Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO WILLIAM AUGUSTINE WASHINGTON. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. XIII (1794-1798)
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TO WILLIAM AUGUSTINE WASHINGTON. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. XIII (1794-1798) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890). Vol. XIII (1794-1798).
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TO WILLIAM AUGUSTINE WASHINGTON.
Mount Vernon, 27 February, 1798.
My dear Sir,
Mr. Rice called here on his way to Alexandria and delivered me your letter of the 15th Instant.
Of the recent afflicting event which was related therein, we had received previous accounts; and on that as on former occasions of a similar nature simpathised sincerely in your sorrows—But these are the decrees of an all wise Providence against whose dictates the skill, or foresight of man can be of no avail;—it is incumbent upon him therefore to submit with as little repining as the sensibility of his nature will admit. This will have its course but may be greatly ameliorated, by Philosophical reflection and resignation.—As you have three children left I trust they will be spared to you, and sincerely hope that in them you will find consolation and comfort.1
Had your intimation of Mr. Ashton’s2 wishes been announced to me about a fortnight ago, I would gladly have employed him in the character you have mentioned, provided his expectation of compensation had came within my means; which in truth are hardly able to support the heavy expences I am in a manner unavoidably run into,—Finding it impracticable to use the exercise on horse back which my health business and inclination requires, and at the same time to keep my accounts and perform all the writing which my late Public occupations have been the means of involving me in,—I resolved to employ a clerk (if to be had on moderate wages) and accordingly about twelve or fourteen days ago engaged one who writes a very good hand and said to understand accounts and Book Keeping at $150 a year.—What would have been Mr. Ashton’s expectations I know not beyond this sum or $200 at most I could not have gone; and if he would have been contented therewith, and the application had been made in time, I should have received him with pleasure in preference to the person who is to come and who I expect here about the middle of next month if he fulfils his promise.
The reason which you assign for giving the rudiments of education to your sons at home is a weighty and conclusive one;—but much will depend upon the qualifications and fitness of the preceptor you employ, to render it more or less beneficial. To a certain point tuition under the eye of Parents or Guardian of youth, is much to be preferred, because the presumption is: that the properties and passions will be watched with more solicitude and attention by them, than by their Tutors:—but when the direction of these are unfolded and can be counteracted by the discipline of Public schools and the precepts of the professors. Especially too when the judgment is beginning to form; when pride becomes a stimulus; and the knowledge of men, as well as of Books are to be learnt, I should give the preference to a public Seminary.
I make use of no barley in my Distillery (the operations of which are just commenced). Rye chiefly and Indian corn in a certain proportion compose the materials from which the whiskey is made.—The former I buy @ 4/6 for the latter I have not given more than 17/6, and latterly 17/- Delivered at the Distillery.—It has sold in Alexandria (in small quantities from the waggons) at 16/. and 16/6.— Barrel but at what it goes now I am unable to inform you.—So large a quantity as you have for sale may command a good price.
Is there any person in your neighborhood in the practice of selling staves proper for flour barrels? If so be so good as to inform me, and at what price they could be delivered at my landing (at the mill). Any letters for me put into a Post Office, meets a ready a safe passage but how to insure mine to you you can best tell,—and I wish to be informed.
Did you ever receive a letter from me transmitting the request of Sir Isaac Heard of the Heraldry Office in England respecting Genealogy of our family? and my own desire to be furnished with the Inscriptions on the Tombs of our Ancestors at — Bridge Creek? Among your father’s papers, I thought it likely, you might obtain some information on this head. From the coming over of John and Lawrence Washington in the year 1657—I have [been] able to trace the descendants of the former, being the one from whom our family came, those of Lawrence from whom the Chotankers proceeded I have not been able to give any correct account: and that is the Branch to which Sir Isaac Heard’s enquiry’s particularly point: being tolerably well informed of the descendants from John. The enquiry is in my opinion of very little moment, but as Sir Isaac has interested himself in the matter and seems desirous of tracing the family from whom we are descended—back—I wish to give him as correct information of it—as I am able to procure.1
I am very glad to hear that you enjoy tolerable good health at present and that your Children are perfectly well. It is unnecesary I hope to assure you that at all times, when you can make it convenient and the situation of your health will permit, that we shall be very happy to see you at this place.—Where is Mrs. Washington of Bushfield?—I hope She is well. I acknowledged the receipt of her letter to me by post, but whether it ever got to her hands or not I am unable to say.—Probably not, as you lye out of the post Road and they may not be in the habit of sending to the Post Offices. Poor lady! I fear she will soon have another afflictive trial of her resignation to the Divine Will, in the death of Mrs. Corbin Washington,1 who from the last accounts we have had of her cannot remain long among us. This family unite in best wishes for you and yours.
And I am &c.
[1 ]I think the loss referred to is the death of Mary, daughter of Richard Henry Lee, and second wife of William Augustine Washington.
[2 ]Ann, a niece of the President, and sister of William Augustine Washington, married Burdet Ashton. It was probably some connection who wished the position.
[1 ]In Vol. XIV. I will give what is known of the Washington family.
[1 ]She was Hannah, a daughter of Richard Henry Lee.