George Washington Papers

To George Washington from De Berdt, Lee, & Sayre, 27 January 1770

From De Berdt, Lee, & Sayre

London Jan: 27. 1770.


Having determin’d to make an essay of the tobo trade we have bo’t the Liberty a new ship, which Capt. Walker now carrys out to load for us in Potomac, and as we design her to be a regular annual ship, our friends will always have a certain conveyance for their goods, & their tobo to market. Being determin’d to act on an upright plan, we beg the favor of your assistance to Capt. Walker, & can assure you that if we are so happy as to receive your tobo no House will be more assiduous for your interest either in the sale of yr tobo or in the purchase of your goods. If it shd be at any time convenient for you to lodge money in our hands, we shall very willingly allow you the full benefit in discounting the dutys on yr tobo—Capt. Walker will send to York river so that he can easily take tobos from thence & we hope you will favor us with some of yours.

Our Compts to Mrs Washington & yr family ⟨&⟩ with esteem remain Sir, yr mo: Obt Humble Servts

De Berdt’s, Lee & Sayre

Dennys De Berdt

Dennis De Berdt Junr

William Lee

Stephen Sayre

LS, DLC:GW; LB, ViStrR. The copy in William Lee’s letter book does not include the names of the senders.

The firm of De Berdt, Lee, and Sayre joined with John Norton in the winter of 1769–70, at a meeting of the London merchants engaged in the American trade, in calling for united opposition to all parliamentary legislation offensive to the colonists. Dennys De Berdt had been an agent in London since 1765 for the colony of Massachusetts. Stephen Sayre (1736–1818), a native of New York at this time living in London, and William Lee were members of the Mississippi company, as was GW (see Mississippi Land Company Articles of Agreement, 3 June 1763, n.7). The senior De Berdt died before the Liberty, James Walker captain, reached Virginia, and William Lee took over the management of the firm.

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