George Washington Papers

From George Washington to William Minor, 27 May 1785

To William Minor

Mt Vernon 27th May 1785


My objection to paying your account when here—was, now is, &, whether it is done or not, will be—that it comes neither under the letter nor spirit of my letter to Mr Baker. My object was to give Lawce Posey a years schooling, to fit him for some of the better occupations of life: to do this, I agreed to pay his board also, both of which together, I was inform’d would amount at the free school, to £17—Md Curry. What followed? Why he neither went to the School, nor boarded with the person under whose care he was intended to be put—this by your own confession. Is it just, is it reasonable then that I should look back to expences which had been incurred previous to the date of my letter; or even forward to what might be incurred, if the end which I had in view was not to be answered by it? If the Child did not go to the school nor derive the benefits which were intended him from it, could it be supposed I meant to pay for his board without; when his fathers House & eye were more proper than any other? Might he not as well have been at home with his father, as at any other place idle? Upon these grounds it was & under this state I repeat it, that if there is a disinterested man upon Earth, who will say I ought to comply with your request, I will do it:1 & you may have the chusing of him or them; for it does not suit me to go from home on this business. I am &c.

G. Washington


1It was when John Posey returned to Queenstown, Md., in October or November 1772 after several months in Virginia and removed his son St. Lawrence from William Minor’s tavern (see Minor to GW, 24 May 1785, n.1) that he probably had with him the missing letter from GW to Francis Baker in which GW offered to pay the cost both of St. Lawrence’s board at Mr. Baker’s house, or tavern, and of his schooling at the free school in Queenstown. Posey did not give the letter to Baker, but GW did soon assume the responsibility of paying for St. Lawrence’s board and schooling (see John Posey to GW, 9 Aug. 1773, Francis Baker to GW, 26 Mar. 1774, and Cash Accounts, November 1774). Even Minor, perhaps, came to see the absurdity of his asking GW to pay for expenses which were incurred by St. Lawrence even before GW made his offer to pay for his schooling and at a time when St. Lawrence in fact was not going to school.

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