George Washington Papers

From George Washington to John Francis Mercer, 27 March 1785

To John Francis Mercer

Mount Vernon 27th March 1785.

Dear Sir,

Mr Stone gave me your favor of the 20th.1

When I had the pleasure of seeing you at this place, I informed you fully, & truly, of my want of money—I am at this moment paying 7 prC. interest for a pretty considerable Sum which I borrowed in the State of New York (through the means of the Governor)2—& not being able to obtain a surety of holding it for more than one year from the establishment of Peace, I am in continual fear, notwithstanding the high interest, of having it recalled.

After this declaration, it is unnecessary to add, how acceptable it would be to me to receive payment of the money due to me from your Father’s Estate 3—or part of it; but to take it in small driblets from the hands of your Lawyers would not answer my purposes; as it is more than one considerable payment, I have to make from this fund.

If you should go to Congress, I should be glad if the money arising from the arrangement you have made, was ordered into the hands of your Brother—or your Attorney here; and he directed to pay it to me in such sums as I could apply in discharge of my own debts 4—for the fact is, I shall receive with one hand, & pay with the other (if I may be permitted to use the phraze) and, but for which, it would not be required from you. If you do not go to Congress, I shall expect the same from yourself. My Compliments, in which Mrs Washington joins, are offered to your Lady & Mr Sprigs family; with esteem, I am Dr Sir Yr most Obedt Hble Servt

Go: Washington

ALS, MAnP; LB, DLC:GW. GW wrote on the cover: “Favored by Majr Jenifer.”

1Letter not found. Michael Stone, probably Michael Jenifer Stone (1747–1812) of Charles County, Md., called briefly at Mount Vernon on 25 February.

2GW is probably referring to the money he borrowed in December 1782 from Gov. George Clinton, which he repaid in April 1785. See Clinton to GW, 27 Feb. 1784, n.1, and GW to Clinton, 25 Nov. 1784, and 5, 20 April 1785. But he may be referring to what he owed for the land in New York which he and Clinton had bought jointly (see GW to Clinton, 25 Nov. 1784, n.2).

3For the indebtedness of the heirs of John Mercer (d. 1768) to GW arising out of loans made to Mercer by Martha Custis before her marriage to GW, see especially GW to John Francis Mercer, 8 July 1784, n.1.

4If Mercer responded, the letter has not been found, but see GW’s even more pressing letter to Mercer of 20 Dec. 1785.

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