George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Cox, 25 July–9 October 1773

From John Cox

Lisbon 25th of July 1773[–9 Oct. 1773]


having dispos’d of Three bbls of flour as pr Sales Furnishd, the neet proceeds of which I have Remitd as pr advice of Mrs Washington, in the brigtn. Charming Nancy my self Master, the Danger of the Sea & Seizure Exceptd, Which when Reced place to the Credit of your Humble Servt

John Cox

m. Rais1
Sales of Two bbls of Supr fine flour weighg 14 Ruves2 ⟨&⟩ 9 lbs. @ 300 Rais pr Ruve 12.853
Do. of one bbl of Burr midlings 7 Ruves @ 600 pr Ruve 4.200
Do. of Two lb. of Bees Wax @ 300 Rais pr lb. 0.600
Shipt in Returns
To one box of Ittalian Flowers, Contng 31 flowers 6.200
To one black Satin peticoat 5.600
To Two Alqrs3 of Spanish Nuts 2.960
To 400 Walnuts 1.600
To Dispatch the above Articles 0.240
To freight of 3 bbls 0.600
To Custom house Charges, porterage & brokerage, Commis⟨sion⟩ 0.600

P.S. The Ruve is 32 lbs. & they make a Deduction of

2 pr Ct in weighing. mill. Rais
The half Joe is 6.400
The Moidore is 4.800
A Guinea is 3.600

Philadelphia 9th of October 1773

Mrs Washington will please to Excuse my not buying more nuts, Reasons & Figgs. it happen’d to be a Scarce Time of the Year, the new had not Come in, the fruit Baskits I was Disapointd in by Reason of my Short Stay, but Shall bring them next Voiage. Rose water is in no Demand in Lisbon. I Should be glad of a line from you, my Compliments to all the Family.4 I hope to Come your way again, from yours Sincearly

John Cox

P.S. I have Sent 2 Curious work Baggs as a preasent to Mrs Washington. one was Enten’d for Miss Pattsey, the other for Miss A. posey—I am now Loading outwards for Lisbon & the West Indies.


The brig Nancy was tied up for several days at GW’s wharf at Mount Vernon in April 1773, and its captain, John Cox, dined at Mount Vernon every day from 5 to 9 April. It was probably at this time that Martha Washington placed her order for the items from Portugal.

1The smallest Portuguese unit of money was the real (pl. réis). One thousand réis equaled a milréis.

2This must be Cox’s rendering of “arroba,” an old Portuguese measure of weight which equaled about thirty-two pounds.

3The alqueire was a varying measurement equal to about thirteen to fourteen liters.

4The merchant William Milnor wrote GW from Philadelphia on 19 Oct.: “The several articles Capt. Cox left with me for Mrs Washington, I have ship’d on board of the sloop Norfolk-packet Capt. Francis Gilbert bound to Alexandria and directed them to the care of Mr William Herbert.” On 16 Dec. after his return from an extended visit to Williamsburg, GW wrote Milnor to report the safe arrival of the cargo during his absence.

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