George Washington Papers

From George Washington to George Plater, Charles Carroll, John Cadwalader, and Samuel Chase, 11 December 1784

To George Plater, Charles Carroll, John Cadwalader, and Samuel Chase

Mt Vernon 11th Decr 1784


The Gentn who will have the honor of presenting this letter to you, is a Nephew of mine, heir to my Brother who was one of the Partners in the Principio Company, and to whose Will I was appointed an Executor, though circumstances put it out of my power to qualify.

He is about to offer a petition to your honble Assembly, from the Execrs of my Brother, to obtain the Estates proportion of the property belonging to the company and sold by Commissioners, appointed under the Act, for confiscating British property 1—The petition is explanatory of the Justice on which it is founded, and so full that it Leaves nothing for me to add, further, than as it was by misconception or misinformation, that the Estates proportion of the Bonds, got into the hands of the Intendant, so I am persuaded it only requires to be known, to obtain an order for the Assignment of them to the Exectrs, as the Act of your Assembly reserved the Estates interest therein, absolutely and clearly; and only a punctilio of the Intendant could possible be the cause of the delay, which, for the reasons assign’d in the petition, is exceedingly distressing to the Execrs & injurious to my Nephew, you will excuse me I hope, for the freedom of this address, and do me the justice to believe that I am Sir Yr most obt & very Hble Sert

Go: Washington

LS, PPAmP: Bradford Family Papers, directed to John Cadwalader; ADS, PWacD: Sol Feinstone Collection, on deposit PPAmP.

George Plater (1735–1792), Charles Carroll of Carrollton (1737–1832), John Cadwalader (Cadwallader; 1742–1786), and Samuel Chase (1741–1811) were all leading figures in Maryland. At this time, Plater and Carroll were members of the Maryland senate, and Cadwalader and Chase were in the Maryland house. In 1725 GW’s father, Augustine Washington (1694–1743), reached an agreement with the Principio Iron Company of London, which had ironworks in Maryland, whereby he received stock in the iron company in return for the iron found on the lands that he held on Accokeek Creek in Virginia. For a full account of Augustine Washington’s involvement in the Principio Iron Company, see Freeman, Washington, description begins Douglas Southall Freeman. George Washington: A Biography. 7 vols. New York, 1948–57. description ends 1:37–42. At Augustine Washington’s death, his Principio stock passed to his oldest son Lawrence (1718–1752), then from Lawrence to Lawrence’s brother Augustine (1720–1762), and finally, from Augustine to Augustine’s son William Augustine Washington (1757–1810), the nephew to whom GW is referring here. In 1780, the Maryland legislature confiscated Loyalist property, including that of the Principio ironworks. In ordering the sale of the Principio property, the act noted that “a certain Mr Washington, a subject of the State of Virginia, is entitled to one individual one-twelfth (1/12) part thereof.” No further correspondence on the matter has been found, but GW may have received a satisfactory response when he met with the Maryland legislature in Annapolis later this month.

1This sentence in the LB copy, after the word “Assembly,” reads: “for his part of the Sales of the property of that company.” On 15 Dec. the speaker of the Maryland house of delegates received from the Maryland senate “a petition from the executors of Augustine Washington, deceased, respecting the assignment of certain bonds” (Md. House of Delegates Proceedings). description begins Votes and Proceedings of the House of Delegates of the State of Maryland. November Session, 1784. Being the First Session of this Assembly. [Annapolis, 1785]. description ends No record of either house having taken action on the petition in this session has been found.

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