George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Ebenezer Tucker, 24 January 1790

To Ebenezer Tucker

New York, January 24. 1790


Captain Burnett delivered me your letter of the 18. instant1, and is so obliging as to take charge of this answer.

It is my sincere opinion that the land mentioned in it is worth what I asked for it—to wit four dollars per acre, and once would have sold for it; but, if, in the present scarcity of cash it will not fetch that sum, let those, who are really inclinable to buy, come forward, like men that are in earnest, and say what they will give—If they, or their Agent have seen the land, (and without this it is useless to name any price) have examined its qualities and improvements,2 they can say what they will give, and ought to act like fair and candid men—On these terms I am ready to treat with them. It is not my intention to dispose of the land for a song, nor is it my wish to higgle, or make many words to the bargain—for which reason I pray them to come to a decision at once, and that you would inform me of the result—at any rate it would be well for you to write to me, and soon, that I may not miss any other offer, should any be made to Sir, Your most obedient, humble Servant

G. Washington.

LB, DLC:GW; ALS, sold by Charles Hamilton, catalog no. 40, item 521 (n.d.), and Sotheby’s (London), 5–6 Nov. 1962 (Catalogue of Valuable Americana, Voyages, Travel and Atlases, Printed Books, Autograph Letters, and Historical Documents, item 376).

Ebenezer Tucker (1758–1845) was a Burlington County, N.J., judge, merchant, and shipbuilder. Tucker served under GW on Long Island during the Revolution, and after receiving recommendations from the collector for the port of Little Egg Harbor, he was appointed surveyor of the port in August 1789. Tucker later served as inspector of the revenue at Little Egg Harbor, postmaster at Tuckerton, and a member of Congress (John Ross to William Paterson and Jonathan Elmer, 10 Aug. 1789, and Joseph Bloomfield to Paterson and Elmer, 11 Aug. 1789, both in DLC:GW; GW to the U.S. Senate, 3 and 18 Aug. 1789; Tucker to GW, 8 Aug. 1791, DLC:GW; Executive Journal, description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America: From the commencement of the First, to the termination of the Nineteenth Congress. Vol. 1. Washington, D.C., 1828. description ends 1:213).

1Tucker’s 18 Jan. letter reads: “After my greatfull respects to you beg leave to appologize for not giving you an Answer respecting your Lands in Washington County in Pennsylvania, in November last agreeable to my promise when I last had the pleasure of seeing you, it was for want of an Opportunity it was omitted, I therefore inform you, that the People, who proposed purchaseing your Tract, thinks the Land is rated too high, at 4 Dollrs per Acre, and, Wishes to know through me, the lowest price the President will take, as they expect to moove into that County in the Spring; Shou’d you incline to make an abatement, or treat any further on the subject, the kind bearer of this, Capt. Saml Burnet can forward it to me by his coasting Pilot, who is shortly to return to this Port” (DLC:GW). Tucker’s letter and GW’s reply concern GW’s tract on Millers Run in present-day Washington County, Pa., which he was unable to sell until 1795. For the complications GW encountered with this property, see Thomas Smith to GW, 9 Feb. 1785, editorial note; Brice McGeehon to GW, 18 Oct. 1788, source note; Diaries, 4:22, n.4, 26–31.

2When GW visited the Millers Run property in September 1784 he described it as “leveller than is common to be met with in this Part of the Country, and good; the principal part of it is white oak, intermixed in many places with black oak; and is esteemed a valuable tract.” At the same time he made note of the improvements carried out by squatter families on the land (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 4:27–28).

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