George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Tilghman, 23 March 1794

From William Tilghman

Chester Town [Md.] March 23. 1794.

Dear Sir

I have the honor of acknowledging the receipt of your favors of the 10th & 20th instant. Mr Herbert’s letter, which was inclosed in your last, shall be safely kept amongst the other papers relating to the debt due from Sidney George to the estate of Col. Colvill.1 There is no doubt but interest must be paid on Mr Georges bond, subject to a small deduction during the late war, according to the law of Maryland. The case is different with respect to the £100 received by Mr Chalmers. He is to be considered as a British subject; & as our Courts have determined that British creditors are not entitled to interest during the war, on their debts due from American citizens, I suppose it would be inferred from the same principle, that Americans cannot recover interest on debts due before the revolution, from British subjects. Mr Chalmers seems to view it in this light, as his order authorizing me to draw on him, extends no farther than £1002—I must confess however, that tho’ the law may be so, I see no good reason in point of Justice, why he should not pay interest. As it is not probable that any further information can be obtained as to the payment which Mr Chalmers supposes he must have made, all that now remains, is to decide, whether I shall draw on him for the value of £100 currency, agreeably to his order. It will occasion a small embarrassment in your final settlement of Col. Colvills estate—because if Chalmers should hereafter be able to prove that he paid the money before the War, you will have to make him restitution—You must guard yourself against this contingency, by taking a refunding bond from the persons interested in the estate of Col. Colvill. I shall wait your orders on this subject, & if you conclude that I had better draw, you will be so obliging as to send me a short writing, binding yourself to refund the money, if it should hereafter be proved that Chalmers paid it before.

I have seen Mr George, since I last wrote to you. He promises to pay £100 this Spring, & I submit it to your consideration, whether it will not be adviseable to take a new bond for the balance, payable next fall, to yourself, as surviving Executor of Col. Colvill. I think this will place the debt on a better footing than it stands at present, & I dare say Mr George will have no objection. He is apt to be a little tardy in his payments, but the security of his bond is equal to that of any man. I shall delay my answer to Mr Chalmers’s letters till I receive your instructions.3 I have the honor to be with every sentiment of the most respectful regard Yr most ob. Servt

Wm Tilghman.


1The enclosure in GW’s letter to Tilghman of 20 March, which has not been found, was GW’s letter to William Herbert of 10 March.

2For this authorization, see George Chalmers to Tilghman, 4 Dec. 1793, in n.2 of Tilghman to GW, 1 March 1794.

3For GW’s instructions, see his letter to Tilghman of 31 March.

Index Entries