Tobias Lear to Robert Pollard
Philada 11th March 1793.
The President of the United States requests that you will transmit to him a statement of his accot with the James River Company, from it’s first institution; in order that he may be fully acquainted with the payments which have been made on his account, as well as with what may be due from him.1
The President’s long absence from home, & the little attention that his public duties have permitted him to pay to his private Affairs, have prevented him from keeping so regular a statement of his Account with the Company as he could wish, and this is the cause of giving you this trouble.2 I have the honor to be, very respectfully, Sir, Your mo: obt Servt.
1. Pollard was treasurer and secretary of the James River Company from 1793 to 1823. This company, established by the Virginia Assembly in 1785, intended to build a system of locks on the river in order to turn a profit through tolls, improve navigation, and facilitate inland trade (Hening description begins William Waller Hening, ed. The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619. 13 vols. 1819–23. Reprint. Charlottesville, Va., 1969. description ends , 11:450–62). For GW’s involvement with this company, see GW to Benjamin Harrison, 10 Oct. 1784, editorial note, and Harrison to GW, 6 Jan. 1785, and note 1. No reply to this letter from Pollard or any other representative of the James River Company has been identified.
2. Although GW was honorary president of the James River Company, he had little to do with its operation. In 1795 GW relinquished his title and offered his shares, which had been a gift from the legislature of Virginia, for the erection of an educational institution in that state. In 1796 he designated Liberty Hall Academy, present-day Washington and Lee University, in Lexington, Va., as the recipient of his one hundred shares in the company (GW’s Last Will and Testament, 9 July 1799, and notes 5–7).