George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Fielding Lewis, 20 April 1773

To Fielding Lewis

Mount Vernon April 20th 1773

Dear Sir

As it would be very inconvenient to me to set out for New York as soon as I returnd from Williamsburg, I have resolvd to postpone my journy to the last mentiond place, & of course to give you the trouble of doing my business there; I have therefore by the bearer, Inclos’d you some Bonds, and Orders for Money, which I beg the favour of you to receive for me1—The Account against Mr Mattw Whiting Mr Montgomerie is to pay, as you may see by my Letter to him, left open for your perusal—should Mr Montgomerie contrary to my expectation, refuse to allow for the loss I sustaind by my Brothr Charles’s receivg 340 Dollars at 6/. please to take care of the Paper which contains a List of the different kinds of Money in his own handwriting, as it was paid, for I am determin’d not to submit to it; as Mr Montgomerie, after neglecting to pay the Money in Williamsburg, had no right to impose Dollars at that value—whatever Sum you receive from him, on acct of Mr Whitings Bond, will go towards lessening my Claim upon Armisteads Estate, which you may see by the Inclosd Acct & Protest, & which I beg the favour of you to endeavour to receive for me.2 Messrs Buckners Bond (Inclosd) is accompanied by a Letter to them, pressing payment of the money to you, as I have very urgent occasion for what money I can collect3—You also have a Letter to Colo. Bannister requesting him to pay you £32.104 & I have wrote to young Mr Edmd Pendleton,5 & also to Colo. Carter Braxton (one of Colo. Bernd Moores Trustees) and to Mr Armistead for £401.11.0 sterg due from the said Moore’s Estate for Intt of the Bond to which Colo. Baylor was Security; & hope that it will be paid, as I have informd them that the Bond will be put in Suit without.6 I have some hopes likewise, that Mr John Fry (or Mr John Nicholas in his behalf) will pay you the Sum of £31.0.4 which he stands indebted to me for his proportion of the expences of Patenting the Ohio Lands,7 & I should be obliged to you to ask Mr Norton if Mr Thruston has not desird him to pay me £12.1.9 on the same Acct, & to receive it if he did—Mr Thruston informs me that, he has desird Mr Norton to pay this Sum to me, at this Court.8 Should you go over to Gloucester—or, if there is any Body that does business in Wmsburg for your Brother, please to know if it will be convenient to pay the £40 due last October for the Interest of his Bond,9 and ask Mr Hill for what Money he collects, for me.10 Out of which several Sums please to pay the following Drafts, which I expect will be there against me (or you in my stead) Mr Hodge for a Servant (Gardner) bought of him £35 Cy11 Mr Robt Washington £60 in part for the two Negroes mentiond in my last, bought of him.12 The rest of the Money be so good as to bring up for me, as I shall be a good deal distressd to comply with my wheat, and other engagements, if I meet with a disappointment in these several payments to you—as soon as matters in respect to them, are reducd to a certainty, be so good as to write me from Wmsburg by the Post (preferable to any other conveyance, as I know where to send for these Letters) what it is I have to rely on; and as soon as you return home, advise me thereof, that I may send for the needful. I had like to have forgot that it is possible Captn Page (or Mr Carr in his behalf) may demand £14.14.0 Sterg which I promisd to pay in Apl; if it is demanded of you, please to discharge it, if not, take no notice of it yourself.13 and be so good also as to receive the Inclosd small acct at the Treasury.14 I have left all my Letters open, that by perusing them you may be the better acquainted with my expectations, and of course transact it with greater ease—Inclos’d you have a List of the several Sums which I expect to receive, and pay, agreeable to the several Order’s;15 and in case I should recollect any other business, I should be obliged to you whilst in Williamsburg, to enquire at the Post Office, on Saturdays, for Letters, as I shall write to you by the Post if I do. I am Dr Sir with our best wishes Yr Most Affect. Hble Servt

Go: Washington

P.S. Please to let me know by the first Post if this Letter & papers have got safe.16

N.B. I wrote the foregoing Letter in much haste, expecting to send it by a person who, I was informd, would take Fredericksburg in his way to Williamsburg, a few days ago; wishing it to get to hand before you set of on the 18th as advis’d. I now forward it by Mr Henderson, to be deliverd in Williamsburg, being disappointed in my first expectation; and have to request that, after being satisfied of the collection you will make on my acct if the amount (when the several Sums of £35 £60 £14.14 Sterg and a further Sum of £50 assumd to Wm Crawfords Order, in favr of John Hite are paid)17 falls short of £300 that you will make up that Sum as near as you can, by selling the Inclosd Bills, and remit it to me by Mr Henderson; as I shall not, otherwise, receive it before my departure to New York which is now fixed to about the 8th of next Month; if you can, on the other hand collect, or find you can collect, as much money as will make those payments, & furnish me with £300 besides, then, & in that case, please to return the Bills to me again18—if you could contrive to provide half Joes for me (but remember there are a great number of forged ones in Circulation) it would suit my present purposes best—Let me know to whom each of the within Bills are sold, if you dispose of them at all, that I may know to give advice properly19—I am as before Yrs &ca. G. W——n

ADfS, PHi: Gratz Collection. The letter is docketed by GW: “Colo. F. Lewis 1770. 1771. 1772. & 1773.”

1GW left for New York to enroll John Parke Custis in King’s College on 10 May and “Reach’d home to Dinner about two Oclock” on 8 June (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 3:186).

2GW’s ledger shows Matthew Whiting of Fauquier County on 31 Oct. 1772 owing him £276 for “Ball[anc]e of your Bond to Walker Talliaferro and others.” On 8 Dec. 1772 Thomas Montgomerie of Dumfries on Whiting’s behalf gave Charles Washington for GW £250 Virginia currency, reducing Whiting’s debt to GW to £27.8.8. This remained unpaid until 1787 (Ledger B description begins Manuscript Ledger Book 2, 1772-93, in George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends , 109, 64). In making the payment Montgomerie, GW insisted, “short paid my Brothr Charles in £250 by passing 340 Dollars @ 6/ when they only weigh’d £97.19s.1d.—diff[erenc]e—£4.0.11.” After initially refusing to pay (see Lewis to GW, 8 May), Montgomerie gave GW the £4.0.11 in cash, on 16 Aug. 1773 (Ledger B description begins Manuscript Ledger Book 2, 1772-93, in George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends , 64). Montgomerie’s payment of £250 Virginia currency to GW was placed to the credit of William Armistead’s executors in GW’s ledger, reducing the indebtedness of the Armistead estate to GW to £104.3.3 sterling, which was never paid (see Ledger B description begins Manuscript Ledger Book 2, 1772-93, in George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends , 14, and GW to John Marshall, 17 Mar. 1789, n.1). American Book-prices Current, 75 (1969), 1464, lists a 30 May 1772 document settling a legal bond for £1,052 by Matthew Whiting, endorsed by GW, with a receipt signed by Charles Washington. The document was sold by Charles Hamilton Autographs, Inc., item 273, 12 Dec. 1968. For a summary history of the bond of indebtedness that William Armistead gave before his death in 1758 to Daniel Parke Custis, see Settlement of the Daniel Parke Custis Estate, 20 April 1759–5 Nov. 1761, doc. III-B, n.14. Neither the letter to Montgomerie nor the “Inclosd Acct & Protest” has been found.

3Baldwin and John Buckner of Gloucester County gave GW their bond for £616.13 for “300 Bls of Superfine Flour & Cash . . . for the Payment in April next.” Richard Robinson made the full payment in June 1773 (Ledger B description begins Manuscript Ledger Book 2, 1772-93, in George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends , 65). The letter to the Buckners has not been found.

4Letter not found. Col. John Banister had bought a horse from GW. See Burwell Bassett to GW, 13 May 1772.

5Letter not found, but see Edmund Pendleton, Jr., to GW, 23 May 1773.

6Letters not found. See Bernard Moore, 11 May 1772, and notes. See also Fielding Lewis to GW, 8 May 1773.

8Lewis reports on 8 May having received £12.1.9 by “Cash of Mr [John] Norton.” GW records in his Cash Accounts for May having received £12.1.9 from Charles Mynn Thruston “on acct of Andw Wagener.” See GW to Thruston, 12 March.

9Col. Warner Lewis paid £40 in May (Cash Accounts, May 1773).

10James Hill wrote GW on 11 May to report on what he had collected and that he had given Fielding Lewis £198.5.1. GW records receiving £132.15.4 from Hill in his Cash Accounts, May 1773.

11For the purchase of the gardener Philip Bateman, see GW to John Washington, 20 Mar. 1773 and notes.

12GW’s memorandum of 20 Nov. 1772 for Lewis is not his “last” referred to here. In April 1773 GW bought from Robert Washington, brother of Lund Washington, “two young Negro Men—named James and Isaac,” for £180. GW completed payment on 25 Mar. 1774 (Ledger B description begins Manuscript Ledger Book 2, 1772-93, in George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends , 86).

13In his Cash Accounts for May 1773, GW has this entry: £19.2.2 in cash “pd Captn [James] Page for Thos Davis.” In his account with the weaver Thomas Davis GW indicates that he paid this to Captain Page of the Trimley on Davis’s behalf, “for the Passage of yr Mother & Sister at yr particular request & earnest entreaty” (Ledger B description begins Manuscript Ledger Book 2, 1772-93, in George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends , 86). Mr. Carr is probably William Carr, the Dumfries merchant.

14GW received in May 1773 £12.2.6 from the treasury for his attendance at the March session of the Virginia assembly (Ledger B description begins Manuscript Ledger Book 2, 1772-93, in George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends , 30).

15See the enclosure.

17For the payment of £50 to John Hite, Jr., on behalf of William Crawford, see Crawford to GW, c.15 Nov. 1772, n.4.

18Lewis wrote GW on 8 May that he had sent him £300 by GW’s brother Charles.

19The “within Bills” were three bills of exchange, two of which Lewis sold to Edward Charlton. See Cash Accounts, May 1773, and Lewis to GW, 8 May 1773.

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