George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Hartshorne, 30 April 1793

From William Hartshorne

Alexandria [Va.]
30th April 1793

May it Please the President

Seeing some prospect of a call for Flour to Supply the French in Hispaniola, I beg leave to present the enclosed communications and if our Government should be Active in the business, to Offer the best services of my House here, for which I think we are well Qualified and I believe can give satisfactory security in Philadelphia for the performance of what we may undertake.1

There is at this moment some difficulty in getting Vessells and the Freights on Americans to Europe have been as high as 6/6 Sterling per barrell but Flour is generally half a dollar cheaper here than at Philadelphia and as to the Quality we can readily asscertain it, by sending Six or Eight barrells of Fine and Superfine from as many differant Mills, to be shewn in that City. If thy attention should be called to this Object and it is thought I can be useful therein, please to communicate thy Sentiments to me when convenient, which will much oblige Thy very Respectful Friend

Wm Hartshorne

Sperfine Flour 32/ @ 33/
fine 30/ @ 31/
Wheat 6/ @ 6/3
Indian Corn 16/ @ 17/6.

ALS, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters.

1Hartshorne is referring to a recent American agreement with France to pay part of the U.S. debt to that country in provisions and commodities, most of which were to be sent to the French colony of Saint Domingue (Jefferson to GW, 8 Feb. 1793, nn.1–2). Tobias Lear wrote Hartshorne on 6 May: “The President of the United States directs me to acknowledge the receipt of your letter to him of the 30th ultimo—and in reply to the offer therein made of the services of your House to furnish flour for the French in Hispaniola, if this Government should undertake to send supplies to that Island, to inform you, that it is not the intention of the Government of the U.S. to have any agency in purchasing or transporting produce on account of the French—the only part it can take in that business will be to furnish the means (out of the debt due from the U.S. to France) to such agent or agents as may be duly authorized by the French Government to make purchases. . . . P.S. The Presidt has about 150 bls superfine & 150 Corn-flour in Colo. [Robert Townsend] Hooes store—& the like q[uantit]y of each sort at his mill—All of which he wishes to dispose of—& will be obliged if you will have the goodness to let him know what he could have for it—at a Credit of 30—60—or 90 days upon the best securi[t]y of receivg pay[men]t at the end of the term for wh. it may be sold” (DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters). For details on the sale of GW’s flour, see GW to John Fitzgerald, 28 April, and note 2. For the recent selling prices of flour in Philadelphia, see Lear to GW, 10 April.

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