George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Lamar, Hill, Bisset, & Company, 6 December 1785

From Lamar, Hill, Bisset, & Company

Madeira 6th Decr 1785.


We wrote to you under the 22d of last June, requesting to be informed if we might ship your pipe of wine ordered by Mr Henry Hill, by way of Norfolk, as vessels seldom offer from hence to Alexandria. We are not yet however favoured with your answer.

Upon the supposition notwithstanding that from the length of time the above order has been lying by us, you may be in some measure in want of Madeira wine, and anxious not to appear neglectful of so old a correspondent, we have ventured to deviate from your instructions, and of our own accord have shipped your pipe of wine to Norfolk, instead of waiting until an opportunity might cast up for Alexandria.

We have consigned the above pipe of wine to our friend Doctor Taylor there, who, we are convinced will take every necessary Care respecting it, until he receives your directions to forward it to your address.

We have thought it prudent, in order to obviate the danger of it’s being either adulterated or pilfer’d, in it’s way from Norfolk to your house, to have it cased. We judged it also adviseable to insure it.1

If, Sir under these circumstances, it is agreeable to you to receive this pipe of wine, you will be pleased to accept the enclosed draft for its’ cost £42.12.4 stg as noted underneath,2 and when your leisure suits forward it to Mr H. Hill of Philadelphia. Or if on the other hand you disapprove of what we have done, you will take the trouble of writing a few lines to Dr Taylor, and he on your declining to take the wine, has our directions to dispose of it for our account. We have the honour to subscribe ourselves—Sir your most obedient servts

Lamar, Hill Bisset, & Co.


1For the correspondence regarding the pipe of Madeira, see Lamar, Hill, Bisset, & Co. to GW, 20 Aug., n.1.

2The account “underneath” because of a mistake in addition shows a total charge of £43.12.4 instead of £42.12.4, and the company sends a second letter on 17 Dec. to correct the error: “We had the pleasure of forwarding you the original of the above by Captain Powel of the Active, who also carried the pipe of wine, therein mention’d.

“We have so soon taken the liberty of again addressing you on account of a mistake we have discovered was committed by us, in the amount of the draft enclosed for the cost of the pipe of wine sent, which ought to have been, as you will please to remark by the account sent, £43.12.4 stg instead of £42.12.4 stg, the sum for which it was.

“We have therefore ventured to enclose you a second bill, wherein the above mistake is rectified, and which (if it is agreeable to you to receive the wine) we are to request you will accept, and forward to Mr Hill, in lieu of the former one.

“We are convinced Sir you will be candid enough to excuse the trouble we are thus giving you, and impute it to one of those little oversights which in the hurry of business, even the most careful, are sometimes liable to” (DLC:GW). The new bill was:

One pipe of fine 3 years old Madeira wine, of the common gauge £37. 0.0
A case for the above 1.10.0
10 per cent for difference of gauge on £38.10. stg 3.17.0
42. 7.0
Insurance on £42.7.0 at 3 per cent including commn 1. 5.4

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