To John Lewis
Philadelphia 29th May 1794
The letter of which the enclosed is a copy, renders further explanation on my part in a manner unnecessary1—I must beg Leave notwithstanding to add that when mistakes happen the sooner they can be rectified the better.
All I recollect of this matter (and that but imperfectly) is, that Colo. Lewis (your father) purchased from a Michael Robinson for, and on my account, the lots in Fredericksburgh on which my mother lived. Robinson (I believe) bought them of him; & no Deeds having been made for them he, to avoid trouble, & the expence of double transfers, conveyed them to me.2
If this was don<e> by wrong numbers it is incumbent on you as heir at law, to correct the error and it ma<y be> necessary that I should, for the same r<easo>n, convey the lots 111 & 113 to the rightful owner of them.
I wish that you and Mr Carter wd examine into this matter thoroughly, & whatever is proper to be done on my part shall be executed without delay.3 I am—Dear Sir Your Obedt Hble Servt
ALS (letterpress copy), NN: Washington Papers. The characters in angle brackets have been taken from the letter-book copy.
2. In 1771 GW, using Fielding Lewis as his agent, purchased lots 107 and 108 in Fredericksburg from Michael Robinson. GW had intended to purchase those lots from Fielding Lewis in 1761, but had been given title to two other lots instead. In the interim Lewis had conveyed the lots to Robinson (Cash Accounts, 1761, n.69, Papers, Colonial Series description begins W. W. Abbot et al., eds. The Papers of George Washington, Colonial Series. 10 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1983–95. description ends , 7:9-10; Cash Accounts, May 1771, and n.13, Papers, Colonial Series description begins W. W. Abbot et al., eds. The Papers of George Washington, Colonial Series. 10 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1983–95. description ends , 8:452-55; Ledger A, 336, 345; Crozier, Spotsylvania County, 473-74). Michael Robinson (d. 1784) was for many years an inspector of tobacco at Fredericksburg.
3. No reply from John Lewis or Carter has been identified. To resolve the confusion about lots 107 and 108, however, John and his wife, Mary Ann Lewis, executed a deed to Richard Dobson, who had purchased the property from Carter. The deed, although dated in its text 3 Feb. 1794, was recorded in the Spotsylvania County Court on 3 Feb. 1795 (Deed Book O [1794-97], 51-52, ViSpoCh).