<br /> Lee Letter: n192

Washington and Lee University

Sender: George Washington
Recipient: Governor Henry Lee

Dear Sir:

Since my arrival at this place I have been favored with your
letters of the 17th. Ulto. and 7th. instt. For your kind attentions to
me I pray you to receive my sincere acknowledgments.

I have always (from the accts. given of it) entertained a high opinion of
Colo. Taliaferros threshing machine but knew at the sametime I had no
stream that could supply water for one on any of my Farms. This was
confirmed when Mr. Payne came hither and exam’d them. The model brought
over by the English Farmers may also be a good one, but the utility of
it among careless Negros and ignorant Overseers will depend
absolutely upon the simplicity of the
Constructn; for if there is any thing complex in the machinery it will
be no longer in use than a mushroom is in existance. I have seen so
much of the beginning and ending of these new inventions, that I have
almost resolved to go on in the old way of treading until I get settled
again at home, and can attend myself to the management of one. As a
proof in point of the almost impossibility of putting the Overseers of
this Country out of the track they have been accustomed to walk in, I
have one of the most convenient Barns in this, or perhaps any other
Country, where 30 hands may with great ease be employed in threshing;
half of the Wheat of the Farm was actually stowed in this Barn in the
straw by my order for threshing; notwithstanding, when I came home
about the Middle of September, I found a treading yard not 30 feet from
the Barn door, the Wheat again brought out of the Barn and horses
treading it out in an open exposure liable to the vicissitudes of
weather. I am now erecting a building for the express purpose of
treading. I have sanguine expectations of its utility; and if I am not
deceived in them it may afford you some satisfaction when you come into
this part of the Country to call and look at it.

I have a grateful sense of your kind offer of Mr. Workman; previous however
to the communication I had engaged a Manager from the Eastern shore of
Maryland but the impression on my mind for the favor intended me is not
lessened on that acct.

I have not, as you will perceive, touched the subject of Politics in this
letter. The reasons are, your letter of the 17th. has expressed
precisely my ideas of the conduct, and views of those, who are aiming
at nothing short of the subversion of the Government of these States,
even at the expence of plunging this Country in the horrors of a
disastrous War; and because I wish to await a little longer to see what
may be the sense of legally constituted bodies at the
meetings1which are about to take place.

The public service requiring it, I shall set off in about ten days for
Philadelphia or vicinity. Though unknown to your lady, I beg my
respectful compliments may be presented to her. I wish you an agreeable
and harmonious Session,

and am with much truth Your Affecte. Hble.


1 Of the Democratic societies.