Mount Vernon 14th February 1797
Your letter of 5th came duely, And have now to hand You reports of last Week, in Writing of which in mistake began on the wrong end of 3 page—I am sorry that I have hitherto been unsucessful in procuring Fowls from Mr [ ]—It is said we are too late—And they are all sold—Shall still try—I have never heard from Mr Carter, And if I do not in a few days Shall try in some other place—Am Glad You are Satisfied with the speed in cuting down the Road—I am seldom pleased with the work of Negroes, being accustomed to more expedition—when speaking of this Shall take some notice of the Overseers—who are all Attentive to my Orders—But find Allison has little Authority, and his hands does little—Davis does as well as may be expected from a Negroe, Stewart is a man of some Ideas—But has there in much esteem, and is rather Opinionative; upon the whole not a bad Overseer—Cash and Violet are good Overseers, And have Authority (And I hope You will not be Offended by my informing that I enforce theirs and all of the Overseers Authority, by assisting in some Chastisements when needfull.) I really do find pretences of Sickness when I can Observe scarcely any Ailment. And I do not wish to encourage this—I do think there are due Negroes And all servants their right (Negroes right being food & Cloathing) and when this is given them, the demand upon them is a Competency of work And when they fail in performing it—That they must be forced thereto—I will Attend to have the road fit for Your Excellency & Ladies traveling to Mount Vernon alongst it, as You return.
I find more difficulty in pushing our Overseers to Hedging than any thing—They being unaccquainted have rather an aversion thereto—In planting a Hedge of Locust from the Mill alongst the side of the Road untill You reach the bed of the River with a small Ditch on each side, & post & Rail fence on the Bank I can find no thorns—must fill the Gaps with Locust.
We must Attend, to have Potatoes Turnip & Pease on east Farm for the Stock of all kinds—They do not thrive so well on dry food as if they had part green. besides the vast expence of Corn, I did not get the Stills so soon to Work as I did expect—The Carpenters are but very Slow And the Water not being brought forward hindered us—The Worm of the new Still was too small Which I have returned (It did not on Trial Answer) And will have in a day or two a proper one the Old Still does well—And We shall save the Corn fed to the Hogs at the Mill, And on Thursday I shall go after these in Loudon, as I find our two Stills will be able to supply nearly 100 Hogs—I am glad You think upon procuring something at Philadelphia—I have got Spades, But if You please may buy—12 large Shovels for throwing up mud cleaning the Bottoms of Ditches, Loading Manure &c. I think we may do without any Riddles—Buy 12 Grass Sythes of 3 feet 4 Inches long, 2 Dozen plates Rolled Iron for covering Moold boards 2 Dozen of plough plates for Shares, And 200 lb. nail rods As our smiths may make some nails by times especially of the large kind—And if You can meet with it 30 Bushels Buck Wheat & 2 Bushels of the best & perfectly clean flax seed, What we have is full of Cheat. Besides a farmer ought always to be changing some of His seeds every Year, Your Observations as to puting in Seed are coinciding with mine, But when I harrow in wheat I wish to leave a rough Surface—And for any Spring Grain a smoothe one—Colln. Deakins says the Oats 12 or 13 Bush. is to be with [Rukels] & [Mucles] by 1 [Month] I am wishing the Gardner not to sell any [ ] trees this Spring as You may need them in the Fall—I send some White & some English grey pease [leying] by which I will attend to sow When the Season will Admit I have about 1/2 Gall. of a very fine grey pea much in repute in Glouster & Essex which I will plant in good Land to raise thereupon all I can, I think the small field by My house will be a kind of Garden for these Sundrie things being with the greatest esteem Sir Your most Obed. Humble Set
The fine flour by Allison & Violet is to be paid by the difference between midling & fine, Callahan[pays] the 25th from his hire.
The Measures of the Rooms are
|Dining Room,||long & at long side 14 feet four Inches.||Its breadth is 9 1/2 feet say||9 feet||6|
|Short Side 10 feet 2 Inches.||Its breadth is||7||2 [1/2]|
|full breadth||16||8 1/2|
|Bed room of that||long at long side||14 feet 7 Inches.||Broad at this side||8||6|
|long at short side||10 feet 1 Inches||Broad at this side||4|
|full Breadth feet||12||6|
|Parlour—||long on long side||16 feet 1 Inches||Broad at this side||10||7|
|long on short side||11 feet 9 Inches.||Broad at this side||5||5|
|Bed room off this||long on long side||16 feet 4 Inches.||Broad at this side||7 ft. 1 1/2|
|long on short side||12 feet 2 Inches||Broad at this side||5 7|
|full||12 8 1/2|
I have Frank Airing the Rooms Carpets &ca. And in a few days before You arrive Shall have small fires in the rooms to Sweetenten the air.
Siras & Herculus are diging Brick Clay. Shall need some of them to assist in Grubing the Ground by white Gate[s].
DLC: Papers of George Washington.