George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Robert Cary & Company, 25 July 1769

To Robert Cary & Company

Mount Vernon July 25: 1769.


Inclosd you will receive Invoices of Goods wanted for myself & Master Custis for this place and our Plantations on York River, as also for Miss Custis which I beg may be sent by Captn Johnstoun if the Orders gets to hand in time, if not, by any other Vessel bound to this River1—But if there are any Articles containd in either of the respective Invoices (Paper only excepted) which are Taxd by Act of Parliament for the purpose of Raising a Revenue in America, it is my express desire and request, that they may not be sent, as I have very heartily enterd into an Association (Copies of which I make no doubt you have seen otherwise I shoud have Inclosed one) not to import any Article which now is, or hereafter shall be Taxed for this purpose until the said Act or Acts are repeal⟨d.⟩ I am therefore particular in mentioning this matter as I am fully determined to adhere religiously to it, and may perhaps have wrote for some things unwittingly which may be under these Circumstances.2

Many of your Letters lying before me I shall take notice of such parts of them as require answering and shall begin first with Mr McLean because the trouble you have had with him on my Acct deserves my particular acknowledgments; but even here, I hope there is but little occasion to be explicit, as he will undoubtedly have paid the Money before this Letter can get to hand—True it is, the Draft arose in consequence of a Debt due to me from Colo. Robt Stewart, and as true it is, that I shoud have been unwilling to have done any thing that might have distressd that Gentleman; but surely Mr McLean will not pretend to say, that there was not time to have rectified the mistake he attributes the Non-payment to, between the hour of his Acceptance of the Bill and the date of your Letter of the first of March. Certain I am it woud give Colo. Stewart a good deal of uneasiness to think I had met with any obstacle in receiving the Money as I lent it to him five or Six years ago without Security and without Interest, having nothing but the Word of a Gentleman of no Estate to repay it to me again.3

I observe what you have mentioned in a Letter of the 12th of August, last year in respect to the payment of the Duties of Master Custis’s Tobo and not doubting the justice of the Remark, I have only to add, that I shall confide in your pursuing such measures as appears most conducive (under the change of Circumstances which are often happening) to his Interest.4

By a Letter which I have just receivd from Mr Josh Valentine I am informd that 37 Hhds of Mastr Custis’s Tobo and all mine (amounting to 17 Hhds) are put on board Captn Peterson to your Address, on both which parcels you will please to Insure Ten pounds pr Hhd5—I have no Tobo on this River, having made none for two or three years past and believe I never shall again—There is, in my opinion, a very great appearance of another short Crop of Tobo owing to several concurrant Causes, but more especially to a Drought which has been severely felt in most parts of the Country during the whole Month of June, part of May, and till the middle of this Instt.

I am obligd to you for your notice of Mr Magowan, who is now returnd & got fixed in a valuable living in the Provence of Maryland not far from this place6—As it is probable I shall have occasion to draw upon you at the next October Genl Court for some part (perhaps four, five, or Six hund[re]d pounds) of Master Custis’s Money, I take this oppertunity of mentioning of it to you7 and am Gentn Yr Most Hble Servt

Go: Washington


1In addition to this order for goods to be sent to Mount Vernon (see the enclosure), GW copied into his letter book the invoices of goods ordered for his dower plantations, for John Parke Custis’s York River plantations and Custis’s personal use, and for Martha Parke Custis. He also listed books that he ordered for John Parke Custis (see GW to Jonathan Boucher, 4 Dec. 1769, n.1).

2For the terms of Virginia’s nonimportation association of May 1769, see George Mason to GW, 28 April 1769, n.1. The Potomac goods were shipped by Cary on 23 Jan. 1770 and their receipt acknowledged by GW on 20 Aug. in a letter to Cary. Cary shipped the goods destined for York River on 5 Feb. 1770. Reflecting a determination to take the lead in promoting the purpose as well as abiding by terms of the association, GW had reduced his orders for Mount Vernon from Cary to the point that Cary’s total charges for the goods ordered in 1769 was £85.11.1 (see Cary’s invoice, 23 Jan. 1770), as compared with £315.13.6 in 1768 (see Cary’s invoice, 28 Sept. 1768).

3For GW’s drawing upon Laughlin Macleane for payment of an old debt of Robert Stewart’s, see GW to Macleane and GW to Cary, both 6 June 1768, and the references in the notes of these documents. Cary’s letter of 1 Mar. 1769, to which this paragraph is an answer, has not been found. GW’s letter to Cary of 20 Aug. 1770 indicates that Macleane had paid the debt.

4Cary’s letter has not been found, but GW wrote Cary on 20 July 1767 asking why duties were not paid out of John Parke Custis’s balance with the company, and on 20 June 1768, in response to a missing letter from Cary, GW wrote Cary conceding that he had no doubt “of your readiness of determining for the best” in the matter.

5See Joseph Valentine’s letter of 8 July. Valentine reported nineteen, not seventeen, hogsheads belonging to GW, and Cary credits GW with nineteen hogsheads bringing net proceeds of £237.3.9.

7GW wrote Cary on 16 Dec. 1769 that he had drawn on him “this day in favour of Marmaduke Norfleet for One hundred pounds Sterling which please to pay and place to Acct of Mr Jno. Parke Custis” (ALB, DLC:GW). There is no record, however, of GW’s having drawn on Custis’s balance with Cary in 1769 or 1770.

Index Entries