George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Burwell Bassett, 5 April 1780

From Burwell Bassett

M. Vernon 5 April 1780

Dear Sir

I have waited thus long without writeing to you in hopes that I should been able to inclosd you and Accot of the settlement of your affairs below but Posey has not yet finishd the business he has paid to Mr Washington £10091 as soon as it settle’d I will send you the best Accot that I can get made out but what I can learn from Posey Hill has kept his Accot in such a manner that will be very little satisfaction to you.2

Mr Custis has not yet paid for the stock he says that Posey shall put the Money in the loan office when he sell his Corn & that he will allow intrest for it till is paid.3

The only news we have from the southward is that the British Troops are in possesion of James Iland & that they ware waiting for General Clinton who was missing I am certain that this is true4 I am Dr Sr Yr Mo. Affnate Hble Servt

Burl Bassett


1John Price Posey served as a manager for John Parke Custis. Posey apparently made a payment to Lund Washington, who oversaw Mount Vernon during GW’s absence. The funds may have come from Custis properties in southeastern Virginia that had been put up for sale (see Custis to GW, 15 July 1778).

2James Hill managed plantations for Custis and GW. The latter held those properties by virtue of Martha Washington’s dower rights.

GW’s business affairs remained in disarray until after the war (see his letters to Samuel Lewis and to Thomas Lewis, both 1 Feb. 1784, in Papers, Confederation Series description begins W. W. Abbot et al., eds. The Papers of George Washington, Confederation Series. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1992–97. description ends 1:91–100).

3For the contentious cattle transaction involving Bassett and Custis, see Custis to GW, 11 March 1780, and n.3; see also Custis to GW, 12 April.

4Gen. Henry Clinton, who commanded the British expedition against Charleston, S.C., remained with his force until after the city’s surrender on 12 May. The report may have confused Clinton with Brig. Gen. James Paterson, who led a diversionary detachment against Augusta, Ga. (see Benjamin Lincoln to GW, 11–12 Feb., n.4; see also John Laurens to GW, 14 March, and John Mathews to GW, 24 March).

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