George Washington Papers

From George Washington to William Pearce, 13 April 1794

To William Pearce

Philadelphia April 13th 1794

Mr Pearce,

By your letter of the 9th instt (which with the weekly reports) have been duly received,1 I find you wish to open a communication between the lower rooms, in what is called the Servants Hall, and to make a closet therein: against the latter I have no objection at all—nor against the first provided the doing it does not cut away a brace, and thereby weaken the house. If the chimneys project into the rooms (as I think they do) a closet may be conveniently made in one of the recesses, between the jamb and the side of the house; and if two closets are not made, the one that is put up, would look better, and be more out of the way, in the back side, than front of the room. However, unless I was to examine it with a particular eye to this measure, I may be mistaken in my judgment of it; & therefore leave it to you to fix it where it shall be found most convenient.

As I have mentioned in one of my former letters to you, so now I repeat, that it is not my wish that more important work, that is, work which cannot be delayed without producing injurious consequences, should be put aside or neglected on account of the Mill Race. The completion of the latter, though very desirable had better be postponed than many other things which might involve the loss, or diminution of the ensuing Crop.2 I expected, & believe I mentioned in one of my letters to you, that the digging of this Race would prove laborious after the wet of the winter should have passed away—much of my land has that hard bottom to it, wch is the cause of its being so wet in winter & hard in Summer.3

Does it appear to you that the grain can be tread out much faster upon the open floor in the New Barn at Dogue run, than it can be in the usual way on the ground? What are the advantages and disadvantages, if any, of treading the grain out in this manner? It wd be well to examine them closely, that I may not only be able to decide on the utility of the plan, but to improve on the good parts and avoid the bad ones, if there be such, in future.4

Unless the weather grows warmer, your fishing, this season, will, I fear, prove unproductive; for it has always been observed, that in cold & windy weather the fish keep in deep water, and are never caught in numbers, especially at shallow landings.

In a letter which I have lately received from Colo. Ball, he informs me that he had, at that time, sent off (in the whole) 454½ bushls of Buckwheat for Mount Vernon; & that the remainder of the 500 bushls viz. 44½ should be sent to you during the fishing season; and, that he had written to you, he should want a quantity of fish for his own use. How far your engagement with Mr Smith, or any other, will enable you to comply with his request remains for yourself to decide. If the doing of it would interfere with no contract I could wish to oblige him; but contracts must always be fulfilled.5

Whenever a field—a lot—or any spot of ground is sown with either grain or grass—let the time when finished, and the quantity of seed sown therein, be entered in the Weekly report of the place where it happens—for, as these reports are in the nature of a record, of the occurances on each farm—to be resorted to at any time hereafter—it will be very satisfactory to know when the fields—the meadows—Lots, or other ground were sown; with what; & the quantity of seed bestowed thereon.

I have a tract of Woodland of 1200 acres about 4 miles from Alexandria, on the great Road to Leesburgh, whose principal value is on acct of the Timber, wood & Hoop poles—and of all these, I am informed it has been most shamefully pillaged. I have by this days Post, by the advice of, & under cover to, Doctr Stuart, wrote to a Gentleman of the name of Minor (who lives near to it) requesting the favor of him to have an eye to the land; Whenever you may see Mr Minor (wch may be at the Courts in Alexa.) spk to, & concert measures with him, for putting a stop to the continual depredations which I am told a parcel of trespassers are making on the land, by absolute Sales of the articles beforementioned, to the very great injury of the property.6 I remain Your friend

Go: Washington

ALS (letterpress copy), DLC:GW.

1Pearce’s letter of 9 April and the enclosed farm reports have not been found.

2For this previous instruction, see GW to Pearce, 24 February.

3For GW’s previous observations on the difficulty of digging the race, see GW to Pearce, 19 Jan. and 24 February.

4For the design of the new treading barn at Dogue Run farm, see the plan enclosed in GW to Anthony Whitting, 28 Oct. 1792.

5The letter from Burgess Ball was that of 5 April. Ball’s letter to Pearce has not been identified. On the fishing contract with Alexander Smith, see Smith to GW, 3 July 1793, and GW to Pearce, 23 March 1794, and n.5.

6On the removal of timber from GW’s land on Four Mile Run in Fairfax County, Va., see David Stuart to GW, 4 April; GW to George Minor, this date; and GW to Stuart, also this date.

Index Entries