George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Robert Alexander, 14 November 1786

To Robert Alexander

Mount Vernon 14th Novr 1786


Fifteen months ago I informed you in as explicit language as I was master of, of my want of the money you are indebted to me. I have waited (considering the urgency of my call) with patience to see if you would comply with the demand: But no disposition having yet appeared in you to do this; I find myself under the disagreeable necessity of informing you, that unless you name a time not far distant for payment, & secure the same to me without delay, that I shall (tho’ very reluctantly, as I think you have abundant reason to conclude from my long forbearance) have recourse to the most effectual mode the Law will give me to obtain justice.

It will avail nothing Sir, for you to repeat to me the claim you have upon Mr Custis’s Estate. This, independent of the Law suit, is, I am told, very trifling; but were it otherwise, his affairs & mine now are, & have long been as distinct as yours & mine. If justice is denied you there, seek it; but let it be no plea for withholding my money which ought to have been refunded to me twelve or fifteen years ago, before your dealings with Mr Custis came into existence.1 I am &c.

G: Washington


Robert Alexander (d. 1793) of Alexandria was the son of Col. Gerard Alexander (d. 1761).

1For the land deal in which GW in the fall of 1769 advanced Robert Alexander £500 to purchase land in Charles County, Md., see Thomas Hanson Marshall to GW, 18 June 1769, n.1. By the time Col. William Lyle assumed the Alexander debt on 30 April 1789, the debt, with interest, had reached £795.15.4 (General Ledger A description begins General Ledger A, 1750–1772. Library of Congress, George Washington Papers, Series 5, Financial Papers. description ends , folio 352; Ledger B description begins General Ledger B, 1772–1793. Library of Congress, George Washington Papers, Series 5, Financial Papers. description ends , 41). For a full discussion of John Parke Custis’s purchase from Alexander in July 1778 of the plantation on the Potomac River which he named Abingdon and the continuing dispute over the terms of the purchase, see David Stuart to GW, 14 July 1789, n.7.

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