Mississippi Land Company Memorandum
[Stafford Court House, 22 November 1765]
It is the Opinion of the Company that the solicitation of their Grant shall be pushed with all prudent vigour & dispatch upon the fund they already have in Bank—and that for this purpose, the Committee are desired to request a friendly and candid answer from Mr Cumming whether he thinks (under the present change of Ministry) that his acquaintance, and Influence with those now in power, gives him a prospect of obtaining success in their application1—That if it be his opinion, he has a probability of succeeding, that he then proceed to endeavour the fitting up the Company on the terms directed by the Original Articles; and to press for a determination on the Companies memorial to be come to, by the Privy Council—and of his proceedings in this business to give the Treasurer of the Company the most early Intelligence—But if he shoud Incline to doubt his power of succeeding, in that case, let the Committee hope for Mr Cummings approbation of the Companies application to another Agent, and that he may give them the pleasure of becoming one of the Company, and aiding the Subsequent Agent with his Council and Interest.2
At a meeting of the Mississippi Company Novr 22. 17653
|James Douglass||Richard Henry Lee|
|Thos Addison||Go: Washington|
|H: Addison4||Henry Fitzhugh|
|H. Rozer||Thos Lud: Lee|
|Chas Digges||John Augt. Washington|
|Stephen West.||Thos Bullitt|
|Francis Lightfoot Lee|
|William Fitzhugh Jr|
DS, PHi: Sprague Collection. The body of the document is entirely in GW’s hand, and some if not all of the signatures are autographs. The memorandum seems to have been taken from the minutes of the meeting of the company on 22 Nov. (see note 3). GW may have been acting as clerk for the absent William Lee.
1. For the organizing of the Mississippi Land Company and the appointment of Thomas Cumming to be its agent in London, see Mississippi Land Company: Articles of Agreement, 3 June 1763, and Mississippi Land Company’s Memorial to the King, 9 Sept. 1763, and notes for both documents. Cumming, on 16 Jan. 1765, wrote William Lee as clerk and treasurer of the company that there was little hope of the company’s securing land on the Mississippi at this time but that he would push its petition “when such an alteration in American affairs should take place as might prove favorable to the Claim” (Carter, “Mississippi Land Company,” description begins Clarence E. Carter, “Documents Relating to the Mississippi Land Company, 1763–1769.” American Historical Review 16 (1910–11): 311–19. description ends 315).
2. Arthur Lee replaced Thomas Cumming as the company’s agent in London in 1768. It was Lee who presented the revised memorial to the king on 16 Dec. 1768.
3. A notice in the supplement of the Maryland Gazette (Annapolis) on 17 Oct. 1765 called for the Mississippi Land Company to meet at Stafford Court House and attend to “special Business.” For GW’s attendance, see Cash Accounts, November 1765.
4. Four Marylanders who did not sign the Articles of Agreement of the Mississippi Land Company or attend its first meeting in 1763 (see note 1) affixed their signatures here: Maj. Thomas Addison (c.1714–1770) and his brother the Rev. Henry Addison (1717–1789), both of Prince George’s County; Stephen West, Jr. (1727–c.1790), a merchant also of Prince George’s; and Henry Rozer (Rozier; born c.1725), a merchant living at Notley Hall opposite Alexandria.