George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Battaile Muse, 7 November 1787

From Battaile Muse

Alexandria Novr 7th 1787


My being detain’d two days Longer at Home on acct of two Trickey Tenants Ocations my business To Prevent my Seeing you as I intended1—I am oblige to Leave Alexandria on Satterday next in order to be ready For Loudoun Court. I doubt not but that you always want money, if you Can make it Convenient to Send to Mr A. Waleses on Friday Evening—I will Endeavour to raise Thirty Pounds2—your accts are now in my Debt Twenty odd pounds—Your Tenants in Genl are not much in arrears unless the runaways—From them nothing Can be Expected—Mrs Lemert and Henry Shover is Considerable in Debt, and I am unneasy about it, I do not want any blame or charge against me. They are Poor and I beleave never will be Richer—I know its to your Interest to distress them I do not Like to do it without orders, as It’s Very distressing to me to Breake them up, altho I know it must be the case if they Are made Ever to Pay.3 Many of the accts are Still in Confusion, I expect by next Spring (at which Time I Shall make return) the accts will be Known, altho Impossable under the Scarcity of Produce as well money, and worse than all, the Execution of our Laws, to Collect the full amount; I Shall Collect as Fare as I can; and advize the Tenants to Comply with the Covenants of their Leases—as but Little regard is Paid to them and indeed any other Obligation at this Time in this Country.

My Servant will deliver a mare on acct of Majr Geo. Washington whome I expect will be at Mountvernon Thursday the 8th Instant.

My Servant has a Horse I obtaind by Law From one Bradwell who run away, to Prevent Imposition by the Sheriff I Priced this Horse among others things at £4.10.0 if you chuos to Take the Horse I will Contrive Him after my return Home to any Person you will apoint in Alexandria, if not I Shall Keep Him, altho I am not in much need—but money Can not be had at this Time for Horses—He will make a good Horse to go of arrents as a Drudge or for a Small Boy to ride the major mentiond that He would answer for Master Custis to ride4—their is some Poor Lots in Fauquier that I want Leases for to Fix the Tenants on a Certainty—to Prevent any Misunderstanding Between Land Lord & Tenant—Some few Lots will not bear the Improvements I can Scarcely get a Tenant at any rate to Live on them—if you chews to Send me Six Leases Sign’d I will Promise to do for you as my Self in Executing them—under my Present Sittuation I Expect you will Excuse my not Visiting you and Look over any Imperfectness in this Scrawl as I write in a hurry—I am Sir your Obedient Humble Servant

Battaile M⟨use⟩

N.B. I can Lodge the Horse some Time at Mr Andrew Wales if you chews to Take him.


1Muse referred to his intended visit in his letter of 15 October.

2On 8 Nov. Tobias Lear gave a receipt to Muse for "thirty pounds Virga Currency on acct of His Excellency General Washington which is to be passed to Mr. Muse’s credit in his Acct with General Washington" (sold by Thomaston Auction, lot 996, 1 June 2014).

4Under the date of 8 Nov. in GW’s account with Muse, GW entered £4.10 for “a Horse sent to me” (Ledger B description begins General Ledger B, 1772–1793. Library of Congress, George Washington Papers, Series 5, Financial Papers. description ends , 213). Jessie Bradwell (Breadwell) was a tenant in Fauquier County. Battaile Muse’s account book details efforts by Muse from 1786 to 1788 to force some sort of payment from Bradwell.

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