George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Samuel Powel, 2 November 1785

To Samuel Powel

Mount Vernon 2d Novr 1785.

Dear Sir,

I have had the honor to receive your favor of the 10th ulto together with the wheat from the Cape of Good Hope; which you were so obliging as to send me by the revd Mr Griffith; for both I thank you. The latter shall have a fair trial in the same inclosure with some presented to me by Colo. Spaight, (a Delegate in Congress from No. Carolina) which had been planted, & had obtained a vigorous growth before yours came to hand. This also was from the Cape, & brought probably by the same Vessel.1 I sowed it in Drills two feet apart, & five inches asunder in the rows, to make the most I could of it by cultivation in the Spring: this method will in my opinion be more productive than Mr Bordeley’s. It ought to be so indeed, as the expence of ground is much greater, & the workings will probably be oftener.2

I pray you to present my best wishes & most respectful compliments to Mrs Powel—to which please to add, & to accept yourself those of Mrs Washington. I have the honor to be &c.

G: Washington


1GW on 27 Aug. sowed the wheat that Richard Dobbs Spaight (1758–1802) had given him on 1 July. It was probably on his visit of 15 Oct. that David Griffith (1742–1789), the rector of Fairfax Parish, brought GW the wheat that Powel had sent. See Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 4:158, 187, 206. GW recorded in his diary on this date, 2 Nov.: “Perceived the Wheat from the Cape, which had been sent to me by Mr. Powell of Philada., & which I sowed on the 19th. of last Month had come up very well” (ibid., 217).

2See Powel to GW, 5 July (second letter), n.2, for reference to John Beale Bordley’s recent publication on the raising of crops. Perhaps the copyist changed to “expence of ground” GW’s “expanse of ground.”

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