George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Thomas Parker, 7 February 1793

To Thomas Parker

Philada Feby 7th 1793.


I have received your letter of the 17th of January,1 desiring to know the terms upon which I would dispose of a tract of land which I have in Glocester County: And in reply thereto, I can only inform you, that I received it on the 1st of October 1789 at a valuation of £800 Virga Currency, in part payment of a bond due to me, and that I am willing to dispose of it for the same sum, with interest from the said first day of Oct. 1789.2

If this price should be agreeable to you, and the time of payment made convenient to me, the bargain may soon be closed. It would suit me to receive the money immediately on giving possession of the land; but if that should not comport with the convenience of the purchaser, the matter may possibly be accommodated by allowing a short time for the payment, letting the debt stand upon good security & with interest.

Should you on this view of the matter incline to purchase the abovementioned land, you will be so good as to let me know your determination without delay, and the time in which you would propose to make payment.3 I am, Sir Your most Obedt Sert.

Df, in Tobias Lear’s writing, ViMtvL; LB, DLC:GW.

1The letter from Thomas Parker of 17 Jan. has not been found. Thomas Parker (c.1761–1820), a veteran of the Revolutionary War, lived in Frederick County, Va., at Retreat, his estate on the Shenandoah River. In January 1799, during the Quasi-War with France, he became lieutenant colonel of the 8th U.S. Infantry Regiment in command of the forces at Harpers Ferry. He was honorably discharged in June 1800, but he returned to active duty in the War of 1812.

2For GW’s acquisition of 400 acres on Back River, a branch of North River, in Gloucester County, Va., see John Dandridge to GW, 27 Oct. 1788, and source note, and 8 Oct. 1789.

3Parker replied to GW on 31 March: “I had the Honor to receive your letter of the 7th of Feby Containing proposals for the Sale of your land in Glocester. I have waited some time to hear from a Gentleman that I had entrusted to View the land & give me a more particular description of it than I had yet received: but having not yet received any communication from him I cannot give a definitive Answer; tho I rather expect that the Back interest which you demand will be an impediment to the Bargain; as I am informed that lands in the County have by no means risin in their Value for Several years past. If you shoud agree upon a price for the lands the payments I shall offer will be seven hundred pounds in hand & the Ballance in one or Two annual payments secured either By a mortgage on the land or on 18 or 20. negroes” (DLC:GW). GW did not find a buyer for this tract until April 1797 when George Ball, a lawyer from Spotsylvania County, Va., bought it for £800, but as of 9 July 1799, when GW signed his Last Will and Testament, Ball still owed money on the purchase (GW to Ball, 6 Mar. 1797, note 1, and the schedule of property enclosed in GW’s Last Will and Testament, 9 July 1799).

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