George Washington Papers

From George Washington to James McAlpin, 7 May 1797

To James McAlpin

Mount Vernon 7th May 1797


Mr Custis will present you with an order for Cloaths, &ca which please to have made according to his directions—and the amount of cost shall be paid on demand.1

Finding I shall have occasion for an Agent to do such little matters as I shall want in Philadelphia, I shall soon appoint one, who will be instructed to pay your Account.2

By depending on you to procure the dozen pieces of Nankeens I required, I have got none, nor a particle of trimmings for the Cloth (except livery lace) altho’ you have charged, & recd at 5d., for 88 Scanes of Silk.3 I am Sir Your Hble Servt

Go: Washington

ALS, ViMtvL On the cover GW wrote: “By Mr Custis.”

James McAlpin, who acted as a tailor in Philadelphia for GW and his family during GW’s presidency, continued to make clothes and supply cloth for them until shortly before GW’s death. See GW’s presidential household accounts printed in Pa. Mag. description begins Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography. 138 vols. to date. 1877—. description ends , 29:400, 30:53, 329, 31:74, 188, 343, 348; see also GW to McAlpin, 3 July 1797, 27 Jan., 10 Feb., 18 Mar., 12 May, 14 July 1799, and McAlpin to GW, 15 May 1797, 15 Feb., 16 May, 24, 27 June 1799.

1In the order to McAlpin, dated at Mount Vernon, 7 April, these “Cloaths” were listed: “1 Dress coat 1 common coatee 2 pr small cloaths 3 pr pantaloons 4 waistcoats 2 under d[itt]o 6 pr cotton stockings 2 silk d[itt]o,” and then wrote: “Sir, Procure and make the above articles of clothing for Mr Custis and the Acct shall be duty paid by Go: Washington” (ADS, CoCCC). There is at Mount Vernon a second memorandum of this date, in GW’s hand, which lists eleven suits: full regimentals, half regimentals, of “Spanish Cloth,” of “olive colour,” of “dark brown,” of “light do [brown],” “half mourning,” of “Raven grey,” of “Black,” of “Velvet,” and of “Uncut do [velvet].”

2On 28 May GW asked Clement Biddle to act as his agent in Philadelphia.

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