To John Augustine Washington
Mount Vernon, March 27, 1786
Your letter of the 17th did not reach me till yesterday afternoon.1 Whence your overseers apprehensions proceed, I know not; for if I recollect right, I gave him, myself, assurances of the plan when I was in Berkeley in the fall of 1784; and since, have informed Mr. Muse that he was to receive a confirmation of the lease. It is true that, being a nonresident on the Lott he would have been excluded, had it not been for the communication of your wishes, that he might have it, antecedant to the above period; because, for reasons which will readily occur to you, I had established it as a maxim to accept no Tenants that did not mean to reside on the Land; or who had land of their own adjoining to it, not expecting, in either case, much improvement on, or much justice to mine under these circumstances.2
At the time I sent you the flour that was manufactured at my Mill, I requested to be informed if you could tell me where corn was to be had in your parts, or within your knowledge; but having received no answer to that letter, nor any one from you since, till the one above acknowledged; I sent to York River for 200 Barr., which I have just landed. I do not therefore stand in need of that at the little Falls Quarter.
Herewith you will receive an Alexandria Gazette containing a demd. upon the subscribers to the Potomack Navigation for two other dividends for carrying on the work, which the directors mean to do with spirit; and they hope to good effect this summer. It also contains an address from Mr. Stoddart to Messrs. Washington & Co. the first of whom I hope has, ’ere this, seen the impropriety of hazarding a valuable estate upon so precarious a tenure as trade and either has, already, or soon will withdraw himself from it. I beg when you see him, that you will give my love and thanks to him, for the fruit trees he sent me, which came safe, and were a very valuable present.3
All here join most cordially, in every good wish for you, my sister and family, and with every sentiment of regard and affection I am ever yrs.
Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington, description begins John C. Fitzpatrick, ed. The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745–1799. 39 vols. Washington, D.C., 1931–44. description ends 28:395–96.
1. Letter not found.
3. The Potowmack Company’s advertisement ran in the Virginia Journal and Alexandria Advertiser on 23 Mar.; Benjamin Stoddert’s “address” may have appeared in either or both the missing issues of 9 or 16 March. In 1785 GW had dealings with Stoddert, a Georgetown merchant, regarding the support of GW’s nephews, George Steptoe Washington and Lawrence Augustine Washington (Stoddert to GW, 21 June 1785). On 22 Mar. GW notes in his diary planting “in three Rows 177 of the wild, or Cherokee plumb; (sent me by Mr. Geo. A. Washington)” (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 4:297).