George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Howell Lewis or William Pearce, 6 January 1794

To Howell Lewis or William Pearce

Philadelphia Jan. 6th 1794

Mr Lewis—or Mr Pearce1

The Reports of the 28th of December have been received, and Mr Butlers acct therewith—As I have no Acct against him, and Mr Whiting only kept memorandums, instead of regular Accounts, he must be paid according to his own statement. for this, and other purposes, I send two bank notes for one hundred dollars each.2

It is very unlucky that the late spell of freezing weather should be suffered to pass away without filling the Ice house. do not let this happen again; but embrace the first freezing that happens3 to accomplish this work.

Let me know what quantity of Oats have been threshed at the Mansion house, and what has been done with them? By the time employed in getting them out there ought to be a good many of them. I wish to know also what quantity Stuart has? These two parcels, together with those at Dogue Run I directed to be reserved for Seed—& when the whole quantity contained at the different places are known I shall be abl⟨e⟩ to decide how much more to provide—or what further to do in the case.4

There was Oats raised from a few grains of a particular sort which I sent to my Gardener last Spring—get these from him, and make the most of them, by sowing them in drills the coming Spring.5 By Mr Jefferson, I sent a Bundle of Poccon or Illinois nut and desired them to be left at the Post Office in Alexandria. When they are recd desire the Gardener to plant them in a nursery.6 I shall send more by the first Vessel, or other proper conveyence wch shall offer. I also gave the Gardener a few Seed of East India hemp to raise from, enquire for the seed which has been saved, and make the most of it at the proper Season for Sowing.

What is the present appearance of the growing Wheat? I am in a hurry and shall only add, that as soon as I hear of Mr Pearce’s being settled at Mount Vernon—I shall write more fully on some other matters. I am &ca

Go: Washington

P.S. Recollecting since writing the fore going, that Mr Whitings Memo. Book was here I have desired Mr Dandridge to take a copy from it of the charges against Butler; which he has done, and it is now enclosed7—By this you will settle with him.

ALS, ViMtvL; ALS (letterpress copy), DLC:GW. The docket, written by Pearce, reads “Letter No. 2 from the president Jany 6 1794.”

1By this date Pearce had arrived at Mount Vernon, where he assumed the duties of estate manager that Lewis had been handling temporarily (Mount Vernon Accounts, 1794–1797 description begins Manuscript Mount Vernon Accounts, 6 Jan. 1794-19 Jan. 1797. Library of Congress, George Washington Papers. description ends ).

2The farm reports dated 28 Dec., the carpenters’ reports of 29 Dec., and James Butler’s financial account probably were enclosed in Lewis’s letter to GW of 1 January. The enclosed account has not been identified, but Butler received £13.16.4 on 7 Jan. 1794 for “his wages in full for the year 93” (Mount Vernon Accounts, 1794–1797 description begins Manuscript Mount Vernon Accounts, 6 Jan. 1794-19 Jan. 1797. Library of Congress, George Washington Papers. description ends ). The farm and carpenters’ reports are at DLC:GW.

3At this point, GW struck out the word “again” on the receiver’s copy but not on the letterpress copy.

4Butler, William Stuart, and Henry McCoy were the respective overseers of the Mansion House, River, and Dogue Run farms.

5GW had sent “English Oats” the previous Spring to head gardener John Christian Ehlers “for the purpose of raising” seed (GW to Lewis, 25 Aug. 1793).

6The pecan, Carya illinoinensis, is a species of hickory and is native to North America. Thomas Jefferson arrived at Monticello, his home near Charlottesville, Va., on 15 Jan. (Jefferson to Archibald Stuart, 26 Jan. 1794, 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 , 28:11).

7Neither Anthony Whitting’s memorandum book nor the enclosed copy of Butler’s account has been identified. Butler did not leave GW’s service until late August 1794 (GW to Pearce, 7 Sept. 1794, ALS, ViMtvL; ALS [letterpress copy], DLC:GW).

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