Philadelphia 13th Novr 1796
Your letter of the 24th Ulto did not get to my hands until after my arrival in this City.
I request you to be persuaded that I harbour no suspicion of unfair dealing from the repeated applications for your fathers Bond; but at the sametime that it is natural for you to be solicitous to possess it, it is equally proper that I should be perfectly satisfied that the Conditions of it have been complied with, before it is surrendered: and you will permit me to observe that, his Deed to Colonel Powell is no evidence of this, for the following reasons. 1. because it does not appear from hence, or anything else within my knowledge, that he has been requested by Colo. Muse to make this conveyance. 2. because after his sale of 2000 Acres to me, he still held 4000 in the said tract, to be disposed of as he should think proper—and 3. because there is no recital in the Deed to show that either Muse or myself had any interest, or Agency in the Land; but on the contrary, that it has been sold for a valuable consideration, accruing to your father, and described as bounded by land belonging to Colo. Muse.
Let me repeat, and I do it sincerely, that I have no suspicion of intentional error in this business, but as no possible injury can result to you from the delay in surrendering the Bond, but a very serious evil might accrue to me, by doing it, if Muse, with whom I exchanged the Land, has not had it conveyed to himself or to his order conformably to the views of the parties, it behooves me, on the score of prudence, to learn from the Representative of Colo. Muse (being told he is dead) whether by the conveyances which have taken place, I stand exonerated; or not. This may be known by an application to Mr Battaile Muse; from whom, if I recollect right I received a letter a few years since On this very subject, although I am not able to charge my memory with the precise contents of it at this moment.
So soon as this is done I will give up the Bond, for if the conditions are complied with, it is no longer of any use to me, nor to any other person, that I can perceive. I am—Sir Your Very Hble Servant
DLC: Papers of George Washington.