George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Herbert, 18 January 1798

From William Herbert

Alexandria 18th Jany 1798

Dear Sir

In Consequence of what you was pleased to Mention to me last Monday, I Applied to those Gentlemen that I then spoke of to you, to State their proposals in Writing, for Supplying your Family With Such Articles as you Should from time to time Want. They have Accordingly done so, & I have now the pleasure of forwarding them to you1—Those Gentlemen being all Respectable, I have nothing to add, but that mr Russells Statement of his Connections is Correct, & that he Keeps the most Extensive Assortment of Goods2—you will find Inclosed Colo. Gilpin’s, Colo. Fitzgerald’s & my Estimate of the House & Lott rented to mr Marsteller.3 Doctr Kennedy’s Note lodged for Collection, is paid & the amount Stands to your Credit in Bank.4 I am with great Esteem & regard Sir, your most obedt Hble servt

Wm Herbert


1Only the statement of the Alexandria firm of Bennett & Watts Co. dated 18 Jan. has been found. In its statement Bennett & Watts assured Herbert of its readiness to supply General Washington with his household needs but declared it to be “next to an impossibility to fix an advance on goods retailed” (DLC:GW). On 19 Jan. in a letter addressed to manager James Anderson but docketed by GW, John Fitzgerald wrote: “Be pleased to offer my most respectfull Compliments to the General & tell him that I know of no retail store at present preferable to that of Bennet and Watts, if upon trial any thing disagreeable should happen, it will be easy to make a Change” (DLC:GW). On 6 June 1798 GW wrote Bennett & Watts Co. from Mount Vernon: “Gentn Please to send me by the bearer a groce of large, & a groce of Small white metal buttons—common sort. and oblige by So doing Your Obedt Servt Go: Washington” (ALS, in private hands). William Herbert (1743–1818) was the president of the bank in Alexandria.

2On this day “JAMES RUSSELL & Co. AT the Sign of the Golden Sheaf of Wheat” on Fairfax Street in Alexandria ran its announcement that it had “received Per the ship Fair Virginian, Captain Robinson. Such a supply of GOODS, As makes their assortment very large and complete” (Times and Alexandria Advertiser).

3The estimate, dated 17 Jan. 1798, is printed in GW to John Fitzgerald, William Herbert, and George Gilpin, 22 Nov. 1797, n.2.

4There is this entry in Ledger C description begins Manuscript Ledger in Morristown National Historical Park, Morristown, N.J. description ends , 42, for 8 Jan. 1798: “To James Kennedy recd of him in payment of the Note given by James Cavan & himself in payment for flour (vide Bank Book) [$] 1185.94.”

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