Description: (1732 - 1799) First President of the United States and commander of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. WASHINGTON ORDERS BUTTONS FOR THE CLOTHING OF HIS SLAVES Fine content A.L.S. with integral address leaf, 1p. 8vo., Mount Vernon, June 6, 1798 to merchants 'Bennett & Watts' in Alexandria, who regularly supplied Mount Vernon with household goods. In full: 'Please to send me by the bearer a groce [sic, gross] of large, & a groce of small white metal buttons – common sort – and oblige by so doing – Your Obed. Serv't Go: Washington' Some very light stains and a vertical fold that has been backed on verso. The integral address leaf bears a note of provenance tracing the letter to 1810. It too has a horizontal reinforcing strip and is chipped in one corner. The leaf has been tipped to a heavier stock mount, partly affecting the holograph address penned by Washington. Overall very good. Of course, Washington's family had no immediate use for 288 cheap metal buttons, but those at Mount Vernon making clothes for his ca. 125 slaves did. The white buttons would have matched the white sack-like shirts worn by the field workers. Washington would emancipate his slaves posthumously as instructed in his will.
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