George Washington Papers

From George Washington to James Keith, 17 March 1793

To James Keith

Philada March 17th 1793

Dr Sir,

I have duly received your letter of the 7th inst. respecting the issuing Executions against the Trustees of Semple, provided they should not procure an Injunction for staying them before the first of April. In reply to which I have only to observe, that I am so extremely1 anxious to have the affairs relative to Colo. Colvill’s estate settled, and so pressing are the claims against it, that it is my wish and desire to have every proper step taken that can expedite the closing of the business.2 Upon receiving payment from the Trustees of Semple (if execution should not be stayed by an Injunction) you will pay the fees due to the Lawyers, & reserve for you[r]self such compensation for Your agency in the business as was fixed upon by the Gentlemen to whom the matter was referred by the Court,3 if this was done—if not, then such as they and you may think adequade after which you will pay the residue (if it should not amount to more than is due on that claim) to Colo. Hoe, in discharge of Mr Bennett’s account against the estate4—first taking care to have the acct strictly examined, & any errors (of which you say there are some respecting Interest) rectified5—Below is the Sums which have been paid to me or my order on acct of the Bond; with the dates of such payments, for your information & government in the settlement of this matter. I am—&ca.

Apl 27th By an order on Mr Jas Dunlap6 to pay to Colo. Hoe on acct of Mr Bennett’s claim—£600—sterlg £ 600.0.0
July 5 By Do on Do to pay to Do—£100 Sterg @ 133⅓ 100.0.0
Decr 10t. Recd from Mr Dunlap, by a bill drawn on Andw Clow & Co. in Philada7 £ 176.0.0
15t.— Recd from Do on Acct of Colo. Colvill’s Estate 424.   
Sterlg £1300.0.0

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

1GW inserted the word “extremely” above the line.

2For GW’s long-term involvement in the settlement of the entangled estates of John and Col. Thomas Colvill, see Thomas Montgomerie to GW, 24 Oct. 1788, source note. For the estate’s claims against Montgomerie, Cumberland Wilson, and Adam Stewart, to whom John Semple had assigned his rights in land purchased from the estate of John Colvill, see GW to Robert Townsend Hooe, 7 Feb. 1793, and note 2. GW had hired Keith, an Alexandria lawyer, to help settle the estate.

3GW inserted the text from “if this was done—if not, then such as they and you may think adequade” in the left-hand margin of the manuscript page. For recent court action involving the Colvill estate, see GW to Hooe, 7 Feb. 1793, and note 2, and GW to Keith, 7 Feb. 1793. See also the 22 May 1792 judgment against Montgomerie, Wilson, Stewart, and George Mason.

4For the claim of Henry Astley Bennett against the Colvill estate and payments made to him later this year, see GW to Hooe, 7 Feb. 1793, and notes 1, 3.

5The rest of the letter, through the complimentary closing, is in GW’s writing. The accounts that follow are in Lear’s writing.

6Georgetown businessman James Dunlop (d. 1823), who had emigrated from Scotland about 1780, ran a successful tobacco exporting firm. For his involvement with the Colvill estate, see Montgomerie to GW, 29 Mar. 1789, and note 1, and 17 Nov. 1790, Dunlop to GW, 15 July 1789, 1 Nov. 1790, GW to Dunlop, 29 Oct. 1790.

7At this place in the draft, Lear wrote and then crossed out: “wh. was pd to Edd Tilghman Esqr. Atty to Miss Harriot R. Anderson, in full of a legacy left her by Colo. Colvill. Principal & Int[eres]t 176 stg @ 133⅓.” For Harriot Rebecca Anderson’s legacy, see James Tilghman, Sr., to GW, 6 Oct. 1790, and note 1, and Keith to GW, 6 Nov. 1790, GW to James Tilghman, Sr., 6 Nov. 1790, and note 2. Philadelphia attorney Edward Tilghman (1751–1815) was a nephew of James Tilghman, Sr., and cousin to GW’s wartime aide Tench Tilghman. The merchant firm of Andrew Clow & Co. was located at 20 South Front Street in Philadelphia (Philadelphia Directory, 1791 description begins Clement Biddle. The Philadelphia Directory. Philadelphia, 1791. description ends ).

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