letter signed: Mount
Vernon, to John Fairfax, 1789 March.
2 p. + address leaf.
Vernon March <31> 1789.
I am now in the act of bidding an adieu to my home – for a
longer time perhaps than I wish – I will inform you that it
is my intention (if your exertion<s> shall appear to
deserve it) to make the wag<e>s of the year you are now
engaged for Fifty pounds instead of Forty although I consider
my self under no legal or honorary obligations to do so – my
only motives for it being, to encourage you to use every
endeavour in your power to promote my interest, – under the
orders and directions of my Nephew the Major; who will be
entrusted with the general management of all my concerns,
during my absence.
have a very good opinion of your honesty, sobriety &
industry – and now is the time to give me proofs of your
capacity and skill. – For however necessary & important
the three first are, they will not be sufficient without the
latter. – I have often remarked to you, and I repeat it once
more; that contrivance in the arrangement of business, and a
happy nack in having it executed by an observance of method;
are the distinguishing characteristics of a good Manager. –
Indeed they are of such infinite consequence, that no Estate
can be well conducted without; for unlesss the different kinds
of business which occupy the labourers of every Plantation or
Farm, can be brought into one view, and seen in time; and a
due proportion of work [inserted: is] exacted
from the hands, [inserted:
that are to perform it – the different kinds of work] [struck:
they] will forever be interfering with, and in the way of each
other. Nor is
there any way to avoid it but by looking forward in time – [inserted:
by] judicious arrangemts – and [inserted:
by] making those who are to execute it do what is
reasonable & proper without suffering so much time to be
spent in the house, under pretence of sickness; which is, in
many cases, no other than the effect of Night walking and
is with pain I receive the Saturday Nights Reports, for no
week passes away without a diminution of my stock – Nor is
it less painful to me to see the condition of my work Horses
– some  dying, and others scarcely able to walk alone.
– and to these I might add, as a matter of no less concern
& astonishment, that it is idle & vain for me to
attempt to stall feed any kind of Meats; when I have only my
expence for my trouble without a joint of meat which is fit to
appear at a Gentlemans Table. – But I will rest <in> hope, that all these things will undergo a change for the
am not inclined to your bringing any horse here of you own.
Mine are adequate to all the services that my business
will require, & more would [inserted:
only] add expence without profit.; for I need not tell you,
that there must be no <more>
running about whilst I am absent than if I was on the spot.
– Indeed I have too good an opinion of you to suppose it
necessary to remind you of this act of justice. –
I have already given you plans of those Plantations which are
placed under your immediate care – and have detailed the
business of each in the best manner my time and judgment would
enable me to do; I shall add nothing more on this head than
briefly to observe to you, that it is from the Major, with
whom I shall corrispond, that you will receive further
directions with respect to such matters as have not been
detailed – or concerning any alterations in those which
you have any matrimonial scheme in view, I do not wish to be a
let or hindrance to the accomplishment of it – or to your
bringing a wife into the family – She may eat with, and in
all respects, fare as you do.
In all things that are reasonable and not inconvenient
I am ready & willing to endulge you being your friend.
Published in Twohig, Dorothy et. al. The Papers of George
Series, vol. 1:465-467.