George Washington Papers

From George Washington to William Pearce, 24 February 1794

To William Pearce

Philadelphia 24th Feby 1794

Mr Pearce,

Your letter of the 17th instant came safe. Meeting your children at Baltimore is certainly necessary, and therefore I can have no objection to it.1

My last letter being full, respecting the repairs of my house in Alexandria, I shall add nothing on that subject in this;2 and as Mr Stuart has not, according to his declaration, received any money from Mr Whiting, let him be paid with the deduction only of that which he has recd from Mr Lewis, or yourself.3

In my last, I omitted, through mistake, the Seed which is now sent: let it be given to the Gardener as part of that parcel; some early Colliflower Seed was sent to him by Mrs Washington (by a Gentleman of Alexandria of the name of Turner)—wch I hope you will have got.4

I hope the Posts & rails you are now getting, will not be so unsubstantial as to be blown down by every puff of wind as the last are; and I am sorry that the springeness of the ground, where you are digging the new race, does not admit that work to go on to advantage, as it is essential it should be compleated before the water begins to fail; but notwithstanding this, I would not have it proceed to a disadvantage, whilst the hands can be more benificially occupied in other things: more force must be employed when the ground is in order, and this will be between the present wet, and the drought which generally succeeds; & by which the soil binds, & becomes very hard. The Miller had the mode of sloping the race particularly explained to him both by the Gentleman who laid it off, and myself; his directions therefore in this case, is to be observed & followed.5

By the next Post, I will send you the copy of an Advertisement of the terms on which the Jacks and Stud horse are to cover. In the mean while, it may be said, the former will cover at Four pounds each; and the horse at 40/—Pasturage, Groom, &ca as usual.6

After culling my Sheep at Shearing time last year; and going over them a second time in the Summer; the loss at Union farm (near, or quite twenty since Autumn) seems to be very extraordinary; and I fear is too strong an evidence of Crows inattention to my Stock; as had been intimated to me before I left Mount Vernon in October.

I am very glad to hear that the Gardener has saved so much of the St foin seed, & that of the India Hemp. Make the most you can of both, by sowing them again in drills. Where to sow the first I am a little at a loss (as Hares are very destructive to it) but think, as the Lucern which was sown broad in the Inclosure by the Spring, has come to nothing; as the ground is good; and probably as free from Hares as any other place, it might as well be put there; as I am very desirous of getting into a full stock of seed as soon as possible. Let the ground be well prepared, and the Seed (St foin) be sown in April. The Hemp may be sown any where.

Enclosed you will find three Bank notes for one hundred dollars each; out of which pay the Revd Mr Muir of Alexandria Fifty pounds, & take his signature to the enclosed receipt; and Mr Hartshorne of the same place, £33.6.8—being the dividend of my five shares in the Potomack Company. Give me credit for these three hundred dollars, and cha: my Account with the above payments.7

Never Suffer a Mare to be taken from the Jacks, or Horse, where they are once admitted to Pasture, until the whole that is due for them be paid; for it has been found that after the Mares are gone, I have more trouble in collecting the money than it is worth. I am Your friend and well wisher

Go: Washington

ALS, ViMtvL; ALS (letterpress copy), DLC:GW.

1Pearce’s letter to GW of 17 Feb. has not been found. On Pearce’s family, see Benjamin Chew, Jr., to GW, 16 Aug. 1793, and n.2 to that document.

3On the request for past wages by William Stuart, the overseer of River farm, see Pearce to GW, 4 February. Any written declaration from Stuart concerning the failure of Anthony Whitting, the former manager of Mount Vernon, to pay him has not been identified. Howell Lewis served as temporary manager after Whitting’s death in June 1793. On 7 March, Stuart received £23.18.00 for “part of his wages Due for the year 93” (Mount Vernon Accounts, 1794–1797 description begins Manuscript Mount Vernon Accounts, 6 Jan. 1794-19 Jan. 1797. Library of Congress, George Washington Papers. description ends ).

4For the various seeds that GW intended for gardener John Christian Ehlers, see GW to Pearce, 16 Feb., and n.7 to that document.

5GW sent Pearce instructions regarding the race for the gristmill and the fence that ran from the mill in a letter of 19 January. Joseph Davenport was the miller at Mount Vernon.

6For the terms contained in the enclosed advertisement, see n.1 of Bartholomew Dandridge, Jr., to Angell & Sullivan and Samuel Hanson, 26 February.

7On the payment of £50 Virginia currency to James Muir, see GW to Muir, this date, and n.1 to that document. Pearce recorded this payment and the £33.6.8 to Alexandria merchant William Hartshorne on 1 March, and on that same date he credited £90 as “cash Received from the president” (Mount Vernon Accounts, 1794–1797 description begins Manuscript Mount Vernon Accounts, 6 Jan. 1794-19 Jan. 1797. Library of Congress, George Washington Papers. description ends ).

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