George Washington Papers

From George Washington to William Pearce, 2 March 1794

To William Pearce

Philadelphia March 2d 1794

Mr Pearce,

Your letter of the 25th Ulto, & Reports of the preceeding week, came to hand this day.1

Enclosed, agreeably to the promise contained in my last, I send you the copy of an advertisement which the Printers of Baltimore & George Town have been directed to publish four times; in each of their Gazettes; alternate weeks; that is—to insert it one Week & leave it out the next, until it has been four times published. The same you may cause to be done in Alexandria, and where else shall be thought proper: among these Port Tobacco may be a good place. To Leesburgh (to the care of Colo. Ball) I will have one sent.2

I recommend particular care of the youngest Jack, that he may be made to grow large: I do the same of the Mules (which Peter knows) allotted for my own driving. Do not stint them in their feed to accomplish these purposes.3

Let there be an exact account kept of all the Mares & Jenneys that go to the Jacks; and to which, as well those belonging to myself, as others: the same with respect to the horse; but suffer no Mares to be taken away before the money is paid, unless by those who live near you, and from whom you can receive it at any time. A Mr Prescot of Loudoun (or Fauquier) owes yet for last year, so does some others; and as no regular accts were kept of these things, the money will be lost; for which reason, except as above, let no Mares or Jennies be taken away without payment. After knowing these to be the terms on which the Jacks and horses cover, those who do not comply with them, mean not to pay at all, unless compelled: and to bring suits will not be agreeable.4

You would do well to shew the horse at Public places. April Court at Alexandria would be a proper time and place, as it happens on Easter Monday, when, probably, many people will be there.5

I find by Mr Lewis’s account, that the new Visto is opened much farther than I had the least intention to do. I had no idea of extending it farther than the other was; at no rate beyond Muddy hole Branch. Cease opening it any further until I can see it, & let me know how far it is got, and what has been done with the Wood that was cut down in its course?6

Buy as much good Oznabrigs in Alexandria as will enable the Gardeners wife to proceed in making linnen clothes for the Negros; and let me know on what terms you can get a full supply, that I may Judge whether it would be best to get the whole quantity there; or send it from hence. To know the width of the linnen, & if possible to obtain a sample of it, would enable me to decide with more accuracy.7

The price of Midlings & Ship stuff in Alexandria is greatly below the selling price in this market; especially the first, which is 5½ dollars the barrel of 196 lbs.—& the latter, from a dollar & half to two dollars pr hundred—but as these articles never are as high there as here, you must enquire the most favorable season to dispose of them, and do it to the best advantage. Keep me informed from time to time of the prices of Superfine & fine flour, that I may know when to strike, for mine; and ask the Miller why he does not, as usual, note in his weekly returns the number of barrels he has packed of all the different kinds.8

I forgot to observe to you in time, that if all the fields, intended for Crops this year could not be flushed up in due season, to let those intended for Corn be left to the last & listed only, rather than the whole work of the spring should be retarded, and the Crops put in late; in order to flush up the whole. You must act in this respect now from circumstances, & your own view of things. Had the ground been broke up in the fall, the amelioration it would have received from the frosts of the winter would have been of infinite service. Now, except the work is forwarded by it; I do not believe the Corn will receive any benefit from a flush plowing.9 I wish you well and am Your friend

Go: Washington

P.S. How does the drilled wheat look?

ALS, ViMtvL; ALS (letterpress copy), DLC:GW.

1Pearce’s letter of 25 Feb. and its enclosed farm reports have not been found.

2In his letter to Pearce of 24 Feb., GW promised to send copies of an advertisement offering the stud services of his horse Traveller and his jacks Knight of Malta and Compound. For this advertisement, see n.1 of Bartholomew Dandridge, Jr., to printers Angell & Sullivan and Samuel Hanson, 26 February. GW expected an ad to be placed in the Columbian Mirror and Alexandria [Va.] Gazette. Any newspapers being published in Leesburg, Va., where Burgess Ball resided, or in Port Tobacco, Md., have not been identified. On the jacks at Mount Vernon, see George Augustine Washington to GW, 16 July 1790, n.4, and Powell, General Washington and the Jack Ass description begins J. H. Powell. General Washington and the Jack Ass and Other American Characters, in Portrait. South Brunswick, N.J., 1969. description ends , 176–90.

3The slave Peter Hardiman was in charge of the stables on the Mansion House farm.

4For Pearce’s record of cash received for this season’s covering services, beginning with a 15 May entry, see 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 . On the covering services provided in 1793, see GW to Anthony Whitting, 26 March 1793, and n.2 to that document.

5Easter fell on Sunday, 20 April, in 1794.

6GW’s nephew Howell Lewis served as temporary manager of Mount Vernon until Pearce assumed this responsibility in January 1794 (Lewis to GW, 1 Jan. 1794; Mount Vernon Accounts, 1794–97).

7On GW’s employment of Catherine Ehlers to oversee the production of clothing at Mount Vernon, see GW to Whitting, 14 Oct. 1792, and n.16.

8A report from the miller, Joseph Davenport, was expected along with the other weekly reports from Mount Vernon. On 17 June, Pearce recorded receiving £34.14.0 Virginia currency from the Alexandria bakery firm of Joseph Korn and Jacob Weismuller (Wisemiller) “for midlings & Shipstuff,” and that same month, he paid a total of £5.2.0 for shipping this flour via Dogue Run to Alexandria (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 ).

9Flushing a field creates a smooth surface, while listing makes ridges and furrows.

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