George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Edward Montagu, 25 November 1774

To Edward Montagu

[25 November 1774]. “The power of attorney from Colo. Mercer, Mr. Graval, & Miss Wroughton, which you was pleased to inclose to Mr. Mason and us came to hand in July last; Mr. Mason declining the trust, we shall think ourselves happy if in the course of this transaction we shall be able to give you, our friend & acquaintance Col. Mercer, and the mortgagees, that satisfaction we shall aim at in prosecuting this business.1 . . . True it is, this deed to Messrs. Dick and Hunter bears date twelve months posterior to Miss Wroughton’s mortgage, but then it is recorded in the General Court, and as Mr. James Mercer swears in his answer, before he knew, or ever heard of his brother’s being indebted to that lady; whose mortgage not arriving as we have been told till May last and no evidences since appearing to prove it . . . it is not recorded, but admitted nevertheless by Mr. James Mercer as having an operation upon the Shannondoah Estate after execution of the trust deed to Messrs. Dick & Hunter, & upon the Bull Run Estate, after partition thereof absolutely.”2

Parke-Bernet catalog no. 1496, item 311, 23 Feb. 1954. The letter addressed “To Edward Montague, Esqr., of the Middle Temple, London,” is in GW’s hand and is signed by both GW and John Tayloe. Written on the letter in ink is: “Taken from a safe at Warrington, Va., during the rebellion 1862. Presented to my best loved friend Wm. Q. Huggins, June 5th 1887. R.W. St. Clair, M.D.” Although the letter is dated 1774, the contents indicate it should have been 1773. See note 2 below.

1The power of attorney George Mercer sent to GW, John Tayloe, and George Mason was dated 15 May 1773 and was received by Tayloe in July of that year. See GW to Tayloe, 20 Aug. 1773, and note 1 of that document.

2This letter was probably the letter GW referred to in his letter to John Tayloe of 10 Dec. 1773. For the conflicting mortgages made by James Mercer to Charles Dick and James Hunter, Jr., of Fredericksburg and by George Mercer to Mary Wroughton and Richard Gravatt in England, see Statement concerning George Mercer’s Estate, 1 Feb. 1789.

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