George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 2 November 1771]

2. Dined with the Council and Spent the Evening in my own Room a writing.

GW is probably preparing his petition to the council on behalf of the Virginia Regiment. In it he asked not only that individual allotments be made but that the limit of 20 surveys be removed, each claimant being permitted to survey his own portion of land and the 61,796 acres already surveyed by Crawford being divided only among the claimants who had shared the expense. Such an arrangement, he thought, would have several benefits. By being surveyed in many small plats, the full 200,000 acres could be covered “without taking in so many Mountains and barren Hills as would render the intended Bounty, rather a Charge” (VA. EXEC. JLS. description begins H. R. McIlwaine et al., eds. Executive Journals of the Council of Colonial Virginia. 6 vols. Richmond, 1925–66. description ends , 6:438–39). “Every man would stand on his own bottom,” and a few would not be obliged to bear the whole cost of the initial surveying, “whilst the Major part are standing aloof waiting the Event; if favorable to come in for part of the Prize but to pay nothing for the Ticket in case of a Blank.” Claimants would also be spared being “doubly Taxed,” not having to pay for both a share of the 20 surveys and an individual survey within one of the 20. In short, GW believed his petition to be “so reasonable, & so consistent with every principle of common justice . . . that . . . it could not possibly be rejected” (GW to George Mercer, 7 Nov. 1771, DLC:GW).

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