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Washington, George (1732-1799) to Robert Cary & Co.

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC03933 Author/Creator: Washington, George (1732-1799) Place Written: Mount Vernon, Virginia Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 20 June 1768 Pagination: 3 p. : docket ; 23.4 x 18.8 cm.

Summary of Content: Mentions enclosing invoices for goods (not included). Discusses tobacco sales. Criticizes English agents for selling tobacco at too low a price. States that, " ... I have lost (at least) four years out of five by Consignments having better prices offered in the Country than my Tobo. has sold for in England which is not only discouraging but almost sufficient to bring about a change in the System of my management." Laments that tobacco prices rose right after his tobacco was sold and informs that he knew this would happen, "That Tobo. would rise and sell almost as high as it ever had done was as clear to me as the Sun in its meridian height ... " Asks Carey to pack up his chariot very securely so it will not be damaged during shipment.

Background Information: Signer of the U.S. Constitution.

Full Transcript: Mount Vernon June 20 1768
Gentn.
Having wrote several times to you of late I have the less to say in this Letter, the principal design of which is to inclose Invoices ...of such Goods as are wanted for this River. Those for York I must take some other opportunity of forwarding as Mr. Valentine has not yet sent a List of those Articles we may want for the Plantation under his care.
The Reason why I proposed (in my letter of the 20th. of July last year) that so much of Master Custis's Money as was necessary for paying the Duties of his Tob[acc]o shou[l]d be applied to that purpose was on the presumption that it woud proove [sic] advantageous to him. And this I was led into a belief of as the readiest method of accounting for Mr. Hanbury's Sales out stripping yours in the manner they did for Tobo. of the same Crop and as we thought of inferior quality however as you can determine with much more precission which of the two modes woud be most beneficial to his Interest that of allowing the Duties of His Tobo. or Interest on his money I shall leave it to your decision not doubting of your readiness of determining for the best.
In your last of the 12th. of March I perceive that 9 Hhds of our Tobo. were upon hand unsold but as the Markets were daily advancing you despaird not of selling them at 11½ you further added that as the whole were sold at 11 and 11½ great Accts. woud consequently be rendered. [2] I cannot pretend to say what may be the amount of these Accts. but this I can affirm that I coud have got £10 Bills of Exchange for every 1000 Weight of Tobacco (by the Inspection Notes) and this clear of Insurance, Freight, Commissions, & every incident charge which the Shipper is subjected to. If the Sales therefore do not turn out equivalent to this I loose the difference & can moreover affirm with equal truth that I have lost (at least) four years out of five by Consignments having better prices offered in the Country than my Tobo. has sold for [inserted: in] England which is not only discouraging but almost sufficient to bring about a change in the System of my managem[en]t. and I cannot help adding that I was sorry to hear you speak of Tobo. daily advancing after ours was disposed off. That Tobo. woud rise and sell almost as high as it ever had done was as clear to me as the Sun in its meridian height which was the Reason that induced me in my Letter of the 20th. of July aforementioned to recommend deliberation in the Sales especially if your Acct. of the Crops upon York and James River corrisponded [sic] with mine. True it is that 11 and 11½ are good prices but 12d. is better and I am much misinformed if there has not come in several Accts. of this kind every one therefore who cosigns is willing to have the most that can be made for the Article of that Commerce from which their support is principally derived.

I shoud be obligd to you for directing the Chariot I wrote for in my last to be packed up in [3] a very secure manner before it is put on Ship board as they are very apt to get a pannel split or some damage without it.
I am Gentn Yr Most Hble Servt
Go: Washington
[Docket]
Virgn. 1768
Col. Geo. Washington 20 June
rec'd 19 Sept. P[?] Outram

See More

People: Washington, George, 1732-1799

Historical Era: American Revolution, 1763-1783

Subjects: PresidentFinanceMerchants and TradeCommerceTobacco and SmokingAgriculture and Animal HusbandryOverseas TradeTransportationMount Vernon

Sub Era: Road to Revolution

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