Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO THOMAS JEFFERSON. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. XI (1785-1790)
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TO THOMAS JEFFERSON. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. XI (1785-1790) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890). Vol. XI (1785-1790).
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TO THOMAS JEFFERSON.
Mount Vernon, 13 February, 1789.
Having found that there is a vessel on the point of sailing from Alexandria for Havre de Grace, I would not forego so good an opportunity of addressing a letter to you, although nothing very material has occurred since the date of my last, which was transmitted by Mr. Gouverneur Morris. As you will doubtless have seen in the gazettes the measures taken by the different States for carrying the new government into execution, I will not therefore enter upon any report of news, or discussion of political topics.
Exclusive of these things, the greatest and most important objects of internal concern, which at present occupy the attention of the public mind, are manufactures and inland navigation. Many successful efforts in fabrics of different kinds are every day made. Those composed of cotton, I think will be of the most immediate and extensive utility. Mr. Milne, an English gentleman, who has been many years introducing those manufactures into France, and whose father is now carrying them on, (under the protection of government,) at the royal château of Muette in Passy, has been at my house this week, and is of opinion that they may be prosecuted in America to greater advantage than in France or England. He has been almost two years in Georgia, stimulating and instructing the planters to the production of cotton. In that State and South Carolina it is said that cotton may be made of a most excellent quality, and in such abundant quantities as to prove a more profitable species of agriculture than any other crop. The increase of that raw material, and the introduction of the late improved machines to abridge labor, must be of almost infinite consequence to the prosperity of United America.
A desire of encouraging whatever is useful and economical seems now generally to prevail. Several capital artists in different branches have lately arrived in this country. A factory of glass is established upon a large scale on Monocacy River near Fredericktown in Maryland. I am informed it will this year produce glass of various kinds nearly to the amount of ten thousand pounds’ value. This factory will be essentially benefited by having the navigation of the Potomac completely opened. But the total benefits of that navigation will not be confined to narrower limits than the extent of the whole western territory of the United States.
You have been made acquainted, my dear Sir, with my ideas of the practicability, importance, and extent of that navigation, as they have been occasionally, though fully expressed, in my several letters to you. * * * Notwithstanding my constant and utmost endeavors to obtain precise information respecting the nearest and best communication between the Ohio and Lake Erie, I am not yet able to add any thing more satisfactory to the observations, which I had the honor to make on that subject in my letter of the 1st of January, 1788; but I have lately received a correct draft, executed principally from actual surveys, of the country between the sources of the Potomac and those navigable waters that fall into the Ohio. Of this I enclose you such a rough sketch as my avocations would permit me to make; my principal object therein being to show, that the distance between the two waters is shorter, and that the means of communication are easier, than I had hitherto represented or imagined. I need not describe what and how extensive the rivers are, which will be thus in a wonderful manner connected, as soon as the Potomac shall be rendered entirely passable. The passage would have been opened from Fort Cumberland to the Great Falls (nine miles from tide-water) before this time, as I mentioned in my letter of the 31st of August last, had it not been for the unfavorableness of the season. In spite of that untoward circumstance, I have the pleasure to inform you that two or three boats have actually arrived at the last-mentioned place.
I am going on Monday next to visit the works, as far as the Seneca Falls. Could I have delayed writing this letter until my return from thence, and afterwards availed myself of the same conveyance, I might have been more particular in my account of the state of the several works, and especially of the situation of the land adjoining to the Canal at the Great Falls. Whensoever the produce of those parts of the country bordering on the sources of the Potomac, and contiguous to the long rivers (particularly the Shenandoah and South Branch) that run into it, shall be water-borne, down to tide-water for exportation, I conceive this place must become very valuable. From the conveniency of the basin a little above the spot where the locks are to be placed, and from the inducements which will be superadded by several fine mill-seats, I cannot entertain a doubt of the establishment of a town in that place. Indeed mercantile people are desirous that the event should take place as soon as possible. Manufactures of various commodities, and in iron particularly, will doubtless be carried on to advantage there. The mill-seats I well know have long been considered as very valuable ones. How far buildings erected upon them may be exposed to injuries from freshets or the breaking up of the ice, I am not competent to determine from my own knowledge; but the opinion of persons better acquainted with these matters than I am, is, that they may be rendered secure. On the commodiousness of Alexandria for carrying on the fur trade throughout the whole western country, I treated in a very minute, and I may say almost voluminous manner, in my communication to you on the 30th of May, 1787. Probably Georgetown, and the place which I have just mentioned, will participate largely and happily in the great emoluments to be derived from that and other valuable articles, through the inland navigation of the upper and western country. I am, dear Sir, yours, &c.