George Washington Papers

From George Washington to John Campbell, 10 May 1789

To John Campbell

New-York, May 10th 1789.


If a white horse, which your Servant was on the day I travelled with you from Bladensburg to Baltimore, has recovered of his lameness, and you have no particular predilection for him, I should be glad, as he is so good a match for the one I had of Mr Prescott, if you would sell him to, or swap him with me.1

Mrs Washington, with a nephew of mine (Mr Lewis) will, I expect be in Bladensburg on the morning of the 13th, on their way to this place, when the matter may be effected, if agreeable to you—If it is by way of exchange, which would be more convenient to me than to pay the cash, it will be for the horse on which Mr Lewis will ride, and which will be either one of his own of which I know nothing, and therefore can say nothing—or one of my chariot horses now 7 years old this spring—spirited and good—but by an accidental stroke of his hind foot against the cock of his foreshoe (in a mud hole) a day or two before I left home, was rendered unfit for the journey and left—but now is, I am informed, quite well.

If it is for cash only you would part with your horse I must give what you shall think a horse of his age (which I was told was 10 or 11) is worth, and will pay your draught upon me at this place for the amount.

I feel the necessity of making an apology for offering to buy without knowing you were disposed to sell, and shall rely on your goodness for an excuse. I am Sir, Your most obedient humble Servant.

G. Washington


1Campbell replied to GW’s request in a letter of 18 May which has not been found, agreeing to the sale of the horse and setting a price of 35 guineas. See GW to Campbell, 31 May 1789. The money was to be carried to Campbell by William Hunter of Alexandria, who was returning from New York. On 3 June Tobias Lear wrote to Clement Biddle, GW’s agent in Philadelphia, that the “President will thank you to put into the hands of Mr Wm Hunter Junr of Alexa. thirty five Guineas, for him to deliver to Mr John Campbell of Bladensbg (on his way to Alexa.) in payment for a Horse sent by Mr Campbell to the Presidt. The reason of giving you this trouble is because the Presdt desired me to inform Mr Campbell that he would receive the money by Mr Hunter: but Mr H. leaving this place before I had an opportunity of delg it to him, and understanding that he will be several days in Phila. the Presidt tho’t best to have the money deld to him there—There is a Balce due from Mr H. to the Presidt and perhaps he will be desirous of paying the 35 Gs to Mr Campbell without receiving them from you; but this would not be agreeable to the Presdt for he engaged to send the money by Mr Hunter. You will please to let the Guineas be sealed & directed to Mr Jno. Campbell” (ViMtvL).

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