George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Battaile Muse, 5 February 1785

To Battaile Muse

Mount Vernon 5th Feby 1785.


I have lately received two letters from you, one of the 14th & the other of the 25th of last month.1

The Bonds which you have taken from Mr Whiting had better remain in your hands until they are discharg’d. And by the time you propose to be at Belvoir, in April—I will endeavour to prepare a proper rental for you, if it shall be in my power, from the pressure of other matters.2

It was always my intention, & ever my expectation, that the Tenants should pay the tax of their own Lotts; but if the Leases neither express nor imply it, I do not suppose there is anything else to compel them—consequently Mr Whiting must be allowed what he has actually paid—look however at his lease, and judge yourself of the fact; as I speak more from my expectation than reallity perhaps, & do not want to enter into an improper litigation of the matter. I am Sir &c.

G: Washington

P.S.—Mrs Washington begs you would get from some of my Tenants, or others 10 or a dozen lbs. of good hackled Flax for her.

LB, DLC:GW; printed, Thomas Birch’s Sons, catalog 683, item no. 2, 5–6 April 1892. The transcription of the ALS letter printed in the catalog differs from the letter-book copy printed here mostly in punctuation, but the catalog copy indicates that in the third paragraph GW wrote, “as I speak more from what ought to be perhaps than what really is,” whereas the clerk renders this passage in the letter-book copy, “as I speak more from my expectation than reallity perhaps.” The postscript does not appear in the letter-book copy and is taken from the catalog.

1Muse’s letters of 14 and 25 Jan. have not been found.

2For Muse’s dealings with GW’s tenant, Henry Whiting, see GW to Muse, 3 Nov. 1784, and the references in note 3 of that document. For GW’s “rental,” see his List of Tenants, 18 Sept. 1785.

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