To John Rumney, Jr.
Mount Vernon April 6th 1787
However desirous I may be of accomodating the wishes of so deserving a Lady as you represent Mrs Wilson to be, yet Mrs Washington concurs in sentiment with me that my family already is, and soon will be too large to admit of an increase.1
I can say little more at this time, respecting the Estate of the deceased Colo. Thos Colvill than what is contained in my account of it to Major Swan (resited in one of the letters which you put into my hands) except that I have used every means in my power lately to Collect materials (and very defective indeed they are) for a final settlement of the Administration.
What the surplus of the [e]state will be, when the debts and Legacies are all paid, is more than I can inform you—the Testator himself, as will appear by his will, had a doubt of their being any—and what will be done with it, if there should, must be a matter for future determination, when the Administration is closed, which it is my sincere wish to do so as fast as the nature of the case will admit; I shall for my own Justification, and security, take Council with respect to the application of the surplus, if any, under the existing Laws of this Country.2 The auther of the letters of Instruction to you is mistaken I conceive when he says the claim of one Clawson was admitted—unless by admission he m⟨e⟩ans that it was received.3 If this was not his idea, it will give him no pleasure to be informed that near twenty others, I believe, have been admitted in the same way under the indefinite, and I might add, indegested clause of the will which has stirred up so many pretenders as to render it a matter of difficult investigation to determine rightly in the case. With great esteem & regard I am Sir yr most Obed. Servant
LB, DLC:GW. ALS offered for sale in McKay catalog no. 988, item 991.
1. Rumney dined at Mount Vernon on Sunday, 1 April, when he may have spoken of Mrs. Wilson, who has not been identified. See Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 5:126.
2. For references to the protracted efforts to settle Thomas Colvill’s estate, see GW to John Swan, 23 May 1785, and note 2 of that document. See also Rumney to GW, 22 Jan. 1788, and GW to Rumney, 24 Jan. 1788. After the estate was finally settled in 1797, GW wrote George Pearson on 15 Sept. 1797 that the residue of Colvill’s estate came to “nine hundred and thirty two pound⟨s,⟩ seventeen shillings an[d] seven pence three farthings.”
3. “One Clawson” has not been identified.