George Washington Papers

From George Washington to George Muse, 29 January 1774

To George Muse

Mount Vernon 29th January 1774


Your impertinent Letter of the 24th ulto, was delivered to me yesterday by Mr Smith1—As I am not accustomed to receive such from any Man, nor would have taken the same language from you personally, without letting you feel some marks of my resentment; I would advise you to be cautious in writing me a second of the same tenour; for though I understand you were drunk when you did it, yet give me leave to tell you, that drunkeness is no excuse for rudeness; & that, but for your stupidity & sottishness you might have known, by attending to the public Gazettes, (particularly Rinds of the 14th of January last) that you had your full quantity of ten thousand acres of Land allow’d you; that is, 9073 acres in the great Tract of 51,302 acres, & the remainder in the small tract of 927 acres; whilst I wanted near 500 acres of my quantity, Doctr Craik 300 of his, and almost every other claimant little or much of theirs.2 But suppose you had really fallen short 73 acres of your 10,000, do you think your superlative merit entitles you to greater indulgences than others? or that I was to make it good to you, if it did? when it was at the option of the Governor & Council to have allowed you but 500 acres in the whole, if they had been inclin’d so to do.3 If either of these should happen to be your opinion, I am very well convinced you will stand singular in it; & all my concerns is, that I ever engag’d in behalf of so ungrateful & dirty a fellow as you are. But you may still stand in need of my assistance, as I can inform you that your affairs, in respect to these Lands, do not stand upon so solid a basis as you may imagine, & this you may take by way of hint; as your coming in for any, much less a full share may still be a disputed point, by a Gentleman who is not in this Country at this time, & who is exceedingly dissatisfyed therewith.4 I wrote to you a few days ago concerning the other distribution, proposing an easy method of dividing our Lands;5 but since I find in what temper you are, I am sorry I took the trouble of mentioning the Land, or your name in a Letter, as I do not think you merit the least assistance from

G: Washington


1Letter not found. Charles Smith (d. 1776), who joined GW’s Virginia Regiment as an ensign in 1755, arrived at Mount Vernon on 28 Jan. with Andrew Waggener, nephew and representative of Thomas Waggener, another former officer of the regiment (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 3:228).

3George Muse (1720–1790), a veteran of the Cartagena campaign of 1741, was appointed major in March 1754 and lieutenant colonel in June of the Virginia Regiment of 1754. He joined the regiment in time to be present at the capitulation at Fort Necessity on 3 July 1754. He shortly thereafter resigned from the regiment after other officers accused him of showing cowardice in the engagement. See Robert Dinwiddie to GW, 15 Mar. 1754, n.5, and 3 Aug. 1754, n.4. On 8 Nov. 1770 the Virginia council read and deferred for later consideration “the Representation of George Muse” seeking “to ascertain his Proportion of Land” under the provisions of Dinwiddie’s Proclamation of 1754 (Exec. Journals of Virginia Council description begins H. R. McIlwaine et al., eds. Executive Journals of the Council of Colonial Virginia. 6 vols. Richmond, 1925–66. description ends , 6:380). In the end the council awarded Muse his full share of land as a lieutenant colonel.

4The “dissatisfyed” gentleman was probably George Mercer.

5See GW to Crawford, 15 Jan., n.2. GW’s letter to Muse has not been found.

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