George Washington Papers

To George Washington from George Muse, 3 March 1784

From George Muse

Caroline County [Va.] March 3th 1784

Excellent Sir:

I now being Destressed for cash must colicite your favour to settle with my son Laurence Muse for my Exspences in going to Pitsburge on my way Down the Ohio To secure my Titled to Certain Lands, Agreable to your Derections, my Exspences in going To Pitsburge, which is Computed To be three hundred Miles, and from home again with a servent and three Horses, cost me forty pounds, which your Excellency has Never been charged with. the inclemency of the weather Ocationed my Exspences to be Considerable it being in height of Winter. your Derections to me by letter was to attend in person or legally auther[ize] some person To attend To the Devision of lands we were intitled To on the ohio which agent could not have been imployed without a considerable Exspence To your Self. Agreable To your bond you Were To be at all the Exspences Occuring, to the saveing & secureing the Said lands, Seating and Setling only Excepted.1 Your bond you will Receive of my son on Setling With him.2 it would have given me infinite Satisfaction To have waited on your Excellency my self, but my infirmitys will not allow me at present. I flatter myself of haveing The Honour of being in your Excellency’s Company in my Antient days. I am your Excellences Most Obt & very Hume Servt

Geo. Muse


George Muse (1720–1790), the father of Battaile Muse (1751–1803) who was soon to become GW’s land agent in northern Virginia (see GW to Battaile Muse, 3 Nov. 1784), had incurred GW’s strong displeasure at least twice: in 1754 at Fort Necessity and in 1773 after the distribution of land under the Proclamation of 1754 (see Papers, Colonial Series description begins W. W. Abbot et al., eds. The Papers of George Washington, Colonial Series. 10 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1983–95. description ends , 1:77; and GW to George Muse, 29 Jan. 1774).

1On 4 Nov. 1773, the Virginia council ordered a patent to be issued under Dinwiddie’s Proclamation of 1754 for a “Tract [on the Great Kanawha] of 7276 Acres to George Washington, and George Muse, the former to have 3953, & the latter 3323 Acres.” Adjoining the Muse-GW tract was a surveyed tract of 7,894 acres for which the council ordered a patent to be issued to William Bronaugh (6,000 acres), Dr. James Craik (1,794 acres), and George Muse (100 acres). GW purchased from Bronaugh the right to 2,000 of his 6,000 acres; and in return for Bronaugh’s right to 2,000 acres and for other considerations he secured for himself from Muse the 3,323 acres that Muse was entitled to in the Muse-GW tract (Va. Exec. Jls., description begins H. R. McIlwaine et al., eds. Executive Journals of the Council of Colonial Virginia. 6 vols. Richmond, 1925–66. description ends 6:548–49; see also GW to Samuel Lewis, 1 Feb. 1784, source note and note 1, Agreement with George Muse, 3 Aug. 1770, GW to William Bronaugh, 18 Jan. 1775, and Ledger B description begins General Ledger B, 1772–1793. Library of Congress, George Washington Papers, Series 5, Financial Papers. description ends , 114). The “other considerations” included a cash payment of £20 for 182 acres on 2 June 1774 (Ledger B description begins General Ledger B, 1772–1793. Library of Congress, George Washington Papers, Series 5, Financial Papers. description ends , 114) and an agreement entered into by Muse and GW on 3 Aug. 1770 that GW would pay “all the cost and charges which shall arise ⟨in illegible⟩ and securing the said Muses share of the above Grant [under the Proclamation of 1754] (the expense of Seating & Settling the same excepted)” (ViMtvL). In a notation in Ledger B description begins General Ledger B, 1772–1793. Library of Congress, George Washington Papers, Series 5, Financial Papers. description ends , 114, dated January 1775, GW confirms that he was under obligation to pay “All the Expences attending the Surveying, Patenting, &ca of Colo. Muse share of the 200,000 Acres of Land under the Proclama[tio]n of 1754,” and that all such charges, including the £20 for 182 acres and £22.16.8 for Muse’s share of Capt. William Crawford’s surveying fee, had been paid “to this date.”

In 1775 GW persuaded Muse, Craik, and Bronaugh to apportion the land in their tract of 7,894 acres between themselves by drawing “Tickets” for the first, second, and third surveys of their respective shares. See George Muse to GW, 6 Jan. 1775, and GW to William Bronaugh, 18 Jan. 1775. At some time subsequently, presumably not long afterwards, the three men made the division. Near the end of the war, on 8 April 1783, Muse wrote to GW: “You are Indebted to me £40.0.0 for mine and servants Expences to fort Pitt In consequence of the Land agreed on pr Bond and attending on the division with Doct. Craig and Capt. Bronaugh” (DLC:GW). After Lund Washington sent Muse’s letter to GW, GW wrote Lund on 6 May 1783 about it and ended by observing: “His Letter, brings some recollection of the matter to my mind; with this circumstance, that He was drinking weeks together in a place—particularly at Charles Smiths—I am very willing however, to comply litterally with my agreement—& wish you to settle the matter upon terms of liberallity rather than otherwise with him, as he has lain out of his money so long” (NhD). No such bond has been found, but the land agreement of 3 Aug. 1770 between Muse and GW (note 1) was apparently attached to George Muse’s bond for £1,000 sterling to guarantee GW’s compliance with the terms of the agreement (ViMtvL).

On 11 Mar. 1784 GW took further steps to settle matters with George Muse. See GW to Laurence Muse, 11 Mar. 1784.

2The son to whom he is alluding is Laurence (Lawrence) Muse.

Index Entries