George Washington Papers

From George Washington to John Joseph De Barth, 30 April 1793

To John Joseph De Barth

Philadelphia April 30th 1793.


As there appears no prospect of your making the stipulated payments for the lands which you agreed to purchase from me, lying on the Kanawas &c. and the object of my disposing of them being thereby defeated—I think it would be best that the bargain should be cancelled (as you expressed to Mr Lear a readiness to do it if required by me); for it would be an unpleasant thing for me to pursue rigorous measures to obtain payment of the Bonds.1

If you think fit to comply with this proposal Mr Lear will deliver to you your several Bonds &c. upon receiving the writings &c. relative to that bargain, that it may be completely cancelled.2 I am Sir Your Obedt Servt

Go: Washington

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

1On GW’s contract with de Barth for the sale of his lands on the Kanawha and Ohio Rivers, see Lear to GW, 1 April, and note 4. On 3 April, Lear informed GW of de Barth’s need to abrogate the agreement.

2On 2 May, Lear wrote de Barth: “As there was a duplicate of the declaration given you by the President, for the purpose of being sent to Europe; the President has thought it proper, by the advice of Mr [Edmund] Randolph, the Atty Genl that the writing which you will find at the bottom of the declaration herewith enclosed, should be signed by you, in the manner there specified, with three witnesses; in order to avoid any inconvenien[c]e that might possibly arise from the existence of the Duplicate declaration, which is now out of your hands. If you will be so obliging as to execute this now, the servant will wait & bring it back to me.

“As you expressed an apprehension yesterday that the President might have entertained an idea unfavourable to your character, from your not having fulfilled your part of the agreemt by making payment of the Bond wh. was due—he directs me to assure you, that he has no impressions on his mind unfavourable to your integrity or honor on that account, as he has every reason to beleive that the unfortunate situation of affairs in France has preventd you from complying with the contract agreeably to the intention of the parties—and even if he should have entertained a different opinion before, the readiness with which you have cancelld the bargain would have removed any doubts from his mind” (ViMtvL). The enclosed declaration has not been identified.

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