George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 7 February 1798]

7. Wind Southerly in the Morning but shifted before 10 oclock & turned very cold. Mer. 31 in the Morng. Went to a meetg. of the Potomak Co. in George Town. Dined at Colo. Fitzgeralds & lodged at Mr. T. Peters.

This was a special meeting of the Potowmack Company shareholders, called to try to shore up the crumbling financial condition of the company (see entry for 7 Aug. 1797). The president (Tobias Lear) and directors (James Keith, John Mason, and John Templeman) were authorized “to borrow not more than 100 shares from the proprietors to mortgage for loan, said stock to be returned on or before August, 1800.” A report was read which told of unsuccessful attempts to procure further aid from the Virginia and Maryland legislatures. However, the two legislatures had passed a law allowing the company to collect additional tolls, and the time for completion of the work had been again extended until 1802. Although the president and directors had obtained “on their notes, for the use of the Potomac Company, from the Bank of Columbia, $4500, and from the Bank of Alexandria $1500,” in order to carry on the work at Great Falls, the financial condition of the company became increasingly precarious (BACON-FOSTER description begins Corra Bacon-Foster. Early Chapters in the Development of the Patomac Route to the West. Washington, D.C., 1912. description ends , 95–97).

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