George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Lund Washington, 22 April 1778

From Lund Washington

Mount Vernon April 22d 1778

Dr Sir

Yours of the 12 Inst. is at hand1—lately I recieved a Letter from Colo. Lewis wherein he informs me he cannot learn who has Blairs Bond, nor who is authorised to recieve his Debts, & that he believes he did not appoint any one to do it before he left the Country—I shall write to Mr Mercer concerng it & other matters as you mention.2

I shall not go among your Tenants over the Ridge until I return from Camp, at present Mr Custis and my self think to set off for Camp next week.3

Custis was Honourable elected a Delegate for this Cty last monday, he got more than three times as many Votes as Broadwater,4 Mason was first Elected—Colo. Basset who is here was yesterday Enoculated for the small Pox, he pretends not to be affraid, yet you may discover he is much alarmd.

I am affraid the Shads are done runing if so I shall be cut short in my expectation, & not make more than half as much by fishg as I expected, they were disappointed in getg Salt so soon as was expected, therefore I coud not be supplyd with it, at any Rate done or not done run[nin]g I shall clear £200. by it, & if they are not gone double it—Herrings they make no use off, but I think they had better cure them as they cannot get shad5—We have had much Wet weather the whole winter & spring, which has put us rather Back in our plantation worck the Crabs, Thorns, Cedars &c.—which we planted this Spring for Hedges appear to be all liveg the Locusts at the North End of the House are all putg out I believe not one of them are dead, the Variety of Trees at the South End are also alive, most of them I hope will live.6

The Ship G. Washington is Launc[h]e’d butt lays deep in the mud in Occoquan how long she will continue so is uncertain—not long I hope, they say she will be got out the first high tide7—I have got Continantal Loan office Certificates on your Ac[coun]t for £1200.

of all the Worthless Men liveg Lanphier is the greatest, no art or temptation of mine can prevail on him to come to worck notwithstandg his repeated promises to do so8—I wanted much to get the Window finishd in the Pedimont that I might have the garret Passage plaister’d & clean’d out before Mrs Washington return—beside this the scafflg in the Front of the House cannot be taken away before it is finishd—this prevents me from putg up the Steps to the great Front Door, a worck I want Harry young to be about—I think he will be here to day and stick to his worck.9

We have some of our people sick, among them is Ariana a child of Alice’s who I believe must Die10—worms I believe is the cause of its illness the others not Bad—make my Compliments to Mrs Washington & tell her I shall take care to bring or send the Cotten she wrote for, & that I recieved the letter she mentiond11—Her grandchildren are two Beautys, & in good health—Am Dr Sir your affectionate Servt

Lund Washington

ALS, ViMtvL.

1This letter has not been found.

2The letter from Fielding Lewis has not been found. For discussion of Alexander Blair’s bond, see Lund Washington to GW, 1 April, and note 4 to that document. Blair, who was suspected of Loyalism and ordered disarmed in August 1776 for refusal to sign an oath of allegiance, may have returned to the British Isles in April or May 1777, when David Blair, another Loyalist from Fredericksburg, left Virginia and Blair’s partner in the bond, Neil McCoull, announced his intention to leave (see Purdie’s Virginia Gazette [Williamsburg], 23 Aug. 1776, supplement; Palmer, Biographical Sketches of Loyalists description begins Gregory Palmer. Biographical Sketches of Loyalists of the American Revolution. Westport, Conn., and London, 1984. description ends , 70; Dixon and Hunter’s Virginia Gazette [Williamsburg], 30 May 1777). See also GW to Lund Washington, 17 Dec. 1778, for a discussion of James Mercer’s information about the land sale and bond.

3Lund Washington is referring to GW’s tenants in Berkeley and Frederick Counties. John Parke Custis decided that he could not visit camp at this time, but Lund Washington left Virginia on or soon after 11 May, arriving at Valley Forge before 26 May (see Lund Washington to GW, 6 May, Custis to GW, 11 May, and GW to Custis, 26 May).

4The previous Monday was 20 April. Custis continued to represent Fairfax County in the Virginia house until his death in 1781. Charles Broadwater (c.1722–1806), who served from the 1740s until 1803 as Fairfax County coroner and a justice of the peace, was elected with GW in 1774 to represent Fairfax County in the House of Burgesses, serving in the 1775–76 session. He also represented the county at the first four Revolutionary conventions and, in 1782 and 1783, in the house of delegates.

5For discussion of Congress’s proposal to purchase shad for the Continental army, see Lund Washington to GW, 11 Mar., and note 3 to that document. On 12 June, Lund received £384 from Alexandria merchant William Herbert for “Cureg 192 Barrels of shad for the Use of the Continent at 40/,” £72.12 for “121 Barrels for part of the above Fish at 12/ pr Barl,” and £1.16 for “Bringing salt from Alexandria to cure the Fish.” He also recorded receipts of £7.7.6 on 21 April and £7.4 on 23 April, “Cash for shad Fish” (Lund Washington’s Mount Vernon account book, ff. 75, 73, ViMtvL).

6For GW’s plans for landscaping the western front of the mansion, see Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 4:75. For previous correspondence about the planting, see Lund Washington to GW, 29 Feb. 1776, and GW to Lund Washington, 19 Aug. and 10–17 Dec. 1776.

7For discussion of the privateer General Washington, see John Parke Custis to GW, October 1777, source note, and Lund Washington to GW, 1 April, and note 11 to that document. Occoquan Creek, about ten miles southwest of Mount Vernon, empties into the Potomac River via Belmont Bay.

8Lund Washington’s Mount Vernon account book indicates that although Going Lanphier’s “man” was employed during this period, Lanphier himself worked very little. On 1 July, Lanphier was credited “By 3 months and 8 days of your man at £5 [per month]” and “By 16 Days worck of self at £9 [per month].” After 1 July both men worked steadily until November (f. 65, ViMtvL).

9Henry (“Harry”) Young was a former convict servant who had been purchased by GW from James Crump on 27 July 1774. From 1778 to 1781 Young was paid wages for work as a stonemason at Mount Vernon (see 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 , 10:104, 106).

10In July 1774 GW listed two women named Alice among his tithable house slaves, and in February 1786 he again listed two house slaves—Lame Alice (d. 1787), a seamstress, and Alce (Little Alice), a spinner—along with two laboring women named Alice at the Muddy Hole and River farms. No slave named Ariana appears on either list, but Little Alice did have a thirteen-year-old daughter Anna in 1786 (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 , 10:137–38; Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 4:277–83). A spinner Alce (wife of Charles , a freeman) and Anna appear as dower slaves on the list drawn up by GW in 1799 (Papers, Retirement Series description begins W. W. Abbot et al., eds. The Papers of George Washington, Retirement Series. 4 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1998–99. description ends , 4:528–37).

11These letters have not been identified.

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