George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Bushrod Washington, 3 April 1785

To Bushrod Washington

Mount Vernon 3d April 1785.

Dear Bushrod,

Your letter of the 20th Ulto did not come to my hands until the 31st 1—Whenever you have occasion to write to me from the line of the Post, always put your letter into the Mail. all other conveyances are uncertain; at best, irregular.

Not expecting you were going to Richmond, I did, previously to the receipt of your letter, write to the Attorney General (to whose care my letter to you had been addressed) requesting him to open it; and so far as it respected the promisary Note of Ryan, ⟨to⟩ comply with my desire on that ⟨head.⟩ Being on the spot, you can be informed of the state of this matter, & govern yourself accordingly.2

By the last Post I inclosed an Advertisement to Mr Hayes (the Printer) requesting a meeting of the Proprietors of the Great dismal Swamp. The Servant by whom I sent it to Alexandria got there after the Mail was dispatched; but meeting with the Stage, he says he put it into the hands of somebody who promised to take care of it; as this may, or may not be the case, I beg you will make immediate enquiry, & in case of failure, desire him to insert the one herewith inclosed three weeks in his Gazette. And, as the Notice will be short, to have it also published in some other Paper of general Circulation. If nothing unforeseen should happen to prevent it, I expect to be in Richmond at the appointed time, & having no other business, should regret a disappointment.3

The Holly berries, Geese & Swan, are here, but no mention made of the Cotton 4—All here join me in best wishes for you. I am, Yr Affecte Uncle

Go: Washington

P.S. Upon second thoughts I have sent the Advertisement to the Printer himself lest this letter should lye in the Post Office for want of your knowing it is there. The one inclosed for Doctr Walker endeavor to forward by some safe hand.5

ALS (photocopy), NjP: Armstrong Collection. The letter was sold in 1947 by Gimbel Brothers, item 202.

1Letter not found.

2See GW to Bushrod Washington, 22 Jan., and GW to Edmund Randolph, 19 Mar., and notes. See also Randolph to GW, 5 April. The two words in angle brackets are taken from the portion of the letter printed in Gimbel Brothers catalog, 1947, item 202.

3GW’s announcement, dated 25 Mar. 1785 at Mount Vernon, had already been printed on 2 April in the Virginia Gazette, or, The American Advertiser (Richmond): “The Proprietors of the Dismal Swamp, are desired to meet at Richmond, on Monday the 2d day of May next.—Many unsuccessful attempts having been made to assemble the Members, and the business of the Company being in a deranged state; a full meeting is now become indispensably necessary, and is earnestly requested.

It were to be wished that every Member would bring with him such papers as he is possessed of respecting this concern, that there may be proper adjustment of it, and some decisive measures adopted for the benefit of the Company.—Done at the request of several Members. G. Washington.”

The advertisement ran for four issues. GW records in his cash accounts having paid fifteen shillings at Richmond on 4 May to “[James] Hayes Printer Advertisg a Meeting Swamp Co.” (Ledger B description begins General Ledger B, 1772–1793. Library of Congress, George Washington Papers, Series 5, Financial Papers. description ends , 202). For the meeting of the Dismal Swamp Company on 2 May in Richmond, see GW to Thomas Walker, 10 April, n.1.

4In his diary entry of 19 Mar., GW wrote: “Received a Swan, 4 Wild Geese, & two Barrels of Holly Berries (in Sand) from my Brother John” (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 4:104). Bushrod was the son of GW’s brother John Augustine Washington.

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