To Valentine Crawford
[27 December 1773]
I have just obtained an order of council to grant lands under the King’s proclamation of October, 1763, to the officers and soldiers, by which a lieutenant is entitled to 2000 acres, but that the Governor would not grant his warrants of survey to any that did not personally apply for them.1 Numbers, however, are obtaining these warrants, and locating them with the surveyors of Augusta, Botetourt, and Fincastle, by whom and their deputies, all these surveys are to be made.2
Till I see your brother I am at a loss to locate my own lands under the proclamation of 1763, and am sensible that every day’s delay may prove hurtful, as I suppose every officer and soldier within the three provinces, either is or will be upon the move to locate their lands, by which means all the valuable spots will be engrossed.
P.S. No land will be granted to any but officers and soldiers.
Extract printed in Worthington Chauncey Ford, The Spurious Letters Attributed to Washington description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford. The Spurious Letters Attributed to George Washington. Brooklyn, 1889. description ends (Brooklyn 1889), 155. The letter is said to have been written to GW’s “agent,” almost surely Valentine Crawford, whose brother William Crawford was searching for land for GW. The extract reprinted here was included in a note written by the Rev. Bennett Allen in 1779 and accompanied his description of GW’s avaricious character. Allen wrote: “It is evident Washington egregiously outwitted the Governor of Virginia; his request was singularly modest, to include the Provincial officers and soldiers in the grant, for whom the King’s proclamation could not design those lands, for this obvious reason, that the object of the war was answered by securing them in possession of their own lands—and to exclude the British officers and soldiers, for whose reward they were assigned, and to whose distressed families they might hereafter have proved a seasonable refuge, by insisting on their personal application in Virginia. Many friends of government likewise on the spot were excluded by possession of those lands, as it will afford a safe asylum to the American leaders, if unsuccessful, so it will enlarge their territory to a boundless extent, if they establish independency” (ibid., 155–56).
2. The surveyors of Augusta, Botetourt, and Fincastle counties were Thomas Lewis, Samuel Lewis, and William Preston.