George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Wakelin Welch & Son, 16 August 1789

To Wakelin Welch & Son

New York, August 16th 1789.


I will thank you to forward the enclosed letter to Messrs Fenwick, Mason &Ca, merchants in Bourdeaux, by the earliest conveyance.1

I have requested the above Gentlemen to send me twenty six dozen of claret and the same quantity of champagne (if the latter can be had of the best quality at Bourdeaux) and have directed them to draw upon you at 30 days sight for the cost and charges of the before mentioned quantity—you will therefore be so good as to answer their drafts for that amount, and charge the same to the account of Gentlemen, Your most obedient servant

G. Washington

P.S. I will thank you to send me by the first vessel, which sails for New York, a terrestrial globe of the largest dimensions and of the most accurate and approved kind now in use.


Before the Revolution Wakelin Welch, a London merchant, was in partnership with Robert Cary & Co., GW’s London agents. In May 1783 Welch wrote his American customers that his former partners Cary and John Moorey had not been associated with the firm for some years and its management was now in his own hands (Welch to Thomas Jefferson, 31 May 1783, in Boyd, Jefferson Papers, description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 40 vols. to date. Princeton, N.J., 1950—. description ends 6:272). The firm had offices at 10 Fenchurch Building, London. In 1791 GW wrote Arthur Young that he had “closed my corrispondence with Wakelin Welch Esqr. & Son” (GW to Young, 15 Aug. 1791).

1For Fenwick, Mason & Company, see George Mason to GW, 19 June 1789, n.2. The enclosure was a letter from GW to Fenwick, Mason & Company stating that “the uncertainty there is in obtaining good wine from the common importations has induced me to request that you will furnish me by the first vessel which sails from your port to this place after you receive this, with twenty six dozen of the best claret, and the same quantity of champagne (if the latter can be had of the best quality at Bourdeaux) for the amount of which you will please to draw on Messrs Waklin Welch & Co. in London who have money of mine in their hands” (DLC:GW). In GW’s letter book this letter is mistakenly dated 18 August. On 25 Aug., however, GW had second thoughts about his order and wrote Fenwick, Mason & Company that “I have been informed that Bourdeaux is not the place where champagne wine can be furnished on the best terms, or from whence it is usually shipped.” He therefore asked that “instead of the twenty six dozen of champagne . . . send to me 12 dozen of vin de Grave” (DLC:GW). On the same day he requested Wakelin Welch & Son to answer the Bordeaux firm’s draft for the revised order (DLC:GW).

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