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From George Washington to William Pearce, 4 May 1795

To William Pearce

Philadelphia 4th May 1795.

Mr Pearce,

I arrived in this city on Saturday at noon—about which time I recd your letter of the 29th Ulto.1

It gives me pleasure to hear that your grain and grass have benefitted by the late rains. As both are liable to great changes from the viscissitudes of weather, mention every week what the then appearance of the fields and meadows are; particular whether any grain is to be expected from the injured parts of the wheat fields—especially from those in No. 5 at Union farm— and whether the new sown grass in the Mill meadow is coming on well.

Let the flour in the Mill be inspected; and all that will not, or with difficulty, pass inspection, be disposed of for the most you can get; I was going to add—keep that that is good, until you could hear further from me—but as the quantity at any rate will be small, you may as well let the whole go; and deposit the money in the Bank of Alexa. If no danger was to be apprehended from keeping it on hand, I believe from the scarcity in Europe, and great demand for this article, one might command their own price.2 I am—Your friend

Go: Washington

P.S. I expected the fishery was nearly over when I left Mt Vernon.

I intended, but forgot when I was at Mount Vernon, to measure the size of the picture frames in the parlour which contains my picture—Mrs Washingtons—and the two childn. I wish you to do it, and send me the account in your next letter. Measure the frames (I believe they are all of a size) from out to out; and then on the inside, where they show the Canvas, or picture.

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

1Saturday was 2 May. Pearce’s letter of 29 April has not been found.

2Examples of the scarcity of flour in Europe were found in extracts of letters printed in the newspapers. A correspondent from Paris wrote to a Philadelphia merchant, “A fortnight ago a Swedish vessel from Baltimore, arrived at Toulon, loaded with Flour and Rice, has sold it already at 22 hard dollars per barrel, the flour, and 35 livres specie per quintal the rice, as they are much wanted, and of the greatest scarcity” (Gazette of the United States [Philadelphia], 21 April). From Nantes, France, a merchant wrote: “the price of goods is exorbitant, but the scarcity of necessaries is so great here, that the citizens don’t consider the price, if they can only get what they want” (Philadelphia Minerva, 25 April).

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