George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Thomas Smith, 16 September 1787

To Thomas Smith

Philadelphia 16th Septr 1787.


You will be puzzled to acct for my long silence. The truth is, before I came to this City I resolved to Postpone writing till I should have arrived at, and should have met with, a direct conveyance from it; and after I came here the variety of matters which occurred and pressed upon me has in some measure put it out of my power to do it at an earlier period.1

I wish sincerely that you had been so obliging as to have designated the Sum with which you would have been satisfied for your services in conducting my Ejectments—I still wish that you would do this and receive it out of the money which—by Majr Freemans report to me—you must be on the point of recovering—and permit me to add moreover that I wish yet more ardently I had it in my power to pay you in a more agreeable manner than this, but the fact is, my expences in this City have been so much greater than I expected that it has deprived me of the means.

Major Freemans letter to me contains this paragraph. “at March term I delivered Mr Smith sundry obligations and took his receipt for them, which with the one in his hands before, amounts to £533.19.0—I make no doubt he will soon recover the money and transmit it to you” he adds “I have lodged with Mr Richard Noble near redstone old Fort £38.1.3”—This sum I have requested Mr Noble to pay you if it has not been forwarded to me through some other channel—and I hope measures has been, or will be taken to obtain from my opponants the legal fees and other costs which they burdened me to prosecute my right.2

Mr Smiley handed me a letter some time after my arrival at this place accompanied by £12.10 recovered from one Cunningham.3

For the anxiety you express to have undergone during the prosecution of the Ejectments, I feel myself exceedingly obliged, and pray you to accept my thanks for this proof of your zeal as well as for the good wishes you are pleased to express for me. I am Sir Yr Most Obedt & obliged Hble Servt

Go: Washington

ALS, PWacD: Sol Feinstone Collection, on deposit PPAmP; LB, DLC:GW.

1No letter from GW to Smith written since the ejectment trials were held in October 1786 has been found. Smith wrote GW about the trials on 7 Nov. 1786; he wrote again on 17 Feb. and 22 May (missing) 1787.

2Thomas Freeman’s letter has not been found. See GW’s letter to Richard Noble, this date. See also GW to Smith, 3 Dec. 1787, 5 Mar. 1788, and 3 April 1788.

3Smith’s letter has not been found. See GW to Bushrod Washington, 29 Dec. 1787, and GW to Thomas Smith, 22 Feb. 1788. Mr. Smiley may be John Smilie of Fayette County, Pa., who became one of the leaders of the Antifederalists in the Pennsylvania Ratifying Convention. On 13 June GW entered £12.10 in his accounts “To Thomas Smith Esqr. recd of him a suit ag. Cunningham in Washington C[oun]ty” (Philadelphia Cash Accounts, 9 May–22 Sept.1787). Cunningham was one of the defendants in GW’s ejectment suits prosecuted for him in Washington County, Pa., by Smith (see Thomas Smith to GW, 9 Feb. 1785).

Index Entries