George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Robert Lewis, 26 August 1793

To Robert Lewis

Philadelphia August 26th—93

Dear Robert,

Your letter of the 12th Inst: came to hand in due course of Post.

Nothing short of a very high price, would induce me to sell my small tract (of about 300 Acres) on Difficult Run in Loudoun County; for which, on Account of the Mill seat—quantity of Meadow land—contiguity to the Great Falls (where a town is erecting)—Georgetown, the Federal City, and Alexandria (from the last of which it is only 18 Miles[)]—I was, sometime before I left home, in treaty with a Dutchman for it at the annual Rent of Sixty pounds.1

The lost Mountain tract2 which you speak of, in Loudoun County, wants explanation. I know not where it lyes, or what tract, at this moment, you allude to.

In my present way of thinking, scarcely double the price you offer for my Frederick Land would induce me to part with it. When the Shanondoah River is made Navigable—the accomplishment of which I entertain no doubt, in a short time—the value of lands contiguous thereto will rise in a ratio above calculation. Your Aunt & the family unite with me in best wishes for you & Mrs Lewis—I am your sincere friend and Affectionate Uncle

Go: Washington

ALS, MB; ALS (letterpress copy), ViMtvL; LB, DLC:GW. GW wrote on the cover sheet of the ALS at MB, “Mr Robert Lewis The Exchange Fauquier Cty” and “President U.S.”

1On the apparent interest in building a mill on GW’s land on Difficult Run in Loudoun County, Va., see Lewis to GW, 12 Aug., and note 3. Henry Lee owned 500 acres at the Great Falls of the Potomac River. Located approximately ten miles upriver from the site of the Federal City, this tract was at the start of the series of canal and locks currently under construction by the Potowmack Company. Lee had plans to establish a town called Matildaville near the canal at Great Falls. For GW’s positive assessment of the desirability of this location, see his letter to James Madison of 17 Nov. 1788. The identity of the “Dutchman” is not known.

2The letter-book copy has “last mentioned tract.”

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