George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Battaile Muse, 6 November 1788

From Battaile Muse

Alexandria Novr 6th 1788

Honorable Sir,

Mr Lear1 Informed me that you did not Think Proper To deliver Colo. Fairfax Papers without Informing Mr F. Fairfax of the matter, I Sent up To Mr Fairfax, In consequnce of which He has come down2—My Illness and uncertainty of my waggones Comeing Tomorrow will Ocation my Puting of waiteing on you untill Some Time Next month at which Time I shall Bring with me your accts in order To make a full Settlement the Exact Time will be uncertain as it’s Impossable for me at this day To Fix the Time I shall Arrive at Mount vernon—I have and order from Colo. William Darke on Mr Hartshorne For £33.6.83—altho I am not Indebted to you one Shilling I wish if agreeable To you To Settle your dividend (with Mr Hartshorn) that you have To Pay the Potomack Company4 It’s Likely I may Collect that Sum from your Tenants Next month—which will Save the risk of Conveyance of the money.

Should any one Come from Mount vernon To this place Tomorrow I shall be oblige To you For and answer as I Leave this place on Satterday if I am able To Travel.

any Commands I will Execute that is in my Power. I am Sir your Obedient Hble Servant

Battaile Muse


1Tobias Lear (1762–1816), a Harvard graduate and native of New Hampshire, became GW’s secretary in 1786 upon the recommendation of Benjamin Lincoln (see Lincoln to GW, 4 Jan., 15 Mar. 1786, GW to Lincoln, 6 Feb., 10 April 1786, and GW to Noah Webster, 17 April 1786). Lear, who lived with the family at Mount Vernon, proved a great success. He accompanied the president to New York in 1789 and remained in GW’s service until mid–1793 when he left to pursue his own business affairs. Lear returned to Mount Vernon as GW’s military secretary in 1798 during the Quasi-War with France and remained until GW’s death.

2Ferdinando Fairfax (1769–1820) was the son of the Rev. Bryan Fairfax and nephew and heir of GW’s friend George William Fairfax, who died in April 1787. In May 1769 GW stood godfather for Ferdinando at his christening (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 2:154). At this time young Fairfax was preparing to go to Philadelphia to continue his studies (GW to Samuel Powel, 24 Nov. 1788).

3William Darke (1736–1801) of Berkeley County, Va., was a lieutenant colonel in a Virginia regiment during the Revolution. In the early years of GW’s presidency he served in a number of military actions against the Indians on the Northwest frontier, and in 1791 he represented Berkeley County in the Virginia general assembly. William Hartshorne (1742-1816) was an Alexandria merchant and treasurer of the Potowmack Company from 1785 to 1800.

4For the Potowmack Company, see GW to John Fitzgerald and George Gilpin, 27 Jan. 1789. In his account book Muse noted under the date of 8 Nov. 1788: “To Paid William Hearts Horne ⅌ receipt agreeable to your Letter—for your 7th Dividend on Five shares in the Potomak Company £25 Stirling Equal To 33.6.8” Virginia currency (NjMoHP).

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