George Washington Papers

From George Washington to James Hill, 29 August 1786

To James Hill

Mo[un]t Vernon 29th Augt 1786.


I have been in continual expectation ever since my return to private life (now near three years) of receiving a statement of the accots between us. This not having yet happened, and finding sums which I expected were due to me (especially in the case of Mr Newton of Norfolk from whom I thought a large balance was due to me) charged as having been paid to you, it makes it indispensably necessary for me to be furnished with a precise & compleat accot of all the transactions of my business which had been committed to your care from the date of the last settlement which I made with you myself, to the present moment. Shewing, if monies have been paid to others on myself, the sums, & by what authority it was done. Without these it is impossible for me to adjust my own accounts, or bring my business to a close with others.1 I pray you therefore not to delay complying with this request, & it will oblige yrs &c.

G: Washington


James Hill (1736–1802) of Springfield in King William County paid taxes on 642½ acres and twenty-two slaves in that county in 1782.

1Hill was hired by GW in March 1772 to manage the Custis lands in the York River area in place of Joseph Valentine who died the previous year. See Hill to GW, 9 Dec. 1771, and notes to that document, and Cash Accounts, March 1772, n.2. On 27 Oct. 1778 GW wrote Hill that he no longer needed a manager and that Hill was to send any money he had collected for GW and John Parke Custis to Lund Washington at Mount Vernon. At the same time GW requested an exact account of all Hill’s expenditures and everything sold from the estate, “since the last Acct which I settled with you myself” (DLC:GW). This last settlement with GW was undoubtedly the one recorded on 28 Aug. 1775 in Hill’s accounts with GW (see Hill to GW, 1 Feb. 1787, n.1): “To Cash paid you in Wmsbg the 16th June 1774 which has been Omitted per acco.[—]£147.1.⟨3⟩.” For GW’s complaints during the Revolution about Hill’s stewardship and his delay in accounting for money collected for the estate, see especially GW to Burwell Bassett, 22 April 1779. For the balance GW thought was due from Thomas Newton, Jr., of Norfolk, see GW to Newton, 3 Sept. 1785, and notes 1 and 2 of that document. For Hill’s explanation of his actions in winding up his stewardship of the Custis estate, see Hill to GW, 24 Sept. 1786 and 1 Feb. 1787.

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