George Washington Papers

From George Washington to William Pearce, 14 August 1797

To William Pearce

Mount Vernon 14th Augt 1797.


Your letter of the 24th of July has been received, and I thank you for your ready compliance with my request; but recollecting how I was served last year, I must remind you that the season will not allow me to wait long for your decisive answer—especially too, as persons are now applying in this quarter.

I must repeat in this, what I said, or meant to say in my last—that is—that I do not wish you to enter into any engagement that will be binding on me; but to make enquiry for such an Overseer as you know would suit me; know precisely the lowest terms ⟨on⟩ which he could be obtained for Uni[on farm]: and give me as speedy notice th[ereon a]s is in your power. Mr Anderso[n seems] to think that one man may Overloo[k bo]th Union & Dogue run Farms for the wages [of] Sixty pounds, but whether this would be more eligable than two at about £70 or £75 between them is questionably, as there are few Negros who will work unless there be a constant eye on them—or who will not slight it if there is not this eye.

The fallow fields at Union and Dogue run farms looked well at Harvest; and I believe will yield well, but the Hession fly had made an attack upon the latter which had injured it in some degree. Next year I expect this attack will be much more formidable, which is one reason why I propose to encrease my seeding with Rye, considerably this Fall.1 I perceived no difference between the French plowed part & the parts adjoining from hence the inference is that it was attended with no advantage; in the last Crop at least.

We have been as wet latterly as we were dry before; which to me, has produced both good & evil. My Corn is much amended by it, but my [ha]y ruined; and I have had wheat inj[ured in] the Stack. I am glad to hear that [your cr]op has, and promises to be, tolerable ⟨mutilated⟩—But am sorry that your own, & daught[er] Nancys indispositions continue.

A small bag of rye-grass seeds came here without any letter. We guessed from whence it came, but was not certain until sometime after, when your letter announced it. For sending it I thank you, and if several bushels of the Seed could be purchased & sent to me, I would with pleasure pay the cost to your order. Mrs Washington & the rest of ⟨the⟩ family are as usual—and I am your friend and Hble Servant

Go: Washington

ALS, ViMtvL. The letters and words in square brackets are inserted by the editors where the manuscript is torn.

1GW cast his net wide in order to secure the rye that he needed for sowing; see Tobias Lear to GW, 16 Aug., 8 Sept., William Deakins, Jr., to GW, 18 Aug., and Pearce to GW, 27 August.

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