George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Mitchell, 9 August 1780

From John Mitchell

Philada 9 August 1780

Dear Sir

Your Excellencys favours of the 4th Instant came to hand Yesterday, I have engaged as good a Saddle & Furniture as can be made here, with a handsome Birdoon Bridle.1 they will be finished on Tuesday2 or Wednesday at Furthest and shall be sent on Immediately by a safe conveyance. If Possible to procure it will get Plated Stirrup Irons & Bitt & Birdoon as they are neater & better I hope the whole will please you & be in time.3

have this day sent on Sixteen Reams of the best paper I cou’d procure with some Weafers.4 I cou’d not get sealing Wax under Thirty Dollars ⅌ Stick which came to 600 Dollars ⅌ pound—I will make further Search in the City, & send some if to be procured with more Weafers—the prices of every Article is most exorbitant here, and seems to grow worse—I am told that Exchange between paper and Gold is now above 70 for one—I have done all in my power to keep it down, & have not yet settled any Accounts above Sixty, as I make most of my Engagements in Specie or the Exchange at 60 for 1—this I believe is most advantageous for the Publick.

I wrote your Excellency that Capt. Stith had left a Horse for you with me but not in good order,5 & before I knew of such a Horse being here, he was much abused by a Stallion of Mr Bees6 geting loose in the Night, he has been well taken care of since & hope he will be fitt to send with your saddle &c. I will take care he shall go by a safe hand. I have the honor to be with the greatest esteem & respect Your Excellencys Most Obedt & most hume St

Jno. Mitchell

ALS, DLC:GW. No reply from GW to Mitchell has been found.

1A bridoon is “The snaffle and rein of a military bridle, which acts independently of the bit, at the pleasure of the rider” (OED description begins James A. H. Murray et al., eds. The Oxford English Dictionary: Being a Corrected Re-Issue with an Introduction, Supplement, and Bibliography of A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles. 12 vols. 1933. Reprint. Oxford, England, 1970. description ends ).

2The next Tuesday was 15 August.

3GW’s letter to Mitchell of 4 Aug. requesting these items has not been found.

4On 4 Aug., GW wrote Mitchell from headquarters: “I am totally out of Writing paper & Wax & Wafers. I therefore request that You will procure without delay Twelve or if it can be conveniently obtained, Twenty four Rheams of the first Article, of pretty good quality, & a suitable quantity of Wax & Wafers & forward them to me, by the earliest opportunity I am absolutely destitute of any of these Articles, and a supply is not to be had here” (Df, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW).

5This letter has not been found, but the horse had been sent from Virginia (see Alexander Spotswood to GW, 27 June).

6South Carolina delegate to Congress Thomas Bee (1739–1812), a planter and lawyer, had previously served in the state legislature and as lieutenant governor. In 1790, GW appointed him to a federal district judgeship, an office he held until his death (see Bee to GW, 23 May 1790, in Papers, Presidential Series description begins W. W. Abbot et al., eds. The Papers of George Washington, Presidential Series. 19 vols. to date. Charlottesville, Va., 1987–. description ends 5:417).

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