George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Harrison Manley, 13 November 1771

To Harrison Manley

[Mount Vernon] Novr 13th 1771.


Inclosed you will receive a Copy of the Act Impowering your Grandfather to sell certain Intaild Lands—There being no printed copy of it, I was obliged to have recourse to the Inrolld Bills in the possession of the Clerk of the House of Burgesses, and consequently pay the Fee established by our Assembly (which is 15/) an expence I would have saved you, by copying it myself, if the private Acts of that date had been Printed; but it seems they are not.1 Colo. Carter’s Escheat of Hallowss Land is not among the records in the Secretary’s Office, for this you will be obliged to apply to the Proprietor’s office;2 and Mr Everard, the principal clerk in the Secretary’s, being constantly engaged with the Court business I could not get him to search for the Paper’s, and decree in favour of Hallows against Manley’s heir—I attempted it myself, but for want of knowledge in their Records, I could not trace the proceedings regularly on; though I found where the Suit was commenced in April 1720 by Hallows, against George Eskridge Guardian to your Father3—I shall probably go t⟨o⟩ Williamsburg again in Feby as the Assembly, it is suppos’d, will then meet; and shall find the Clerks more at leizure to search for the Papers you want, or if this will be delaying the matter longer than you would choose, I could write to Mr Everard by the Post, who I dare say would send transcrips from the records of every thing necessar⟨y⟩ to illucidate the point you want to know.

Herewith you will receive the Notes &ca agreeable to your Memm and the Treasurers rect for the ⟨Su⟩m you sent by me, but he would not receive the Acct as the 61 Hhds of relanded Tobo should ⟨mutilated⟩ be a credit ⟨to the⟩ Countr⟨y mutilated⟩ was money actually rece⟨ive⟩d, or ought to have been so, ⟨mutilatedlaced⟩ to the Country credit as the Warehouses belongd to ⟨mutilated⟩—I offer’d to pay the difference, that is the £2.0.8, but he said this would answe⟨r⟩ no purpose, as the Acct must be fresh stated, at which time it would do equally well to receive the Ballance, and requested me to bring down the Acct with the alteration I have here mentioned, that he may enter a proper state of it in his Books. I am, Sir Yr Very Hble Servt

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ALS, DLC:GW. Harrison Manley (d. 1773) was the son of John Manley (died c.1750) and Sarah Harrison Manley (d. 1785). In Fairfax County Manley owned a small tract of land on the southwestern part of Mount Vernon Neck which GW was finally able to purchase in 1786. This tract, along with a larger one he was to acquire the same year from Penelope French, would complete GW’s acquisition of the entire neck of land originally granted in the seventeenth century to Nicholas Spencer and John Washington.

1The October 1712 session of the assembly passed “An Act to enable William Manley, gent. to sell and dispose of certain entailed Lands and Tenements lying in the County of Westmoreland, on settling other Lands and Tenements lying in the said County, of which he is seized in fee, to the same uses” (4 Hening description begins William Waller Hening, ed. The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619. 13 vols. 1819–23. Reprint. Charlottesville, Va., 1969. description ends 36). Only the title of the act is recorded in Hening description begins William Waller Hening, ed. The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619. 13 vols. 1819–23. Reprint. Charlottesville, Va., 1969. description ends . The copy of the act attested by Richard Buckner, clerk of the House of Burgesses in 1712, is in the Virginia Session Laws, 1710–12, P.R.O., C.O. 5/1386, ff. 32–34, in Microfilm Collection of Early State Records description begins Microfilm Collection of Early State Records prepared by the Library of Congress in association with the University of North Carolina, 1949. description ends . The act permitted William Manley, because he had “no personal Estate wherewith to support himself and his family . . . [and had contracted] Great Debts . . . and hath not wherewithall to Sattisfye the said Debts,” to sell 2,200 acres of entailed land in Westmoreland County. This land was patented by John Whiston (Whittstone) in 1667. Manley was instead to settle 1,600 acres of other land in the county, which he held in fee simple under a 1650 patent of John Hollows (Hollis), to be entailed. One of the conditions under which this act could be declared void was if it ran contrary to the interests of “any other person or persons Claiming under the above named John Hallows.”

2Col. Robert (King) Carter (1663–1732) served as agent for the Fairfaxes’ Northern Neck Proprietary from 1702 to 1711 and again from 1722 to 1732.

3Thomas Everard (1719–1781) held a number of important posts, among them clerk of the General Court. The office of the deputy secretary of the colony, Thomas Nelson (1715–1787), issued land patents. The George Eskridge who acted as guardian to Harrison Manley’s father John Manley was probably the same man—a Westmoreland County lawyer—who served as guardian to GW’s mother, Mary Ball Washington, and godfather to GW. Eskridge died in 1735.

John Hollows (Hollis), an early justice and burgess from Westmoreland County, in 1650 patented 2,400 acres on the Potomac River at the mouth of Nomini Creek. His granddaughter, Restitute Whiston (Whittstone), inherited the property, and upon her death in 1687 she left this tract of land to her oldest son, Thomas Steele, Jr., with the proviso that in case of his death before he reached his majority the land was to be divided between her two younger sons, John and William Manley. Young Steele died before he reached the age of 21, leaving no heirs, and John Manley, Restitute Whiston Manley’s only surviving son, took possession. A suit was brought by Samuel Hollows, the heir of John Hollows’s older brother, for recovery of the land, and the case was sent to England for an opinion. On 28 Mar. 1722 Sir Robert Raymond ruled that the plaintiff, Hollows, had “a good Title to these Lands devised” (Barton, Virginia Colonial Decisions description begins R. T. Barton, ed. Virginia Colonial Decisions: The Reports by Sir John Randolph and by Edward Barradall of Decisions of The General Court of Virginia, 1728–1741. Boston, 1909. description ends , 2:1326–27). The land was bought by Thomas Lee in 1732 and became part of his Stratford Hall plantation. See also Eaton, Westmoreland Atlas description begins David W. Eaton. Historical Atlas of Westmoreland County, Virginia Patents: Showing how Lands were Patented from the Crown & Proprietors of the Northern Neck of Virginia . . .. Richmond, 1942. description ends , 22, 46, 52, and Lee, Lee Chronicle description begins Cazenove Gardner Lee, Jr. Lee Chronicle: Studies of the Early Generations of the Lees of Virginia. Edited by Dorothy Mills Parker. New York, 1957. description ends , 64.

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