George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Israel Shreve, 5 March 1787

From Israel Shreve

Burlington County State of New Jersey 5th March 1787

Dear Sir,

Some time ago I receivd your Letter in Answer to mine respecting your Lands on the Great Kanhaway.1

Since which I have Several times heard you have about Sixteen Hundred Acres of Land at or near Redstone In Pennsylvania called Washingtons Bottoms, which you Incline to Sell. I have not Seen the Lands But am Pretty well informed of the Situation Quality and Improvements thereon, by persons of my Acquaintance that Live near the Premises—If you do Incline to Sell the sd tract of Land altogether with the Improvements thereon, and Willing to take final Settlement Notes for pay, I should be glad to Purchase of you, said Notes are on Interest which Interest I am told will pay Tax in Virginia Eaqual to Cash, If So I hope you will oblige me In takeing them &c.—If my proposals are agreeable Please as soon as Convenient, to let me know your price, And If any ways reasonable I will Immediately come to your Seat and Confirm the Bargan, I hold no other Notes But those Originally given to me for my Services and Supplies, (I am no speculator) And wish to purchace a tract of Land to Sit down upon, and one with Improvements on might suit a man of my Age Better than to Settle altogether in the woods, I am informed that Land at Redstone Rents for But little—Occationed by there being no Market near.2

However I think I could with Industry Get a Comfortable Liveing and be Improveing the Land.3 I am Sir with Great Respect your Most Obedt Servt

Israel Shreve


2Shreve eventually purchased Washington’s Bottom in Pennsylvania from GW. For a summary of GW’s dealings with Shreve, see the source note in Shreve to GW, 22 June 1785.

3Shreve sent GW a copy of this letter, dated it 12 Mar., and added: “So far is a Duplicate of a Letter Dated the 5th Inst. put in the post office.

“Dear Gen. Since Writeing the first Letter dated the 5th Inst. I have had further Information respecting your Determination to Sell the Said Land. I hope I can Bring about a Bargan with you. I am Destitute of a Suitable farm in this State to Live Comfortable upon—and most of my Property is in final Settlement Notes, If you are Desirous to Sell Said Land, I could give a Sum in Such property the Interest of which woud be Considerable more than the Rents ariseing from the Lands. I have been Bred a farmer and prefer that way of Life to any other, and can with a good Conscince Leave a State so ungrateful as New Jersey is to her Officers and Soldiers, However this I Leave, and must wate to hear from you, You will forgive my freedom in Writeing to you in this manner, I expect showing my Anxiety to purchace of you will not make any Difference in one whom I can so much rely on. I am Dear Gen: with great Respect Your most Obedt Servt Israel Shreve” (DLC:GW).

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