George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Thomas Bishop, 10 April 1779

To Thomas Bishop

Middle brook. Apl 10th 1779.


I received your letter by Colo. Harrison1—In answer to it, I shall briefly inform you, that as you have been so long a Member of my family it is not my intention to let you want while we both live; but with respect to the increase of your wages, it is a circumstance that must depend upon the Services you render in return. I am very sensible that the high prices of every necessary of life are such as not to let you, or any other man live for the same nominal Sum you formerly did—& therefore I leave it to Mr Washington to furnish you, gratis, with such a reasonable quantity of Wool & flax as he shall judge sufficient for the cloathing of your self, wife, & daughter; to be worked up by yourselves. & besides this, if he thinks your Services entitled to an increase of Wages, I have no objection to his doing it; but I can neither direct the measure, nor the sum because of my ignorance of the benefit he derives from your Services. This letter goes open under his cover, that he may be apprized of the contents; I thank you for yr good wishes—& offer mine in return for yr self wife & child.2 Yrs &ca


ADfS, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1This letter has not been found.

2For a detailed discussion of Bishop’s services to GW, which had begun in 1755, and those of his wife, Susanna Bishop (d. 1785), and daughter Sarah Bishop, see George Washington’s Last Will and Testament, 9 July 1799, n.26 (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 , 4:505). No letters from GW to his farm manager Lund Washington on the subject of recompensing Bishop at this time have been found. Lund Washington’s Mount Vernon account book indicates that Bishop received £12 for wages on 20 Feb., and that he received £6 on 21 June and £13 16s on 3 July for unspecified services. On 4 Dec., Bishop again received £12 for unspecified services (Ledger B description begins Manuscript Ledger Book 2, 1772-93, in George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends ).

Index Entries