To Lord Dunmore and Council
[c.3 November 1773]
My Lord, & Gentlemen
The whole quantity of 200000 Acres of Land granted by the Hon: Robt Dinwiddie’s Proclamation of the 19th of Feby 1754 being now fully obtaind (within the number of Surveys limitted) and the last Certificates thereof lodgd in the Secretarys Office, I take the liberty, humbly to inform your Excellency and Honrs that the Surveys formerly made, are already Patented agreeably to an Order of Council of the 6th of Novr 1772,1 and that the Certificates lately returnd, & unappropriated, are for
It is also necessary to inform the Board, that the following Claims, including not only those wch were given <in on> the [ ] day of Octr 1771, but all such as have <been> enter’d <sin>ce, are yet to be allowed, and satisfied accordingly.
This qty of 53432 Acs. of Land, taken from the amts of the Surveys on the other side, leaves of the 30,000 Acs. (set apart in Oct. 1771 for satisfying any claims wch might thereafter come in, & for the further purpose of reembursing the few who had been at all the trouble & the whole risque) 18867 Acs. which, if appropriated to those who were full in advance at that time, & distributed according to the former propns, will go thus—
|To Geo. Washington||3500||To Andw Lewis||2100|
|Geo. Muse||3500||Peter Hog||2100|
|Geo. Mercer||2800||John West||1400|
|Adam Stephen||2100||James Craik||1400|
And, if this Method of proportioning the 18867 Acres of Land is approvd of by yr Excely & Ho[no]rs, & you shall please to order as before, an Association of Names into each Patent so as to bring the amt of their sevl Claims as near to the qty of Land in the Survey as may be, the following method of doing it, probably will be found to answr as well as any other, as it cost some hours in shifting & changing the Claims from one Survey to another to bring them <so> near; but if any other method is better approvd of, it cannot but be equally agreeable to the Parties concernd, as chance, at all events, must have the Governmt of this matter.
As the Issuing of the Patents for these Lands <will> put an end to the business of this Grant (of 1754) so far as de<pen>ds upon yr Excely & Honrs, I would beg leave to offer two points of <mater>ial <cons>equence <to s>ome of the <Gra>ntees, to the serious consi<deration &> determination of the Board.
The first is—As none of the Patentees (under the mode adopted of Granting the Land to numbers in the same Patent) can be ascertaind of their particular Property therein till a legal division is established, wch, (as in the case of a late Grant of 28627 Acs. to 60 odd Patentees, is scarce practicable to accomplish, & of consequence, the savg of the Land by Cultivation & Improvemt next to Impossible, by wch means the intended Bounty offerd for a valuable consideration is not only rendd void, but to those who have contributed to the expence, evidently injurious, inasmuch as they have paid for that wch it is not in their power to come at) I say under these Circumstances, whether some expedient cannot be hit upon to serve those, who are willing, and desir[ou]s of complyg with the Tenor of the Grant, either by prolonging the time of Cultivation, if this can be done, or by directing each Man’s share in any Patent to be laid off (<if> the division is not effected by consent of Parties) within a certain limitted period, of wch publick notice to be given, as each Pantentee thereafter shall respectively apply to the Surveyor; who may be instructed to lay the same in one body, & in a good figure, to prevent injustice.3
The Second matter to be offered is—whether something cannot, & if it can ought not to be done, to compe<l> those who have never paid one farthing, or taken one single step towards obtaining these Lands (not even the Fees of Office on their own particular Tracts) to contribute in proportion to the qty of Land they have, & are to receive? Without something of this sort can be done previous to the Patenting, or in the Patenting of these Lands, nothing is to be expected from them afterwards; for where Men (I am speaking of those who hold principal Shares in this Gran<t> for as to the common Soldiery, little ever was expected from them) are found so remiss, after repeated exhortation, as neither to afford time, or Money, for the purpose of conducting a Work which could not possibly have gone on without both; little of the latter is to be expected after the business is at end, and their Patents delivered to them, unless letigeous Law suits are commenc’d, some of wch against Infants, & some against Persons beyond Sea; & without this, I must, after having been already saddled with almost the whole trouble, & many Expences peculiar to myself, submit to considerable loss; as I have been obliged to advance all the Fees of Office—answer many drafts of the Surveyor—& considerd I dare say by him, as liable for his whole Fees; assuredly hav<ing> one, in that case, for the beforementioned Tract of 286<27> Acres Patented to the common Soldiery to pay for w<ith>out (I fear) their being a penny the better of it <as no step> hath yet been taken to obtain <a di>vision—one year of the three gone—& one half of them may never more be heard of.4
I have thus, may it please your Excely & honrs, endeavourd to draw the whole of this matter into one short view, to save you the trouble of refering from one Order of Council to another—I have now to beg pardon for the trouble I have had occasion, from time to time to give in prosecuting this matter5—& have the Honr to be Yr Lordships & Honrs Most Obedt & Most Hble Servt
ALS, ViHi; LB, DLC:GW. Some parts of the letter book are arranged differently. Some words in angle brackets have been taken from the letter-book copy.
1. See the Resolutions of the Officers of the Virginia Regiment of 1754, 23 Nov. 1772, and GW to the Officers and Soldiers of the Virginia Regiment of 1754, 23 Dec. 1772, and notes in both documents.
2. GW added the several parts of this tract incorrectly. Someone else inserted the correct total of 21,714 and then added the number 237 (it should have been 227) to his correct total to equal the number of acres in this tract.
4. GW drew up the following account in January 1774 to show the charges incurred, since their meeting in November 1772 against the officers of the Virginia Regiment of 1754:
Jany 25th 1774
The Grant of 200,000 Acres of Land under
the Proclamation of 1754—viz.
|Decr 4||To extra Fee to Mr Everard to hasten the Issuing of the Patents—with a farther promise of the like sum upon the accomplishment of, & signing of them||£ 5. 0. 0|
|March||To Cash paid Mr Everard agreeable to the above promise||5. 0. 0|
|Novr||To the Governor’s & Secretary’s Fees upon the last five Surveys returnd to the Office||8. 0. 0|
|To Cash paid Mr Everard to Patent these without delay||3.|
|To Mrs Rind—Advertising the last distribution of the 5 Surveys—supe||.15. 0|
|To Captn Crawfords Acct of his Exs. attending the last 5 Surveys||110. 2. 6|
|Note, Of the above Acct each|
|Field Officer will have to pay||£ 14. 6. 8|
The above is an Acct of the Contingent Charges since the meeting at Fredericksburg 23d of Novr 1772. [signed] Go: Washington [ADS, Kunstammlungen der Veste Coburg, Germany].
On 25 Jan. 1774 GW also signed a number of accounts showing the individual charges against those receiving land under the Proclamation of 1754. Among such bills that have been found are those of Nathaniel Chapman (DS, KHi), John Cincaid (DS, owned  by Mr. Sandy Loewentheil, Rye, N.Y.), James Ludlow (printed in the Collector, catalog no. 830, item G—732), Hugh McKoy (DS [photocopy], DLC:GW), Adam Stephen (ADS [photocopy], DLC:GW), Andrew Waggener (ADS [photocopy], in Charles Hamilton’s catalog, no. 86, 3 April 1975, p. 59), representative of Arthur Watts deceased (DS, ViMtvL: Willard Collection), John David Wilper (Woelpper) (LB, DLC: John David Woelpper Letter Book). All of these except the Watts and Cincaid accounts are transcribed in CD-ROM:GW. A fragment of a similar account for Charles Smith is owned by the Scriptorium, Beverly Hills, California.
5. In the Washington Papers at the Library of Congress is an extract by GW from the minutes of the council of 4 and 6 Nov. of the record of the actions that the governor and council took with regard to his letter of 2 Nov. to the governor in which he inquired about land grants under the royal Proclamation of 1763 and to this letter of c.3 Nov. to the governor and council regarding the final action to be taken on the grants being made under Dinwiddie’s proclamation of 1754:
[Williamsburg] “At a Council held Novr 4th 1773
“The Memorial of Colo. George Washington, on behalf of himself & other Officers & Soldiers entitled to Lands under Govr Dinwiddies Proclamation; giving an acct of 5 more Surveys which have been made since those formerly returnd, to the amount of 72299 acres, was this day laid before the Board & considered; whereupon it was ordered that Patents Issue for the Lands contained within the said 5 Surveys in the manner proposed in the said Memorial; that is to say, one for the Tract of 7276 acres to George Washington & George Muse, the former to have 3953, & the latter 3323 Acres; One for the Tract of 28400 acres, to the following Persons; whose proportion’s thereof are mentioned after their names; viz. Robt Stobo’s heir 9000, Jacob Vanbraam 9000, John Banes, Representative of James Towers deceasd 6000, Andrew Fowler 400, Thos Napp 400, The Representative of Arthur Wats decd 400, John Fox Assignee of Jesse May 400, Frans Self 400, Robt Stewart 400, Robt Murphey 400, John Smith 400, Alexr Bonny 400, the Represe. of Wm Horn decd 400, & Wm McAnulty 400 acres. Another, for the Tract of 7894 acres, to the following Persons, in the proportion’s mentiond after their names, viz. Willm Bronaugh 6000, Doctr Craik 1794, & Geo. Muse 100 acres. Another, for the Tract of 6788 acres to the following Persons, in like manr, viz. Andrw Wagener 2572, John West 1400, & George Mercer 2816 acres. Another, for the Tract of 21941 acres, in like manner, to the following Persons, viz. The heir of Colo. Josh[u]a Fry 7242, John Savage 2572, Thos Bullett 2500, the Repree of Wm Wright decd 2500, John David Woelpert 600, Adam Stephen 2100, Andrw Lewis 2100, & Peter Hog 2100 acres. and it was further Ordered, that the said Patents Issue without Rights, & with a Reservation of Quit-Rents from the Feast of St Michael, which shall be next after fifteen years from the respective dates, thereof.
“His Excellency informed the Board, that Colo. Washington had applied on behalf of the Officers and Soldiers entitled to Lands under His Majesty’s Proclamation issued in Octr 1763, that they might be permitted to Survey their several proportion’s, on the Western Waters, & the Board advised his Excellency to Issue his Warrants for that purpose. John Blair Cl. Counl
“True Copy Exd Go: Washington
“And at a Council held the 6th of Novr 1773
“It was the opinion of the Board that under thee Words of the King’s Proclamation it is necessary that each Officer or Soldier should have personally appeared to claim his proportion, and that, where that has not been done the claim cannot Survive to his Representative.”
The clerk of the council, John Blair, Jr., wrote GW on 8 Nov. to enclose the council’s order of 4 Nov. and again on 9 Nov. to clarify its actions of 6 November. Blair wrote on 8 Nov.: “Sir, Inclosed You will receive the Orders of Council made on Thursday last, to which I have only to add that on Saturday Mr Henry appeared before the Council, & on his Motion it was ordered that all Surveys made without Order of Council of Lands on the Western Waters, & all Surveys not already entered in the Surveyors Books are to be considered as void; and Dr Walker, Mr John Byrd, & Mr John May are appd Comrs to examine the Books & sign them, to prevent future Entries which there is some Reason to think may possibly be made, & ante-dated; but of this You’ll say Nothing, as it might frustrate the Design. I am, Sir, Your most obedt Servt John Blair” (DLC:GW).
Blair then sent this letter to GW at Eltham by Elizabeth Bassett on 9 Nov.: “Sir, In the hurry I was in yesterday to finish my letter &c. lest I should detain Miss Bassett too long, I believe I forgot to inform you that with respect to any claim which may now be made in Right of a deceased officer or soldier, it was the opinion of the Board that under the words of the Kings proclamation it is necessary that such officer or soldier should have personally appeared to claim his proportion, and that when that has not been done, the claim cannot survive to his Representative.
“Col. Byrd has certified that Alexr Finnie made personal application for the land he was entitled to, under the proclamation, & I understand his son is to have that.
“In the order I sent you yesterday I mentioned how far the several grantees were interested in the different grants; which I thot’ was proper that in case of any dispute that might arise on the partition hereafter to be made, it might appear from the order itself how it ought to be settled—But I suppose the forms of the Secretary’s office will not admit of its being so expressed in the patents but that they will be made out in the same manner as to joint tenants equally interested. I am, Sir, Yr Most respectful & obedt Servt John Blair” (Sprague transcript, DLC:GW).
This advertisement addressed “To Mrs. RIND” appeared in the 25 Nov. 1773 Virginia Gazette (Rind; Williamsburg): “Madam, Please to insert the following order of council in your Gazette, and continue the publication of it three weeks, for the information of the officers and soldiers therein mentioned.
“At a COUNCIL, held November 4, 1773, It was ordered, that the five certificates lately returned to the secretary’s office for 72,299 acres of land (being the residue of the 200,000 acres promised by the Honourable Robert Dinwiddie’s proclamation of the 19th of February, 1754) should be patented in the following manner, viz.
“The survey for the tract of 7276 acres to George Washington and George Muse; the former to have 3953, and the latter 3323 acres.
“The tract of 28,400 acres to the following persons, whose proportions thereof are mentioned after their names, viz. Robert Stobo’s heir 9000, Jacob Vanbraam 9000, John Banes, representative of J. Towers, deceased, 6000, Andrew Fowler 400, Thomas Napp 400, the representative of Arthur Watts, deceased, 400, John Fox, assignee of Jesse May, 400, Francis Self, 400 Robert Stewart 400, Robert Murphey 400, John Smith 400, Alexander Bonny 400, the representative of William Horn, deceased, 400, and William M’Anulty 400 acres.
“The tract of 7894 acres to the following persons, in the proportions, mentioned after their names, viz. William Bronaugh 6000, Doctor James Craik 1794, and George Muse 100 acres.
“The tract of 6788 acres to the following persons, in like manner, viz. Andrew Wagener 2572, John West 1400, and George Mercer 2816 acres. And
“The tract of 21,941 acres, in like manner, to the following persons, viz. To the heir of Col. Joshua Fry 7242, John Savage 2572, Thomas Bullett 2500, the representative of William Wright, deceased 2500, John David Woelpert 600, Adam Stephen 2100, Andrew Lewis 2100, and Peter Hog 2100 acres.
“In making the above allotment of these five tracts of land, it may not be amiss to remark, that those who were deficient of their respective quantities at the last distribution have been considered in the present; and as the issuing of these patents will compleat the grant of 200,000 acres, under the proclamation aforesaid, it is hoped, and expected, that all those who have contributed nothing, or partially towards the completion of it, will now (without more delay) think it reasonable and just to pay their several proportions of the expences attending this undertaking into the hands of theirs and your most humble servant, GEORGE WASHINGTON.”