George Washington Papers

From George Washington to David Stuart, 11 December 1787

To David Stuart

Mount Vernon 11th Decr 1787

Dear Sir

Not recollecting till this moment, the Winter regulation of the Post; & being desirous of getting the Loan Office certificates (herewith enclosed) to you before you shall have left richmond; I have scarcely time to acknowledge the receipt of your favor dated the 4th Instt,1 much less to write more fully on the subject of my Back Lands. I now pray, if it is in your power, to obtain the Interest on my Certificates that you would do it—for I can truly say that at no period of my life have I ever felt the want of money so sensibly as now—among other demands upon me, I have no means of paying my Taxes—the Certificate for the Executed Negro ought to be discharged, I should think—this I also send.2 And let me beg of you to enquire in what manner, and by what certain Channel, I could open a correspondence with Mr Lewis (his Chn name I know not) on the Kanhawa; and whether it is likely he would act as an Agent for me in the Renting of my Lands on the Kanhawa & Ohio above it.3 I have not time to add more; hardly expecting this letter will get to the Post Office in time. Yrs Sincerely

Go: Washington

ALS, PHi: Dreer Collection.

1Letter not found, but see GW to James Madison, 7 Dec., where Stuart’s letter is quoted at length.

2Stuart gave the certificate for a slave executed in 1781 to the state auditor, John Pendleton, nephew of Judge Edmund Pendleton, for payment of the interest due on the certificate (GW to John Pendleton, 1 Mar. 1788). Pendleton on 6 Mar. 1788 returned the certificate, explaining that Edmund Randolph as attorney general had ruled that interest on a certificate of an executed slave would begin no earlier than the passage of the appropriation act of 1784. GW then wrote his attorney Charles Lee on 4 April 1788: “As you are now in Richmond I take the liberty of enclosing to you (in a letter from Mr Pendleton) a Certificate for a negro executed in the year 1781 Amounting to £69 which I will thank you to negociate for me there upon the best terms you can, and pay the proceeds thereof in behalf of what is due from me to the James River Company—The principal for the negro, and three years interest thereon (which is all that was allowed) amounted to £138 which was divided into two Cirtificates, one receivable in the taxes now due, which I retain, to discharge part of my taxes for the year 1787 and the other you have with this.” In the postscript of the letter, GW instructs Lee to use the £69 to pay taxes instead. GW records payment of £65 on 21 June 1788 to the James River Company (Ledger B description begins General Ledger B, 1772–1793. Library of Congress, George Washington Papers, Series 5, Financial Papers. description ends , 354). See also Charles Lee to GW, 11, 14 April 1788, and GW to Charles Lee, 27 April 1788.

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