Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The British at Mount Vernon

In April, 1781 the British warship H.M.S. Savage anchored off George Washington’s plantation, Mount Vernon. The British raiders took seventeen of Washington’s slaves from the Mount Vernon plantation. Lund Washington, a cousin who was watching over the plantation during the General’s absence, went on board the Savage, took refreshments to the British officers, and tried to negotiate the return of the slaves. He failed. A week later Lafayette wrote General Washington criticizing Lund’s actions, “This being done by the gentleman who, in some measure, represents you at your house will certainly have a bad effect, and contrasts with spirited answers from some neighbors, that had their houses burnt accordingly.” The General sent the unfortunate Lund a stinging letter rebuking him for “ …communing with a parcel of plundering Scoundrels….”

18th Century Customs

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