George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Rumney, Jr., 9 February 1785

From John Rumney, Jr.

W[hi]t[e]haven [England] 9th Feby 1785


In Compliance with your request to me when in America I have made every Enquiry relating to the Flags that I could, I have sent you three Patterns in a Box, viz. one of black Stone or Marble from the Isle of Man which comes at 13d. per Flag deliv’d in Douglass, the Freight from thence to this Place will be but trifeling, & whatever you pitch upon to have sent out, we shall be as reasonable as possible in the freight out from here.1 The next is a white Flag from this Neighbourhood, with Veins in it, the Person which furnishes that will not do it under 9d. per Flag, the other is a white Flag pretty hard & I think of a better Quality than the other, got in this Neighbourhood, which may be got for 7½ or 8d. I have been disappointed in getting some from Ireland, which I expect every Tide, I shall send them by a Vessel we have going to Alexa. in abt 6 Weeks.2 I have inclos’d you a Plan I got from Ireland with Directions for laying the Flags for your Perusal, also one from the Person that furnishes the Vein’d Flag.3 I have made every Enquiry I could for a Joiner & Bricklayer, but have only succeeded in the former who I now send out in the Cæsar Ct. Atkinson, he is a very sober industrious Young Man & a complat Worker. I got him on the best Terms I could as you will see by the inclos’d Indenture.4 We have advanc’d him as under, which you will please stop out of his first Years Wages by Agreement, & at any Convenient Opportunity may pay said Sum into our Store in Alexandria to Mr Sanderson.5 On your writing to me upon fixing which Flag you will have, I shall give the Orders to have them provided. I am with Compts to Mrs Washington, with the greatest Esteem, Sr Yr mo. obt Servt

John Rumney

Advanced Mathew Baldridge £ 6. 6.0
his passage to Alexandria 5. 5. 
two Agreements on Stamps 1. 8.3
pd Mr Younger6 £12.19.3


1Douglas is a port on the Isle of Man.

2Rumney was not able to send the samples of Irish flagstones until July 1785; in the meantime GW had decided to use the cheaper white ones from Rumney’s “Neighbourhood.” See Rumney to GW, 3 July 1785, and GW to Rumney, 22 June 1785.

3One of these enclosures (DLC:GW) is a “Ruff Sketch of hand” of a floor paved with alternating black and white flagstones in a diamond pattern, followed by instructions for laying the flags to achieve the desired effect. The other one may be George Darley’s plans for the Mount Vernon piazza, dated at North Strand, Dublin, 2 Nov. 1784. A photocopy of this is at Mount Vernon and a transcription of it is in CD-ROM:GW.

4The joiner Matthew Baldridge arrived at Mount Vernon on 8 May. See Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 4:136. The indenture, which has not been found, provided that Baldridge would remain in GW’s employ for three years (see note 6). Baldridge’s salary was £25 per annum for the first two years (see Ledger B description begins Manuscript Ledger Book 2, 1772-93, in George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends , 249).

5By “as under,” Rumney was referring to the notations at the end of his letter.

6Another enclosure in Rumney’s letter is a statement, dated 8 Jan. 1785, of payment of £1.8.3 by Rumney, “on Behalf of his Excellency General Washington,” to Peter How Younger for drawing up for GW a three-year agreement with Matthew Baldridge and for paying the fees for the indenture (DLC:GW).

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