George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Daniel Jenifer Adams, 20 July 1772

To Daniel Jenifer Adams

Mount Vernon July 20th 1772

Sir,

If the price of Superfine Flour in Barbadoes is not under Twenty five Shillings prCt I would have mine sold there rather than hazard any other Market; but if it should be lower than this, I would in that case, take the chance of some of the other Islands (if you should call at them in your way to Jamaica) in any of which, if you can get such a price as to nett me two pence a pound Virga Curry by the Invoice exclusive, of Freight, Commission’s, & every other Incident charge, I would take it; unless there should be a moral certainty of its selling higher in Jamaica—If all these chances fail, the Flour must then be sold in Jamaica for what it will fetch, unless it should be very low, & a prospect of rising; in which case I would have it left with Mr McMickan & Co. to sell, provided, (upon examination⟨)⟩ it is found to be in a condition to keep. In the disposal of this Flour, I recommend its being lump’d of, rather than sold in small parcels for tryal, as it was ground out of indifferent Wheat, & will, I fear, look better to the eye, than it will proove agreeable to the taste, being a little Musty.1

The Money arising from the Sales I would have laid out in Negroes, if choice ones can be had under Forty pounds Sterl.; if not, then in Rum & Sugar from Barbadoes, or any of the Windward Islands; and Sugar & Molasses if the Flour shd be sold in Jama.

If the Return’s are in Slaves let there be two thirds of them Males, the other third Females—The former not exceeding (at any rate) 20 yrs of age—the latter 16—All of them to be strait Limb’d, & in every respect strong & likely, with good Teeth & good Countenances—to be sufficiently provided with Cloaths.

I have also to request the favour of you to bring me the following Articles.

A Cask of about 50 or 60 Gallns of the best old Spirits especially from Barbadoes

A Barrel of best Oranges

1 Ditto of Lemon’s or Lymes

1 Pott of about 5 lb. best green Sweet Meats Mixed

1 Ditto of Ginger

10 lbs. of best Tamarinds—all of them preservd with White Sugr

A Pot of good dryed Figs if to be had upon good terms

1 lb. of Kian Pepper

Some Pine apples & a dozn or two of Coco Nuts2

Wishing you a pleasant and prosperous Voyage I remain Sir Yr Most Obedt Servt

Go: Washington

ALB, DLC:GW.

1GW consigned to Daniel Jenifer Adams of Charles County, Md., 273 barrels of flour and sold him on credit 115 barrels of herring aboard the brig Fairfax, Samuel Brodie owner and master, for Adams to sell in the West Indies. Sailing on 24 June, the Fairfax also carried flour belonging to Carlyle & Dalton of Alexandria, which John Carlyle consigned to Adams and Brodie jointly. Adams, who sailed as supercargo in the Fairfax, wrote to GW from Jamaica on 3 Oct. that he had sold 220 of GW’s 273 barrels of flour for 20/ per hundredweight (see GW to Robert McMickan, February 1773, n.2). Receiving disturbing reports from and about Adams’s activities and fearing for the safety of his investment, GW on 12 Jan. 1773 wrote Adams severing all business ties with him. On the same day, GW wrote to Robert McMickan, a merchant in Jamaica, about Adams, who had purchased the vessel from Brodie, and gave McMickan authority to collect from Adams all of the money due to GW from the sale of his flour and the purchase of his herring. Before the end of the year GW learned that McMickan had obtained a “Bottomry” (in effect, a mortgage) on Adams’s brig, renamed the Anne and Elizabeth. The vessel was brought to Norfolk on 6 Dec. 1773 but did not reach Alexandria until the end of February 1774, at a cost to GW of more than two hundred pounds. When GW put up the brig for public sale on 28 Mar., he himself was “compelld to buy it in,” for £175 Virginia currency (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 3:240–41; GW to McMickan, 10 May 1774). As the Farmer, the brig proved a valuable acquisition for GW, and in 1775 GW made a final settlement with Adams for tracts of land in Charles County, totaling 552½ acres. Most of the correspondence relating to GW’s dealings with Adams and McMickan is missing, but the main outlines of the affair may be pieced together from these surviving documents: John Carlyle to GW, 20 July 1772, Robert McMickan to GW, 13 Nov. 1772, GW to Adams, 12 Jan. 1773, GW to McMickan, 12 Jan. (two letters [ref A, ref B]), 12 Feb., February 1773, Cash Accounts, April 1773, Jonathan Boucher to GW, 8 April 1773, GW to McMickan, 14 June, 20 July 1773, GW to Thomas Pollock, 29 Nov. 1773, GW to McMickan, 10 May 1774, Adams to GW, 4 Feb. 1775; Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 3:119–20, 240–41; and Ledger B description begins Manuscript Ledger Book 2, 1772-93, in George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends , 57, 99. Some of the statements regarding the voyage and sale of the Anne and Elizabeth made by the editors of the Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends are in error (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 240–41).

2Adams provided GW with neither slaves nor these products. GW gave McMickan the identical order for rum, fruit, and other West Indies products on 20 July 1773.

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