George Washington Papers

From George Washington to William Thornton, 15 February 1799

To William Thornton

Mount Vernon 15th Feby 1799

Dear Sir,

I have received your letter of the 12th instant, with Mr Blagdens estimate of the Glass required for my Houses in the Federal City, and shall take measures for providing it in time.1

Presuming that Mr Blagdin is apprised of there being a check on the Bank of Alexandria, subject to his call, the neglect is his, if he does not do it. He shall not want the means necessary to push on my buildings on the one hand, and on the other, I hope his demands will not be greater than those wants.

I have not, as yet, had recourse to either Bank for a loan, but have no doubt of this being the case soon; when I shall not forget what you have said respecting the proper mode to obtain it. For your good wishes I thank you, and with Compliments remain, Dr Sir—Your most Obedt Hble Servt

Go: Washington

ALS, PWacD; ALS (letterpress copy), DLC:GW.

1For George Blagdin’s estimate of the amount of glass that would be needed for the windows of the two houses that he was building for GW near the Capitol in the Federal City, see Thornton to GW, 12 Feb., n.1. GW was to discover that to obtain the glass would cause him a good deal of bother. He first tried to secure it in Alexandria, and on 16 Mar. Macleod & Lumsden wrote him from that town: “We have just recd your Note—are sorry we cannot supply your order at present; but have ordered a Large quantity of English Crown Glass, in Sheets as blown at the Manufactory, which we expect early this Spring[.] Should that arrive according to our expectation, we can amply supply you, at the following Prices Viz.

Sqr.8 . 10  @ 6½d.  per pane

12⅝ . 12⅝ @ 2s.6d. per   do

19⅛ . 12⅝ @ 3/6  per  do

Shd you not be supply’d when our Glass arrives, we will be very glad to serve you at the Above Prices” (ViMtvL). On 17 Mar. GW wrote to his old comrade in arms Benjamin Lincoln to secure for him in Boston the 570 panes of glass that Blagdin had indicated would be needed for the houses. Lincoln wrote GW on 3 April that the glass could not be sent for three weeks, on 2 May that the glass was packed, and on 11 May that it was on a schooner bound for Alexandria. The glass had arrived by 4 June in Alexandria from Boston via Baltimore, but a day or two later GW learned that one of the boxes contained the wrong glass, which George Gilpin sent back to Baltimore. In early July GW paid Solomon Cotton & Company $500 for the glass sent from Boston (see Lincoln to GW, 3 April, n.1, GW to Lincoln, 1 July, and notes, GW to William Thornton, 4, 16 June, 2 July, and Thornton to GW, 5, 25 June). Whether the replacement for the wrong box of glass was ever received is not clear: on 1 Dec. 1799 GW thanked William Thornton for securing Boston glass for him.

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