George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Alexander Addison, 17 May 1798

From Alexander Addison

Washington (Penna) 17 May 1798


Col. Matthew Ritchie who bought your land on Miller’s run in this county died nearly three months ago. His death will perhaps occasion some embarrassment in the next payment due to you. From various circumstances which I need not state the value or demand for lands is much reduced. He bought to sell again. Not one half has been sold for payments at different times and imperfectly made. I shall be in Philadelphia in the end of June or beginning of July next and shall do every thing in my power to have the payment made then which ought to be made on the first of June. How I shall succeed I cannot now say, but no pains shall be wanting then and hereafter to promote punctuality. John Ritchie and I are Executors of Matthew Ritchie.1

I take the liberty of sending a pamphlet—and in a separate inclosure a Newspaper2—And I am with the greatest respect your most obedt Servt

Alexr Addison


Alexander Addison (1759–1807), ordained a Presbyterian minister in Scotland, was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar in Washington County in 1787. He had been presiding judge of Pennsylvania’s fifth judicial district since 1791. A strong Federalist, he was impeached and removed from the bench in 1803.

1After Matthew Ritchie bought GW’s Millers Run land in Washington County, Pa., in 1794, Addison began acting as Ritchie’s attorney in the matter; Addison, in fact, was Ritchie’s silent partner in the deal, as GW was to learn in 1799 (see Addison to GW, 6 July 1799). See Oliver Wolcott, Jr., to GW, 31 May 1797, n.2, Addison to GW, 4, 13 July 1796, and GW to Addison, 8 July 1796. GW continued to deal hereafter with Addison regarding payments to him from Ritchie’s estate (see also GW to Addison, 3 June, 29 July 1798, 4 Mar., 24 Nov. 1799, and Addison to GW, 11 July, 22 Aug. 1798, 6 July, 8 Nov. 1799).

2For the pamphlet and newspaper that Addison sent, see GW to Addison, 3 June, and note 1 of that document.

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