George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Robert Lewis, 26–28 July 1793

To Robert Lewis

Philadelphia, July 26th[-28th] 1793.

Dear Sir

Your letter of the 17th. instant came duly to hand. I am sorry you let Major Harrison’s land slip through your fingers; but it is only one among a variety of instances which might be adduced of the disadvantages which attend the postponement of business; and serves to prove the verity of an old proverb—“that nothing should be put off until the morrow, that can be done to day”. A month or two ago He would, I dare say, readily have taken 40/. an Acre for his Land, & that sum I would have given. I have receiv’d no letter from you lately on this subject.1

Enclosed is the only information I can give you respecting my lots in the Town & Common of Winchester.2

The draught on Mr Hill has not yet been presented.3 The dangerous illness of Mrs Lear (which, more than probable will terminate in her death, unless a considerable change takes place in 24 hours) has been the cause of it.

I am sorry to hear of your indisposition. My best wishes, in which Mrs Washington unites, are presented to Mrs Lewis. I am your sincere friend & Affecte Uncle

Go: Washington

28th. Mrs Lear died at 4 Oclock this Afternoon.4

ALS, owned (1990) by Ms. Dorothy Shea, Santa Barbara, California. The stamped postmarks read “29 JY” and “FREE.” The cover address reads “Mr Robert Lewis Fauquier County Virginia To the care of Mrs Betty Lewis in Fredericksburg.”

1On GW’s interest in buying from William B. Harrison a tract of land that adjoined Dogue Run farm, see GW to Lewis, 23 Dec. 1792, and enclosure, and 7 Mar., 29 April 1793, and GW to Anthony Whitting, 24 Feb. 1793, and note 8. In his letter to GW of 17 July, Lewis wrote that Harrison had refused to sell this tract to GW. On another, more recent letter from Lewis about this failed attempt, see Lewis to GW, 12 Aug. 1793, and note 4.

2The enclosure has not been identified, but it probably concerned efforts by GW to collect rent from Dr. Robert Mackay, who used GW’s two lots in Winchester, Va., as his own property (Schedule of Property, enclosed in GW’s Last Will and Testament, 9 July 1799, and note 20).

3On the draft for ten pounds Virginia currency, see Lewis to GW, 17 July 1793, and note 3.

4For GW’s description of and thoughts on the death of Mary Long Lear, the wife of GW’s secretary Tobias Lear, see GW to Frances Bassett Washington, 28–29 July 1793.

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