From Lund Washington
Mount Vernon April 8th 1778
Yours of March 29th by Genrl Woodford was deliverd me on monday,1 with regard to Sellg the Negroes Mention’d, you have put it out of my power, by saying you woud not sell them without their Consent—I was very near Sellg Bett, indeed I had sold her for 200£ to a man Liveg in Bottetourt Cty, But her Mother appeard to be so uneasy about it, and Bett herself made such promises of amendment, that I coud not Force her to go with the Man, to another Man at the same time I offerd Phillis for £200, but she was so alarmd at the thoughts of being sold that the man cou’d not get her to utter a Word of English, therefore he believed she cou’d not speak—the man was to come two days after—when he came she was Sick & has been ever Since, so that I sold neither of them—those Negroes that come from Craufords are now in the small Pox by Enculation—Orford got Frost Bit in comeg down, and it is not yet Well—so that unless I was to make a Publick Sale of those Negroes & pay no regard to their being Willing or not, I see no probability of sellg them—but this is a matter that may be fixd when I see you, I believe the price of them will keep up at least for this Summer2—This Day I begin to Haul the Seyne for the purpose of getg Shad for the Continant—by which I hope to make £200 this, together with Dryg Fish for our own people will prevent me from seeing you before the last of this Month or the first of May3—then I believe nothing here will prevent my comeg.
Steady is far from being Fat yet, altho he thrives Fast—he has been to no mares as yet, but must soon was he in high order I shoud get as many Mares as he coud cover—there is no Coverg Horse of good Blood near here4—james Cleveland gave £⟨8⟩00 the other Day for Stiths Horse—he expects to make £600 a year by him. Custis is gone down to New kent he says if he loses his Election, he will be up immediately and go with me to Camp—but so far as I can understand there is very little chance of his not being Elected.5
I have sold What Corn I have to spare @ 22/ per Barrel and am now Diliverg part of it, I told you in the Winter I shoud not have more than 400 Barrels to sell.6 I have sent £1200. to the Loan office and expect soon to have Certificates for it in your Name—I shall enquire whether Mercer has acknowledged Deeds for the Land you Bought of him, and when I can find the Bond which Blair has pay it off7—My Compliments to Mrs Washington and am Dr Sir your Affectionate Servt
Custis took your mare down with him to be put to his Horse.8
1. GW’s letter has not been found. The preceding Monday was 6 April.
2. Slaves named Bett, Phillis, and Orford were among those sold in January 1779 (see Lund Washington to GW, 11 Mar. 1778, n.5). The slaves from William Crawford’s place on the Youghiogheny River were those formerly moved from GW’s Round Bottom land on the Ohio River (see GW to William Stevens, 6 Mar. 1775, James Cleveland to GW, 16 Nov. 1775, and Lund Washington to GW, 5 Nov. and 23 Dec. 1775). On 20 April 1778 Lund paid Alexander Cleveland’s expenses for “going over the Alegana Mountain and bringing your negroes down from Colo. Crawford” (Lund Washington’s Mount Vernon account book, f. 73, ViMtvL).
3. On 4 April, John Chaloner, assistant commissary general at Valley Forge, wrote Thomas Richardson, who was supplying shad to the army from Georgetown: “Inclosed you have a Letter to Lud Washington Esqr from Mr William Miller late of Phila. desiring him to deliver you all his Barrells &ca which he says will amount to 800, as also 200 Hogsheads—I wish him to go down and superintend the Fisheries, he is better acquainted with the River & the Business than any other man & has put up the most Fish of any person there. If I can prevail on him to go shall send him his scenes Boats &c. will be usefull” (Ephraim Blaine Papers, DLC: Peter Force Collection). See Lund Washington to GW, 11 Mar., and note 3, for background on the Continental purchase of shad; for Lund’s activities, see also Lund Washington to GW, 22 April, and note 5 to that document.
7. For discussion of this land purchase, see GW to James Mercer, 12 Dec. 1774, and note 3, Papers, Colonial Series description begins W. W. Abbot et al., eds. The Papers of George Washington, Colonial Series. 10 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1983–95. description ends , 10:201–5. For discussion of the bond, see Lund Washington to GW, 1 and 22 April, and notes, and GW to Lund Washington, 17 Dec. 1778.