George Washington Papers

From George Washington to William Washington, 9 February 1794

To William Washington

Philadelphia Feb. 9th 1794.

Dear Sir,

Your Letter of the 6th Ulto by way of New York, has been lately received; That you should be without any of my letters in answer to your former favors, is matter of extreme surprize to me, as the receipt of them had been regularly acknowledged.

The Bill on Mr Bell of this City for six hundred and seventy eight dollars and 64/100 came safe to my hands, and was punctually paid. Of this I wrote you, altho’ the letter has never it seems been received.1

Previous thereto, I had informed you (about this time twelve month, if I recollect rightly) that as it was improper to travel the Jack in the winter season, and moreover, as he could not be got to Mount Vernon in time nor in order for covering the ensuing spring, I requested you to keep him in So. Carolina and do for me in the case as if you were acting for yourself, until he could be removed more advantageously:2 and now, in answer to your last letter of the 6th of Jany, requesting to know if those who have sent Mares a second time to Royal Gift with no better success than they met with the first time shou’d pay for those wch do not bring foal? I shall, under my present view of the subject answer No provided you are satisfied they have not cast them because in that case the failure is not in the Jack—But in this, as in every thing else which relates to the Jack—do (as I have before requested) the same for me as you would for yourself and I shall be perfectly satisfied.

His covering, while he stood at Mount Vernon was very sure; for no mare that went to him, scarcely ever missed; nor was he ever lame before he left that place; but from accounts which I have received from some Gentlemen in Virginia he was most abominably treated on the Journey by the man to whom he was entrusted; for instead of moving him slowly and steadily along as he ought, he was prancing (with the Jack) from one public meeting, or place to another in a gate which could not but prove injurious to an animal who had hardly ever been out of a walk before—and afterwards, I presume, (in order to recover lost time) pushed him beyond what he was able to bear all the remainder of the Journey—However, there is no remedy now for what has happened, but if he should get over his present disorder, and recover his flesh again, he may yet be a useful & valuable animal as he will not (if he live) be past his prime these fifteen or twenty years yet such is their longevity of this species of animal.3 I was glad to hear from Mr Izard that he had got one very fine mule from two mares which he had sent to Royal Gift4—from thence I entertained a hope that he might be growing better—be this however as it may, I would thank you for giving me advice from time to time of his condition, that I may be enabled thereby to take measures accordingly. In the mean while, I entreat you to derive all the advantages you can from him to your own mares, without entertaining an idea of making compensation for it.5

Offer, if you please my best respects to Mrs Washington;6 and be assured of the sincere esteem and regard with which I am—Dear Sir Yr affect. Hble Servt

G. W——n


1GW’s letter in response to William Washington’s letter of 20 April 1793, with the enclosed bill drawn on Philadelphia merchant William Bell, and a duplicate written “Some weeks thereafter” have not been found.

2For these instructions, see GW to William Washington, 30 Jan. 1793.

3On the journey of Royal Gift from Mount Vernon, see n.1 of GW to William Washington, 30 Jan. 1793. Royal Gift died in South Carolina in 1796 (William Washington to GW, 23 July 1796, PHi: Gratz Collection).

4Ralph Izard was currently representing South Carolina in the U.S. Senate.

5A later letter from William Washington to GW of 24 May 1795 reporting on the health of Royal Gift has not been found (GW to William Washington, 14 July 1795, ADfS, DLC:GW; LB, DLC:GW).

6William Washington was married to Jane Reily Elliott Washington.

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