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Sale 38 Lot 532

GEORGE WASHINGTON Manuscript D.S. "Go: Washington", 2pp. 8vo., Alexandria, Aug. 26, 1785, a receipt for augurs, a broad axe, and a drawing knife provided to the Potomack Company by merchant Jonah Thompson. At bottom, appears an A.D.S. by JAMES RUMSEY: "I do certify that I have received the Contents of the above Bill for the use of the Potomack Company". The expenditure of 19 pounds 9 shillings is approved on verso: "The within account allowed", and is signed by Washington and fellow directors GEORGE GILPIN and JOHN FITZGERALD. Light toning with a very clean 1" x 1" slit near Fitzgerald's signature which is virtually unnoticeable, else boldly penned and very good. In September 1784, Washington joined with others, then chiefly Virginians, to form the Potomack Company, whose purpose was to remove the impediments to navigation past the falls and so clear the way to the development of the lands beyond, all the way to the Ohio River. Washington was elected President with Fitzgerald and George Gilpin among the four other directors. Construction was commenced with only white laborers, but soon Washington arranged for the purchase of 60 slaves and the hiring of 100 freedmen, who could be better controlled. Despite having opened 338 miles to navigation, ownership of the canal was not profitable and the company languished until the chartering of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company, which took over the Potomack Company's works. JAMES RUMSEY (1743-1792) was an American mechanical engineer chiefly known for exhibiting a boat propelled by steam machinery in 1787 on the Potomac River. At the time he signed this document, Rumsey was Superintendent of the Potomack Company, a position he held for only one year.
Estimate $ 8,000-10,000

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