George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Robert Alexander, 20 March 1777

To Robert Alexander

Morristown March 20th 1777.

Dear Sir,

I have waited, as I think you must do me the justice to acknowledge, with a good deal of patience, to see if you were disposed to fulfil your agreement with me, respecting the Land I purchased of you in Maryland. As I hear nothing of your intentions of carrying this matter into execution, and see no greater prospect of its being done now, than when the bargain was first made, I cannot help considering the Affair in a point of view very unfavourable.

I think, any Gentleman, possessed of but a very moderate degree of influence with his Wife, might, in the course of five or six Years (for I think it is at least that time) have prevailed upon her to do an Act of justice, in fulfilling his Bargains and complying with his wishes, if he had been really in earnest in requesting the matter of her; especially, as the inducement which you thought would have a powerful operation on Mrs Alexander, namely the birth of a Child, has been doubled, and tripled.1

It is not a very favourable time I acknowledge, to purchase Lands upon the Water; but as this purchase still corresponds with the views I first set out upon, and I have waited your time for the completion of it, with a degree of patience, which few others in my situation would have done, I hope you will give me no further cause to complain of your delays; for I cannot help repeating, and the World will believe, that the fault is not in Mrs Alexander, but yourself, if matters are procrastinated any longer. I am, Sir, Your mo. obt servant,

Go. Washington.

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

Robert Alexander (d. 1793), GW’s neighbor and foxhunting companion and the brother-in-law of GW’s nephew Fielding Lewis, Jr., agreed in 1769 to sell to GW a tract of land in Charles County, Md., inherited by his young wife, Mariamne Stoddert Alexander, which GW intended to trade for land lying adjacent to Mount Vernon that was owned by Thomas Hanson Marshall. Alexander’s wife refused to give her assent to the sale, and Alexander was unable to deliver the deed (see Marshall to GW, 18 June 1769, William Lyles to GW, 3 April 1789, and Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 2:188, 189–90, 245, 255–56).

1Robert and Mariamne Alexander apparently had only two children who survived childhood, sons Robert and Walter.

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