George Washington Papers

From George Washington to John Hoomes, 17 February 1791

To John Hoomes

Philadelphia February 17th 1791.


The state of the roads has been such as to have occasioned some delay in the passage of your letter to me, and some matters of importance which have pressed upon me since the receipt of it has retarded my acknowledgement thereof until now.1

It was not because I had any doubt of the collection for the services of Royal Gift for I allow no credit—nor that I inclined to receive a specific sum for them, but to place it in the power of the person, to whom, I might confide him to affix his own terms, and to avoid at the same time all grounds of dispute in a settlement thereafter.

If you incline to take him in this way, no time is to be lost in deciding at once the sum you will allow for the use of him from the first day of April until the first day of August, because it is the anxious wish of the people of this and the States northward of it to get him nearer to them, but not mine to have him far removed from Mount Vernon, or in the possession of any on whose care I cannot place entire confidence—and because if your letter does not reach this place by the 5 of next month it may come too late for your purpose if you wish to have him.

It is proper you should know that this Jack, (Royal Gift,) though sure, is slow in covering, and that it has been found necessary to have a Jennet or two always at hand during the season, by way stimulus, when he is in those slothful humours.2

The “Bill to establish the Post Office and Post roads within the United States” has not yot passed—nor do I know what form it may finally take.

It is highly probable, however, that the Assistants (whether One or more) will be left to the appointment of the Post Master General.3 I am Sir, Your most obedient Servant

G. Washington


1For the background to this letter, see Hoomes to GW, 31 Jan. 1791.

2During Royal Gift’s first covering season in Virginia, GW had discovered that the jack’s lack of enthusiasm for covering mares could be overcome by having a jennet available as an inducement to ardor (see GW to William Fitzhugh, Sr., 2 July 1786).

3Hoomes replied on 25 Feb. 1791. His letter reads: “Your esteemed favor of the 17⟨th⟩ Instant I duly received, & am sorry to hear that the Passage of my letter was delayed, owing (I have no doubt) to a Stop of the mail some wh[e]re on the road, I hope it did not happen in Virginia.

“I am much at a loss to know what to offer for Royal Gift the present Season, as it will be entirely uncertain what number of mares he will get; I want much to raise somes mules from him, & do not wish either to loose, or make any thing more by him, & will give fifty pounds for the use of him the time mentioned in your letter (that is) from the it of April to the it of Augt please to inform me as soon as convenient after the receipt of this, that I may have time to advertize him, should you be disposed to let me have him” (DLC:GW). No further correspondence between GW and Hoomes has been found.

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