To George Augustine Washington
Stafford Court Ho[use] 24th Apl 1786
The extreme heaviness of the roads occasioned by the late rains, and gullied situation, prevented my getting further than this place yesterday. and now I am waiting a while for a cessation of rain, rather than to take Joe out in it.1
It did not occur to me when I was making out my Memorandum for you, that the cause which prevented Morris from proceeding in his field for experiments, might not be unfavourable for scratching over with the harrow (which was then idle) the grd in which the clover Seed failed last; and which I would wish to put in Timothy. Should this letter therefore reach you in time—it is to desire, in case the harrow is not otherwise employed, that you will have it run over the ground last mentioned just to loosen a little of the Soil on the top, then sow the Timothy Seed, and cross harrow it—this I presume, will enable the Seed to take root. I request this on the supposition that the harrow and Oxen are idle, for if they are otherwise engaged, I do not desire it.2
As the Season is fast advancing when Corn should be in the ground, no plow work should be lost that can be avoided— therefore, if they cannot go on with the experiment, they may be listing, or doing something to facilitate this business.3
Let the farmer get forks and poles and support the drilled Wheat behind the stables; without which I fear it will Coll[ap]se, & I shall miss saving seed from it. If there is any thing else he can be employed usefully about, and he is inclined to do, it will be better than idleness—Let him also ride round all the plantations with you, and hear his observations, if he points out any thing that appears preferable in the mode of working, it might be tried—Give my love to all at home—the weather seems inclined to moderate, & I am preparing to proceed. Sincerely & affectionately I am, Yrs
ALS, MiU-C: Schoff Collection.
1. In his diary entry for Sunday, 23 April, GW wrote: “Set off after breakfast, on a journey to Richmond—to acknowledge in the General Court some Deeds for Land sold by me as Attorney for Colo. George Mercer which, it seems, could not be executed without” (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 4:316). For the sale of George Mercer’s Virginia property in November 1774, which GW conducted, see GW to John Tayloe, 30 Nov. 1774, n.2. Joe was GW’s postilion.
2. It was at this point that George Augustine Washington, as the new estate manager at Mount Vernon, took over from GW the task of assembling and writing the weekly farm reports. See the editorial note in Farm Reports, 26 Nov. 1785–16 April 1786. For George Augustine Washington’s Mount Vernon farm reports, see CD-ROM:GW
3. Listing was preparing land for a crop of cotton or Indian corn by making ridges and furrows with the plow or beds and alleys with the hoe.