George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Edmund Randolph, 19 February 1784

From Edmund Randolph

Richmond [Va.] Feby 19. 1784.

Dear Sir

Your favor of the 10th instant, which I this day received, is not the first information concerning Lord Tankerville’s power of attorney. I was written to by Lady Tankerville and his Lordship, as early as November last: and immediately desired Colo. Hooe to state to me the particulars of this new office. He answered me, that he was ignorant of the duty, expected from us, and must remain so, until your return to Mount Vernon. I waited for a further communication with him before I resolved on the part, which I ought to take. As you decline the undertaking, I shall immediately acquaint Colo. Hooe with my determination, to join him, if the services expected from me can be performed here. For it is impossible, that I should be active in the affair. I shall address Lady and Lord Tankerville to the same effect.1

I had prepared a letter to you, on the subject of three petitions, now depending in the general court, in the name of Colo. Bassett against yourself. They were intended, I presume, to cover some forfeiture of lands for noncultivation, or nonpayment of quitrents. Will you be so good, as to let me know, how the cases are circumstanced, that I may be able to decide, what conduct I ought to pursue concerning them?2

I left the form of an answer in Savage’s suit against you and Mr B. Fairfax with the latter gentleman, in hopes of receiving it executed in a proper manner, that I might put the most expeditious end to the business.3 I am dear sir with the sincerest affection yr much obliged obt servt

Edmund Randolph


2An order signed by John Brown, clerk of the General Court in Richmond, Va., and dated 15 Dec. 1783 commands a sheriff to summon GW “to appear before the Judges of the General Court, at the courthouse in the city of Richmond, on the seventh day of April court next, to show cause why 2448 acres of land in the County of Botetourt granted to the said George by patent bearing the date the 15th day of December 1772 and by him forfeited for want of Cultivation as it is said may not be granted to Burwell Basset”(PWacD: Sol Feinstone Collection, on deposit PPAmP). For GW’s explanation of why his brother-in-law Burwell Bassett laid claim to the Ohio lands that GW had secured under the terms of Robert Dinwiddie’s Proclamation of 1754, see GW to Edmund Randolph, 18 Mar. 1784, and notes. See also Randolph to GW, 15 May 1784.

3At the time of her marriage to William Savage, Margaret Savage was the widow of Charles Green, the longtime rector of Truro Parish in which GW lived. Under the terms of William Green’s will, GW and Bryan Fairfax after Green’s death were appointed trustees to pay from his estate an annuity to his widow. In April 1767, having married Mrs. Green, Dr. William Savage assumed control of the Green estate and gave bond to GW and the new trustee, Bryan Fairfax, to pay his new wife £100 a year. The next year Dr. Savage went with his wife to live in Ireland. The main outlines of the long struggle by GW and Bryan Fairfax to force Savage to pay his wife’s annuities is given in note 1 of Henry Lee and Daniel Payne to GW and George William Fairfax, 24 April 1767. Savage’s suit, it seems, was instituted to prevent the execution of the judgment against him which GW and Fairfax had secured in 1775. See the note cited above and Randolph to GW, 15 May 1784.

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