George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Polson, 4 February 1789

From John Polson

London 4th Feby 1789


Your obliging favor of the 28th of Septr last 1 came to my hands the 21st Ulto under cover from Captain Milford of Date the 22d of Novr. He also sent me the letter you were so good as [to] write to him on the Subject of my Lands in Virginia.2 I want words to express my gratitude to you for the uncommon pains you have taken to put him in the way of geting the necessary information, for which I return you my best thanks. I am well convinced that my letter of 1783, to you, miscarried, which may turn out to be very detrimental to me. I find by a letter of the Captain to me dated from York Town the 23d Octr that he had found out the Executors of my late friend Mr Craig, who were ready to give him every information they could; and told him my Lands were not Confiscated, and that they were still my property, and now in the heart of a Settled Country: He says that he was going in a few days to Richmond to find out a proper person to be my Attorney, and wod write me all the particulars by the next Ship: But by his last letter, I find he had been Sick, which prevented his going to Richmond, but promised to do it as soon as he could. I hope my Lands are not Sold for Quit Rents and that they will be of benefit to my Family.

Your old Acquaintance Colo. Robert Stewart is at Bath. He has been much of an Invalid for years past, but has had very bad health since last October.3

I only came here about a fortnight ago, to apply for compensation for my Property Sold by the State of Georgia, to the amount of £3997. My Lands & my Brors Sold for that Sum; but I am convinced that if our Attorney had represented our Case, that our property would Not have been Sold.4

I beg you will Accept my best thanks for all the favors you have done me, and believe me, it wod give me infinite pleasure to have it in my power to serve you or any of your Friends. believe me to be with great regard and respect Sir your much obliged and most Obedient Humble Servt

Jno. Polson

ALS, DLC:GW. This letter was addressed to GW at Mount Vernon and forwarded to him at New York.

For background to this letter, see Samuel Milford to GW, 24 Sept. 1788.

1Letter not found.

3Robert Stewart was GW’s old comrade in arms from the French and Indian War. He served as a captain with GW in the Fort Necessity and Braddock campaigns, remained in the Virginia Regiment until at least 1760, and ended the war as a lieutenant colonel. He later served in the British civil service in Jamaica until compelled by “an inveterate, bilious disorder, contracted during the preceding war in America” to return to England. His constitution, he wrote in 1785 in an appeal for compensation, “had received so much injury, in the course of his former services, that all the art of medicine, and the air of Europe, has not been able to restore it.” Forced to choose between resigning or returning immediately to his post in Jamaica, he remained in England (The Case of Lieutenant Colonel Robert Stewart, broadside, ViU). In 1783 Stewart approached GW for public employment. For his appeal, and GW’s discouraging reply, see Stewart to GW, 19 April 1783, and GW to Stewart, 10 Aug. 1783.

4According to the petition submitted by John Polson and his brother Hugh to the American Claims Commission, the agency of the British government established in 1783 to consider Loyalist claims, their Georgia estates had belonged to their father, John Polson, who died in Jamaica in 1778. The Georgia lands consisted of 1,300 acres in St. Patrick’s Parish, 1,000 acres in St. David’s Parish, and 300 acres in St. Andrew’s Parish, all of which had been deeded over to the younger Polsons by their father in October 1773. The lands were part of Loyalist confiscations made by Georgia during the war (Coldham, American Loyalist Claims, description begins Peter Wilson Coldham. American Loyalist Claims. Washington, D.C., 1980. description ends 1:395).

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