George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Saunders A. Read, 25 April 1797

From Saunders A. Read

Alex[andri]a April 25th 1797


What you offer me for Doing your Work is entirely too little if you will give a Dollar a Day and find me, and a house for my family to live in the time I am about your work I will do it I will engage to do it as well as any one you can get I have now engaged to do a small Job at the falls which will detain me ten or twelve days If you wish to employ me I shoud be Glad to know tomorrow as I expect the day after to go to the falls as I was in a hurry to get home and did not think you wished to say mere to me at that time with Regard to your work1 I shoud hope you wou’d excuse my hasete and Remain your Hume St

Saunders A. Read


1GW promptly responded to Read, perhaps verbally, and Read wrote again on the next day: “I did not expect you to find my family any further than a house to live in while I am about your work as I cannot think to leave them here and pay rent especialy as the season is now coming on that I can get 8/ per Day through the summer I have no Objection to Giving advice or asisting to mix the paint for your man if you agree to my proposals I will come down as Quick as I can get done at the falls which will be in ten or twelve Days I have no more to add” (DLC:GW). Read began work on 8 May and apparently spent much of May and June doing the painting and papering at Mount Vernon that GW required. GW records in Ledger C description begins Manuscript Ledger in Morristown National Historical Park, Morristown, N.J. description ends paying him £6 on 10 June “on a/c of paintg,” £1.16 on 14 July, and £12.18 on Aug. 3 “in full of all accts” (29, 30). See also Day Book, 18 May. GW bought paint from “Macleod & Lumsden” on 3 May and paid them £37.17.10 (Cash Memoranda, 1794-97 description begins Cash + Entries & Memorandums, 29 Sept. 1794–31 Aug. 1797. Manuscript in John Carter Brown Library, Providence. description ends ). On 21 June James Kennedy wrote to GW from Alexandria: “your note enquiring the price of Paints & Linseed Oil I received the White lead Ground in Oil Warrented Good is five pound two Shillings & unleaded Oil nine Shilling Pr Gallon. I have got none leaded” (DLC:GW). Below Kennedy’s signature is written: “George Washington Esqe Bot of James Kennedy 1 Gallon spirit of Turpentine £7.6,” also dated Alexandria, 21 June. On 5 July GW wrote to Kennedy from Mount Vernon: “When the enclosed draught on the Bank of Alexandria is paid please to send me a receipt for the money, at the foot of your acct also enclosed. I am Sir Yr hble Servt Go: Washington” (ALS [photocopy], sold as item 500 by Superior Galleries in auction, 7 Nov. 1992).

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