George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Thomas Brereton, 20 April 1786

To Thomas Brereton

Mt Vernon 20th Apl 1786


Within these few days I have received your letter of the 12th, & some time ago, I recollect to have been favored with another letter from you, which in the hurry of business got overlooked.1

It is now more than two years, since indirectly I obtained a sight of the deceas’d Mrs Savage’s will2—I then thought, & still do think it strange that the Executors of this will, should never have made any official communication thereof to the Trustees of that Lady in this country; nor have made any direct enquiry concerning the situation of her affairs here. These may be summed up in a few words; & will be found to be as follows.

When matters came to extremity between Doctr Savage & his wife—& Mr Fairfax & myself were obliged to put the trust Bond in suit to recover her annuity; the Doctor made use of all the chicanery of Law & Lawyers, to procrastinate the Suit; which the tardiness of our Courts (& during one period of the revolution the suspension of justice) but too well enabled him to effect. It was therefore long before a judgment at common Law could be obtained; & this was no sooner done, than he threw the matter into Chancery, where I am told, for I have had no share in the management of this business for the last ten years, (that is since I took the command of the American forces) it has lain ever since. I believe Mr Fairfax has done every thing in his power to bring the matter to issue; & I have heard, I think from himself, that there is now a probability of its happening soon. With great truth I can assure you that not one farthing of Mrs Savage’s annuity was ever paid to the Trustees; whilst we have been obliged to advance money out of our own pockets to carry on the prosecution—& whilst, moreover, from a representation of the distress that Lady was involved in, I gave her a Bill to the amot of £53—on Jas Gildart Esqr. of Liverpool—which is still due to me.

This is the best Accot I am able to give you of the Trust, & you are at liberty to communicate the purport of it to Mrs Innis. I am &c.

G: Washington

LB, DLC:GW; LS, sold by Robert F. Batchelder, item 258, catalog 77, September 1990.

1Brereton’s earlier letter has not been found.

2GW had his indirect “sight” of Margaret Savage’s will in December 1783. See Hanna Moore to GW, 20 Jan. 1785, n.2.

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