George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Jacob Read, 29 June 1784

From Jacob Read

Annapolis [Md.] 29th June 1784


Mr Vidler the Architect of whom I had the honour to inform you when at Mount Vernon is the bearer of the present Letter. his Visit to Virginia is to inform himself from his own Observation of the best place in which he Can settle and exercise his trade. I find he has sent to Europe for a Considerable Number of hands and will be soon able to undertake any piece of Work that may offer.

Mr Vidler expressed a great desire to See a General who has made so great a Figure and in so few Years led his Country men to Freedom, and Will be particularly happy if he Can assist in perfecting any of your plans for improving or beautifying Mount Vernon, at his request I do myself the pleasure to address this Letter to you and to assure you that Capt. Stuart with whom he Came to this Country mentions him as a man of the most modest and respectful deportment and as Skilful in his business, he appears to be a man of Sense and is well recommended.1

I request the favour of you Sir to present my most respectful Compliments to Mrs Washington and Miss Basset & to inform the latter that I delivered her Commands Safe in Annapolis.

The Committee of the States were to have Assembled on the 26th but as yet we have but Six States represented, today we hope to be able to proceed to business as several members are expected—Mr Wilson of Philadelphia & the Atty Genl of Pensylvania Came to town Yesterday on the business of Wyoming but there being no Court and the other party not appearing they took wing again last night 2—They inform that the Trial of Monsr De longchamp was over & that he had been found Guilty by the Jury on Three distinct Charges in an Indictment but his Sentence is not known. Yesterday was the day on which the Court had ordered him to be brought up for Judgement. The Minister of France is gone, and Monsr de Marbois Certainly Married 3—I ask pardon for this intrusion on your time and am with the most perfect esteem and regard Sir Your Most Obedient and most obliged Servt

Jacob Read


1Edward Vidler delayed coming to Mount Vernon until April 1785, when GW wrote in his diary: “A Mr. Vidler, to whom I had written (an Undertaker at Annapolis) came here and opened the cases wch. contained my Marble chimney piece—but for want of Workmen could not undertake to finish my New room” (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 4:114). The “Marble chimney piece” was sent to him by Samuel Vaughan (see GW to Samuel Vaughan, 6 April, 20 June 1784, and GW to Benjamin Vaughan and to Samuel Vaughan, 5 Feb. 1785).

2In November 1782 James Wilson and William Bradford, Jr. (1755–1795), the attorney general of Pennsylvania, appeared before a congressionally constituted commission, or court, to defend Pennsylvania’s claims to the Wyoming Valley against the claims advanced by the state of Connecticut. The commissioners ruled that Connecticut had no governing rights to the disputed territory and left it to the state of Pennsylvania to resolve the conflicting claims of private owners. On 23 Jan. 1784, in answer to a petition of Connecticut settlers in the Wyoming Valley, Congress asked the states of Pennsylvania and Connecticut to appear before its committee of states so that “the private right of soil within” the Wyoming territory could be determined (JCC, description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends 26:45). Bradford, representing Pennsylvania, announced his arrival in Annapolis on 28 June, but when the committee of states met on 5 July, no one from Connecticut appeared (see DNA:PCC, item 49, and JCC, description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends 27:567). The final resolution to the Wyoming dispute came on 26 May 1786 when Congress resolved that Connecticut should relinquish all claims to lands in Pennsylvania in exchange for Ohio lands, known as the Western Reserve (see JCC, description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends 30:310–11, 31:654–5).

3Thomas Jefferson wrote Charles Thomson on 21 May in Philadelphia: “The principal interesting occurence here is a very daring insult committed on Mr. Marbois by a Frenchman who calls himself the Chevalr. [Charles-Julien] de Longchamps, but is in fact the nephew of the Minister’s steward’s wife. He obliged him in his own defence to box in the streets like a porter” (Boyd, Jefferson Papers, description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 40 vols. to date. Princeton, N.J., 1950—. description ends 7:281–82). The fight between the two Frenchmen took place on 19 May, the day after GW left Philadelphia. On 12 July Longchamps was fined and sentenced to twenty one months in jail by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The Longchamps-Marbois affair became a cause célèbre when the French government insisted that Longchamps be returned to France to be tried for infringing on the rights of a French diplomat. Barbé de Marbois did not mention the affair when he wrote GW on 8 June of his engagement to Elizabeth Moore of Philadelphia.

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