George Washington Papers

To George Washington from George Mercer, 18 December 1770

From George Mercer

Dublin [Ireland] Decr the 18th 1770

Dear Colonel

I wrote you from hence about two Months since, at the Request of Mrs Savage, praying you to do, what her own Letter now she says repeats, and enforces. I believe the poor Woman has but a bad Time of it, as she is amongst other Things, at the tender Age of three score & ten, denied the Use of Pen Ink Paper & Romances, and a frequent Use of the Strap is substituted in the Place of those Amusements—this she tells me herself, and an old Lady who visits me with her assures me—it is—but—too—true.1

This Country affords no News—various are the Opinions concerning a War—all the Officers who had Leave of Absence are ordered to join their Regiments—every Pacquet boat imports Us at least half a dozen—and if We may judge by the Appearances at the Castle, all the Country seems to have got into his Majesty’s Livery—as ¾ of the Levee is always composed of red Coats.

I wrote you several Letters on the Subject of the Lands We were promised by Govr Dinwiddie’s Proclamation—in my last, before I left England, I mentioned my having agreed with, or I may rather say prevailed with, the great Land Company here—that the 200,000 Acres claimed by the Officers of the Virginia Troops, should be allowed, out of their small Grant; but I wish however the affair might be settled in Virginia, and I hope it is over by this, as the 25th of Octr is past.2

I hope to kiss your Hand in our native Country the Beginning of the Summer, as I shall go to England in a few Days, & put myself on Board the first Spring Ship bound to the Land of Promise.3 My Compliments wait on Mrs Washington. I am Dear Colonel Your obliged Friend & humble Servt

Geo: Mercer


1Mercer’s letter has not been found. For the Savage affair, see Henry Lee and Daniel Payne to GW, 24 April 1767, n.1, and GW to Margaret Savage, 28 June 1768, and notes.

2For Mercer’s role in the activities of the Walpole, or Grand Ohio, Company earlier this year, see Jonathan Boucher to GW, 18 Aug. 1770, n.4. GW wrote Mercer on 7 Nov. 1771: “I have been favourd with two Letters from you—one of them dated the 28th of March 1770 Serving to enter your own, and the claims of Captns [Robert] Stobo and [Jacob] Vanbraam to part of the 200,000 Acres of Land under Governor Dinwiddies Proclamn; and the other of the 18th Decr, which did not come into my hands till about the first of last Month.” When approving GW’s petition on 15 Dec. 1769 for the 200,000–acre grant under the Proclamation of 1754, the Virginia council specified that the officers and soldiers should “exhibit their respective claims properly attested” before 10 Oct. 1770 (Exec. Journals of Virginia Council description begins H. R. McIlwaine et al., eds. Executive Journals of the Council of Colonial Virginia. 6 vols. Richmond, 1925–66. description ends , 6:338).

3Mercer was hoping to go to America as the governor of Vandalia. See note 2. GW, who had known Mercer as a boy, made him his aide-12–camp when he organized the Virginia Regiment in September 1755. Mercer remained with GW until he went with his company to South Carolina in 1757 and on his return in 1758 was given second-in-command of the new 2d Virginia Regiment. He wrote his brother James from England on 11 Mar. 1764: “The Services I was of to Colo. Washington [as his aide-12–camp] the Country in some Measure rewarded me for—though he might have afforded to have done it himself out of his Allowance & the Reputation he obtained by it—but thank God, I have done with him, and if he will pay off this Account, I am sure I never desire to deal with him for 6d. again ...” (KyBgW). In 1773 George Mercer broke with his brother James and made GW one of three trustees of his ruined estate in America (see Advertisement of Sale of George Mercer’s Land, in the Virginia Gazette [Rind; Williamsburg], 30 June 1774).

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