George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Jacob Van Braam, 30 December 1773

To Jacob Van Braam

Mount Vernon 30th Decemr 1773.


To the Letter I addressed you on the 22d of Novr 1771, (which Colo. Mercer in one of his dated the 1st of April followg, informs me he had forwarded, & had receiv’d your remarks upon), I have never been favor’d with an answer, altho’ it was on a matter which required the united efforts of the parties concern’d to carry it into execution, and of such a nature as not to be prosecuted, without pecuniary aid.1 I have at length by dint of perseverance, obtained Patents (under the inconveniencies mention⟨ed⟩ in my last) for the whole quantity of 200,000 acres of Land, which we claimed under Govr Dinwiddie’s Proclamation in 1754, your part being assign’d in a tract of 28,400 acres on the Little Kanhawa, being the uppermost survey upon the Ohio, tho’ near 200 miles below Fort-Pitt; the whole Tract being granted to the followg persons, in the proportions annexed to their respective names vizt

To Capt: Stobo’s, Heir 9000
“Jacob Vanbraam 9000
“James Towers’s heir 6000
 Andrew Fowler 400
 Thomas Napp 400
 Arthur Watt’s heir 400
 Jesse May (assign’d Jno. Fox) 400
 Francis Self 400
 Robt Stewart 400
 Robt Murphey 400
 John Smith 400
 Alexr Bonny 400
 William Horn’s heir 400
 William McAnulty 400
Total (also amot of the Survey) 28,400

Yourself, with the other patentees above, are now to proceed to a partition of this tract, in the speediest & best manner you can, among yourselves, & it may not be amiss to observe to you, that by the Tenor of the Grant, & agreeably to the Laws of this Colony, you are obliged to clear and tend, three acres for every Fifty, you respectively hold, or make other improvements thereon to the value of five pounds for every fifty acres as aforesd; otherwise the Land is liable to forfeiture, & may be regranted to any person petitioning for the same. Thus much by way of hint, or information to yourself; permit me now to add that, the obtaining of these Lands has been a work of no small difficulty & expence, & that by the time the accounts all come in, which are hourly expected, the quota of each person’s share of the latter, will amount to near, (if not quite) four pounds sterling for every thousand acre⟨s⟩; your part of which coming to £36—it is hoped and expected that you will, immediately remit upon this notice, this sum to me. It is needless to observe, for your own reason must suggest it to you, that it was an imposition upon a few Officers to be burthen’d, not only with the whole trouble, but also with the whole expence of prosecuting this claim; which they did at the hazard (for a long while) of two to one against succeeding: you are therefore bound by every tie of honour & gratitude to replace the money without delay, & I flatter myself it will be done accordingly, otherwise (which is by no means the wish or desire of any of us) some expedient must be fallen upon to subject the Land to the payment thereof.2 I am, Sir, Your most humble Servant

G: Washington

LB, DLC:GW. It was probably the ALS of this or of the letter to Daniel Richardson of this date (see note 1) that was sold by Anderson Galleries on 21 May 1923.

1GW on this day wrote a letter of the same purport to Daniel Richardson who was acting as agent for Capt. Robert Stobo. In the place of the first part of his letter to Van Braam, GW substituted in his letter to Richardson these words: “After acknowledging the receipt of my Letter of the 22d of Novr 1771 to Captn Stobo—declaring yourself his Representative—and promising to settle for his proportion of the expence incur’d in obtaining our Lands I little expected that I should have remaind till this time without hearing from you or receiving the needful” (ALS [photocopy], ViMtvL; LB, DLC:GW). The wording of the rest of the letter to Richardson is almost identical to that of this letter to Van Braam. Richardson docketed the cover in part, "ansrd 6th April 1774" (AD, owned 2012 by the Harlan Crow Library, Dallas, Tex.). That reply has not been found.

2For the recent action taken regarding lands for the men of the Virginia Regiment of 1754 under Robert Dinwiddie’s proclamation, see GW to Lord Dunmore and Council, c.3 Nov., and notes.

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