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From George Washington to Robert Stewart, 2 May 1763

To Robert Stewart

Williamsburg 2 May 1763.

My dear Stewart,

With some difficulty I have at last procured the Inclosed which you will please to make use of as occasion may require.1 I was upon the point of forwarding these, and my Letters to you, by the Betcy a Ship from James River bound for London when Collo. Hunter arrived and informed me that he left you the 15th or 16th Ulto at New York and that your Imbarkation for England seemed to be matter of doubt.2 I have therefore changed the Route of these Letters now sending them to New York to the care of Beverley Robinson Esqr. who is desired to forward them in case of your departure from thence to London.3

The Bills as you may perceive are drawn on Messrs Lydes of London and Backhouse of Liverpool to the amount of £302

Sterlg that is to say
on Messrs Lyde for £222.0.0
& Mr Jno. Backhouse for   80.    £302.0.04

Signing of the Definitive Treaty seems to be the only piece of News wch prevails here at present, and diffuses general joy— Our Assembly is suddenly called in consequence of a Memorial of the British Merchts to the Board of Trade representing the evil consequences of our Paper emissions and their Lordships report and orders thereupon which I suppose will set the whole Country in Flames. this stir of the Merchts seems to be ill timed and cannot be attended with any good effects—bad I fear it will—however on the 19th Instt the Assembly Meets and till then I will suspend my further opinion of the matter.5 I am with the most unalterable regard My dear Stewart Yr Most Affecte Fd and Servt

Go: Washington


1These are the bills described below. See note 4.

2The “Letters” are this one and the one dated 27 April. “Collo. Hunter” is John Hunter of Hampton. Stewart did not sail from Philadelphia to London until 28 Oct. (see Stewart to GW, 14 Jan. 1764).

4On 2 Mar. GW wrote Stewart that he was trying to come up with £300 to lend to him. See also Enclosure, GW to Robert Cary & Co., 27 April 1763. Lyonel and Samuel Lyde were London merchants, and John Backhouse was a merchant in Liverpool. GW made the following entry in General Ledger A description begins General Ledger A, 1750–1772. Library of Congress, George Washington Papers, Series 5, Financial Papers. description ends , folio 152: “To Thos Reade Rootes’ Excha. on Mes[srs] Lyonel & Saml Lyde (endorsd by Wilson Miles Cary & Richd Corbin) for [£]222. To Jno. Baylors Excha. on Mr John Backhouse (endorsed Lewis Burwell & Richd Corbin) for [£]80.”

5On 19 May 1763 Governor Fauquier addressed the Virginia assembly, declaring that at the behest of the British merchants the Board of Trade had again sent instructions for Virginia to give the merchants greater “Security in recovering Sterling Debts due from this Colony to them” (JHB, 1761–1765 description begins H. R. McIlwaine and John Pendleton Kennedy, eds. Journals of the House of Burgesses of Virginia. 13 vols. Richmond, 1905–15. description ends , 171). On 28 May the House of Burgesses adopted a lengthy resolution rebutting the argument of the British merchants that Virginia’s treasury notes should not be legal tender for sterling debts (ibid., 188–92). See also Board of Trade to Francis Fauquier, 7 Feb. 1763, and Enclosure: Board of Trade Journal, 1–2 Feb. 1763, in Reese, Fauquier description begins George Reese, ed. The Official Papers of Francis Fauquier, Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, 1758–1768. 3 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1980–83. description ends , 2:909–14.

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