George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Charles Lee, 13 September 1786

From Charles Lee

Alexandria Sepr 13. 1786


This is accompanied with instruments of writing which I hope you will find agreeable to your intentions.1

Mr Lund Washington is said not to have qualified as exr of Manley in which case he need not be a party to the deed but I conceive it necessary that he should in open court renounce the execution thereof and that his renunciation should be recorded if already this has not been done—After this the deed of Manleys exrs as drawn by me ought to be executed and not before Mr L. Washington’s renunciation—If Mr L. Washington ever did qualify as exr of Manley, he must be a party to the deed.2

Mrs Sanford having some time ago qualified as exr it became necessary to make her a party and this occasions her husband to be joined with her in the deed.3

One of Manleys children having arrived to full age has not altered the trust.

The lease to Robertson not having been recorded, it is void in law and equity against purchasers without notice, and in the present case void in law if the assignment accepted from Mrs French shall not make it valid, which I think it will do.

The clause in that lease respecting the nonpayment of rent doth not avoid or forfeit the lease, till there be a demand of the rent and an actual reentry for the non payment thereof.

You have by Mrs French’s assignment the same power over Robertson that she had. To save trouble I joined in the same deed the assignment of Robertson’s lease and the demise of the residue of Mrs French’s estate in the plantation & slaves.4 I have the honor to be with every sentiment of esteem and respect your most obed. hble serv.

Charles Lee

P.S. A blank is left in Triplett and Sanfords deed for the name of the patentee because the deeds to Manley mention Nicholas Spencer and your letter Spencer and Washington which you will please to fill up as may be right. C. Lee


1The “instruments of writing” are undoubtedly a draft of the deed from Harrison Manley’s executors to GW, finally dated and signed on 22 Sept., and a draft of the deed from Penelope Manley French to GW. For GW’s efforts to acquire the two French-Dulany tracts on Dogue Run, see George Clinton to GW, 27 Feb. 1784, and GW to Charles Lee, 20 Feb. 1785, and note 1 of that document. See also Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 4:84–85, 93, 5:32–33, 37–38, 40, 52, 57, and GW to William Triplett, 25 Sept., and notes. For the locations of the Manley and French-Dulany tracts, see Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 1:240.

2By his will Harrison Manley left his wife Margaret Barry Manley the use of the estate during her lifetime. Should she remarry, the estate was to be divided equally among herself, her son, John, and her daughters, Sarah, Mary, and Penelope. The will provided, however, that: “If my Executors Should Judge it Proper to Sell or Dispose of any or all my Lands, that they be hereby Authorized to make Sale of all my Lands and the money Arriseing from the above mentioned Lands to be Laid out by my Executors on the Purchase of other Lands or Slaves, or Applyed to such uses as my Executors Shall Judge proper for the Benfett of my Wife and Children.” The executors named by Manley were “my Loveing Wife Margret Manley My Brother William Triplett and my Brother Thomas Triplett and my Friend Lund Washington” (Fairfax County Will Book C–1 [1767–76], 215–16, ViFfCh).

3Harrison Manley’s widow Margaret was by this time remarried. Her husband Edward Sanford was a silversmith in Alexandria. The deed transferring the property was signed on 22 Sept. 1786 by William Triplett, Margaret Sanford, and Edward Sanford. The other qualified executor, Thomas Triplett, had died in 1780. GW paid £426 for the land (Fairfax County Deed Book Q [1785–88], 295–98, ViFfCh).

4John Robertson (died c.1791), a son of James Robertson, Sr. (died c.1769), of Fairfax County, was a tenant on the French-Dulany land that GW was attempting to acquire. GW had received a deed on 21 Feb. 1785 from Benjamin and Elizabeth French Dulany for the two tracts totaling about 552 acres and had in exchange given the Dulanys a deed for approximately 376 acres on a branch of Hunting Creek near Alexandria which he had bought in 1782 for this purpose from Robert Adam, Peter Dow, and Colin McIver (Fairfax County Deed Book P [1784–85], 311–21, ViFfCh). Elizabeth Dulany’s mother, Penelope French, was continuing to present obstacles to GW’s leasing her own life rights in the property. John Robertson had received on 1 Jan. 1784 a seven-year lease on the land from Mrs. French and Benjamin Dulany, for which he was to pay £136 per annum, including the use of Mrs. French’s twenty-four slaves living on the land. GW wanted to obtain not only a lease for Mrs. French’s lifetime but also to be assigned the remainder of Robertson’s lease. On 18 Oct. 1786 Mrs. French finally signed a deed whereby GW was to pay her £136 per annum for the remainder of Robinson’s lease and then £150 per annum for the land and rental of the slaves. She stipulated in the deed that the slaves were not to be removed from the county and were to be well treated (Fairfax County Deed Book Q [1785–88], 392–96, ViFfCh).

Index Entries