George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Philip Marsteller, 27 November 1786

To Philip Marsteller

Mo[un]t Vernon 27th Novr 1786.


I send my Barge for the German family with which I agreed on Saturday last, & for their necessaraies if they have any to bring. As I have no body about me who can converse with them in their own language, I pray you to inform them that it will be necessary they should exert themselves to learn English; that their residences in the room into which they will be first introduced may be temporary, as they probably will be removed from it as soon as I can conveniently provide another place (on this Estate) for them to live in; that they will have provisions given to them to dress in the manner they like best; that they may obtain vegetables, out of my Garden by applying to the Gardener, to eat with their meat—and lastly, that I wish to impress upon them in strong terms the propriety of diligent attention to their duty, as I shall expect this of them, & shall myself be hurt if their idle conduct obliges me to remind them of a breach of their contract.1

As there is no hurry in the case, I will take a more leisure moment to write to you on the matter hinted to you already.2 I am Sir, &c.

G: Washington

P.S. Pray ask, & let me know if the man understands thatching houses with straw.


1Philip Marsteller, a merchant in Alexandria, obtained for GW a German family named Overdonck; they were brought to Mount Vernon on this date as indentured servants. See Marsteller to GW, this date.

2GW wrote to Marsteller on 15 Dec. about the possibility of Marsteller’s acting as his commission agent in Alexandria to purchase for him goods and material at reduced prices.

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