George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Robert Cary & Company, 24 October 1760

To Robert Cary & Company

York River 24th October 1760


I forbore in my Letter of the 28th Ulto to mention what quantity of Tobo you might probably receive from myself and Ward from our Plantation’s on York River till I came down here, and now I am almost as much at a loss as I was then, to guess; so bad is the Tobacco, and so short are the Crops (where proper care is taken to cull it, and that I have strictly chargd all my Overseers to do, being determined never to Ship any but the very best sorts) however, this you may be assurd of, that the greatest share of what is made shall go consignd to you and I am not without hopes that I shall be able to Ship you about 30 Hogsheads on my own Acct and perhaps 40 or more on my Wards.1

On the other side you will receive Invoices of such Goods as will be wanting for my own and Mr Jno. Parke Custis’s Plantation’s on this River which please to send as there directed, under distinct Marks, and chargd to our respective Accounts but both Consignd to our Common Steward, Mr Joseph Valentine with Copies of the Invoices (Originals to me) that he may commit no Errors in appropriating the several Articles to our respective Uses.2

Your Letter of the 27th of June Inclosing the charge of Insurance of 15 Hogsheads Tobo pr the Russia Merchant is come to hand,3 and my Letter of the 10th of August last will direct how the proceeds of that, and all former Tobacco’s shoud be applied—I hope the quantity of Tobo mentiond by you to be on hand, has not affected the Sales of the above 15 Hogsheads and I think I can venture to pronounce, your Market will not be glutted with the present Crop—You have doubtless been fully informd by many of your Friends of the misfortune attending your Charterd Ship, it will be needless therefore for me to touch upon the Subject.4

I have at different times sent for Hales Husbandry but never yet got it, which I begin to attribute to a wrong description of the Title, having never till lately seen the Book—You will know it now by—“A Compleat Body of Husbandry compild from the Original Papers of the late Thomas Hale Esqr.—enlargd from the Collections of others—&ca[.”] If any oppertunity shoud offer into Potomack before Johnston may Sail in the Spring—or, if any ship shoud be bound for Rappahannock River please to send it to me; together with Hartlibs Legacy of Husbandry and if it shoud so happen that the first oppertunity presents itself for the latter River, be pleasd then to address the Books, and following things to the care of Fielding Lewis Esqr. at Fredericksburg.5 Viz.

Pocket Book Accordg to mine of the 28th Ulto
Garden Seeds &
Hop Clover let be 4 Bushels

and to them pray add abt 20 Bushels of the best, and true Ray Grass Seed,6 for all of them are Articles I woud gladly get to hand as soon as possible—I mentiond in a former Letter, and perhaps it may not be amiss to remind you here, of the necessity of putting all these Seeds in the Cabbin, or some place where the closeness, and heat of the Ship may not destroy the Vegetative virtue of them, which scarce ever fails to happen in a contrary case. I am Gentn Yr Most Obedt Hble Servt

Go: Washington

ALS, CSmH; LB, in GW’s hand, DLC:GW. The ALS of the accompanying invoice at Huntington Library is marked “Duplicate” on the back.

1According to his entries in General Ledger A description begins General Ledger A, 1750–1772. Library of Congress, George Washington Papers, Series 5, Financial Papers. description ends , folio 120, 148, GW shipped to Robert Cary & Co. 18 hogsheads of his tobacco in the Bland on 18 Mar. 1761, 12 hogsheads of his tobacco aboard the Sarah on 30 June 1761, and 12 hogsheads of his and 18 of John Parke Custis’s tobacco aboard the Argo on 2 July 1761. On 2 July he also sent 6 hogsheads that he had received from his tenants. He shipped in the Argo from his and John Parke Custis’s York River plantations only the 30 hogsheads, but according to GW’s record of the tobacco made by Joseph Valentine on the Custis plantations, 1770, Valentine made 30 hogsheads on GW’s land and 54 on John Parke Custis’s in 1760.

2For the use of the dower plantations GW ordered: “200 Yards best Cotton 4 dozn pair plaid Hose—sorted & large 2 dozn Knives for Cutting Tobacco—to have strong ⟨handles⟩ 10 M 10d. Nails 10 M 8d. Ditto 1 Wheat Riddle brass Wire 4 dozn Milk pans—flat & not large 1 dozn Reap Hooks”; for John Parke Custis’s plantations he ordered: “500 Yards best Cotton 8 dozn pr plaid Hose—sorted & large 4 dozn Knives for Cuttg Tobacco to have strong handles 1 Sett of Shoemakers Tools without Lasts 20 M 8d. Nails 20 M 10d. Ditto 1 Wheat Riddle—brass Wire 8 dozn Milk Pans—flat & not large 1 dozn Reap hooks 2 half Inch Augers 2 Inch Ditto 2 Inch & Quarter Ditto 2 Inch & half Ditto 2 Inch & 3 Quarters Ditto 1 two Inch Ditto” (24 Oct. 1760, CSmH). Cary’s invoice for shipping these goods was dated 5 Jan. 1761, and the ship bringing the goods cleared York River on 5 June 1761.

3Cary & Co.’s letter has not been found. GW wrote Cary on 28 April 1760 that he was sending the fifteen hogsheads by the Russia Merchant.

4For the loss of the Cary, see GW to Robert Cary & Co., 8 Oct. 1760, n.1.

5For Hale’s Husbandry, see GW to Robert Cary & Co., 12 June 1759. Beginning in 1651 and periodically for several years afterwards Samuel Hartlib edited for publication several editions of a volume on husbandry, bearing various emendations. The title also varied, but it was generally called Samuel Hartlib His Legacy. GW apparently never received a later edition published in 1742 which was an abridgment of the book.

6In a later letter to Robert Cary & Co., GW refers to the ray grass as “more properly red Darnel” and distinguishes it from rye grass which he condemns as “a filthy kind and ought to be rooted out of all Places” (23 Sept. 1761).

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