From George William Fairfax
Belvoir Augt 5th 1758
I have scarcely time to acquaint you, That I was Yesterday at Mount Vernon to Visit Mr Patterson, who consulted me about taking up the upper Floors, as you gave him no orders about them, whereupon I had them clean’d in order to View them the better, and found most of them very uneaven and several defective planks, upon which I made Patterson calculate the difference of Expence between New laying them & intire new, which you’l see is too trifling to hesitate a moment provided you choose either. Undoubtedly they may do with a little plaining, but that cant bring them even, or make them of a piece with the rest of the House. If you prefer a new Floor, there must be new Doors also, So that we beg you’l consider this matter and lett us have your directions1—This word reminds me of breaking one of yours, which we hope youl pardon, But it was upon seeing full imploy for the joiners, and that it would take too much of their time That I took the liberty to hire a hand to paint the House, which is suffering for want of it—I think the Chimneys above are to much contracted, and would be better were they inlarged. For if you remember they are taken in, but whether to prevent Smoaking or for a Stove you perhaps can best tell, and the only one that can direct us—I have the pleasure to acquaint you That you have some of the finest Tobacco & Corn I have seen this Year and a pritty full Crop of both, which I believe is more than any in this or the next County can say. But yett we want much rain to make it, and the Grass spring, for I have never seen so Melancholy a Prospect. It is reported pritty confidently that our Fleet has Landed a body of Troops under the Command of the Duke of Marlborough at St Malow or near it, and taken Seven Ships of War all the Privateers and many Transports, but I hope soon to see if confirmed and some further particulars.
Mrs Fairfax, Miss Cary, Hannah & the Miss Dents joins in their best wishes2 with Dear Sir Your most Obedt and very humble Servt
1. John Patterson thought it would be “base” to take up the old floor (Patterson to GW, 13 Aug.). On 1 Sept. (first letter) Fairfax wrote that he would “endeavour to get Plank for the Floors”; on 2 Sept. Patterson wrote he “would be at a stop in laying floors if he [Fairfax] had not supply’d me with flooring Boads as there were none to be had here about”; on 15 Sept. Fairfax wrote GW that he needed GW’s “possitive directions about the Passage Floor, which seems to stand very well, but the Nail marks always will remain”; and on 25 Sept. GW wrote Fairfax: “The Floor of my Passage is really an Eye sore to me, I woud therefore take it up if good & Seasond Plank could be laid in its place.”
2. Elizabeth Cary was Sarah Cary Fairfax’s sister, and Hannah Fairfax was George William Fairfax’s half sister. A Miss Dent, probably Elizabeth Dent (1727–1796), spent a great deal of time at the Fairfax’s Belvoir and perhaps lived there. GW’s entries in his cash accounts for 4 May 1758 include: “By Cash sent Mrs Fairfax to Pay Miss Dent for making some Shirts for me—”£3.12 (Ledger A description begins Manuscript Ledger Book 1, 1750-72, in George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends , 39).