George Washington Papers

From George Washington to John Tayloe, 20 August 1773

To John Tayloe

Mount Vernon Augt 20th 1773

Dear Sir

Your favour of the last of July, advising of your having receivd a power of Attorney from Colo. Mercer & his Mortgagees, to dispose of his Shannondoah & Bullrun Estates came to my hands a few days ago, the contents of which Colo. Mason is acquainted with; and, as you will probably see him at Stafford Court House the 27th Instt you can furnish him with the Papers; till which, it is almost impossible to deliver any opinion with propriety, as I fear, from what I have heard of this matter that some disagreeable Circumstances must attend the transaction. I must think as you do, that, this Power by being Witnessed ought to be recorded; and if recorded, that the Genl Court is the proper place to do it in as the Lands lay in different Counties.1 I shall add no more at present than that I am with very great Esteem—Dr Sir Yr Most Obedt Hble Servt

Go: Washington


1Tayloe’s letter of “the last of July” has not been found. George Mercer on 15 May 1773 sent his power of attorney from England to GW, George Mason, and John Tayloe authorizing them to sell his Virginia property. This letter of attorney has not been found, but it is referred to in a four-part agreement dated 21 Nov. 1774 between George Mercer, Mary Wroughton, Tayloe and GW, and Nathaniel and Cornelius Skinner (Fauquier County Deed Book 15, 248, ViWarFauCt). Mercer was being pressed by his English creditors. Sales of his property in Loudoun and Frederick counties were not held until November 1774, under GW’s direction. See GW to Tayloe, 30 Nov. 1774, and note 2 of that document. Because of the indebtedness of the estate of George Mercer’s father, John Mercer, GW also had a claim on George Mercer’s Virginia property (see GW to James Mercer, 19 July, n.1). See also George Mason to GW, 21 Dec. 1773, and GW to James Mercer, December 1773.

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