Copybook of Invoices and Letters, 1754-1766 [Washington]

Before the boycotts of British goods that preceded the Revolutionary War, Washington, like other Virginia planters, sent his tobacco to British commission merchants who sold it for him and in return filled his orders for a wide array of goods. This volume documents those transactions, and includes the tobacco marks Washington used to identify his tobacco, and that of Martha Washington's children from her first marriage.

Half of the volume contains copies in Washington's hand of his letters to merchants and a few suppliers; reversed, it contains his copies of the invoices of goods he received. After his marriage to Martha Custis in 1759, Washington chiefly dealt with merchant Robert Cary of London. Other merchants represented include James Gildart of Liverpool, Thomas Knox of Bristol, and Anthony Bacon, Capel and Osgood Hanbury, and Richard Washington of London.

The letters and invoices provide a record of the household furnishings, farm equipment, food, wine, medicine, clothing, shoes, jewelry, art and decorative objects, toys, books, and other supplies that George and Martha Washington purchased from Britain. They also provide details about the suppliers and artisans who produced and sold the goods the Washingtons bought. While the letters are largely about orders for goods, Washington also commented on political and personal matters. On September 20, 1765, for example, he wrote to Francis Dandridge, his wife's London uncle, at Cary's suggestion. Washington told Dandridge that the Stamp Act "engrosses the conversation" of the colonists, "who look upon this unconstitutional method of Taxation as a direful attack upon their Liberties."

There are 371 pages.

Washington, George. George Washington Papers, Series 5, Financial Papers: Copybook of Invoices and Letters, 1754 to 1766. /1766, 1755. Manuscript/Mixed Material. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, (Accessed February 16, 2017.)


Library of Congress Title (Legacy): 

Account Book 1, 1755 - 1766

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