George Washington Papers

From George Washington to John Gill, 26 November 1799

To John Gill

Mount Vernon 26th Novr 1799


Under cover with this, you are furnished with the Invoice of such goods as I require.1

As it was not so much in my power to fix the prices, as to designate the quality of the Goods, the amount of the cost of them may exceed, or fall short, of the sum due from you to me. If the first, the balance shall be paid by me; if the latter, I shall look to you for the deficiency.

I have drawn up, and signed before evidences, a memoranda of the agreement we entered into the day you were at this place, according to my conception of it.2 I have not, intentionally, departed either from the spirit or letter of it; and if it meets your approbation, the counterpart may be signed by you, before witnesses, and returned to me; together with the Deed from Mr Herbert to you; and against your arrival in Alexandria I will have a conveyance of that part of lot No. 10 which lays on the upper side of Difficult-run, ready for your Signature.

It is not always an easy matter to make interested men, at a distance, (when they are deprived of opportunities of seeing, & judging for themselves) believe that, there can be perfect candour used in a transaction, or relation of facts by the other party, when they are differently circumstanced ⟨mutilated⟩ nothing more certain than that, the Woodland part of No. 10 which is on the lower side of Difficult run, would be infinitely more valuable to the proprietor of the land adjoining it, on that side, than that part of Lewis’s tract which lays on the upper side; seperated therefrom by a deep and Mirey run which can only be passed in place⟨s⟩ and not at those in all Seasons.3 For the same reason, the last mentioned slipe would be advantageous to me, although entirely stripped of wood and much exhausted. I am—Sir Your—very Hble Servant

Go: Washington

ALS (letterpress copy), NN: Washington Papers.

1GW’s invoice, in his hand and signed by him at Mount Vernon on 26 Nov., reads: “Invoice of Goods to be sent for by Mr John Gill of Baltimore, for and on account of George Washington of Mount Vernon in Virginia, according to Agreement

6 pair of the largest—finest—and best Bed Blankets.

6 pieces of the largest—thickest and best striped Blanketing for negros. these pieces generally contain 15 or 16 blankets each.

6 pieces of Ditto 2d sort—somewhat smaller.

1 ps. of light coloured broadcloath (not quite white) for my servants liveries; to cost about 7/6 sterg pr Yard.

1 ps. of scarlet for ditto to cost abt 8/6 pr yard Twist, silk & thread proportioned to Ditto

2 dble gross of white mettal buttons best kind

180 yards (or thereabouts, according to the number of yards in a piece) of blue thickset, or Dufd for negros cloathing.

200 yards—or thereabouts—of green do for do of a quality somewhat cheaper. 6 dble gross of the cheapest kind of white mettal Buttons. Go: Washington” (ADS, NNGL; NjP: Armstrong Photostats; letterpress copy, NN: Washington Papers). The invoice is docketed: “N.B. received 5th Feby 1800 by us, Huddersfield To: Thos Law Atkinson & Co.”

2The “memoranda of the agreement” have not been found. For GW’s negotiations with Gill regarding the payment of back rent for GW’s Difficult Run tract, see GW to Gill, 19 Oct., n.2.

3Presumably GW is referring to the tract of 337 acres (no. 164) granted to John Lewis in January 1728, most of which was on the lower or eastern side of Difficult Run and adjacent to both Gill’s and GW’s land (Mitchell, Fairfax County Patents and Grants, description begins Beth Mitchell. Beginning at a White Oak . . . Patents and Northern Neck Grants of Fairfax County Virginia. Fairfax, Va., 1977. description ends 204).

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