George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Edmund Randolph, 10 July 1784

To Edmund Randolph

Mount Vernon 10th July 1784.

Dear Sir,

The last Post brought me your favor of the 3d—& the Post preceeding, that of the 27th ulto. My particular thanks are due for the attention you have paid to the renewal of my Patents— Your Fees on this, & the other business you have had the management of for me, I would gladly pay, if you will please to let me know the amount. Whether it is to Mr Mercer (who by order of Court, has the property of his Brother George in his hands) or to me, you look for your fee in the suit depending between Gravat & others in the high Court of Chancery, I know not—if the latter, please to advise me that I may take measures to obtain the money.1

In looking over some of my papers the other day, I found a Memo[randu]m of a prize (half an acre) which I drew in Colo. Byrds lottery, in the Town of Richmond 2—the number of the ticket is 4965 & that of the Lott, or prize 265. this is all I got for twenty tickets on my own Accot—The same Memodm informs me, that in partnership with Peyton Randolph (your Uncle), John Wayles, George Wythe—Richard Randolph, Lewis Burwell, William Fitzhugh (Chatham), Thompson Mason, Nathl Harrison Jur & Richd Kidder Mead Esqrs. (ten in all) I have, or ought to have a joint interest in the following prizes, the produce of an hundred Tickets which were purchased amongst us. Vizt

No. 3181—half an Acre No. 270.
3186—Do—Do 138.
3193—100 Acres 823.
5325—half an Acre 237.
5517—100 Acres 751.
5519—half an Acre 257.

If it would not be inconvenient to you, it would oblige me to let me know (if you can) what is become of this property; & of what value it is—especially the Lott No. 265 which I hold in my own right—for I faintly recollect to have heard that the joint stock was disposed of to no great advantage for the company—for me, I am sure it was not, as I have never received an iota on account of these prizes 3—With very great esteem & regard I am D. Sir &c.

G: Washington


1For the suit between Richard Gravatt “and others,” involving the estate of George Mercer (1733–1784), see GW’s Statement concerning George Mercer’s Estate, 1 Feb. 1789, and the notes of that document. See also GW to Francis Lightfoot Lee and Ralph Wormeley, Jr., 20 June 1784, and notes.

2In a vain attempt to stave off the financial ruin threatening to engulf him, William Byrd III (1728–1777) decided in 1767 to dispose by lottery of all his “Land and Tenements” forming the “entire towns of Rocky Ridge and Shockoe, lying at the Falls of the James River, and the land thereunto, adjoining.” For information regarding Byrd’s lottery, which was held at Williamsburg in November 1768, see note 10 in GW’s Cash Accounts, May 1769.

3See Randolph’s answer of 20 July 1784 to GW’s queries about the Byrd lottery. On 2 Aug. 1789 Randolph, apparently having forgotten this exchange with GW in 1784, wrote GW that “Sometime ago Mr Fitzhugh, of Chatham, gave me a list of tickets in Colo. Byrd’s lottery, in which yourself, several other gentlemen, as well as my father or uncle (I forget which) were jointly interested,” and asked if GW had further information. See GW’s response of 8 Sept. 1789. See also GW’s letter to Bushrod Washington of 29 June 1796, quoted in note 1 of Randolph to GW, 2 Aug. 1789. For the Byrd lottery held on 2 Nov. 1768, see Cash Accounts, May 1769, n.10.

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