George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Melancton Smith, 26 January 1785

From Melancton Smith

New York Jany 26th 1785


I received your favor of the 20th Decr.

I am extremely mortified that you have been subjected to the inconveniency and loss you mention by not receiving timely information of the arrival of the Plate. You may be assured, Sir, that my not giving you earlier advice was not owing to the want of a disposition to oblige you, but to casualties that could not be prevented. I was out of Town when the Box arrived. Docr Craige received it, and had no directions how to dispose of it, when I returned which was several Weeks after, he informed me that the plate was in his possession. In a few days after it was forwarded to Philadelphia by Water, and I sent a Letter by a private hand to Philadelphia to Messrs Cox & Fraser to forward to you as soon as possible.1

I have made out the Account as you request, giving a credit for the Sum you mention to have paid Mr Parker (his Books are not with me) and have requested Messrs Porter & Ingraham Merchts in Alexandria to receive the Ballance for which purpose I have transmitted them a copy of the Account with an Order at foot. The Original Invoice is inclosed.2 I am with respect Sir Your Obed. serv.

Melancton Smith

The Invoice having a Letter on the same sheet, which it is probable may be wanted, I will thank you Sir to return after inspecting.3 I am as before Yours respectfully, M. Smith


1The merchants Tench Coxe of Philadelphia and Nalbro’ Frazier of New England formed a partnership in Philadelphia in 1783 which lasted until May 1790. Andrew Craigie, the apothecary general of the Continental army, set up his drug business in New York in 1784.

2The enclosed invoice from Smith & Wyckoff shows charges of £56.18.4 sterling by the London firm of Joy & Hopkins “for I case plate” and other charges by Smith & Wyckoff for freight and storage, bringing the total cost to GW to £111.10.9 current money, of which he had paid Daniel Parker £65.5.4. This left GW owing Smith & Wyckoff £46.5.5. See GW to Smith, 20 Dec. 1784, and the references in note 1 of that document.

3The letter is one from Joy & Hopkins in London to Daniel Parker, dated 24 May 1784. The letter begins: “Agreeable to the orders of your Benjamin Parker we have the pleasure to annex you Invoice of one Chest ⅌ the Henry Captn Rawson, for his Excellency Genl Washington amtg to £56.18.4 which we hope may meet with his and your approbation, we have spared no pains to have every article as compleat as possible” (DLC:GW). GW apparently did not comply with Smith’s request that the letter and invoice be returned to him. The following entry appears in GW’s cash accounts for 14 Mar. 1785: “By Lancton Smith’s Orders for Bale due Danl Parker for Plate Pd Porter & Ingraham 34.14.2” (Ledger B description begins General Ledger B, 1772–1793. Library of Congress, George Washington Papers, Series 5, Financial Papers. description ends , 202).

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