George Washington Papers

From George Washington to James Keith, 29 January 1794

To James Keith

Philadelphia Jany 29th 1794.

Dear Sir,

The enclosed came to my hands a few days ago1—the means are also enclosed to discharge Colo. Simms account, and to receive his acquittal. I would thank you to get from, and forward to me, Mr Lees charge also; that my Administration of the Estate of Colo. Colvill may be finally closed, and the balance deposited some where for the benefit of the residuary legatees.2

That I may be better able to decide upon the latter point, I would thank you for an extract of that part of Colo. Thoms Colvills Will (or the Will itself, as I presume it is no longer of any use to you.) which makes this devise; and for all the claims, proofs, &ca which have been handed to his Executors in consequence thereof, and which were deposited (to the best of my recollection) with you, along with the other papers.3 I am—Dear Sir Your Obedt Hble Servt

Go: Washington

P.S. are there not some parts of Colo. Simms charge which ought to be paid, or at least repaid by the defendants?4

ALS (letterpress copy), NN: Washington Papers; LB, DLC:GW.

1The enclosed letter, which has not been found, was from Charles Simms to GW of 15 January.

2GW also enclosed “bank notes & half a guinea” in this letter (GW to Simms, 24 Feb.). GW employed James Keith, who practiced law at Alexandria, Va., to assist in settling the tangled estates of brothers John and Col. Thomas Colvill. Simms and Charles Lee, also attorneys at Alexandria, were occasionally employed to settle suits involving the estate (Keith to Tobias Lear, 15 July 1793). On this estate, of which GW was an executor, see Thomas Montgomerie to GW, 24 Oct. 1788, source note. A final settlement was not achieved until 1796 (Ledger C description begins Manuscript Ledger in Morristown National Historical Park, Morristown, N.J. description ends , 15).

3Thomas Colvill’s will, probated in 1767, is in Fairfax County Will Book, B–1, 424–32, Vi Microfilm.

4On the failure of both Keith and Simms to reply to GW’s letters, see GW to Simms, 24 February. GW enclosed this letter to Keith in a letter to Simms, which was dated 28 Jan. and which reads: “Your Letter of the 15th instant came duly to hand. The enclosed will furnish Mr Keith with means to pay your account. I pray you to deliver, or cause it to be delivered by a safe hand” (LB, DLC:GW).

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