George Washington Papers

From George Washington to William Thompson, 18 March 1799

To William Thompson

Mount Vernon 18th Mar: 1799

Dear Sir,

Colo. Thos1 Lee (of Loudoun) is possessed, I am informed, of a tract of about 400 acres of Land within a mile of Colchester, which he is disposed to sell.

Let me request the favour of you to describe it to me as accurately as you can from your own knowledge, or from the information of others on whose judgment you can rely.

In doing this, say what the kind & quality of the Soil is; Whether level or broken; What the nature of growth is; what proportion is in Wood; How timbered; What tenements are on it; the condition of them; whether much worn & gullied, or in good heart; and whether they are tenants at Will or on leases, & what kind of leases, with the kind of improvements. How watered also.

To this catalogue of enquiries, permit me to ask, what, in your opinion, and the opinion of such as are acquainted with the value, & prices of Land in that neighbourhood, & situated as it is, it is worth in Cash—also on credit, and what credit.

I will offer no apology for giving you the trouble to make these enquiries, but shall thank you for answering them; as I have an object in requesting this kindness from you2—With esteem I am Dear Sir Your obedient Hble Servt

Go: Washington

ALS, PWacD; ALS (letterpress copy), NN: Washington Papers.

William Thompson was a merchant in Colchester with whom GW had long been acquainted.

1GW should have written “George”; see Henry Lee to GW, 28 February.

2Thompson replied from Colchester on 23 Mar.: “Yours of the 18th Instant I duly received, & in Conformity therwith, have made The Necessary Inqueries respecting the Land Colo. Lee holds near this Place—which you have herewith Enclosed. I think the Description very Accurate as I got the Man who first Leasd it, & Lived on it 10 Years, to Assist me in it, it’⟨s⟩ to be Presumed he ought to know it’s Situation &Ca” (DLC:GW).

Thompson enclosed “A description of A Tract of Land Belonging to Colo. [George] Lee near Colchester,” which reads: “there are of it, 400 Acrees; much worn & Broken, Some Few Gullies, it is deemed To be kind Land, very easy to be Worked, Produces good Corn, Oats & Rye, & Tolerable Wheat. Tobacco might be made on it, but not without Manure, it is thought there is a Sufficiency of Rail Timber & Fine Wood on it to support it 10 Years, the Dwelling House is 32 by 18 framed but Very much out of Repair indeed it may be said to be in a shattered Condition. the Negro Quarters are allso much out of Repair; the Plaice is well Watered by Springs & a Stream of Water runs through it by the name of Giles Run. it is Under Lease to Doctr [Archibald] Morton for Two Lives, subject to an Annual Rent of 3000 lb. of Crop Tobacco I am told there are Five sub Tennants on it who pay 600 lb. Tobo per Annum, & only have Their Places From Year to Year. was the Land Clear of all Incumbrances it woud be worth 40/ per Acre, but as it stands Circumstanced it Cannot be worth more than 30/ to 35/.”

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