From James Anderson
Mount Vernon 23d June 1799
Most Excellent Sir
On [ ] day of June 1797 I took the liberty to Write You relative to the management of the Farms on this Estate, And on the 18th of same month I had the honor of Your Answer. In this letter it was proposed to lessen the number of hands And Abridge the quantity of Land yearly to be under the Plough.1
Circumstances unnecessary to mention, prevented the Execution of this Plan. And since a Scheme of Rotation has been Adopted and puting in Execution, And upon good Lands would be usefull & turn out to be profitable—But as this Estate is poor and the Soil not so much adapted to the raising of Hoed Crops, And that there are Still an equal qty of Land as formerly under the Plough It does Occur to me that there are exceptions to this Rotation Scheme And that something near to the former System may be adopted by the which Your Lands would much sooner Improve, the expence be lessened and a much greater Revenue Acrue to Your Excellency.
The following are the Outlines of what I shall humbly submit to Your consideration, And Are the result of mature deliberation—And Permit me to offer You a Statement of Union Farm, which may apply to River Farm pretty nearly. And to Doguerun with the alteration of fewer Horses & people left on this Farm.
The Scheme of Planting all muddy hole with Peach trees is without any doubt the best. And a few more hands may be usefull on this Farm on that Account, But I would incline ⟨crossing⟩ it2 ligh[t]ly to improve the Soil.
As there are on Union Farm 7 fields besides 4 Lotts & 5 Lotts of Meadow I would propose to manage the whole thus.
No. 1 a Compleat Summer fallow, and all the Manure that can be obtained laid thereon
and 7—" Do
|Lotts No. 1 Corn||Meadows No. 1||Oats, fallowed after & Sown in the fall|
|2 Oats||2 Timothy|
|3 Clover||3 Timothy|
|4 Do||4 Do|
To Accomplish this worth 8 mules, & 3 Ox Carts will be necessary Together with 4 men & 4 women, who I suppose may have 12 Children.
The 4 ploughs are managed by one man & 3 women And three men manages the Carts, the Additional woman to do any hoeing work.
These Carts to be employed every day when not hauling of Rails to haul manure & good Soil over the Fallow field, preparing for the wheat Crop, by minute Calculation I find the Ploughs will be sufficient for all the work alloted to them. And have 30 days in the time of harvest to spare for that purpose.
I shall first State the produce that may be expected by the proposed, And that which from experience (the one puting in Practise) will afford.
the System proposed
120 Acres in wheat after being fallowed & manured after deducting seed to produce 9 Bush.
Followeth the experimental Calculation on the Scheme at present puting in Practice
|No. 1 in Corn 120 Acres at 3 Blls acre 360 at 15/||£270.|
|2 in wheat 120 Acres at 5 Bu. Acre after seed 6/||180.|
|3 in pease 60 acres at 3 Bu. do 4/6||40.10.|
|60 do of the worst in fallow|
|4 in Oats 60 Acres following the pease & after seed 6 Bu. at 3/||54.|
|60 in wheat after seed 6 Bu. 6/||112.|
|5, 6 & 7 in Pasture|
|Lotts No. 1 Potatoes 10 Acres 80 Bu. deduce Seed|
|10 Bu. the remaining 70 @ 1/6 Bu.||52.10.|
|2 in Oats, & after seed 20 Bush. at 3/||30.|
|3 in Clover made into Hay 1 Ton at £5||50.|
|4 in Do for Green feeding & Seed|
|Meadows No. 1 in Oats on 16 Acres afterwards Sown with Timothy as in the former plan producing besides Seed 12 Bu. 3/||28.16.|
|Nos. 2 3 4 & 5 in Timothy made into Hay at half a Ton acre and at 100/||150.|
|Contra A/c of expence|
|To Overseers hire & causuvality3 as at present pd||£ 77. 7.|
|Negroe hires 9 men £15 & 12 women £8 each||231.|
|Dos Meal Year & familys 16½ Bushels week 3/||128.14.|
|Horses 16 fed with 8 Blls Corn each 15/||96.|
|Incidental feeding of Oxen &ca 40 Blls do||30.|
|Fish for the present Negroes 35 Blls year 20/||35.|
|Whiskie & Meat in harvest as formerly||16.10.|
|Brought over Account of Crops||£967.16.|
|Brought over expence account in part||£614.11.|
|16 Backbands 3/ & 8 Lines for the Horses at 1/6||3.|
|Smiths Bill Year Amounts to||30.|
|Carpenters do do||23.|
|Taxes in commen Years are||17.10.|
|Cloathing for 40 Negroes 40/ each & for 6 Infants 2/ each||80.12.|
|2 Spades & 8 Cradles & Sythes Year||6.14.|
|16 Bags Year at 4/ & half were only||1.10.|
|leaving a profit by this Scheme of||178.19.|
|By these Statements appears for the first Scheme||£291. 4.6|
|And for the latter only||£178.16.|
|Ballance in favor of the former||112. 8.6|
And that no Partiality may appear in favor of one, or other of these Schemes no Statement is made as to Stock, But from the quanity of Lands in Pasture, and the encreasing improving of the Soil, the Stock A/c must be in favor of this newly proposed Plan, And that the Land must soon improve needs little Logical reasoning as I propose to keep only 150 Sheep on 5 pasture fields—600 Acres—And in both Schemes all the Cattle to pasture in the Woods, working Horses & Oxen excepted, who I purpose feeding in the Shades all Summer on green food, And never Pasture the Meadows by which they will very much improve. It may be questioned what is to be done with the Surplus hands? To which I answer they can be hired to Advantage or perhaps more profitably employed in Settling some of Your Back Lands, which after a few Years might make a proper return. And make these Lands Sell or Lease to more Advantage, And if these Hints merit any part of Your Ex. Attention—I should think of puting the Scheme so far into Execution this fall by leaving on each farm the Number only proposed to remain (and so soon as the Crops are Secured[)] Set the others to work to make all Your Fences, Ditches, Roads & other Improvements. And with much respect & Esteem I am Most Excellent Sir Your most Obedt Humble Set
1. On 18 June 1797 GW wrote Anderson: “As far as time and circumstances have enabled me to attend to the subject, I have given your Memorial a careful perusal; and what follows is the result of my reflections thereupon.” Anderson’s “Memorial” has not been found. Nor has any response by GW to this letter of 23 June 1799 from Anderson been found, but see GW to Anderson, 10 Sept. 1799, in which GW suggests a plan of action whereby Anderson would be relieved of the management of the farms at Mount Vernon. See also note 2 to the letter of 10 September.
2. I.e., cross-plowing.
3. A casualty, or casuality, was a casual or incidental charge or payment.