George Washington Papers
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From George Washington to James Mercer, December 1773

To James Mercer

Mount Vernon Decr 1773

Dear Sir

When I sat seriously down, divested of other thoughts, to write to Mr Montague on the Subject of the power of attorney which he Inclosed to Colo. Tayloe, Colo. Mason, & myself, it appeared, if not absolutely necessary, at least, that it would be very satisfactory to him, and the Mortgagees, (as matters are very differently circumstanced to what they expected) to receive authentick Copi⟨es⟩ of the proceedings in this business, for this Reason I have postpon’d taking Copies of your Brothers Letter of Attorney, & Deed to Messrs Hunter & Dick, (returning them to you again) and beg the favour of you to furnish me with attested Copies from the Secretary’s, not only of these, but of the Bill & answer in this case, having promised, if Colo. Tayloe approves, & sends off my Letter, that thes⟨e⟩ Papers shall be forwarded by the first oppy after they get to my hands.

It is my wish & desire to give you as little trouble & put Colo. Mercer to as little expence as possible in this matter; but as we have greatly prolong’d the day of Sale, as well as the manner of it, it becomes necessary in my opinion, to giv⟨e⟩ our constituents every information in our power relative to this business; & this we cannot effectually do, without furnishing them with transcripts of the proceedings in Court; with the Deed & Power abovementioned. It is unlucky therefore that Mr Mason should possess himself of the Deed to Messrs Dick & Hunter before record of it, but upon application to him, it may soon be recover’d, & restord to the proper office, & a copy obtaind—to effect which, I will write to him on this Subject, & if the Deed should come into my hands, will forward it by Post to you aga⟨in⟩ hoping to receive the desird Copies as soon a⟨s⟩ possible, as also a Copy of the decree for my own Rule & Government having forward⟨ed⟩ to Mr Montague the one you gave me.1 I am Dr Sir Yr Most Obedt Servt

Go: Washington

ALS (photocopy), DLC:GW. The letter was offered for sale by John Wilson Ltd., catalog no. 67 (1990).

1For earlier references to George Mercer’s financial difficulties and to his giving to GW, George Mason, and John Tayloe the power of attorney to dispose of his Virginia property in order to satisfy his English creditors represented by Edward Montagu, see especially GW to John Tayloe, 20 Aug. and 10 Dec. 1773, and notes in both documents. One of the complicating factors in George Mercer’s affairs was that James Mercer, acting for his brother, had mortgaged some of George Mercer’s property to the Fredericksburg firm of Hunter & Dick and George Mercer had mortgaged the same land to his creditors in London. See Statement concerning George Mercer’s Estate, 1 Feb. 1789, and notes in Papers, Presidential Series, 1:269–76.

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