George Washington Papers
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From George Washington to Edmund Randolph, 12 April 1780

To Edmund Randolph

12 April 1780. GW asks Randolph to undertake settlement of disputes among those holding mortgages on George Mercer’s lands in Virginia that GW sold prior to the war while acting under Mercer’s power of attorney. GW desired this “interesting & intricate” legal matter “brought to a conclusion at the ensuing Court.” GW promised Randolph that he would “take occasion in the course of a few Weeks to write you again” with pertinent records, including “a state of the transactions since, with respect to the business—of the Debts collected—of the application of the money—& what proportion still remains unpaid.” GW eagerly anticipated Randolph’s reply.1

AL (photocopy), DLC:GW, ser. 9. For the full text of this letter, which is among papers related to extended wrangling over George Mercer’s land sales, see GW to Francis foot Lee and Ralph Wormeley, Jr., 20 June 1784, in Papers, Confederation Series description begins W. W. Abbot et al., eds. The Papers of George Washington, Confederation Series. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1992–97. description ends 1:458–65, especially 460–62; see also Robert Hanson Harrison to GW, 6 April 1780, and GW to Lund Washington, 11 April 1780.

1After waiting for the promised additional items, Randolph responded to GW on 1 Dec. 1780, writing in part: “It is not perhaps the smallest evil, which Virginia has derived from the War, that the public papers & records, in being removed from the offices, exposed to danger, have undergone great diminution, and that even those parts, which survive the carelessness of Clerks, are not yet recovered from their confusion. This circumstance has hitherto rendered it difficult to lay our hands upon all the documents in Colo. Mercers case” (GW to Lee and Wormeley, 20 June 1784, in Papers, Confederation Series description begins W. W. Abbot et al., eds. The Papers of George Washington, Confederation Series. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1992–97. description ends 1:458–65, Randolph’s excerpt on 462).

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