To John Augustine Washington
Mount Vernon Octr 1st 1786
If you receive this letter at this place before I return home, it is to observe how singular it is that I should always be from home or upon the eve of leaving it, when you come here.1
An appointment which cannot be dispensed with (and which was made by myself before I had any intimation of your intention of taking this on your way down) obliges me to the Great, & perhaps the little Falls to a meeting of the Board of Directors. That (besides doing matters of smaller moment) we may fix a plan for the Winter operation & labour of our hands—determine the nature & ⟨mutilated⟩ Great Falls ⟨mutilated⟩ four Directors presented. A pointed summons is gone out for the present meeting which cannot be delayed without doing injury to the interest of the Company.2
I wished to see you on many Accts. One, to know what report is made respecting the Hites claim of the Land on which Thornton Washington lives—& thence up to the head spring. I sent Thornton all my papers respecting this business, and have written to him three or four times on the subject; but he has not vouchsafed to give me an answer or even to have acknowledged the receipt of my Papers on which the title depends.3 Such is the inattention, and remissness of persons unaccustomed to regularity in business. If you can give me any information of what the Hites, or the Commissioner, have done in this case it will enable ⟨mutilated en⟩closed. It relates to some of your Land, or the Lands of Saml or Charles. Of what use it may be to either of you I know not. To me it is of none.4
ALS, owned (1972) by Dr. Joseph Fields, Williamsburg, Virginia.
1. GW found his brother at Mount Vernon when he returned from Great Falls on 4 October. John Augustine Washington remained until 7 Oct., when the two parted for the last time. GW learned on 10 Jan. of the unexpected death of his “beloved Brother” (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 5:93).
2. GW arrived on the morning of 2 Oct. at the Great Falls for the meeting of the directors of the Potowmack Company. After hearing and dismissing the charges of James Rumsey against the new manager of the company, Richardson Stewart, the directors agreed to a petition of the Maryland and Virginia assemblies for an extension of the time allowed to complete the improvement of navigation above the Great Falls. They then “Directed the Manager respecting the Winter Work for the hands” before finishing up “about three oclock” on 4 Oct. (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 5:48).
4. The enclosure has not been identified. The mutilated portions of the letter are where repairs have been made at the fold.