George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Peterson & Taylor, 18 April 1788

From Peterson & Taylor

Alexandria Apl 18th 1788

Honoured Sir

We have the pleasure to inform you that by Capt. Levingston you will receive the Bill of Scantlin compleat together with 2300 feet of 1¼ In. Plank as well 1300 feet of 1 In. D[itt]o all of which we flatter ourselves will meet your approbation as theire hath been nothing lacking on our part to have it procured in the best mannor theire will be still wanting some 2 In. Plank which shall be forwarded immediately the Vesel not being large enoug to bring the Quantity at once the 1¼ is well seasoned but Quartered, broader could not be had seasoned.1 Theirefore we hope this will answer your purpose as well you will please to direct the Scipper whare to discharge that he may not be detaind longer than necessary.2 permit us to Subscribe Your very Hume St

Peterson & Taylor


1For GW’s purchase of scantling and plank for his new barn from the Alexandria firm Peterson & Taylor, see GW to Peterson & Taylor, 5 Jan., and notes. GW’s diary for 30 April includes the entry: “Drawing, with the Plantation Carts, & Waggon, the Scantling from the landing to the New barn” (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 5:313).

2GW complained to Peterson & Taylor when writing from Mount Vernon on 10 May: “Gentn Enclosed is a Bill of the Scantling which you sent me according to the measurement of it. There is a deficiency of 21 pieces, as you will see by the bill annexed which is a copy of the one sent to you last winter; you will see the dimensions of the deficient pieces by comparing the two bills—There are 15 pieces among those sent which are not conformable to any mentioned in the original bill, and of course are useless to me, unless 7 of them, which are 12 ft long—6 by 4, should be included with the studs 10 ft long 6 by 4, of which you will observe there is a deficiency of 19—I would wish to be informed whether you could supply those pieces which are wanting immediately because if you cannot I must get them myself.

“Should you have any doubts respecting the proper measurment of the Scantling they can easily be removed (and it is my wish that th[e]y may) by being measured by yourselves or by a person of your own appointing as the pieces are now stocked and can be run over in a few hours. I am Gentlemen &c. Go. Washington” (LB, DLC:GW).

Peterson & Taylor responded on 2 June: “your Letter of the 10th May mentiones a deficiency of 21 peices of Scantling not delivd agreable to your Bill, we are at a Loss to Know by whome the Neglect, or deficiency may be with wheather the Skipper or those that got the Scantling, as we was very particular in our Instructions to have it got in a particular manner, and have, accounted for the same agreable to the Bill sent. however, as yours of 10th May have not been parused by us untill the 30 following, we expect you have supplyed said 21 peices else where, and most Likely the peices you mention received and not sent for may answer some part of the Building, and yours, Inclosed, respecting the measurement we have not the Least doubt of, and Submitt thereto, you will therefore in complyance to the agrement Receive by the Bearer Capt. Fountan 10 M. feet of good, Inch plank and seasoned we might have sent the plank Sooner but, your former, advised that you was not in haste, p[r]ovided they ware good & seasoned which we have no doubt, but thay will meet your approbation. . . .

“P.S. if you should want any more than 10 M. the Bearer will supply them” (DLC:GW).

George Augustine Washington acknowledged from Mount Vernon on 5 June the letter of Peterson & Taylor of 2 June: “Gentlemen I am unable to reply to Your Letter of the 2d Inst. as the General is absent and have not the agreement respecting the plank and scantling—the ten thousand feet has been recd. ⟨W⟩hen the General returns the plank will be ⟨exam⟩ined and You shall recieve an ans⟨wer⟩ to your Letter” (DLC:GW). See also Peterson & Taylor to GW, 14 July.

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