George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Samuel Hanson, 27 January 1787

From Samuel Hanson

Alexa[ndria] 27th Jany 1787


Your instructions of this date, respecting your Nephews, I shall punctually follow.1 I have taken an Acct of the cloathes they brought with them, and shall take care that they are neither lost or abused. I had advised them to send their Shoes to be mended at Mount-Vernon, as the Tradesmen charge nearly the first cost of the shoes for the slightest repairs. If my proposal meet with your approbation, I shall see that they are sent; as also any of their cloth cloathes that require the Tailor—I think it my duty to promote your views relative to their frugality, and shall endeavour to check any inclinations they may discover of a contrary tendency. With perfect respect I remain, Sir your most obedt Servt

S. Hanson of Saml


1GW’s nephews, the brothers George Steptoe and Lawrence Augustine Washington, had begun boarding at Samuel Hanson of Samuel’s house while attending Alexandria Academy. It would appear that GW either wrote to Hanson or sent verbal instructions to him on this date. No letter has been found. On 18 Dec. Hanson wrote George Augustine Washington setting out the terms on which he had agreed to take in the two boys: “According to my promise of this Morning, I take this Method to inform you of the terms upon which I propose taking Young Gentlemen as Boarders.

“1st The Expence of Board & Washing & mending 35£.

“2d One fourth of the above sum to be advanced at the beginning of Each Quarter.

“3d The Boys to find their own Beds.

“4th The Boys to be informed by their Parents or Guardians that they are to be accountable to me for their Conduct out of School, and to be impressed with a conviction that in Case of Misbehaviour & Complaint made in Consequence thereof, to the Teacher at the Academy, reproof or Chastisement will ensue.

“This regulation I hope will be thought necessary not only with respect to the preservation of Decorum in my family, but with regard to the morals of the Boys themselves, who, without such a restriction, would, I apprehend, be apt to keep bad hours, & get in to improper Company especially on the Sabbath, when I should think it incumbent on me to see that they attended some place of publick religious Worship.

“The price of Board I have set down as low as possible, following the only guide I could on this Subject (never having had Boarders) viz. the price paid in this place by Grown Gentlemen, which is 45£, exclusive of Lodging & Wash⟨ing⟩” (DLC:GW). From Hanson’s correspondence with GW, it would appear that his pay was well earned. See Hanson’s letters of 23 Sept., 18 Nov. 1787, 16, 23 Mar., 4 May, 7 Aug., and 2 Oct. 1788.

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