Front Page Titles (by Subject) 1765. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. II (1758-1775)
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1765. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. II (1758-1775) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1889). Vol. II (1758-1775).
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MESSRS. CARLYLE & ADAM.
Mount Vernon, 9 March, 1765.
So soon as Mr. Lund Washington returns from Frederic, I shall cause my wheat to be deliveed at your landing, on Four Miles Run Creek, if flats can get to it conveniently; but previous to this, I should be glad to know determinately upon what terms you expect to receive it, that is, whether by weight or measure. I once thought I had agreed with Colonel Carlyle at fifty-eight pounds to the bushel, but it seems it was otherwise. Be that as it will, you may believe me sincere when I tell you, that it is a matter of very great indifference to me, whether it is fixed at this, or suffered to stand as it is. Consequently at any greater weight you may be assured I never shall, it being a thing extremely doubtful, from every trial I have been able to make with steelyards, whether I should gain or lose by a contract of this kind. The wheat from some of my plantations, by one pair of steelyards, will weigh upwards of sixty pounds, by another pair less than sixty pounds; and from some other places it does not weigh fifty-eight pound; and better wheat than I now have I do not expect to make during the term of our contract, at least whilst I continue to sow a good deal of ground.
The only reason, therefore, which inclines me to sell by weight at a medium, which I think just and equitable, is, that it may be a means of avoiding all kinds of controversy hereafter; for I am persuaded, that, if either of us gains by it, it must be you. I may be encouraged, indeed, to bestow better land to the growth of wheat than old corn ground, and excited perhaps to a more husbandlike preparation of it; but to do either of these is much more expensive, than the method now practised, and in fact may not be so profitable as the slovenly but easy method of raising it in corn ground. If it should, and my wheat be the better for it thereby, it is a truth I believe universally acknowledged, that, for every pound it gains after it is once got to a middling weight, it increases the flour in a tenfold proportion.
You were saying that the standard for wheat in Philadelphia was fifty-eight pounds, and at Lancaster sixty pounds. I have taken some pains to inquire, likewise, into this matter, and am informed, that fifty-eight is a much more general weight than the other all over Pennsylvania and Maryland (where their wheat is better than ours can be, till we get into the same good management); and Colonel Tucker’s miller, a man from the northward upon high wages, whom I saw whilst I was last below, assured me that very few bushels, out of the many thousands of wheat which he receives for Colonel Tucker, reached fifty-eight pounds. However, that you may not think I have other motives than those declared for mentioning these things, I shall only observe, that, as you are sensible by my present contract I am not restricted to weight, but obliged only to deliver clean wheat, and as good as the year and seasons will generally admit of, I will nevertheless, in order to remove every cause of dispute, which can possibly arise, fix the weight, if it is agreeable to you, at fifty-eight pounds per bushel, and to be paid a penny for every pound over that weight, and deduct a penny for every pound it is under. If you do not choose this, the contract must then remain as it now stands. I am, &c.
TO COL. BURWELL BASSETT.
Mount Vernon, Aug. 2, 1765.
By a craft sent around by Capt. Boyes we had the pleasure to hear you were all well, but suffering with the drought as we are. We have never had the ground wet in this neighborhood since the heavy rains which fell about the first of May. In June early we had a shower that refreshed the corn and gave a little start to hemp, but the dry weather which followed, and hath since continued, renders our prospects truely melancholy. However, not 10 miles from hence in the forest, they are perfectly seasonable, and have promising crops of corn and tobacco, which is a favorable circumstance for us, as our wants of bread may be supplied from thence. To render my misfortunes more compleat, I lost most of my wheat by the rust, so that I shall undergo the loss of a compleat crop here, and am informed that my expectations from below are not much better.
I have not yet heard how you succeeded in electioneering, but there was little room to doubt of yours; I changed the scene from Frederick to this county and had an easy and creditable pool,1 and was preparing to attend, when the proclamation for proroguing the assembly came to hand (on the 28th ult.). I am convinced at the same time that the governor had no inclination to meet an assembly at this juncture. The bearer waits; I have only time therefore to add my compliments to Mrs Bassett and family.2
TO FRANCIS DANDRIDGE, LONDON.
Mount Vernon, 20 September, 1765.
If you will permit me, after six years’ silence,—the time I have been married to your niece,—to pay my respects to you in this epistolary way, I shall think myself happy in beginning a correspondence, which cannot but be attended with pleasure on my side.
I should hardly have taken the liberty, Sir, of introducing myself to your acquaintance in this manner, and at this time, lest you should think my motives for doing of it arose from sordid views, had not a letter which I received some time this summer from Robert Cary, Esqr. & Co., given me reasons to believe, that such an advance on my side would not be altogether disagreeable on yours. Before this I rather apprehended that some disgust at the news of your niece’s marriage with me—why I could not tell—might have been the cause of your silence upon that event, and discontinuing a correspondence which before then you had kept up with her; but if I could only flatter myself, that you would in anywise be entertained with the few occurrences, that it might be in my power to relate from hence, I should endeavor to atone for my past remissness, in this respect, by future punctuality.
At present few things are under notice of my observation that can afford you any amusement in the recital. The Stamp Act, imposed on the colonies by the Parliament of Great Britain, engrosses the conversation of the speculative part of the colonists, who look upon this unconstitutional method of taxation, as a direful attack upon their liberties, and loudly exclaim against the violation. What may be the result of this, and of some other (I think I may add) ill-judged measures, I will not undertake to determine; but this I may venture to affirm, that the advantage accruing to the mother country will fall greatly short of the expectations of the ministry; for certain it is, that our whole substance does already in a manner flow to Great Britain, and that whatsoever contributes to lessen our importations must be hurtful to their manufacturers. And the eyes of our people, already beginning to open, will perceive, that many luxuries, which we lavish our substance in Great Britain for, can well be dispensed with, whilst the necessaries of life are (mostly) to be had within ourselves. This, consequently, will introduce frugality, and be a necessary stimulation to industry. If Great Britain, therefore, loads her manufacturies with heavy taxes, will it not facilitate these measures? They will not compel us, I think, to give our money for their exports, whether we will or not; and certain, I am none of their traders will part from them without a valuable consideration. Where, then, is the utility of these restrictions?
As to the Stamp Act, taken in a single view, one and the first bad consequence attending it, I take to be this, our courts of judicature must inevitably be shut up; for it is impossible, (or next of kin to it), under our present circumstances, that the act of Parliament can be complied with, were we ever so willing to enforce the execution; for, not to say, which alone would be sufficient, that we have not money to pay the stamps, there are many other cogent reasons, to prevent it; and if a stop be put to our judicial proceedings, I fancy the merchants of Great Britain, trading to the colonies, will not be among the last to wish for a repeal of it.1
I live upon Potomack River in Fairfax county, about ten miles below Alexandria, and many miles distant from any of my wife’s relations, who all reside upon York River, and whom we seldom see more than once a year, and not always that. My wife, who is very well, and Master and Miss Custis, (children of her former marriage,) all join in making a tender of their duty and best respects to yourself and their aunt. My compliments to your lady, I beg may also be made acceptable, and that you will do me the justice to believe that I am, dear Sir, your most obedient humble servant.1
[1 ]At an election of Burgesses for Fairfax County, held on 16 July, 1765, Washington received 201 votes, John West, 148, and John Posey, 131; besides some single votes were nearly all cast for Col. West.
[2 ]“The Parliament by their bounty given for American hemp and flax, seem desirous of encouraging the growth of them in the Plantations; but as they are articles altogether new to us, and I believe not much of our lands well adapted for them; and as the proper kind of packages, freight and accustomed charges, are little known here, I should be much obliged to you for advising me of the general prices one might expect in your part for good hemp and flax (rough & undressed), watered and prepared as directed by the Act; With an estimate of the freight and all other incident charges per tonn, that I may form some idea of the profits resulting from the growth.”—To Capel and Osgood Hanbury, 20th September, 1765.
[1 ]“Government is set at defiance, not having strength enough in her hands to enforce obedience to the laws of the community. The private distress which every man feels, increases the general dissatisfaction at the duties laid by the stamp act, which breaks out, and shews itself upon every trifling occasion.”—Gov. Fauquier to Earl of Halifax, June 14, 1765.
[1 ]“December 16, 1766. At a meeting of the Trustees [of Alexandria], ‘Present, Geo. William Fairfax, Esq. The Trustees proceeded to appoint a Trustee in the room of Geo. Johnston, deceased, and have unanimously chosen George Washington, Esq.’ He declined serving.”—Historical Magazine, July, 1863.