George Washington Papers

From George Washington to James Mercer, 20 January 1786

To James Mercer

Mt Vernon 20th Jany 1786.

Dr Sir,

I have been favored with your letter of the 10th inst: with its inclosures the last are returned signed.1 I also send you a copy of the courses of the Lotts purchased by yourself & me at the sale of your brother’s Land, & shall thank you for the conveyances which are necessary to secure the legal right to those which I hold.2

I am sorry to hear that you still continue indisposed—you have my best wishes for a speedy & perfect recovery of your health, & with sentimts of sincere esteem & regard, I am Dr Sir &c.

G: Washington

P.S. A few days ago I receeived under cover, several copies of the inclosed proposals from the Author; one of which has obtained a good many subscribers in Alexa. I use the freedom of sending a copy to you, that in case yourself & friends in & about Fredericksburgh should incline to become subscribers to the work, an opportunity may be furnished. As the Doctr, it is to be presumed, will look to me for a return of the number committed to my charge, I shall be glad to receive the enclosed when you shall find it convenient & proper, so as to be ready for his call. I have only to pray that the conditions may be complied with respecting the advance, as I would not incline to have any thing more to do in the business, after the subscription papers are returned.3

G: W——n


1Letter not found, and its enclosures have not been identified.

2For the sale conducted by GW in 1774 of George Mercer’s American property and for GW’s purchase of two of the lots in Mercer’s tract on the Shenandoah River in Frederick County, see GW to John Tayloe, 30 Nov. 1774, to Edward Snickers, 4 Sept. 1784, and to Battaile Muse, 28 July 1785, n.1.

3William Gordon wrote GW on 28 Nov. 1785 that he expected “the proposals for the History of the American Revolution, will be circulated through the United States by the first week in January.” Gordon’s printed “Proposals for printing by Subscription” his History, dated 1 Dec. 1786, begins: “The writer, in the beginning of 1776, made known his intention to his Excellency the late Commander in Chief of the American Army, and, meeting with desired encouragement, applied himself to collecting materials for the history” (DNA:PCC, item 78). Gordon’s letter covering the copies of the prospectus that he sent to GW has not been found, but GW wrote Gordon on 20 April reporting on what success he had had in securing subscriptions to Gordon’s proposed history and forwarded him £42. See also Gordon to GW, 4 February.

Index Entries