To William Thornton
Mount Vernon Octr 6th 1799
Your letter of the 3d was recd last Night. I doubt not, the Painting and sanding of such parts of my houses in the City as now require it, will be done well, with the best materials, and on the best terms; wherefore I cannot be otherwise than pleased.1
As soon after this work is accomplished as I can make it convenient, I will visit the City, & take a view of my Buildings.2 To part with which, if it could be done on terms any ways advantageous, would comport better with my finances, than to retain them for the purpose of Renting. If, therefore, you should hear of any person, or persons, disposed to buy, and who are able & willing to advance part of the purchase money, and the residue on reasonable credit, I pray you to mention mine. To aid in the accomodation of the members of the General Government, was my only inducement to these buildings. For my own convenience, another site will be chosen when, if ever, I am in circumstances to encounter the expence.
When you have occasion to write to Colo. Thomason of Tortola, let me pray you to express to him the sense I have of the politeness he has been pleased to bestow on me, through you;3 and my thanks are due to you, for communicating it to, Dear Sir Your Most Obedt and obliged Hble Servant
ALS, DLC: Thornton papers; ALS (letterpress copy), NN: Washington Papers. The cover of the ALS is marked “Favoured by Mr [Thomas] Peter.” In his diary entry for 7 Oct. GW wrote: “Mr. Peter went to Geo: Town this Morng” (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 6:368).
2. GW went up to Washington on the “clear warm & pleasant” morning of 9 Nov. and “Viewed my building in the Fedl. City. Dined at Mr. Laws & lodged at Mr. Thos. Peter’s.” He was back at home by noon on the tenth (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 6:375).
3. Thomas Thomason (1740–c.1813), a merchant on the Caribbean island of Tortola, was the third husband of William Thornton’s mother, Dorcas (Harris, Thornton Papers, description begins C. M. Harris, ed. Papers of William Thornton: Volume One, 1781-1802. Charlottesville, Va., 1995. description ends 1:xxxv).