. I am etc. [h.s.pj 


Mount Vernon, June 21, 1786. 
Sir: I thank you for requesting a skipper from the Eastern 
shore to call upon, and make me an ofTer of the posts and rails 
he had for sale. They were not however of a kind to answer 
my purposes (being for paling), nor should I incline to buy 
any unless they are better and are to be had cheaper than those 
wch. might be taken from my own land. To judge of the pro- 
priety of this, you wou'd oblige me Sir, by informing me on 
what terms Cypress posts 7 feet long, 5 inches by 6 at top, and 7 
inches by 6 at bottom; (a stock a foot square making 4), and 
Cypress plank 12 feet long, 6 wide and i 1 /^ inches thick, could 
be had delivered at my landing, supposing 500 of the first, and a 
proportional quantity of the latter for rails. I mention cypress 
on a supposition that it is a lasting wood for posts ; but would 
be glad to know also, what the difference in price would be, 
between cypress and Pine, in the rails only. I am, etc. 96 

95 Of Salisbury, Md. 

90 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 



Mount Vernon, June 22, 1786. 

Dr. Thornton: Jnn. Throckmorton delivered me your letter 
of the 6th. inst: I am under no apprehension that the title to 
the land on which you live can be affected by the decision 
lately had in favor of Messrs. Hite and others. Such papers as 
I can readily find respecting this tract, I send you. The pat- 
ent from the proprietors office, granted to Captn. George John- 
ston of whom I bought the land particularly recites that it 
was granted by Jost Hite to Lewis Thomas, the deposition 
of John Smith taken, and admitted in the former trial, and 
I suppose is of record, with the copy of Lewis Thomas's bond 
passed for the payment thereof, together with the statement 
subscribed by Colo. Grayson, places the whole business in my 
opinion in a very clear and unequivocal point of view. But if 
the Commissioners (which I can scarcely conceive) should 
be of a different way of thinking, I should be glad to have 
time to illucidate matters more fully. 

Colo. Grayson you will perceive certifies that what he has 
signed is a true copy from the proceedings; in these it is ex- 
pressly admitted by the complainants, that Js. Hite did sell 
425 acres; which upon a resurvey (possibly by adding a little 
of the barrens) measured 552 acres. Not having the original 
bond from Jost Hite to Lewis Thomas in my possession, I 
sent to the widow Darrell, formerly wife of Captn. Johnston, 
to see if it could be found among his papers; but she was from 
home and not likely, my messenger was informed, to return 
soon, and very probably may be found as a deposit in the pro- 
prietors, as the Deed is expressly founded upon it. In my 
judgment it is quite immaterial where it is, as there is, besides 
admission of the papers, the most uncontrovertible evidence 

1786] FATE OF LETTERS 467 

of the sale to Thomas. By L. Thomas's bond to Jost Hite, it 
appears that the money was to have been paid, "at such time, 
that the said Jost Hite, his Heirs, Exors, Admrs or Assigns can 
obtain a good patent from the office." 

The only point therefore which can be disputed, according 
to my conception of the case, is, if the purchase money has 
never yet been paid, who is liable, the possessors of the land, 
or the persons to whom it was sold, or their representatives ? 
Whether the decree of the Court goes to this point, or what 
powers are vested in the Commissioners respecting it I know 
not, never having seen the judgment, and having had but a 
very indistinct report of it. 

The Ship with servants happening to be becalmed opposite 
to my door, I sent on board to enquire for a Carpenter; only 
one stood upon the list, and he professing not to understand 
much of the business, I concluded he understood nothing of 
it, and therefore did not buy him for you. 

My best wishes attend you and your wife. I am, etc. 97 


Mount Vernon, June 26, 98 1786. 

My Dr. Sir: Since I had the honor of writing to you in Novr. 
last I have been favored with your letters of the 23d. of June in 
the last, and 23d. of January in the present year, the first was 
handed to me by Doctr. Baynham, 99 and the other by James 

Your conjectures respecting the fate of our letters, are, I am 
persuaded, too well founded, such frequent miscarriages would 
not result from negligence alone. But why, after the prying eye 

87 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Tapers. 
88 Sparks prints this letter under date of June 25. 
"Dr. William Baynham, of Essex County, Va. 


of curiosity, or the malignant hope of trapanning an individual, 
or making useful discoveries were disappointed, the letters 
should not have been permitted to proceed to their address, is 
not easy to be conceived. Being well appriz'd of the delicacy of 
your situation, I have studiously avoided every expression in all 
my letters which might if known, have involv'd you in the 
smallest difficulty or embarrassment; it is wantonly unfeeling 
therefore to destroy as well as to have inspected those which 
were founded in friendship only, and have the occurrences 
which relate to the parties for their basis. In future I will always 
place my letters to you under cover to Mr. Athawes. 1 

I have already informed you that Mr. Pine's reception in this 
Country has been favorable, and indicative of a profitable har- 
vest in the line of his profession. Consequent of your good re- 
port of this gentleman, I furnished him with letters to many 
of the first characters in Philadelphia and Annapolis; and 
have every reason to believe that his success will be at least equal 
to his expectation, if it is not injured by any act of his own; 
against which his own prudence no doubt will guard him. 

Tho' envy is no part of my composition, yet the picture you 
have drawn of your present habitation and mode of living is 
enough to create strong desires in me to be a participator of the 
tranquillity and rural amusements you have described. I am 
getting into the latter as fast as I can, being determined to make 
the remainder of my life easy, let the world or the affairs of it 
go as they may. I am not a little obliged to you for the assur- 
ance of contributing to this, by procuring me a Buck and Doe 
of the best English deer; but if you have not already been at this 
trouble, I would my good Sir, now wish to relieve you from it, 
as Mr. Ogle 2 of Maryland has been so obliging as to present me 
six fawns from his park of English deer at Belle air. Of the 

1 Samuel Athawes, of London. 
2 Benjamin Ogle. 


Forest deer of this Country, I have also procured six, two bucks 
and four does; with these, and tolerable care, I shall soon get 
into a full stock for my small paddock. I do not mean to com- 
prehend in this relinquishment, the offer of my good friend 
Mrs. Fairfax. I will receive with great pleasure and gratitude 
the seeds of any trees or shrubs wch. are not natives of this 
country, but reconcilable to the climate of it, that she may be so 
obliging as to send me; and while my attentions are bestowed 
on the nurture of them, it would, if anything was necessary to 
do it, remind me of the happy moments I have spent in conver- 
sations on this and other subjects with that Lady at Bellvoir. 

My friend in New England having, since the date of my let- 
ters to you in Novr., engaged a young gentleman for me of very 
decent appearance and respectable family, as a tutor for the two 
little Custis's living with me, I have to pray that the trouble I 
was about to give you on this occasion may cease, and that the 
letter which I put under your cover for a Mr. Chapman, may be 

I have now my Dr. Sir, to beg you to accept my particular 
thanks for the early attention which you paid to my request 
respecting a Farmer, and for directing James Bloxham to offer 
himself to me before he should engage with any other. The 
character given of him by Mr. Peacey 3 is full and ample, and 
his appearance and conversation being much in his favor, I 
have agreed to give him sixty guineas pr. ann: for his services, 
and find him and family in provisions, a house to live in, a 
garden to work and two Cows to furnish them with milk. In 
consequence thereof he has written for his wife and children to 
come to him. With his assistance and advice, I shall be able 
to dispense with a steward. I have now taken the management 
of my farms into my own hands, and shall find employment 

3 William Peacey. 


and amusement, if not profit, in conducting the business of 
them myself. 

The post-script to your letter of the 23d. of Jany., has given 
me pain; it would seem from the tenor of it as if you conceived 
I was not well pleased at your giving Mr. Thos. Corbin a letter 
of introduction to me : be assured My Dr. Sir, no idea was ever 
more foreign to my feelings; my intention, however incau- 
tiously the sentiment might have been expressed, was only to 
inform you that his brother Dick had determined to play noth- 
ing short of the whole game, and therefore was resolved to be 
as early with his narrative in this Country as Tom could be. 
And now, whilst I am upon this subject, let me once for all en- 
treat you not to be scrupulous or backward in your introduc- 
tions in future; for I can assure you with much truth, that every 
occasion which affords the means of hearing from you and 
Mrs. Fairfax will give pleasure in this family, and no person 
who shall come with your passport will be an unwelcome guest 
in it. So many come here without proper introductions, that it 
is a real satisfaction when I am able to discriminate: this will be 
the case whenever Mr. Ansty or any other shall present a letter 
to me from you. My manner of living is plain. I do not mean 
to be put out of it, a glass of wine and a bit of mutton are always 
ready, and such as will be content to partake of them are wel- 
come, those who expect more will be disappointed, but no 
change will be affected by it. 

With compliments and best wishes for Mrs. Fairfax, I am, 
etc. 4 


Mount Vernon, June 28, 1786. 
Dr. Sir: When your favor of the 1st. inst: accompanying the 
she ass, came to this place, I was from home; both however 

4 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


arrived safe, but Doctr. Bowie informed me by letter, that 
the bitch puppy was not brought to his house, nor have I heard 
anything more of the asses which were at Marlboro', nor of 
the grass seeds committed to the care of Mr. Digges. 5 

I feel myself much obliged by your polite offer of the first 
fruits of your Jenny. Tho' in appearance quite unequal to the 
match, yet, like a true female, she was not to be terrified at 
the disproportionate size of her paramour, and having renewed 
the conflict twice or thrice, it is to be hoped the issue will be 

My best respects attend Mrs. Sprigg and the rest of your 
family. With great esteem and regard, I am, etc. 


Mount Vernon, June 30, 1786. 
Sir: In answer to your favor of the 27th. written at the re- 
quest of the Trustees of the Alexandria Academy, I have the 
honor to inform you that the education of boys for the pur- 
poses mentioned in my letter of the 17th. of December, was 
what I had principally, if not wholly in view at that time. 
But if it shall appear to the Trustees that there are girls who 
may fitly share the benefits of the institution, I will readily 
comprehend them in a ratio not to exceed one girl for four 
boys. With esteem and regard, I am, etc. 


Mount Vernon, June 30, 1786. 
My Dr. Sir : Better late than never, is an adage not less true, 
or less to be respected because it is old. The letter I am now 

6 George Digges. 

6 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


about to write to you, ought to have been written sometime 
ago; but however strange it may seem, it is nevertheless true, 
that I have not had leisure (tho' more than two years have 
elapsed since my return to what the world calls retirement) 
to overhaul papers and to inspect transactions which preceeded 
the Revolution. 

Having abundant reason to distrust my memory, I did not 
incline to write to you fully respecting the trust with which 
you had invested me, 'till I cou'd go into a thorough examina- 
tion of all the papers to which it had given birth; that I might 
not only satisfy you in the best manner the nature of the case 
would admit, but myself also with respect to the transactions. 
How, me thinks I hear you say, could the inspection of these 
papers, be a work of so much time ? It would not indeed Sir, 
if the papers had been properly arranged, and my time had 
been at my own disposal : but a house never clear of company, 
a continual reference to me of old matters (with which I ought 
not to have been troubled), and correspondencies without num- 
ber, following several hasty removals of my papers from Book- 
presses to trunks and thence into the country, when the Brit- 
ish armed vessels would make their appearance, had thrown 
the whole into such a jumble and confusion that I could scarce 
come at any of them. 

I have now taken up the business from your letter of the 
ist. of Jany. 1773, with which it commenced, and having gone 
thro' all the papers respecting it from that date to the present 
moment; I am exceedingly sorry to find that the greater part 
of it has been managed so little for your interest and so re- 
pugnant to my wishes as it appears to have been. 'Till my 
Country called my services to the field, in which I spent al- 
most nine years, I acted in every respect for you as I should 
have done for myself. But after bidding adieu to my family 


and home, to which I never expected to return if the smiles 
of Heaven should prove unpropitious, a general wreck of my 
affairs as well as yours, took place. Aware of the probability 
that this would happen, I perceive by the copy of a letter which 
I wrote to you from Cambridge the 26th. of July 1775. (so soon 
as I had taken the command of the army), that I informed 
you in strong terms, of the indispensable necessity of appoint- 
ing another attorney, as I could not from my then situation, 
give any attention to private concerns. A little before that, 
from Philadelphia, in a letter of the 31st. of May, I enclosed 
you sundry bills as I then mentioned; and have ever since 
thought were to the full amount of what I owed you, 'till 
the late investigation of the papers hath discovered that I am 
yet indebted to you in the sum of ^169:12.6. for goods bought 
at your sale the 15th. of August 1774, and ^31:11:9. for those 
purchased at the subsequent one on the 5th. of Deer, follow- 
ing; which, with some other credit, make the sum which is 
due to you ^207:13:0^4. 

That I should have informed you in that letter, that the re- 
mittances were to the full amount of what I then owed, is 
easily accounted for and was proper at that time; because 
the sums just mentioned did not become due (according to the 
conditions of the sale) 'till twelve months thereafter: but why 
it shou'd not have occurred to me afterwards, is more difficult 
to solve, and is of no great importance now to attempt; yet I can 
assure you with the sincerest truth, that 'till within these few 
days, I thought the accounts between us were so near a balance, 
as to render it of little importance when they were exhibited. I 
was led into this belief from two circumstances: first, having 
omitted to credit you in my Ledger by the amot. of my pur- 
chases at the sale, I wanted that remembrance of the fact which 
a variety of occurrences and close attention to other matters, 


had entirely obliterated. 2dly., by having recurrence to the 
copies of my last letters to you, written after I had left home, 
and which were always present, I was deceived by the infor- 
mation there given that the remittances were compleat. 

The enclosed accot. commencing with the balance of the 
former, does I believe, comprehend everything between us. 
For the balance I give you a Draft on Wakelin Welch Esqr. of 
London. I have drawn this at the legal exchange as settled by 
act of Assembly, tho' the currt. exchange is 40 pr. Ct., which 
would have reduced the bill to ,£148.6.5. I have allowed no 
interest on what I am owing you; the reasons I will frankly 
communicate, if they are not satisfactory, it may be drawn for 
hereafter. 1st. Even if there had been any person appointed by 
you to have receieved the money from me when it became due, 
I could not have reconciled it to my conscience to have paid the 
nominal sum in paper bills of credit; (which was the only 
money then in circulation) thereby giving the shadow for the 
substance of a debt. 2d. because I am in a manner rendered 
unable to do it by the ungenerous, not to say dishonest practices 
of most of my debtors who paid me with a shilling or six pence 
in the pound; by wch. and other means, I have sustained a loss 
of at least ten thousand pounds during my absence; and 3d. 
because my Creditors let their claims rest 'till the annihilation 
of paper money, and are now receiving (as indeed every person 
ought to do) specie, or an equivalent to the full amount. A 
mode so unequal has pressed hard upon me, under the depriva- 
tion of crops, and want of a market for the little that was raised. 

The Bonds which were taken at the sales before mentioned, 
were put into the hands of Mr. Craven Peyton to collect as ap- 
pears by his Rect. to Lund Washington of the 7th. of April 
1776; a copy of which I will send Colo. Geo. Nicholas, that he 


may see how they have been accounted for, as I will also do the 
rect. from the same person for Colo. Stephens's 7 Bond for 
,£230, and Majr. McDonald's 8 for £56. dated the 14th. Jany. 
1774. The other bonds remain where you informed me they 
were deposited, subject to the conditions and directions pointed 
to in your letter of the 10th. of January 1774. 

With respect to your book-debts, my letters of the 10th. of 
June, 20th. of August and 15th. of November 1774. will have 
informed you of the difficulties which then occurred in every 
attempt that was made to collect the balances, and these in- 
creased as often as they were renewed: nothing therefore could 
be done without going into the Courts of justice, which, soon 
thereafter were shut and not opened before I left home; after 
which, upon the first intimation of your wish that Robt. Carter 
Nicholas esqr., or Colo. Fielding Lewis might be empowered 
to direct your affairs, I addressed both these gentlemen on the 
subject. The latter on account of his declining state of health, 
desired to be excused; and from the former I have never got an 
answer. Equally unsuccessfull was I in my application to his 
son, after I had heard of his entering upon the trust, when I in- 
formed him of the papers that were in my possession which 
might be necessary for his government. In April last however, 
I saw Colo. Nicholas in Richmond, and repeating what I had 
before written, he assured me that every attempt to recover 
debts that were not reduced to specialties, was altogether un- 
availing; but that he would direct your manager (Mr. Muse) 
to receive the Book, papers &c. from me. As they were not 
necessary for any purposes he could have, and no inconvenience 
would attend their remaining with me (for they are in your 

'Col. Adam Stephen. 
8 Maj. Angus McDonald. 


own Escritoir) I thought it better and desired they should re- 
main here, which Colo. Nicholas readily consented to. Here 
then they will remain 'till you may think proper otherwise to 
dispose of them. No settlement having been made of the 
bloomery 9 accot. by Messrs. Adam and Campbell before I left 
home, tho' the matter was repeatedly pressed as appears by let- 
ters, I was restrained by your instructions of the 31st. of March 
1774, from executing Deeds for the land belonging to that con- 
cern; and Colo. Carlyle's 10 bond depending upon this settlemt. 
(as you will perceive by the letter before alluded to) remains as 
it did; for I have heard nothing of this business since my return. 

Among other papers which I have found in my researches, is 
the enclosed letter from Saml. Athawes Esqr. As it is of no use 
here, but may serve to compare with the transactions of that 
date relative to your Estate in England, I send it. The pictures, 
for directions concerning which I asked in my letter of the 20th. 
of Augt. 1774, were, (not having received them before my de- 
parture) left standing at Bel voir, and unfortunately perished 
with the House. 

For the furniture of the blue room, which had been removed 
to this place (out of the moths way) during my absence, I in- 
tended to allow whatever you might think it was worth, for we 
were, it seems, under the necessity of useing it: but as it was 
used under an expectation of paying for it, I am willing and 
ready to do it. 

Among the papers in my possession, is a sealed packet, en- 
dorsed, "A copy of G: W, Fairfax's last will and testament, 
which he begs may not be opened until his death is confirmed, 
or a subsequent one is produced." It shall remain sealed as 
desired, and safe unless you should incline to recall it. 

"Iron works. 
10 Col.JohnCarlyle. 


I might my Dr. Sir, have gone more into the detail of this 
business. I might have given you the correspondencies between 
your Steward, and your Collector and myself; and between my- 
self and others respecting your business; but from the recur- 
rence which I have had to the copies of my letters to you, I 
perceive it is sufficient to refer to them. The letters of the 25th. 
of Septr. 15th of Octr. and 30th. of Deer. 1773, 10th. of May, 
10th. of June, 20th. of Augt. and 15th. Novr. 1774; and 6th. of 
April and 31st. May 1775, 11 previous to my taking command 
of the American forces, contain a full and accurate accot. of 
every thing that had occurred relative to your business which 
had fallen under my notice. They transmitted copies of the 
accots. which had been rendered to me by your steward and Col- 
lector; they enclosed bills which had been purchased with your 
money, and they gave an accot. of all the monies which had been 
paid by me for your use. And my letter of the 26th. of July 1775 12 
informed you of my then situation; the impracticability of my 
giving further attention to your business, and the indispensable 
necessity of your employing another attorney. From that pe- 
riod until my return to Virginia in the beginning of the year 
1784, 1 remained in total ignorance of your business, and had 
nearly as little knowledge of my own. How much my [own] 
suffered in that space, I have already informed you; and I have 
reason to suspect, from what I have heard, that yours was not 
under the best management. 

Willis, with his family, has removed to the State of Georgia; 
and Peyton is dead, but all those matters you have doubtlessly 

"Drafts of the letters of June 10, 1774, and of May 31, 1775, only are now found 
in the Washington Papers. (See Washington's letters to George William Fairfax, June 
10, 1774, and May 31, 1775, ante (vol. 3). 

"See Washington's letter to George William Fairfax, July 26, 1775, ante. 

On July 15, 1786, Washington placed this letter under a cover, with a brief note to 
Samuel Athawes, a copy of which note is in the "Letter Book" in the Washington 
Papers; but it is likely that this date is an error of the "Letter Book" copyist, and 
that it should be July 1. 


been informed of in a more regular and authentic way by Colo. 
Nicholas With sentiments of great regard and friendship. I 
am, etc. 13 


Mount Vernon, July i, 1786. 

Sir: I did not receive your Letter of the 4th of June season- 
ably enough to return an Answer so soon as you may have 
expected. I cannot inform you with any precision what the 
flour made of the 50 bushels of wheat sent to my mill is worth 
as I am informed that flour has risen to the Northward, and 
the short crops of wheat this season will undoubtedly have a 
great effect upon the price of it, I should therefore think it 
advisable to let it lay a little longer till it can be disposed of to 
more advantage. It is customary at my Mill to receive the 
Bran in payment for the Barrels, packing &c. 

I should be much obliged to you if you would draw in my 
favour as soon as possible after having the means in your hand, 
and let me know where I shall receive the money, as the num- 
ber of workmen which I have employed, and sundry other 
matters, call for a large and constant supply of Cash. I am etc. 14 


Mount Vernon, July 2, 1786. 
Dear Sir: Your letter without date was handed to me last 
night by your servant. With one of your mares, he returns, 
the other I detain: the latter was among the very few which 
were early favoured by the Spaniard, but is not yet satisfied. 
The other, which went to Magnolio, my Groom seems con- 
fident is with foal, which is the reason of my sending her. 

"From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 
"From a copy in the Toner Transcripts in the Library of Congress. 
"OfPatuxent, Md. 

1786] EWE LAMBS 479 

A female ass which I have obtained lately, has excited de- 
sires in the jack, to which he seemed almost a stranger; mak- 
ing use of her as an excitement, I have been able to get several 
mares served, which otherwise would have gone uncovered 
by him this season: this expedient, unluckily, was hit upon 
too late for me, as I had put almost the whole of my mares to 
Magnolio before it was tried; it will be practised with your 
mare that is left, and I hope with success. 

I have advised your Servant to try the mares he carries back 
by some horse in your neighbourhood, and if she should dis- 
cover an inclination to him, to bring her to Magnolio when he 
returns for the other. If this should not happen before the 
latter end of this month when I shall send to Mr. Reynolds 
for the ewe Lambs, I will contrive your mare that far, unless 
you forbid it in the interim. 

I am much obliged to my good friend Perry for the trouble 
he is about to take by his enquiries for ewe lambs for me; and 
will give him an answer the moment he advises me of the 
result, which I shall be enabled to do as soon as I hear from 
Genl. Smallwoods manager, who sent me word that there were 
a number of Lambs belonging to the Genls. Estate, which 
he believed were to be disposed of; about which he was de- 
sired to enquire and to let me know when the Govr. came into 
Charles Coty. which has happened. 

I am much obliged to you for the sample of Barley. Mine 
that I sowed this Spring is come to nothing; occasioned I 
believe by the continual rains. 

I am very sorry to hear of your long confinement by the 
fall you got in this State, but glad to find you are beginning 
to overcome it. With every good wish for Mrs. Fitzhugh, 
yourself and family, I am, etc. 16 

16 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 



Mount Vernon, July 8, 1786. 
Dear Sir : It was not 'till our return to the great Falls, that 
Colo. Gilpin and myself discovered the error of the propos'd 
meeting of the Directors of the Potomac Company at Alexan- 
dria on Monday preceding the first day of August. The gen- 
eral Meeting of the Company it seems is, by Law, to be held 
on the first Monday in that month; and this not happening, 
in the present year, 'till the 7th. day of it, we wish that the 
Meeting of Directors may take place on the Saturday before; 
of which I pray you to give Mr. Lee notice. I am, etc. 17 


Mount Vernon, July 12, 1786. 
Dr. Sir: Your letter of the 7th. is this instant come to hand. 
Elizabeth and Sarah, daughters of Michl. Cresap, live I pre- 
sume in Hampshire, to the Sheriff of which I will direct the 
summons, tho' it is at a hazard, having no other knowledge 
of the matter, than that their mother married one Jacobs of 
that county. Luther Martin lives in Maryland, and is I believe 
Attorney General of that State. What is to be done in this case ? 

I am exceedingly sorry to hear of your indisposition and 
loss. I hope the change of air and exercise which you are 
about to take will restore you to perfect health. Be assured 
I shall have singular pleasure in seeing you at this place as 
you return from, or go to Annapolis, being with great esteem 
and regard, Dr. Sir, etc. 17 

II From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 



Mount Vernon, July 20, 1786. 
Dr. Sir: It will readily appear to you from the manner and 

evident marks of hurry with which the letter I had the honor 
to address you last, was written, that it was only meant for 
your own perusal; but if the contents of it can afford any satis- 
faction to the gentleman who you say is anxious to be informed 
of the truth of the insinuations which have met Capt: Asgill's 
countenance, I have no objection to its being handed to him 
under the prohibition you have mentioned; for if that gentle- 
man conceives that such tales will excite commiseration, he may 
be endulged in them 'till the touch stone of time and truth 
will reverberate upon him. I have already informed you that 
my letter was written from memory. I am persuaded, never- 
theless, that nothing is contained therein, wch. is not founded 
on facts; and that more might have been said to disprove the 

I am really sorry that it is not in my power yet, to give you 
any satisfaction respecting the affairs of Colo. Thos. Colville's 
Estate; 18 and of what can be done with the claim of Miss An- 
derson. No man can be more anxious than I am to bring these 
matters to such a close as will satisfy all parties, and exonerate 
myself. It is now many months, since I have pressed the eld- 
est son, and I believe one of the Exors of Mr. John West de- 
ceas'd, who was the principal acting Exor of T. Colvill, to 

18 On May 18, 1786, Washington receipted, at Mount Vernon, to Thomas Moody, 
f° r ;£°5 :I 3S- of specie money of Virginia "in part payment of a Bond given to me 
as Exect. of the Will of Thos. Colvil Esqr. deceased, by Mr. Benjn. Moody his late 
father, with Messrs. Josiah Watson and James Hendricks as Securities thereto, for 
three hundred and Twenty nine pounds dated the 19th of Novr. 1781." A photostat 
of this receipt, through the kindness of Dr. A. S. W. Rosenbach, of New York City, is 
in the Washington Papers. 


furnish me, if he would not take the matter in hand himself, 
with all the papers of that Estate, that a final settlement upon 
some principle or another might be gone into. He always 
promised, but has never performed this, two months ago, he 
assured me I should have these papers in three weeks; at the 
end of which, I again applied and was as unsuccessful as be- 
fore. His last assurance was, that he would bring them himself 
in a little time. 

As the concerns of this Estate have been intermixed and 
blended with Jno. Colvill's affairs, to whom Thomas was an 
Exor, and as both are in great confusion and perplexity, I 
mean as soon as I can get the papers, to put the whole into 
the hands of some gentleman of abilities and knowledge of the 
Law, to overhaul, digest and advise what is proper to be 
done in every matter for the fulfilment of the trust, and to- 
wards a final settlement: the result of which, so far as it re- 
spects Miss Anderson, you shall be informed of, so soon as I 
can speak with any decision on this point; for at present I am 
perhaps as ignorant as you can be of the concerns of these 
Estates, and of what is proper to be done in behalf of the Lega- 
tees &c. I am, etc. 19 


Mount Vernon, July 22, 1786. 
Sir: The rude draughts herewith enclosed will, in some de- 
gree, comply with your request; because it will shew the shape 
of the lands about which you have been treating. The Ship 
by which they are sent, heaving in sight before I had notice of 
its coming, I could do no more than send them in the unpol- 
ished state in which they are now handed to you. 

10 From the "Letter Book." copy in the Washington Papers. 

1786] SEED WHEAT 483 

The descriptions and situations of them you already have. 

It may not be amiss to repeat, that the price set upon these 
lands, was on the supposition that the whole were to be taken; 
if part only is wanted (if I consent to separate them at all) 
the price by the acre, according to its situation and value, will 
be encreased; for to be relieved of the trouble of seating them 
was my principal motive and only inducement to offer them at 
a price which I conceived to be much under their intrinsic 
value. I have the honor, etc. 20 


Mount Vernon, July 25, 1786. 
Sir: I want to change my seed wheat, but do not incline to 
sow any but of the white kind, I shall be ready to commence 
my seeding in a few days and if you have any of this kind, 
ready, either of this, or the last year and will receive payment 
for it out of your collection of my Rents, I should be glad to 
have sent me from one to three or four hundred Bushels. I 
will give the Alexandria price at this time (be it what it may) 
or the price it may be hereafter, you at the moment, saying 
you are content with it. The Wheat must be clean and good 
and as I said before, white, and for the reason assigned I must 
have it sent to me immediately if at all; Pray let me know by 
Post what I have to trust to. I am etc. 21 


Mount Vernon, July 26, 1786. 
My Dr. Sir: Your favors of the 3d. and nth. inst: are both at 
hand. The last came first, and first only two days ago. The 

20 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

a From a copy in the Toner Transcripts in the Library of Congress. 


Books by Mr. Griffith are also received, and came in good or- 
der. My thanks for your kind intention of giving me the use of 
them 'till you return to Virginia are sincerely offered. Youngs 
Tour thro' Ireland, I had myself purchased when in New 
York; and I have just received advice of the others at Annap- 
olis, which I had been expecting, and had given you the trouble 
of enquiring after. 

I am much obliged to you for the information respecting the 
China which is for sale in New York, with the order of the Cin- 
cinnati engraved on it; if it should not be disposed of before 
this letter reaches you, and you think a ready and safe con- 
veyance can be had for it to Alexandria or this place, I would 
thank you for buying it for me. In this case, pray let me know 
the exchange between New York and London at 60 days sight, 
and I will by return of the post, give you a good Bill for the 
sterlg. amount of the 150 Dollars: or, by means of some of 
the merchts. in Alexandria who have connexions in New York, 
I will forward an order on that place to that amot. 

If I stopped short of your ideas respecting the navigation of 
the Mississippi, or of what may be the opinions of Congress on 
this subject, it was not for want of coincidence of sentiment, 
but because I was ignorant at that time of the rubs which are 
in the way of your commercial treaty with Spain, and because 
I thought some address might be necessary to temporize with, 
and keep the settlement of Kentucky in state of quietness. At 
this moment that settlement is formidable, population is rap- 
idly encreasing there. There are many ambitious and turbu- 
lent spirits among its inhabitants, who from the present diffi- 
culties in their intercourse with the Atlantic States, have turned 
their eyes to New Orleans, and may become riotous and un- 
governable, if the hope of traffick with it is cut oflf by treaty. 
Notwithstanding if this cession is counterpoized, it may be a 


more favourable time for Congress to speak decisively to them, 
than when they have got stronger, but not sufficiently matured 
to force the passage of the Mississippi themselves; whilst the 
plans which are in agitation for opening communications with 
that territory, may, if successful, unfold to them new prospects, 
mutually beneficial to the old and new States. 

All those matters, no doubt, will be duly considered by Con- 
gress, and a decision had on which ever side the advantages 

It was with very sincere regret I received the news of Genl. 
Greene's death. 22 Life and the concerns of this world one 
would think are so uncertain, and so full of disappointments, 
that nothing is to be counted upon from human actions. Adieu, 
with sentiments of great regard and affection, I am etc. 23 


Mount Vernon, July 26, 1786. 

Dear Sir: It is a fact that your favor of the 27th. of May was 
long getting to me; but why it happened so, I am unable to 
inform you; as I generally send to the Post Office in Alexandria 
twice in every week. 

Is it not among the most unaccountable things in nature 
that the representation of a great Country shou'd, generally, 
be so thin as not to be able to execute the functions of Govern- 
ment? 24 To what is this to be ascribed? Is it the result of 
political manoeuvre in some States, or is it owing to supineness, 
or want of means ? 

Be the causes what they may, it is shameful and disgusting. 
In a word it hurts us, our character as a nation is dwindling; 

^Nathanael Greene died June 19, 1786, at the age of 44. 
23 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 
M Representation in Congress. 


and what it must come to if a change should not soon take 
place, our enemies have foretold; for in truth we seem either 
not capable, or not willing to take care of ourselves. 

For want, I suppose, of competent knowledge of the Con- 
necticut claim to Western territory, the compromise which is 
made with her, appears to me to be a disadvantageous one for 
the union; and if her right is not, one of the motives (according 
to your account) for yielding to it, in my humble opinion, is 
exceedingly dangerous and bad; for upon such principles, 
might, not right, must ever prevail, and there will be no surety 
for anything. 25 

I wish very sincerely that the Land Ordinance may answer 
the expectations of Congress. I had, and still have my doubts 
of the utility of the plan, but pray devoutly, that they may never 
be realized, as I am desireous of seeing it a productive branch 
of the Revenue. That part which makes the waters and carry- 
ing places common highways, and free for all the States, is 
certainly valuable. 

I thank you for the other articles of information; such as 
you have disclosed confidentially, you may rest assured will 
proceed no further, 'till it becomes public thro' other chan- 
nels; and this shall always be the case with paragraphs which 
are so marked. The answer to the Memorial of Mr. Adams by 
Lord Carmarthen, I have seen at large. It was impolitic and 
unfortunate, if it was not unjust in these States to pass laws, 

25 Grayson had written (May 27) that Connecticut offered to cede all her claim 
to the Western Territory, reserving however 120 miles between the ceded lands 
and the Pennsylvania line; " this cession was at first much opposed, but Congress 
have at length agreed to accept it whenever the delegates of that State shall be 
authorized to make a proper deed." The consequence of this, Grayson thought, 
would be a loss to the United States of 6,000,000 acres, which had already been 
ceded by Virginia and New York. " The advocates for this measure, urged . . . 
that the claim of a powerful State although unsupported by right, was under pres- 
ent circumstances a disagreable [desirable?] thing; and that sacrifices ought to be 
made for the public tranquillity." Grayson's letter is in the Washington Papers. 


which by fair construction might be considered as infractions 
of the treaty of peace. 

It is good policy at all times, to place one's adversary in the 
wrong. Had we observed good faith, and the western Posts 
had then been withheld from us by G: Britain, we might have 
appealed to god and man for justice, and if there are any guar- 
antees to the treaty, we might have called upon them to see 
it fulfilled. 26 But now we cannot do this; tho' clear I am, that 
the reasons assigned by the British Ministry are only ostensible, 
and that the Posts, under one pretence or another, were in- 
tended to have been detained, tho' no such Acts had ever 
passed: but how different would our situation have been under 
such circumstances? With very sincere regard and affection, 
I am, etc. 27 


Mount Vernon, July 28, 1786. 

Sir: It is with great pleasure I take the earliest opportunity 
of acknowledging the receipt of the letter you did me the honor 
to write to me from New York on the 20th. inst:, accompanied 
by an original letter from Mr. le Marquis de la Fayette, and by 
the copy of one from Mr. le Comte d'Estaing. 

Such ample testimonials of merit from such distinguished 
characters, cannot fail to ensure you the most grateful recep- 
tion throughout America in general; but permit me Sir, to 
add for myself in particular, that I shall be unfeignedly happy 

28 By the Vllth article of the Treaty of Peace, the western posts held by the British 
within United States territory were to be evacuated. By the IVth article, every facility 
was to be allowed to British subjects to collect the debts due to them in the several 
States. Lord Carmarthen charged that obstacles had been thrown in the way of col- 
lecting such debts, through recent laws enacted by some of the States, and that the 
IVth article had been violated by the United States. He stated that in retaliation these 
posts would not be given up. 

"From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


in receiving you under the peaceful shades of Mount Vernon, 
and in seeking occasions to render you any services which 
it may be in my power to offer. 

In the meantime (as I hope soon to have the pleasure of 
seeing you personally) I will content myself with felicitating 
you on your safe arrival in the United States, while I congratu- 
late my Country on the acquisition of so valuable and dignified 
a Citizen. 

With sentiments of perfect esteem and consideration I have 
the honor, etc. 28 


Mount Vernon, July 28, 1786. 

Sir: It would be more tiresome than interesting to assign 
reasons for my not having acknowledged the receipt of your 
letters of the 26th. of Novr. and 7th. of Feby., 'ere this. It may 
be sufficient to inform you, that they came duly to hand, tho' 
I had not the pleasure of seeing Majr. McCormick" 9 whilst 
he was in Virginia, which I regretted, as I might have de- 
rived useful information from him respecting the views and 
expectations of the occupants of my Land in Washington 
county; at the same time I might possibly have engaged him, 
or some other thro' him, who would have made it a point to 
bring forward such testimony as would evince, that pre-occu- 
pany of the tract in dispute, was in me. 

Without this I may fail in this particular, as it is not fre- 
quently found that people volunteer their services upon these 
occasions; but, on the contrary, that they generally hang back, 
from a desire of living (the idea is) in peace with their neigh- 
bours. For this reason I must refer you to the information 

28 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 
OT Maj. George McCormick. 

1786] LAND TITLE 489 

given in my former letters; with a request that the evidences 
there named may be summon'd (if you think it necessary) 
to prove what has been advanced. 

The instances of decision, of wch. you have made minutes in 
your letter of the 20th. of Novr., in the western Courts, are 
indicative of a favourable determination of my Suit, and I 
would not depart from the legal ground on which I claim; 
yet as an auxiliary, the proof of pre-occupancy would drive 
my opponents from what they conceive to be their strong 
hold; for it is on this, (before what they call legal steps were 
taken by me) that they, I am persuaded, rest their cause: but 
why all of them should take this ground, when most of them 
emigrated to the Country after the date of my patent, is mis- 
terious, and may comprehend more than I am aware of; for 
which, among other reasons, if I cou'd be ascertained of the 
precise time for the trial, I would endeavour to attend; espe- 
cially as I have other calls in that Country, among which, to 
dispose of that Land if the decision is favorable for me, and 
of my other tract where Simpson formerly lived, are most 

I have considered your remarks, and wish it was in my 
power to solve your Doubts; my answers shall be candid, tho' 
the explanations may be unfavorable. 

However strange it may seem, the fact nevertheless is, that 
Posey's 30 Warrant was not dated 'till the 25th. day of Novembr. 
1773, (posterior, according to my opponents accot., to their 
settlemt.), this knowledge I have but lately obtained, and am 
exceedingly surprized at the fact, as the right was bought by 
me for this express purpose two or three years before, as you 
may perceive by the date of the Bond which is now in your 

30 John Posey. 


possession: this circumstance it is necessary to apprize you of, 
that if known to the Defendants you may be guarded against 
the force of it, as that the date of Colo. Crawfords deputation 
is subsequent to their pretended settlement. The proof to the 
hand writing of Posey, I have already furnished you with. 

I believe there has been no entry in the Surveyors Book of 
this tract; for I can find nothing there preceeding the record 
of the Survey; to what to ascribe this I know not, except to a 
neglect of office, or to the unacquaintedness of Colo. Crawford 
with business: the presumption however is, that the preceeding 
steps to the issuing of the Patent, were legal and such as satis- 
fied this government, under whose jurisdiction it was: and this 
Government having stipulated in its cession to Pennsylvania 
that the grants she had made, should be secured to the Grantees. 
I cannot conceive upon what ground the validity of mine can 
be questioned without arraigning the conduct of a sister State 
in the management of her own business. 

The Council books, as I have before informed you, were 
either destroyed by the enemy, or so mislaid as that no access 
can be had to them; it is not in my power therefore to furnish 
you with an authenticated copy of the Proclamation which 
takes off the restriction in that of 1763. 

If you should hear of any persons wanting to buy improved 
Lands in the Counties of Fayette or Washington, I would thank 
you for letting them know that mine (as already mentioned) 
are for sale. I wish you for no more than the real value of them, 
and if you could help me to fix this by comparison with the 
prices of Lands of equal quality, similarity of improvements 
and with the same advantages, in these Counties, it would oblige 
me. I would make the payments (being well secured) easy to 
the purchaser. 


I should be glad to hear that this letter had got safe to your 
hands; an acknowledgement of it via Philada. or Baltimore, 
with direction to put it into the Post Office, will be most certain 
of a conveyance. I am, etc. 31 


Mount Vernon, July 30, 1786. 
Dr. Sir: Majr. Gibbes handed me your letter of the 24th. ulto. 
with the accounts enclosed. Necessity alone ought to compel 
me to loose the difference between ,£50:18.9. and 33953/90 
Dollars; because the last mentioned sum (but a very little while 
since) was, if I recollect rightly considered as the specie value 
of the Commissary's Certificates for which it was issued by 
Mr. Stelle, 32 and was accordingly so settled by the scale of depre- 
ciation. Notwithstanding, as I am entirely unacquainted with 
the fund upon which this certificate has issued, and what it 
may ultimately tend to, I must repeat my wish that you would 
act for me in this case, as you wou'd do for yourself. Laying 
out of the money will be no inducement to my selling the Cer- 
tificate at an under value, if it is thought that it will finally be 
good, and the interest can be received in the mean while. But 
as I never made paper money a study, having had nothing to 
do with any, except old continental, (by which I have lost very 
considerably) I must rely upon your judgment more than any 
direction I could give for the disposition of Stelle certificates 
always remembering that I am to give others credit for one 
moiety of what it would really fetch in specie, and that their 
Accots. are to be credited by what you shall say to me on this 
head, it would sell for. 

31 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 
Benjamin Stelle. He was Pennsylvania commissioner for settling accounts. 


When Blankets, Osnabrigs, Linens of any kind, Paints, loaf 
Sugar, Coffee, best Hyson Tea, or either of them may happen 
to be low at the wholesale or Vendue stores in Philada., you 
would do me a kindness by giving the information; because if 
I should not happen to be supplied at the time, I would imme- 
diately commission you to make a purchase for me. 

Do the Tanners in Philadelphia make Leather which is 
strong, stout and well adapted for negroes shoes ? If so, what 
could twenty five sides of each (unblacked) or as much as 
would make 150 pair, with three soles, be bought for ? 

Be so good as to forward the enclos'd by a safe conveyance : 
the one to Mr. Smith respects a Law suit I have in the Western 
Country, the miscarriage, or delay of which might be injurious 
to me. My compliments to Mrs. Biddle, with esteem, I am, etc. 33 


Mount Vernon, July 31, 1786. 

My dear Count: I have been duly honored with the two 
letters you were pleased to address to me in the months of 
Jany and March last: I need scarcely tell you that your com- 
munications always afford me the sincerest gratification; be- 
cause they are always replete with the most friendly senti- 
ments; because they insensibly bring to remembrance some 
circumstances of that pleasing and important period we so 
happily passed together, and because you frequently have it 
in your power to give such informations, as in my present 
retirement from the busy and political world cannot fail of 
being acceptable to me. 

It must give pleasure to the friends of humanity even in 
this distant section of the globe to find that the clouds, which 

83 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


threatned to burst in a storm of War on Europe, have dissi- 
pated and left a still brighter political horizon. It is also to be 
hoped, that something will turn up to prevent, even at the 
death of the Elector of Bavaria or the King of Prussia, the ef- 
fusion of human blood, for the acquisition of a little territory. 

As the rage of conquest, which in the times of barbarity, 
stimulated Nations to blood, has in a great degree ceased; as 
the objects which formerly gave birth to Wars are daily di- 
minishing; and as mankind are becoming more enlightened 
and humanized, I cannot but flatter myself with the pleasing 
prospect that more liberal policies and more pacific systems 
will take place amongst them. To indulge this idea affords a 
soothing consolation to a philanthropic mind, insomuch that 
altho' it should be founded in illusion, one would hardly wish 
to be divested of an error, so grateful in itself and so innocent 
in its consequences. 

The Treaty of Amity which has lately taken place between 
the King of Prussia and the United States, marks a new aera 
in negotiation. It is perfectly original in many of its articles. 
It is the most liberal Treaty which has ever been entered into 
between independent Powers; and should its principles be con- 
sidered hereafter as the basis of connection between nations, 
it will operate more fully to produce a general pacification 
than any measure hitherto attempted amongst mankind. Su- 
peradded to this, we may safely assert, that there is at present 
less war in the world than ever has been at any former period. 

The British continue to hold the Posts ceded by the late 
Treaty of Peace to the Ud. States. Each of these powers does 
not hesitate to criminate the other, by alledging some infrac- 
tions of that Treaty. How the matter will terminate time 
must disclose. Everything remains tranquil on this side of 
the Atlantic, except that the Savages sometimes commit a few 


trifling ravages on the frontiers. General Green lately died at 
Savanna in Georgia. The Public, as well as his family and 
friends, has met with a severe loss. He was a great and good 
man indeed. With sentiments of the purest esteem etc. 34 


Mount Vernon, July 31, 1786. 
Monr. le Due: I have had the honor to receive your letter 
to me of the 25th. of Augt. 1785. by the hand of Mr. Michau, 33 
of whom it was introductory. The scientific object which oc- 
casioned the voyage of that gentleman to America, his per- 
sonal character, and the recommendation of the Duke de 
Lauzun, conspired to make me extremely happy in forming 
an acquaintance with him. I should be made still more so 
by his complete success in his botanical pursuits. Any assist- 
ance in my power will be most chearfully accorded as a tribute 
to his merit, and as a demonstration of the attachment and 
esteem with which I have the honor, etc. 36 


Mount Vernon, July 31, 1786. 
Sir : The letter of the 4th. of June 1785 which you was pleased 
to address to me by Colo. Senff, 37 has very lately been put 
into my hand; in answer to which I have the honor to observe, 
that having divested myself of an official character and re- 
tired to private life, I can have no agency whatever in matters 
of a public nature. This, I thought, had been made known 

34 From the original in the Rochambean Taper s in the Library of Congress. 

85 Andre Michaux, French botanist. 

36 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

37 Christian Senff, formerly a colonel in the South Carolina State troops. 


extensively enough by the manner of my resignation and re- 
tirement. The want of being acquainted with these facts seems 
however, to have involved some gentlemen at a distance in 
unnecessary and unavailing applications. All therefore, that 
I have it in my power to advise you on the two objects of your 
letter, is, that application for admittance into the Society of 
the Cincinnati, must be either to the Society of the State in 
whose line the officer served; or, if the officer was a foreigner, 
to the Society in France; and that with respect to pecuniary 
claims, recourse must be had either to the Paymaster General, 
or Secretary for the Department of War. With due considera- 
tion and regard I have the honor, etc. 38 


Mount Vernon, July 31, 1786. 

Sir: I have been favored with the receipt of triplicate copies 
of your polite letter dated at Cape-francois the 15th. of Novr. 

While you do me the justice to acknowledge the zeal with 
which I desired and attempted to promote the interest of all 
the individuals composing the army I had formerly the honor 
to command; permit me to express my regret that, from pe- 
culiar circumstances, I had it not more fully in my power to 
attain that desirable object. 

It was doubtless the intention of Congress to establish funds 
for the punctual payment of the interest as it became due on 
the public securities given to the officers and Soldiers of the 
Army for arrearages of pay and commutation : Their designs 
however have hitherto been unfortunately frustrated by the 
delinquency of some of the States, which could not be induced 

88 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


to comply with their requisition of 5 pr Cent impost. All the 
States in the Union have at length granted that impost, but 
there are still some difficulties respecting the collection &c. 
Whenever these can be removed, it is to be hoped the interest 
will be regularly paid on your Certificates. In the meantime 
Congress are taking measures for surveying the Lands ceded 
to them; out of wch. the officers and Soldiers will undoubtedly 
receive what has been promised. 

Having, as you know sir, long since retired from all public 
employment, I have it not in my option to interfere with pub- 
lic measures by making recommendations. Indeed I do not 
think it probable that any Corps of Engineers will be estab- 
lished at present. But I am very happy in all events to find 
that you are so agreeably situated with an old acquaintance 
and friend. 

As to medals and Diplomas for the Cincinnati, the former 
I believe are to be purchased in Philada., and the latter to be 
obtained thro' the State Society of wch. an officer is member. 
I have none of either at my disposal. With sincere wishes for 
your health and happiness, I remain, etc. 39 


Mount Vernon, July, 1786. 

Sir : Since my last of the 28th. of Novr. I have been favored 
with your letters of the 27th. of Feby. and 13th. of March; and 
have received the paper hangings and watch by Capt. An- 
drews. With the last Mrs. Washington is well pleased, and I 
thank you in her name for your attention to the making of it. 

If the stocks keep up, and there is not a moral certainty of 
their rising higher in a short time, it is my wish and desire, 

30 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


that my interest in the Bank may be immediately sold, and 
the money arising therefrom made subject to my Drafts in 
your hands, some of which, at sixty days' sight, may soon fol- 
low this letter. 

The footing on which you have placed the interest of my 
debt to you, is all I require. To stand on equal ground with 
others who owe money to the Merchants in England, and 
who were not so prompt in their payment of the principal 
as I have been, is all I aim at. Whatever the two Countries may 
finally decide with respect to interest; or whatever general 
agreement or compromise may be come to between British 
Creditors and American Debtors, I am willing to abide by; 
nor should I again have touched upon this subject in this let- 
ter, had you not introduced a case which, in my opinion, has 
no similitude with the point in question. You say I have re- 
ceived interest at the Bank for the money which was there, 
granted : but (besides remarking that only part of this money 
was mine) permit me to ask if G. Britain was not enabled, 
by means of the bank, to continue the war with this Country ? 
Whether this war did not deprive us of the means of paying 
our Debts? And whether the interest I received from this 
source did, or could bear any proportion to the losses sustained 
by having my grain, my Tobacco, and every article of produce 
rendered unsalable and left to perish on my hands ? However, 
I again repeat, that I ask no discrimination of you in my favor, 
for had there been no stipulation by treaty to secure debts, 
nay more, had there even been an exemption by the Legisla- 
tive authority, or practice of this Country against it, I would, 
from a conviction of the propriety and justice of the measure, 
have discharged my original debt to you. 

But from the moment our ports were shut, and our markets 
were stopped by the hostile fleets and armies of Great Britain, 


'till the first were opened, and the others revived, I should, 
for the reasons I have (though very cursorily) assigned, have 
thought the interest during that epocha stood upon a very 
different footing. I am much obliged by the trouble you have 
taken to enquire into the nature of the connexion between the 
House of Messrs. Hanbury & Co. and Balfour & Barraud. I 
had no sanguine hopes of redress from that quarter, but as 
it seemed to be the only chance, I was willing to try it. I am 

etc. 40 


Mount Vernon, August i, 1786. 

Sir: Not till within these two days did your letter of the nth. 
of last Month get to my hands. I have sent your advertisement 
to the Printer and as soon as the number of copies are struck 
they shall be forwarded to you. My former letter containing 
my sentiments respecting the flour at my Mill, I have done 
nothing in it since rather wishing that you would pursue your 
own judgment with respect to the Sale than to derive any price 
from me. Neither Wheat or flour has started in price that I 
have heard of as yet. 

Your order for Fifty pounds on Colo. Geo. Gilpin which I 
hereby acknowledge the receipt of will be presented in a day 
or two. 

The Hites can have no claim, I conceive, to the small tract 
of 183 acres on which Bailey lives, that was a piece of Land 
which lay waste, after all the surrounding Lands were taken 
up and Patented and granted without the interference of any 
one. Nor do I think the determination in favor of the Hites 
can possibly affect the other Land on Bullskin, because it is in 
proof that this Land was sold by old Joist Hite to one Lewis 

40 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

1786] SEED 499 

Thomas who sold it to Captn. George Johnson and is so recited 
in the Deed from the Proprietors Office. In the former trial 
these matters were adduced as evidence; which evidence I sup- 
pose is of record; I have in answer to a letter on this head, writ- 
ten to Thornton Washington who lives on part of the Land 
and who I hope (for I have no idea of attending the Commis- 
sioners) will take care of his as well as my interest in this busi- 
ness; if you can assist him in it I shall be obliged to you. I have 
not had time yet to examine Colo. Fairfax's Land Papers, nor 
would I incline to entrust them to any casual conveyance where 
there can be the remotest danger of delay or miscarriage. If 
you call here, as intimated, I will deliver them to you without 
the formallity of an order from Colo. Nicholas, your receipt 
for them will satisfy me. 

I am very well satisfied with your settlement with McCrane, 
and I am pleased to hear you had so much better luck with 
your Clover Seed than I had with that you sent me which was 
sowed as Soon as I got it last fall and in a piece of the best 
ground I had on purpose to raise Seed, not one of wch. was up 
the middle of May when I put the same ground in Timothy ; 
the disappointment I would not have sustained for fifty pounds, 
because fifty pounds will not buy me as much Seed as I expected 
to raise from the four acres on which I sowed the bushel of 
defective Seed which has occasioned me the loss of a Season. 
I am etc. 41 


Mount Vernon, August i, 1786. 
Dear Sir: The letter you did me the honor to write to me on 
the 3d. of Feby., has come safely to hand. Nothing could be 

"From a photostat of the original through the kindness of Judge E. A. Armstrong, 
of Princeton, N. J. 


more satisfactory to me than the friendly sentiments contained 
in it, and the generous manner in which you always interest 
yourself in the happiness and dignity of the United States. I 
wish I had it in my power to inform you that the several States 
had fully complied with all the wise requisitions which Con- 
gress has made to them on national subjects. But unfortunately 
for us, this is not yet the case. Altho' for my own part I do not 
cease to expect that this just policy will ultimately take effect. 
It is not the part of a good Citizen to despair of the republic: 
nor ought we to have calculated, that our young Governments 
would have acquired, in so short a period, all the consistency 
and solidity, which it has been the work of ages to give to other 
nations. All the States however, have at length granted the im- 
post ; tho' unhappily some of them have granted it under such 
qualifications, as have hitherto prevented its operation. The 
greater part of the Union seems to be convinced of the necessity 
of fcederal measures, and of investing Congress with the power 
of regulating the commerce of the whole. The reasons you 
offer on this subject are certainly forcible, and I cannot but hope 
will 'ere long have their due efficacy. 

In other respects our internal Governments are daily acquir- 
ing strength. The laws have their fullest energy; justice is well 
administered; robbery, violence or murder is not heard of from 
Nw. Hampshire to Georgia. The people at large (as far as I 
can learn) are more industrious than they were before the war. 
QEconomy begins, partly from necessity and partly from choice 
and habit, to prevail. The seeds of population are scattered 
over an immense tract of western country. In the old States, 
wch. were the theatres of hostility, it is wonderful to see how 
soon the ravages of war are repaired. Houses are rebuilt, fields 
enclosed, stocks of cattle which were destroyed are replaced, 
and many a desolated territory assumes again the cheerful 


appearance of cultivation. In many places the vestiges of con- 
flagration and ruin are hardly to be traced. The arts of peace, 
such as clearing rivers, building bridges, and establishing con- 
veniences for travelling &c. are assiduously promoted. In short, 
the foundation of a great Empire is laid, and I please myself 
with a persuasion, that Providence will not leave its work 

I am sensible that the picture of our situation, which has 
been exhibited in Europe since the Peace, has been of a very 
different complexion; but it must be remembered that all the 
unfavorable features have been much heightened by the me- 
dium of the English newspapers thro' which they have been 
represented. The British still continue to hold the Posts on our 
frontiers, and affect to charge us with some infractions of the 
Treaty. On the other hand we retort the accusation. What 
will be the consequences, is more than I can pretend to predict. 
To me, however, it appears, that they are playing the same 
foolish game in commerce that they have lately done in War; 
that their ill-judged impositions will eventually drive our ships 
from their ports, wean our attachments to their manufactures, 
and give to France decided advantages for a commercial con- 
nexion with us. To strengthen the alliance and promote the 
interests of France and America will ever be the favorite object 
of him, who has the honor to subscribe himself, with every 
sentiment of attachment, &c. 42 


Mount Vernon, August i, 1786. 
Dr. Sir: I have to thank you very sincerely for your inter- 
esting letter of the 27th. of June, as well as for the other 

42 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


communications you had the goodness to make at the same 
time. I am sorry to be assured, of what indeed I had little doubt 
before, that we have been guilty of violating the treaty in some 
instances. What a misfortune it is the British should have so 
well grounded a pretext for their palpable infractions: and 
what a disgraceful part, out of the choice of difficulties before 
us, are we to act. 

Your sentiments, that our affairs are drawing rapidly to a 
I crisis, accord with my own. What the event will be, is also 
beyond the reach of my foresight. We have errors to correct; 
we have probably had too good an opinion of human nature 
in forming our confederation. Experience has taught us, that 
men will not adopt and carry into execution measures the 
best calculated for their own good, without the intervention 
of a coercive power. I do not conceive we can exist long as a 
nation without having lodged some where a power, which 
will pervade the whole Union in as energetic a manner, as 
the authority of the State Governments extends over the sev- 
eral States. 

To be fearful of investing Congress, constituted as that body 
is, with ample authorities for national purposes, appears to me 
the very climax of popular absurdity and madness. Could 
Congress exert them for the detriment of the public, without 
injuring themselves in an equal or greater proportion? Are 
not their interests inseparably connected with those of their 
constituents ? By the rotation of appointment, must they not 
mingle frequently with the mass of Citizens ? Is it not rather 
to be apprehended, if they were possessed of the powers be- 
fore described, that the individual members would be induced 
to use them, on many occasions, very timidly and inefficaci- 
ously for fear of losing their popularity and future election ? 
We must take human nature as we find it: perfection falls 


not to the share of mortals. Many are of opinion that Con- 
gress have too frequently made use of the suppliant humble 
tone of requisition, in applications to the States, when they 
had a right to assert their imperial dignity and command obe- 
dience. Be that as it may, requisitions are a perfect nihility 
where thirteen sovereign independent disunited States are in 
the habit of discussing and refusing compliance with them 
at their option. Requisitions are actually little better than a 
jest and a bye word throughout the land. If you tell the Legis- 
latures they have violated the Treaty of Peace, and invaded the 
prerogatives of the confederacy, they will laugh in your face. 
What then is to be done ? Things cannot go on in the same 
train forever. It is much to be feared, as you observe, that the 
better kind of people, being disgusted with the circumstances, 
will have their minds prepared for any revolution whatever. 
We are apt to run from one extreme into another. To antici- 
pate and prevent disastrous contingencies, would be the part 
of wisdom and patriotism. 

What astonishing changes a few years are capable of pro- 
ducing. I am told that even respectable characters speak of 
a monarchical form of Government without horror. From 
thinking proceeds speaking, thence to acting is often but a 
single step. But how irrevocable and tremendous ! what a tri- 
umph for our enemies to verify their predictions! what a 
triumph for the advocates of despotism to find that we are 
incapable of governing ourselves, and that systems founded on 
the basis of equal liberty are merely ideal and fallacious! 
Would to God that wise measures may be taken in time to avert 
the consequences we have but too much reason to apprehendr 

Retired as I am from the world I frankly acknowledge I 
cannot feel myself an unconcerned spectator. Yet, having hap- 
pily assisted in bringing the Ship into Port, and having been 


fairly discharged; it is not my business to embark again on a 
sea of troubles. Nor could it be expected, that my sentiments 
and opinions would have much weight on the minds of my 
Countrymen; they have been neglected, tho' given as a last 
legacy in the most solumn manner. I had then perhaps some 
claims to public attention. I consider myself as having none 
at present. Mrs. Washington joins me in compliments, etc. 43 


Mount Vernon, August i, 1786. 

Dear Sir: The letters you did me the favor to write to me 
on the 4th. and 7th. of Jany. have been duly received. In 
answer to your obliging enquiries respecting the dress, atti- 
tude &ca. which I would wish to have given to the Statue in 
question, I have only to observe that not having sufficient 
knowledge in the art of sculpture to oppose my judgment to 
the taste of Connoisseiurs, I do not desire to dictate in the mat- 
ter; on the contrary I shall be perfectly satisfied with whatever 
may be judged decent and proper. I should even scarcely have 
ventured to suggest that perhaps a servile adherence to the garb 
of antiquity might not be altogether so expedient as some 
little deviation in favor of the modern costume, if I had not 
learnt from Colo. Humphreys that this was a circumstance 
hinted in conversation by Mr. West 44 to Houdon. This taste, 
which has been introduced in painting by West, I understand 
is received with applause and prevails extensively. 

I have taken some pains to enquire into the facts respecting 
the medals of the Cincinnati, which Majr. L'Enfant purchased 

^From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 

On August 1 Washington signed agreements with Thomas Mahony, as a carpenter, 
for one year and Cornelius McDermott Roe, as a stonemason and bricklayer, for one 
year. These agreements are in the V/ashington Papers. 

^Benjamin West. 


in France. It seems that when he went to Europe in 1783 
he had money put into his hands to purchase a certain num- 
ber, and that conceiving it to be consonant with the intentions 
of the Society, he purchased to a still greater amount; inso- 
much that a Committee of the Genl. Meeting, upon examin- 
ing his Acct. reported a balle. due to him of Six hundred and 
thirty dollars, wch. report was accepted. This money is still 
due, and is all that is due from the Society of the Cincinnati 
as a Society. General Knox has offered to pay the amount to 
Majr. L'Enfant, but as it has become a matter of some public 
discussion, the latter wished it might remain until the next 
Genl Meeting, which will be in May next. In the mean time 
Genl. Knox (who is Secretary Genl) has, or will write fully 
on the Subject to the Marquis de la Fayette, from whom he 
has had a letter respecting the business. 

We have no News of importance. And if we had, I should 
hardly be in the way of learning it; as I divide my time be- 
tween the superintendence of opening the navigations of our 
rivers and attention to my private concerns. Indeed I am too 
much secluded from the world to know with certainty, what 
sensation the refusal of the British to deliver up the Western 
posts, has made on the public mind. I fear the edge of its 
sensibility is somewhat blunted. Fcederal measures are not 
yet universally adopted. New York, wch. was as well disposed 
a State as any in the Union is said to have become in a degree 
antif cederal. Some other States are, in my opinion, falling into 
very foolish and wicked plans of emitting paper money. I 
cannot however give up my hopes and expectations that we 
shall 'ere long adopt a more just and liberal system of policy. 
What circumstances will lead, or what misfortunes will compel 
us to it, is more than can be told without the spirit of proph- 
ecy. In the meantime the people are industrious, ceconomy 


begins to prevail, and our internal governments are, in general, 
tolerably well administered. 

You will probably have heard of the death of Genl Greene 
before this reaches you, in which case you will, in common 
with your Countrymen, have regretted the loss of so great 
and so honest a man. Genl. McDougall, who was a brave 
Soldier and a disinterested patriot, is also dead; 45 he belonged 
to the Legislature of his State, the last act of his life, was (after 
being carried on purpose to the Senate) to give his voice against 
the emission of a paper currency. Colo. Tilghman, who was 
formerly of my family, died lately and left as fair a reputation 
as ever belonged to a human character. Thus some of the 
pillars of the revolution fall. Others are mouldering by in- 
sensible degrees. May our Country never want props to sup- 
port the glorious fabrick! With sentiments of the highest 

esteem etc. 46 


Mount Vernon, August 2, 1786. 

Sir: Since my last to you, the Industry Captn. Gibson is ar- 
rived, but from the length of the voyage most of the articles 
you had the goodness to send me have perished. The Figs 
were entirely lost, so were all the Malmsey grape. Of the Mus- 
cat and Vera., some showing signs of feeble life; I have with 
great care and attention recovered two of the cuttings. These 
have now put forth leaf, and I hope will do well. 

The wines with which I was furnished by Messrs. Searle & 
Co. are of a very good quality, and came to hand in very good 
order, and supplied, I dare say, upon as good terms as they 
could have been had from any other House on the Island; 

45 Alexander McDougall died June 8, 1786. 

"From the original in the Jefferson Papers in the Library of Congress. 

1786] MADEIRA WINE 507 

these considerations, added to such as you have mentioned, will 
I am persuaded, induce me to give it the preference, especially, 
as from the purport of your letter, you must be connected 

The negotiations which have been set on foot by Congress 
with the piratical States 4T will, it is to be hoped, put an end to the 
apprehensions with which the American trade is labouring, 
from the conduct of those barbarians towards it. I am, etc. 48 


Mount Vernon, August 3, 1786. 

Gentn : Your favors of the 6th. and 17th. of December came 
duly to hand; and I have also received from Norfolk the pipe 
of Madeira wine which you addressed to the care of Doctr. Tay- 
lor of that place for my use. I have not yet tasted it, but presume 
it is fine : it ought to be so, for the cost of it in the Island, besides 
the extra charges here, is ;£ 7.12.4 pr. pipe more than the wines 
I had from Messrs. Searle & Co. in April 1783; than which 
none, I think, could be better, for it was old, and of an excellent 

I remit to Henry Hill Esqr. of Philada. a draft 49 for ^43 : 12 14 
on Wakelin Welch Esqr. of London, which is the amot. of your 
order on me in favor of the above gentleman. I am, etc. 48 


Mount Vernon, August 5, 1786. 
Sir: Arthur Young Esqr. of Bury, in Suffolk, having been so 
obliging as to offer to procure for me Implements of Husbandry, 

47 The Barbary States. 

48 From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 
On August 3 Washington also wrote Henry Hill, inclosing the above-mentioned 
draft. This note is in the "Letter Book" in the Washington Papers. 


seeds &c, I have accepted his kindness with much pleasure, 
because he is a competent judge of the first, and will be careful 
that the latter are good of their several kinds, a thing of much 
consequence, and which does not often happen with seeds 
imported into this Country from Europe. 

I have requested him to forward these articles to your care, 
and to draw upon you for the amount. Let me entreat your 
particular attention to them, with a request that the Captn. of 
the Vessel on board which they are shipped may be sollicited 
to keep the seeds in the cabbin, or out of the Ship's hold at any 
rate, as they never fail to heat and spoil when put there. I am, 

etc. 50 


Mount Vernon, August 5, 1786. 

Sir: On the other side is a copy of my letter to you of this 
date under cover to Arthur Young Esqr. of Bradford Hall, 
near Bury in Suffolk. The articles which I have written to him 
for are, 

2 ploughs, with spare shares and Coulters; and a mould to 
form others on. 

A little of the best kind of cabbage seed for field culture. 

20 lb. of best Turnip seeds. 

10 bushels of Sainfoin seeds. 
8 Do of the Winter Vetches. 
2 Do of Rye-grass Seeds. 

50 lb. of Hop clover seed; and a little Burnet seed, if it is in 
estimation with Farmers. 

Perhaps he may add a few seeds of other kinds, perhaps he 
may encrease the quantities above, and possibly add some other 
instruments of Husbandry, tho' I have written for none, nor 

M From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


have I reason to expect any unless he may be disposed to send 
very useful ones without waiting a request. It is also possible, 
tho' I have very little expectation of its happening, that he may 
engage me a common plough-man. 

Your paying the cost of these things and forwarding them 
in a vessle for Potomac, will much oblige me; as it will to con- 
vey the letters herewith enclosed, to their respective addresses. 
I am, etc. 51 


Mount Vernon, Virginia, August 5, 1786. 

Sir: Excuse the liberty I take in putting the inclosed Letters 
under cover to you. It is to oblige Mr. James Bloxham who now 
lives with me, but who scarcely has sufficient knowledge of 
his own mind to determine whether to continue more than 
the present year (for which he is engaged) or not. In a word 
he seems rather to have expected to have found well organized 
farms, than that the end and design of my employing him 
was to make them so. He makes no allowances for the rav- 
ages of a nine year's war from which we are but just begin- 
ning to emerge, nor does he consider that if our system of 
Husbandry had been as perfect as it may be found on your 
Farms, or in some of the best farming Counties in England, 
that there would have been no occasion for his Services. 

What the old man has written to you respecting the com- 
ing over of his wife, sending over plows, seeds and so forth, 
I know not; because at different times he seems to be of dif- 
ferent opinions. I can only add therefore, if his family are to 
come, and by the way of London, that it would be well for 
some person in their behalf to open a correspondence with 
Messrs. Forrest and Stoddart Merchans, of that place, who 

"From the "Letter Book" copy in the Washington Papers. 


have Ships that pass by my door in their way to Alexandria, 
and would render the passage in one of them much more 
convenient, and less expensive than to any other place; tho 
in a Vessel bound to Norfolk in this State, (Virginia,) or to 
Annapolis, Baltimore, or Patuxent in the neighbouring one 
of Maryland, it would not be very inconvenient. In case of 
her coming, whatever Implements, Seeds, &c. may be requested 
by Mr. Bloxham on my Acct. had better be paid for by his 
Wife, and settled for here. 

I am sorry to be thus troublesome, but as Mr. Bloxham con- 
siders you as his Benefactor, and Friend, has addressed one of 
his Letters to you, and his Wife, if she finally resolves to come, 
will stand in need of advice and assistance, it is necessary that 
the best mode should be suggested. A ship from Bristol to 
either of the places above named, may, probably, be more con- 
venient than the rout by London, but of this you can judge 
better than I. I am etc. 52 


Mount Vernon, August 6, 1786. 

Sir: I have had the honor to receive your letter of the 7th. 
of Jany. from Bradford-Hall, in Suffolk, and thank you for 
the favor of opening a correspondence, the advantages of 
which will be so much in my favor. 

Agriculture has ever been amongst the most favourite 
amusements of my life, though I never possessed much skill 
in the art, and nine years total inattention to it, has added 
nothing to a knowledge which is best understood from prac- 
tice; but with the means you have been so obliging as to 

02 From the text kindly furnished by Forest G. Sweet, of Battle Creek, Mich. It 
varies from the "Letter Book" copy in minor verbal details only. 

1786] A PATENT PLOW 511 

furnish me, I shall return to it (though rather late in the day) 
with hope and confidence. 

The System of Agriculture (if the epithet of system can be 
applied to it), which is in use in this part of the United States, 
is as unproductive to the practitioners as it is ruinous to the 
land-holders. Yet it is pertinaciously adhered to. To forsake 
it; to pursue a course of husbandry which is altogether differ- 
ent and new to the gazing multitude, ever averse to novelty 
in matters of this sort, and much attached to their old customs, 
requires resolution; and without a good practical guide, may 
be dangerous; because, of the many volumes which have been 
written on this subject, few of them are founded on experi- 
mental knowledge, are verbose, contradictory, and bewilder- 
ing. Your Annals shall be this guide. The plan on which they 
are published, gives them a reputation which inspires confi- 
dence; and for the favor of sending them to me, I pray you 
to accept my very best acknowledgments. To continue them, 
will add much to the obligation. 

To evince with what avidity, and with how little reserve I 
embrace the polite and friendly ofTer you have made me of sup- 
plying me with " Men, Cattle, Tools, Seeds, or anything else 
that may add to my rural amusement", I will give you, Sir, 
the trouble of providing, and sending to the care of Wakelin 
Welch, Esqr. of London, Mercht. the following articles. 

Two of the simplest, and best constructed Plows for land 
which is neither very heavy nor Sandy. To be drawn by two 
horses. To have spare shares and Colters; and a mold on 
which to form new irons when the old ones are worn out, or 
will require repairing. 

I shall take the liberty in this place to observe, that some 
years ago, from a description, or recommendation of what was 
then called the Rotheram; or Patent Plow, I sent to England 


for one of them, and till it began to wear, and was ruined 
by a bungling Country Smith that no plow could have done 
better work, or appeared to have gone easier with two horses; 
but for want of a mold (wch. I had neglected to order with 
the Plow), it became useless after the irons which came in 
with it were much worn. 

A little of the best kind of Cabbage-seeds, for field culture. 

20 lbs. of the best Turnip-Seeds, for Do. 

10 Bushels of Sainfoin Seeds 

8 Bushls. of the Winter Vetches. 

2 Bushls. of Rye-grass Seeds. 

50 lbs. of Hop clover seeds, and If it is decided (for much 
has been said for and against it), that Burnet, as an early food, 
is valuable, I should be glad of a bushel of this seed also. 

Red clover seeds are to be had on easy terms in this Country, 
but if there are any other kinds of grass-Seeds (not included 
in the above) that you may think valuable, especially for early 
feeding or cutting, you would oblige me by adding a small 
quantity of the seeds, to put me in stock: Early grasses, unless 
a species can be found that will stand a hot Sun, and often- 
times severe droughts in the summer months, without much 
expence of cultivation, would suit our climate best. 

You see, Sir, that without ceremony, I avail myself of your 
kind offer; but if you should find in the course of our corre- 
spondence, that I am likely to become troublesome you can 
easily check me. Inclosed I give you an order on Wakelin 
Welch Esqr. for the cost of such things as you may have the 
goodness to send me. I do not at this time ask for any other 
implements of Husbandry than the Plows; but when I have 
read your annals (for they are but just come to hand) I may 
request more. In the meanwhile, permit me to ask what a 


good Plowman might be had for, annual wages, to be found 
(being a single man) in board, washing, and lodging? The 
writers upon Husbandry estimate the hire of labourers so dif- 
ferently in England, that it is not easy to discover from them 
whether one of the class I am speaking of would cost Eight, 
or Eighteen pounds a year. A good Plowman at low wages, 
would come very opportunely with the Plows here requested. 
By means of the application I made to my friend Mr. Fair- 
fax, of Bath, and through the medium of Mr. Rack, 53 a bailiff 
is sent to me, who, if he is acquainted with the best courses 
of cropping, will answer my purposes as a director or Super- 
intendant of my Farms. He has the appearance of a plain 
honest Farmer; is industrious; and, from the character given 
of him by a Mr. Peacy (with whom he has lived many years) 
is understanding in the management of Stock, and of most 
matters for which he is employed. How far his abilities may 
be equal to a pretty extensive concern, is questionable. And 
what is still worse, he has come over with improper ideas; 
for instead of preparing his mind to meet a ruinous course of 
cropping, exhausted Lands, and numberless inconveniences 
into which we had been thrown by an eight years War, he 
seems to have expected that he was coming to well organized 
Farms, and that he was to have met Plows, Harrows, and all 
the other implements of Husbandry in as high taste as the 
best farming Counties in England could have exhibited them. 
How far his fortitude will enable him to encounter these dis- 
appointments, or his patience and perseverence will carry him 
towards the work of reform, remains to be decided. With 
great esteem etc. 54 

53 Edmund Rack. He was secretary of the Agriculture Society of Bath, England. 
54 From a photostat of the original through the kindness of Dr, A. S. W. Rosenbach, 
of New York City. 



Mount Vernon, August 10, 1786. 

Dr. Marquis: I am to acknowledge the receipt of the agree- 
able letter you did me the honor to write to me on the 20th. 
of Jany., and at the sametime to congratulate you on the happy 
event announced in it. 

Permit me to assure you that nothing