George Washington Papers

Resolutions of the Dismal Swamp Company, 2 May 1785

Resolutions of the Dismal Swamp Company

[Richmond, 2 May 1785]

That the money, which can at present be raised, be put into the hands of some proper person, and such person be empowered to engage as many German, or other labourers at Baltimore, or any other part of this continent, as the money will procure.1

That, if this scheme should prove wholly or in part abortive, the managers hire as many negroes as they may think proper, untill they can import from Holland, Germany, or some other Country of Europe, any number (not exceeding 300) labourers, acquainted with draining, and other branches of agriculture, which they are hereby required to do.

To carry the last resolutions into execution, Resolved that Mr Wm Anderson be, and ⟨he⟩ is hereby empowered to borrow ⟨the sum of⟩ £5,000. sterlg for ⟨a term not less than seven years at an interest not exceeding five pr Ct to be paid annually⟩ [for] the use of the company, and that the managers ⟨or any three of them⟩ be and are hereby authorized to execute a bond ⟨or bonds⟩ to secure the repayment of the ⟨principal & interest of the Sum so borrowed⟩ and the members ⟨of the sd Co. do hereby jointly⟩ and severally bind themselves, their heirs, executors &c. to indemnify the managers therein, in proportion to their respective interests.2

Dft (photocopy), DLC:GW. The first page (or pages) of the document is missing. See note 1. The words appearing here in angle brackets were inserted by GW; the draft itself is in someone else’s hand. GW dockets the document:“Resolutions of the Dismal Swamp Company 1st May 1785.” There is another copy of the resolution empowering William Anderson to borrow £5,000 in NcD: Dismal Swamp Land Company Papers; without GW’s emendations, it is headed: “At a meeting of the dismal-swamp company at Richmond in Virginia this 2d May 1785.”

1In his letter to John de Neufville, 8 Sept. 1785, GW indicates what the laborers were to do, which undoubtedly was stated in the missing portion of this document. GW wrote de Neufville: “in May last the members [of the Dismal Swamp Company] (for the first time since the war) had a meeting, & resolved to prosecute the work with vigour: for this purpose they are inclined to borrow money on interest; & to import, if they can do it upon advantageous terms, a number of Hollanders, or Germans, as being best acquainted with the nature of the work; which is to drain & bank level, low & wet Land, which would from its situation, & the quality of its soil, be invaluable if accomplished.”

2There is a memorandum in GW’s hand which is labeled by him: “List of Shares in the Great Dismal Swamp, 1st May 1785” (ViAlM). He lists a total of 10½ shares: GW, 1; Thomas Nelson, 1; Fielding Lewis (deceased), 1; Robert Tucker (deceased), 1; Francis Farley (deceased), 1; David and------Mead, 1; Anthony Bacon, 1; Thomas Walker and Thomas Hornsby, 1; Nathaniel and William Nelson, 1; William Anderson and David Jameson, 1; and John Page, ½.

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