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
1. GW 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).