George Washington Papers

From George Washington to James Mercer, 21 June 1791

To James Mercer

Mount Vernon, June 21st 1791.

Dear Sir,

When I was in Fredericksburg on my way to the southward I received a letter from Mr Neil McCoull of which, and the letter of his lawyer, referred to, the enclosed are copies.1 The verbal answer returned to Mr McCoull by his son, was that I had conceived so far as I was concerned in the business, that the matter had been settled long ago—But as it appeared otherwise from the application he had then made to me, I would on my return speak to you on the subject, and inform him of the result. This I accordingly intended to have done; but your duties in Richmond having taken you from Fredericksburg at the time I came thro’ it,2 I am reduced to the necessity of troubling you with a letter, praying that some decision may be had by which I shall be released from this demand—or at any rate, that I may be instructed what answer to give Mr McCoull, who unquestionably will expect one from Dear Sir, Your most obedient and very humble servant

G. Washington.

LB, DLC:GW; ALS, listed in Robert F. Batchelder, catalog no. 9 (n.d.), item 1.

1The enclosures have not been found but probably dealt with GW’s acquisition of the Four Mile Run tract from James, John Francis, and George Mercer in 1774. The surviving Mercer brothers gave GW a bond of indemnification in May 1787 to relieve him from having to pay a £450 bond to Neil McCoull and Alexander Blair, attorneys of the deceased George Mercer. See GW to James Mercer, 12 Dec. 1774 and note 3, 26 Dec. 1774, 19 Nov. 1786 and note 1, and GW to John Francis Mercer, 19 Dec. 1786.

2GW passed through Fredericksburg on his way south on 8–10 April and upon his return from the Southern Tour on 10–11 June (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 6:107–8, 163).

Index Entries