George Washington Papers
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To George Washington from Robert Hanson Harrison, 11 September 1773

From Robert Hanson Harrison

Sept. 11. 1773

Dear Sir

The Lease which you have & which I immagine you Intended to have sent,1 instead of an Inventory of Col. Fairfax’s Furniture &c.,2 may be made to answer every purpose by an Erasement of the words, “his Executors, Administrators and Assigns[”] in three places. Viz. have demised, granted & to farm lett on and by these presents do Demise, grant & to farm let unto the said [ ] his Executors, Admtrs & Assigns3—To have & to hold &c. to the said [ ] his Executors, Administrators & Assigns. These please to Erase and also the same in your Covenant in the end that he his Exetors, Administrators & Assigns shall Enjoy—And have blanks left in those places, & then you can fill them up accordg to the estate you Intend to Grant—If for life, insert in these places, to the said [ ] his Heirs or Assigns for and during the life or lives as the case may be of—If for years to the said [ ] his Executors, Administrators or Assigns for & during the aforesaid Term of [ ] years—There is no difference except the above between Leases for Lives & for years ⟨and if⟩ the word Heirs should be inserted in a Lease for years, ⟨It⟩ would not affect its validity in the least, but it would be nugatory and appear to have been drawn by a person not skilled in the Laws of England; for by these Laws, All Leases for years as Observed in my other Letter, devolve upon the Extrs or Admtrs of the deceased, tho. limited to Heirs, They being Chattles real & Chattels cannot descend to one as Heir; Tis otherwise in case of a Lease for lives, they being a Free hold Estate, may descend—I hope that you will readily perceive how the Alterations may be made, and would wish you to direct the printer to leave large blanks in every case, in common they do not give room enough; I cannot very well account for my having thought that you wanted Leases for years in preference to those for lives or why you might not use both; If you think that any other alterations than those I have mentd should be material or If they will not Answer upon your lookg at the Lease, I will most chearfully make one anew. I am Sir with very great regard Yr most Ob. H. St

Rob. H. Harrison


2The inventory has not been found. It may have been made by GW after he received George William Fairfax’s letter of 5 Aug. from Yorktown regarding the rental of Belvoir with its furniture, or, failing that, the sale of the furniture. On the other hand, the list may have been one of the “Papers” Fairfax sent with his letter of 5 August. For a list of Belvoir furniture sold on 15 Aug. 1774, see George William Fairfax to GW, 5 Aug. 1773, n.2.

3Harrison has enclosed these words in a box instead of underlining them. Here and elsewhere in the letter the boxes have been changed to italics.

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