George Washington Papers
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From George Washington to William Pearce, 7 September 1794

To William Pearce

German Town [Pa.] Septr 7th 1794.

Mr Pearce,

Your letter of the 31st ulto with the Reports, I have received.

A few days ago I received a letter from Mr Pyne dated in the City of Washington still expressing a desire to be employed at Mount Vernon, and a wish to be there some short time before Butler left it, that he might get a little insight into the nature of the business, previous to his entering upon duty.1 I referred him for his being employed at all, & for the terms and time, to you, not chusing to enter into any agreement with him myself lest it might militate with any views of yours; desiring him to shew you the letter I wrote to him on this subject, that you might be acquainted with my ideas thereon.2

Enclosed is a certificate for Mr Butler.3 The latter part I suppose he wd have dispensed with; but in my opinion it is necessary that the whole truth on such occasions should be told; for I have no idea that with a view to serve one person it is justifiable to deceive another: and without that part, it might with propriety be asked why I parted with him. If his activity, spirit, & ability in the management of Negros were equal to his honesty, sobriety & industry there would not be the least occasion for a change.

It is not possible for me, at this distance, to say when the Carpenters & Negros on the respective farms will be most at leisure for removing the Negro quarters at Union, & River Farms; but if this work is not set about before the weather gets cool, it may be dangerous (as the daubing & filling in will be green, & not sun enough to dry them before winter) to put the Negros in them; and besides, after the ground gets soft & slippery, the trouble, and time necessary to accomplish the removal of the houses will be double. I have nothing further to add at present than to wish you & family well. Being Your friend &ca

Go: Washington

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

2GW’s letter to Pyne has not been found.

3James Butler was informed in August that he would not be retained as overseer (GW to William Pearce, 3 and 17 Aug.). In the certificate, dated 7 Sept., GW wrote: "At the request of Mr James Butler I certify, that he has lived at Mount Vernon & superintended the hands at the mansion house since the first of January 1793. It is justice due to him I should add, that as far as I know, or believe, his conduct during that time has been honest, sober, and industrious. That he has practiced advantageously, & with success, the knowledge he possesses of raising & transplanting quicks for hedges. And that I part with him for no other cause than for his not being accustomed to the management of negros prone to, & who had been long in the habits of idleness—and because he has not bodily activity sufficient for such a concern as mine is at the abo. named place" (ALS, letterpress copy, DLC:GW).

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