From John Augustine Spotswood
Newpost the 31d Decmbr 1798
Company, & an Agitation of Mind, When last at Mount Vernon Prevented my takeing, that Respectful leave of you and Mrs Washington That I Wished—Permit me now sir, to Return to you, and Mrs Washington my Sincere thanks, with an Assurance, of holding in grateful Remembrance; your polite, kind, and friendly Attention towards me, From the time I first had the Honor of being Introduced to you—to The Day I last left Mount Vernon.1 Wishing you Sir, & Mrs Washington A Long Continuance of your present health—I Remain Most Respectfully Yo. Obd. Servt
John A. Spotswood
1. Captain Spotswood called at Mount Vernon on Christmas Day 1798 (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 6:327). Either at that time or, probably, earlier, he presented this statement of his financial situation, which GW docketed “Statement, Captn John Spotswood of his property 1798”: “My Capital is £iooo[;] A Schooner [£]810[,] A Bond of general lees given me by my father now due, Principal [£] 2000[.] As Security for the payment of this Bond my father has a Mortgage on the Land he sold general Lee, My father tels me that general Lee has Assured him in the Most pointed Manner, a payment of 6000$ in August next, & which Sum he tels me I shall have; My father has Been for Some time Collecting for me Meterials for Building a Schooner of 96 tons, to be Completed by August 1799, And has promised me the farther Sum of £400 towards her Completion, this with £600 of my own will Complete the Vessel, and Leave Me a Capital in Money of £2200—And due on the Bond £200; with these Vessels and my Money I mean to fix Myself in Alexandria in the westindia Line of Business, And By Employing of good men to go in My Vessels—and Proceding with Prudence, Caution, and Economy, do not doubt but I Shall do well—And Ultimately, my father Assures me that Newpost and Nottingham farms Containing 600 Acres of Valluable Land, whereon are good and Convenient Buildings of Every kind—with 400 Acres of a Seperate tract one mile Distance from Nottingham house Makeing in the whole 1000 Acres—Shall at his and My Mothers death be possessed by me or my heirs.
“Should General and Mrs Washington be of Opinion that My Present Situation And future prospect is not Sufficiently Elligible, their Candour and friendship Will tell me So when a farther persuit Will be Declined by John Augustine Spotswood.” Spotswood may have presented this when he came to Mount Vernon “in the evening” of 4 Oct. (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 6:318–19); his “Agitation of Mind” when leaving Mount Vernon on 25 Dec. presumably was caused by his learning of Eleanor Parke Custis’s recent engagement to marry Lawrence Lewis.