George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 6 November 1771]

6. Dined at Mrs. Dawsons and Spent the Evening at Mrs. Campbells.

On this date GW and James Mercer appeared before the council to argue in favor of the petition presented two days earlier. After hearing them, the councillors met privately to deliberate matters. They reaffirmed the limit of 20 surveys and then proceeded to allot the 200,000 acres: 400 acres to each of 52 private soldiers who had made claims, 500 acres to each of 4 corporals, 600 acres to each of 7 sergeants, 2,500 acres to each of 2 cadets, 6,000 acres to each of 8 subalterns, 9,000 acres to each of 5 captains, and 15,000 acres to each of 3 field officers, including GW. The remaining 30,000 acres, after being used to satisfy the claims of any more private soldiers who might apply, were to “be divided among those who have hitherto born the whole Expense, & who in all Probability must continue to do so till the full Quantity is surveyed” (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 , 6:438–41). The council’s answer to the petition did not please GW. In a letter of 7 Nov. to George Mercer, he accused the councillors of “putting the Soldiery upon a worse footing than the meanest Individual in the Community, rather than be thought to give a License to the pillaging of his Majestys, or the Proprietary Lands” (DLC:GW). Nevertheless, he remained determined to pursue the business regardless of the difficulties and expense involved.

Mrs. Campbell’s new tavern on Waller Street was the one that Jane Vobe had kept there until recent months. In August, Mrs. Vobe had sold her furniture, and in September she had announced her intention to leave the colony (Va. Gaz., P&D, 25 July and 17 Sept. 1771).

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