George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Robert Cary & Company, 6 October 1773

To Robert Cary & Company

Mount Vernon Octobr 6th 1773.


I am almost ashamed to trouble you in the same year with such frequent orders for Goods; but as I am under a necessity of making some Repairs to, and alteration in my House, and did not get an Acct before, from the Undertaker of all the materials wanting, it must plead my excuse for requesting you to send me the under mentioned Articles—as also for the following Books for the use of Mr Custis, to whom they are to be charged.1 I am Gentn Yr most Obedt Servt.

Go: Washington

For Geo: Washington For Mr Custis2
100 Sqrs. best Crown glass 9 by 11 Wollastans Relegion of Nature delin:
A Cask of Whiting Hutchinson’s Ethicks, Law of Nature, Moral Beauty &ca
400 Wt of White Lead grd in Oyl over & above the last Order Beattie on Truth
30 lb. red Lead—2 lb. Lampblack Reid on the Human Mind
100 lb. Yellow Oaker. 10 lb. Umber Ferguson’s Institutes
20 Gall: best Brittish Lintseed Oyl for Inside Painting Vattels Law of Nature
9 pr best dovetaild Mortice Hings middle sized Grotius de Jure Belli & Pacis
3 pr Do larger Bynkershoek
9 Common brass cased Locks Turnbulls Moral Phylosophy
3 dble Do Springd Do best Fordyce’s Do Do
3 M 2d. Brads 3 M3d. Do 6 M 4d. Do 6 M 6d. Do King on the Origin of Evil
8 M claspd Nails—instead of Brads for Flooring Turnbulls Heineceius
40 M 4d. Nails. Brown’s Characteristicks
100 lbs. of Lead for Window Weights Smiths Moral Sentiments
50 Fathom of Sash Line Montesquieus Spirit of Laws
25 lbs. best Glew Lock on Government
half a Ton of unprepard Plaister of Paris Coneybear’s defence of the Christian Religion

Go: Washington

ALS, Bodleian Library, Oxford; ALB, DLC:GW. The letter is docketed: “Received 30 November 73 Goods Entd 105 Folo 386,” and “Received 30th Novemr Goods Abstd fol. 386.” The letter was sent “pr the Sophia Capt. Richardson.”

1As is the case with the other orders sent to Cary in 1773, there is no listing or invoice in GW’s letter book of items received from Cary after 1772 and he does not indicate in his account with Cary in Ledger B description begins Manuscript Ledger Book 2, 1772-93, in George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends that any shipments from Cary were received in 1773 or afterward. But see note 2 and GW to Cary, 10 July 1773, Enclosure: Invoice to Robert Cary & Co., 10 July, source note.

2Clearly these were books to be used by John Parke Custis in his studies at King’s College, which he never resumed. Although no record can be found of GW’s receiving any shipment from Cary, most of the titles appear in the inventory of Custis’s estate after his death in 1781 (see Fairfax County Will Book D—1, 278–85, ViFfCh). Among the works that GW ordered are: William Wollaston, Religion of Nature; Francis Hutcheson, Introduction to Moral Philosophy; James Beattie, Essay on the Nature and Immutability of Truth; Thomas Reid, Inquiry into the Human Mind; Adam Ferguson, Institutes of Moral Philosophy; Vattel, Law of Nations; Hugo Grotius, De Jure Belli au Paces; George Turnbull, Principles of Moral Philosophy; David Fordyce, Elements of Moral Philosophy; William King, Essay on the Origin of Evil; Johann Heineccius, Methodical System of Universal Law, trans. by George Turnbull; John Brown, Essay on the Characteristics; Adam Smith, Theory of Moral Sentiments; Montesquieu, Spirit of the Laws; John Locke, Two Treatises of Government, and John Conybeare, A Defence of Reveal’d Religion.

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