George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Melancton Smith, 20 December 1784

To Melancton Smith

Mt Vernon 20th Decr 1784


Your letter of the 27th of October came to my hands the 14th inst: the box of Plate is not yet arrived.1

It would have been very obliging in you, & would have done me an essential kindness, had you as soon as this Box arrived at New York (which you say was the latter part of summer) given me notice thereof by Post; altho’ there might have been no opportunity at that time, or in any short time thereafter 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; & having heard soon after, that that Gentlen was under peculiar embarrassment, and not a word from him since 2—I gave up every idea of having my commission complied with by him, & supplied myself, not fourteen days ago, in another way.3 I now have both setts, neither of which can be disposed of, one having been used, & the other having my Crest & 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 transcript of my Accots; yet he gave me a short statement of the debit & credit of my dealings with him, by which there is a balance of £65.5.4 York Curry due to me—this sum I left in his hands declaredly and by agreement to be applied towards payment for the Plate his brother was to get for me. If you will be pleased (if Mr Parkers books are in your possession) to examine into this matter—or if they are not, will make out an account 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 accommodate myself to your wishes in any other way I am able.4 I am Sir &c.

G: Washington


1In addition to the address, Smith’s letter of 27 Oct. had these notations: “Philada December 10th 1784. received from New York and forwarded by, Sir, your most respectful Servts Coxe & Frazier”; and “Alexa. Decr 13th, recd & forwarded by Sir, your very Hbl. Servant Thos Porter.” See Smith to GW, 26 Jan. 1785.

2For GW’s dealing with Daniel Parker in purchasing silver, see Daniel Parker to GW, 21 June 1784, and note. For the silver that Smith sent GW, see Smith to GW, 27 Oct., n.1.

3What silver GW bought “not fourteen days ago” and from whom he bought it has not been determined. See Kathryn C. Buhler, Mount Vernon Silver (Mount Vernon, 1957), 42–45.

4See note 1 and Smith’s response of 26 Jan. 1785, in which Smith encloses a statement of GW’s account with his new firm, Smith & Wyckoff.

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