George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Edmund Randolph, 20 July 1784

From Edmund Randolph

Richmond [Va.] July 20. 1784.

Dear Sir

Since my letter of the last week, I have inquired into the fruit of your chances in Colo. Byrd’s lottery, from Mr James Buchanan, of this town, the only person, on whose information I can depend for such a subject.1 No. 265, the prize of the ticket 4965 is a lot in Manchester; the value of which is unknown, and is therefore in all probability as yet of scarcely any. No’s. 270, 138, 237, 257, the prizes of the tickets 3187, 3186, 5325, and 5519, lie in the town of Manchester. Mr Buchanan, (as you will perceive by his pencil memorandum inclosed) says that Colo. Richard Randolph sold the most valuable lot to Mr Trent.2 No’s. 823, 751, the prizes of the tickets 3193 and 5517 are 100 acre lots in Henrico, and were sold by Mr Mason.3 I shall desire Mr Buchanan to make farther inquiry into the values and to inform you in my absence from hence; as I am about to go to Charlottesville on friday or Saturday next. I am Dr Sir with great truth yr obliged & affte friend

Edm: Randolph


1See GW to Randolph, 10 July 1784, and notes. When William Byrd advertised his lottery in 1767 {Virginia Gazette [Purdie and Dixon; Williamsburg], 23 July 1767), James Buchanan (1737–1787) was one of those leasing land from Byrd, and he had holdings in Richmond as well. At the time of his death in Richmond in October 1787, Buchanan was called “the oldest merchant of this city” (Virginia Independent Chronicle [Richmond], 17 Oct. 1787).

2James Buchanan’s memorandum regarding the lottery tickets, dated 20 July, reads: “2 acre Lots—270, 138, 237, 257: All in the Town of Manchester—I recollect R[ichard] R[andolph] having sold the most valuable Lot to Mr Trent. having ⟨no⟩ Plan of Manchester, I say nothing of value of the other three, suppose them but indifferent, Or they would probably have been sold before this time.

“100 acres—No. 823, 751: I think were sold by Mr ⟨Mason.⟩ I heard R. R. complain of him.

“⟨G⟩W No. 265: Manchester, shall enquire the value” (DLC:GW). The memorandum is written in pencil, except for the word “no.” Punctuation has been added. Richard Randolph of Henrico County and Alexander Trent of Chesterfield County were in 1769 among those named trustees of the town of Manchester being laid out at William Byrd’s Rocky Ridge, on the south bank of the James at the falls. See 8 Hening description begins William Waller Hening, ed. The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619. 13 vols. 1819–23. Reprint. Charlottesville, Va., 1969. description ends 421–24.

3Thomson Mason (1733–1785), George Mason’s younger brother, placed the following advertisement, dated at Williamsburg, 7 Nov. 1769, in Purdie and Dixon’s Virginia Gazette, 9 Nov. 1769: “On Friday the 22d day of December next, will be sold, on the premises, to the highest bidder, for ready money, The Lots in the town of Shockoe, at the falls of the James river, known by the name of Younghusband’s tenements, lately drawn by the subscriber in the Honourable Col. Byrd’s lottery. These lots consist of several acres of ground, very capable of being advantageously improved. There is at present on part of them a public warehouse, a large and commodious dwelling house, with other conveniences, well situated and adapted either for a merchant or public housekeeper.” For the Byrd lottery and the drawings of 2 Nov. 1769, see Cash Accounts, May 1769, n.10.

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