George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Wakelin Welch, 27 July 1784

To Wakelin Welch

Mount Vernon 27th July 1784


Your letter of the 26th of Jany, & duplicate thereof, both coming by the way of James river, were long getting to hand.1

I return the Power of Attorney signed before the first Master & Mariners I could find, bound for the Port of London; and trust that no further difficulty will arise to prevent your drawing the money which had been deposited in the Bank, out of the same & placing it to my credit upon the most advantageous terms.2

I have not an ounce of Tobacco growing this year—whether I shall return to that species of Agriculture again, or not, will depend altogether upon the price that article is most likely to bear from the general State of the trade, of which, you who understand the matter better than I do, can best determine; & would do me a favor to signify for my information.

Not having, that I recollect, received the particulars of my Accot currt with your House; I should be glad to have it forwarded to me, together with that of the late Mr Custis’s, as soon as convenient.3I am Sir &c.

G: Washington


After GW’s marriage to Martha Custis in 1759, the firm of Robert Cary & Co. served as his chief commercial agent in London. During the Revolutionary War two of the partners of the firm, Robert Cary and John Moory, died, leaving Welch as the sole surviving partner. By this time Wakelin Welch, Jr., had become a partner in the firm.

1Letter not found.

2When GW finally settled the estate of Daniel Parke Custis in 1761, Martha Parke Custis, GW’s step-daughter, received, as part of her share of her father’s estate, stock in the Bank of England valued at £1,650 sterling. Shortly after his young ward died, GW on 10 Nov. 1773 wrote to Robert Cary & Co. indicating a wish to sell the half of the shares of bank stock that had become a part of his wife’s disposable property upon her daughter’s death. On 1 June 1774 GW wrote Cary that he had “executed the Bond and other Papers necessary for the prerogative Court of Canterbury, in order to enable you to receive the Money in the Bank of England,” but the stock remained unsold and the bank continued to pay dividends (see GW to Welch, July 1786). In 1783, after receiving a letter from Welch dated 31 May (not found), GW wrote Welch on 30 Oct. 1783 to complain about the failure of Robert Cary & Co. to sell the bank stock ten years before, and then he added: “As it now is, as it then was, my intention to apply this money towards payment of the Balle I owed your House, I would beg of you to take out such powers for the transfer, & give me such precise & ample directions for the execution as will admit of no doubt or delay—As the money will be for your benefit by its being applyed to the credit of your Ho. I wish you to have the negociating of the matter—The Letter of Admn power of Attorney or by whatever other name called may be made out in your name accordingly” (ALS, DLC:GW).

An entry in GW’s account with Welch, dated 13 Jan. 1785, records £500 sterling “to my interest remaining in the Bank of England after you had sold as much as would discharge my debt to you, as appears by yr letter of this date—Making the residue subject to my Orders.” GW continued to use Wakelin Welch’s company as his agent in London, and on 7 Mar. 1787 he noted in the ledger “the sale of the above £500 Bank Stock in Novr last as appears by your letter of this date” (Ledger B description begins Manuscript Ledger Book 2, 1772-93, in George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends , 234).

3GW had asked for his account current with Robert Cary & Co. on 31 October. No copy of the account has been found, and there are no entries in the Cary account in Ledger B description begins Manuscript Ledger Book 2, 1772-93, in George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends after the account was settled in August 1772. The account with Welch himself begins with the entry quoted in note 2. However, GW’s account with the estate of John Parke Custis after Custis’s death in 1781 indicates that Welch had sent GW a copy of the estate’s account with Robert Cary & Co. See Ledger B description begins Manuscript Ledger Book 2, 1772-93, in George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends , 217.

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