George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Battaile Muse, 7 May 1788

From Battaile Muse

Alexandria May 7th 1788


The bad state of Health and Business Since I have been down Prevented my Caling at Mount vernon untill this day—I was Sorry not To Find you at Home—My Engagements at this Place Prevented my staying for your return—If you desire To See me I will Endeavour To waite on you on Friday otherwise I wish To Push towards Home1—If Mr Lear Should be at this place Tomorrow I will Pay the Ballance To Close my acct £21.1.1 altho I have a Quantity of Flour at this place I received of Sundrie Pooer Tenants at 26/ per Barrel and now will not sell @ 22s/ Cash, as it’s my Conduct I must Submit To it.2 For your Satisfaction I here Inclose a List of Ballances that may be Collected—as the Chief of them will be recovered by Law3 you’ll Please To Consider the opperation in this state and not Expect more than half the sum this Summer, suppose £60. I shall be down in Less than three Month & will then give my Self Time To attend on you with all the money I can raise. Henry Shover and Mrs Lemart has made Tolerable Payment this year they Pray Indulgence To another year, in which you will Please To advise me.4 I will For Your Sattisfaction make out a General rental by next Fall with all the Debts & Credits as Fully as Circumstances will admit of—with all the notes I can make respecting Each Tenament.

Mr Smith Slaughter Sheriff in Berkeley County has Entered a warrant with the Surveyor of sd County To be Levied on 1100 & odd acres Land of Colo. G. W. Fairfaxes under Lease to Mr Giles Cooke with a Pretence that the said Land is not Entered in the Proprietors office. Mr Cooke the Tenant is Very unneasy about the matter Requested of me To ask the Favour of you To Inform Him by me whether their is a deed For the Land as you Surveyed the Land & the Papers are with you the Best information will be From you.5

If I Should not hear From you Tomorrow I Shall Leave £21.1.1 with Mr A. Wales—If you can make it Convenient I wish Mr Lear to ride up. I am Sir your Obedient Humble Servant

Battaile Muse

ALS, DLC:GW. Muse wrote on the cover: “By negroe Dennis.”

1On Wednesday, 7 May, GW “Visited all the Plantations—Mill, & Brick Yard” (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 5:317). GW does not indicate that Muse returned to Mount Vernon.

2GW records the payment from Muse on 8 May (Ledger B description begins Manuscript Ledger Book 2, 1772-93, in George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends , 265).

3The list of balances has not been found.

4Muse writes frequently about the chronic difficulties that the impoverished tenants Henry Shover and Ann Lemart had in paying their rent. See Lists of Tenants, 18 Sept. 1785, nn.12, 19.

5GW lists a survey, 6–8 Nov. 1750, for George William Fairfax, of vacant land between the fork of Bullskin Run and the Shenandoah River, for which no grant has been found or any indication in GW’s field book that the plat was drawn. He lists a second survey, 1 April 1751, of 217 acres on a branch of Long Marsh Run, for which no grant has been found, but the field book indicates the plat was drawn and copied (Papers, Colonial Series, description begins W. W. Abbot et al., eds. The Papers of George Washington, Colonial Series. 10 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1983–95. description ends 1:26, 28, 36 n.39, 37 n.43). Both tracts in 1788 were in Berkeley County.

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