George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Hansbrough, 20 November 1786

From William Hansbrough

Novm. the 20th 1786

To his Excellency General Washington

I have to inform your Excellency that I ly under the unhapiness of being distresd at this time by Mr Mause for the rents that I am in debt to you for the non payment of the rents I owe for the teniment of land I now live on1 If your Excellency will be kind enough to take a likely Negro Woman twenty eight years of agee it will much relieve me at this time I hope your Excellency will not destroy one tenant for the misconduct of others I have but the one Negroe Woman and if she is sold by public sale she will Not sell for the rents by reason of the scarcity of money therefore I hope your Excellency will have Compassion on me at this time or Else I am Entirely ruind Its please god to afflict my family with reumatism that I have no assistance but that Negroe Woman but I freely will give her up Mr Rector and my self have made up and pd fourty too pounds I have sold 22 bushels of small grain on the place I live on and if your Excellency thinks proper Ill give up the place as it is in good repair or I freely give up the Negroe therefore I hope your Excellency Will have Compassion as you see Cause my affects will be sold the 23d instant without some relief at your hands2—This from your destresd tenant

W. Hansbrough


1For Hansbrough’s tenancy on lot no. 3 of GW’s Chattins Run land in Fauquier County and for Bataille Muse’s dealings with him, see GW to Muse, 18 Sept. 1785, n.8, and Muse to GW, 28 Nov. 1785, n.6. Hansbrough enclosed this testimonial: “We the subscribers Doth herby Certifie that the bearer hereof William Hansbrough is an honest man and a Goode Neighbour as farr as his circumstances will allow and hath now livd in this Neighbourhood Now above Twelve Years Without the Least suspition of any gilt or Defrading any person out of theire Rite And As he hath always behaved well we should be glad to have him continued[.] given under our hands this 19 day of Novmbr 1786.” The names of Samuel Cocks, William Stephens, Benjamin Rust, Solomon Nickols, John Watts, James Strother, and Samuel Rust are affixed.

2GW responded from Mount Vernon on 22 Nov.: “Sir, I have just received your letter of the 20th inst: & can only inform you that I have nothing to do with respect to the collection of my rents in your part of the Country. I have given it wholly to Mr Muse, to act as he shall think proper; but have directed him to distress no one without sufficient cause. He will be able to judge of the validity of your reasons for not paying the rent wch is due from you, & will act accordingly. I am, &c. G: Washington” (LB, DLC:GW).

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