George Washington Papers

From George Washington to John Fitzgerald, 28 April 1793

To John Fitzgerald

Philadelphia April 28th 1793.

Dear Sir,

Two or three days after my arrival in this City, I forwarded a Commission appointing you Collector of the Port of Alexandria; to be in force until the end of the next session of Congress, longer than which I could not issue one in the recess of the Senate but there is no instance of that body with-holding its consent to appointments thus made when offered to them for confirmation.1

I am now about [to] give you a little trouble on my private Account. In Alexandria, stored in the warehouse belonging to Colo. Hooe, I have 141 barls of Superfine, & 149 barls of common flour—and at my Mill about an equal quantity of each sort, for Sale: and would thank you for letting me know the most that can be had for it on a credit of 40, 60, or even 90 days, in secure hands.2

In the Tobacco Warehouses in Alexandria I have also 25 Hhds of Tobacco of (as I am told) the first quality—being made of the sweet scented plant, little Fredk &c.—tho’ it stands in the notes as Oro[o]noko neatly handled, & dry—& wish to know what could be had for this? I have held it a guinea pr Ct and am not disposed to take less. be⟨l⟩ow is a list of the Nos & weights of it.3 With great esteem & regard I am—Dear Sir Yr Obedt & Affecte

Go: W——n


1GW had arrived at Philadelphia on 17 April, after a visit to Mount Vernon, and he signed Fitzgerald’s commission on 20 April (JPP, description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends 107, 115). On the recess appointment of Fitzgerald, see GW to Fitzgerald, 12 April 1793, and notes 1–2.

2While at Mount Vernon, GW, in preparation for selling his flour, had written on 5 April to Tobias Lear for the selling price of flour in Philadelphia, and Lear included prices in his letter to GW of 10 April. Fitzgerald did not receive this letter until late May. After receiving no response, GW wrote to Fitzgerald on 24 May and enclosed a duplicate of this letter of 28 April, neither of which has been found (Fitzgerald to GW, 25, 31 May). In the meantime GW tried to sell his flour to William Hartshorne & Co. of Alexandria but failed to agree on a price with that firm (Hartshorne to GW, 30 April, and note 1, and Hartshorne & Co. to GW, 10 May, and note 2). GW then struck a deal with Robert Townsend Hooe, and he subsequently informed Fitzgerald of the sale (GW to Hooe, 17, 29 May, to Anthony Whitting, 19, 29 May, Hooe to GW, 23 May, GW to Fitzgerald, 3 June).

3The list of tobacco does not appear on either the ADfS or LB copy. GW later asked Fitzgerald to move his tobacco from Alexandria to Georgetown, where it would be reinspected and presumably sold for a higher price. He also instructed Anthony Whitting to assist Fitzgerald in doing so (Fitzgerald to GW, 25, 31 May, 7 June, GW to Fitzgerald, 3 June, to Whitting, 2 June).

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