George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Henry McCoy, 23 December 1793

To Henry McCoy

Philadelphia Decr 23d 1793.

Mr McKoy

You may well conceive how di⟨s⟩appointed and vexed I have been at the manner in which your plowing has been carried on since the rains, which set in the latter end of October, put the ground in order to be flushed. Had you forgot the repeated charges I gave you on this head, and the early attempts that were made, but discontinued, on account of the drought, and the hardness of the ground? Did you forget that I told you there were three fields to flush up this fall; and that all of them, but one in particular was so wet that it was almost impos⟨sib⟩le to work it after the rains set in, ⟨unti⟩ll late in the Spring? And did you forget moreover that I charged you to have your ⟨illegible⟩ in order, that not a moment might be lost when the ground was in such a state as to admit plowing to advantage? How durst you ⟨illegible⟩ disobey this order, and instead of bringing the whole force of your plows to ⟨illegible⟩ employ them now & then only—or one or two a week, as if it were for amusement? thereby doing everything which was in your power to derange my whole plan for the next year; the probability now being, that the frosts—the Snows and the Rains of the Winter, which makes the ground at Dogue Run extremely wet & heavy, will prevent your plowing till the spring months; when the Oats, & Buck Wheat for Manure, ought to be sown; & Corn planting will be coming on.

What excuse can you have fo⟨r⟩ this neglect? Was it the great quantity of Corn you made? God knows there will be little enough of that I fear; Was it the great quantity of Meadow you prepared in the Mill swamp? Of this you did nothing—In short, since the month of October, the principal part of your work seems to ha⟨ve⟩ been to level a little dirt that was thro⟨wn⟩ out of the Ditch below your House. I bore more of this when I was at home ⟨than⟩ I should have done, on account of the ⟨ill⟩ness with which you were afflicted. but I now desire you to be impressed with this belief; that the person who has now undertaken the superintendency of my Estate is a man of property, of good character, and well skilled in the business he is employed in; and that he is not only vested with authority, but has it in positive orders, that if you are not attentive to your business in all its parts. If you are not constantly at home, & with your people; and executing with fidility & strictness, the articles to which you are bound by the agreement you have entered into (and which he is in possession of) to turn you of[f] the Plantation at any season of the year without paying you a shilling.1 My money is to be paid, and the allowances are to be made, for services which are expressed, & stipulated on your part—If these are rendered with industry and good faith, the obligations on mine shall be fulfilled with great punctuality. But If I suffer by your neglect, you shall not benefit by the money of one, who wishes to be your friend, if your conduct will entitle you to it from Yours

Go: Washington

ALS (letterpress copy), DLC:GW.

1See GW to William Pearce, 18 December. McCoy’s agreement, made with Anthony Whitting, is dated 17 Dec. 1792 (DLC:GW).

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