George Washington Papers

To George Washington from James Anderson, 22 May 1798

From James Anderson

Mount Vernon 22d May 1798


I wrote You on the 19th to which I beg leave to refer You1—In that letter I informed of the Robery of the Fish house. After some pains, have discovered Cooper Moses was in Town offering Fish in Barrels for Sale, He partly confesses that He did, But that I had given Him some. And He caught in the Run as many more as nearly filled one B[arre]ll. I have given some to Him. I do not think exceeding 40 or 50 Herrings2—Others who have Familys have had more, But all were given, by taking their promise that they were not to sell any. I will not do any thing without Your Orders, which I will wait for.

Yesterday, Mr Rawlins, & our ⟨mutilated⟩ were Innoculated, when Mr Flood was performing.3 Neale (⟨mutilated⟩ taking down and puting up Bed frames in the House) was present He expressed a Strong desire for Innoculation and an apprehension of His having caught it by Infection—Without fully considering the matter did consent to His being Innoculated. And no sooner was it done than I severely repented it—for these reasons that probably He may loose some work—And that He may carry the Infection to the Negroe Children4—I confess myself very wrong having acted imprudently & done what I ought not. And no other reason can I give, but the custom with which always I had been acquainted of every one Innoculating at pleasure. I hope & beg You will forgive this Transgression. And every possible care shall be taken to prevent the Infection being spread thro the Estate As after the Fever Neale shall not go near where Children are nor shall any of my Family, or any others from the Quarters have any Communication with our Family—Indeed when I have fully considered the whole business—I do wish I had not Innoculated my Child—As I will never forgive myself, if the Infection does communicate to the Children at the Quarters—Being now done nothing but the greatest care can make any attonement.

On Saturday Mr Lear was on the Estate (tho I did not see Him) wishing to consult You respecting a general Innoculation.

I got the Corn from Mr Peters. It is very sound but very small.5 To morrow we shall plant the Orrange County Corn in the Mill Meadow. And that from Mr Peter in the lower part of the Union Farm Meadow. And Davies Meadow will be all planted with the Orrange Corn.6 I shall be in Town with Whiskee & Fish on Thursday—Bring down the Pump & 5 or 6 Blls Tar. If You thing on any thing I will call at the Post office where I may have the favour of hearing from You.7 The Baltimore man has paid me the few Fish He had, says they were all condemned at Baltimore—Altho He owns that He thot them good. I am told ⟨mutilated⟩ Fish will there condemn a whole Barrel. We will ⟨mutilated⟩ no difficulty in selling them. And with much esteem and great respect I am Sir Your most Obedt Humble Sert

Jas Anderson

Mr Neale will make up His lost time.


1Letter not found.

2Moses was the 18–year-old son of Daphne, a worker on GW’s River farm.

3Dr. William Pinckard Flood was the son of Dr. William Flood (d. 1775) of Westmoreland County.

4John Neale was the chief carpenter at Mount Vernon.

5Thomas Peter wrote GW on 16 May that he was sending to him the promised “Rare Ripe Corn.”

6The slave Davy was at this time overseer of Muddy Hole farm.

7GW wrote to Anderson on this day from Washington. On 21 June Anderson placed this “Notice to the Public” in the Columbian Mirror and Alexandria Advertiser. “As I have good reason to believe that the negros on this estate make improper use of their privileges, in order hereafter to prevent such abuse⟨,⟩ and that the industrious may have a ful⟨l⟩ chance, each negro when carrying any thing to market, shall have a certificate signed by me, specifying the nature, quality, and quantities of the articles which he or she may have for sale. And if any negro belonging to this estate is found offering for sale, any article or articles whatever, (without such certificate), the person to whom the offer is made, is hereby requested to detain the negro, and the things offered by him or her, until I am informed thereof. . . .”

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