George Washington Papers

To George Washington from George Clinton, 7 March 1796

From George Clinton

Greenwich [Village, N.Y.] 7th March 1796.

Dear Sir

Owing to my not having been in Town for some Days past I did not receive your Letter as soon as might have been expected—I now inclose you an Answer respecting our Lands in Coxburgh which may be shewn to Mr Cooper1—I think it proper at the same Time for your private Information to be a little more particular on the Subject; Knowing the Character and Circumstances of the Man, I have no Idea that he ever had any serious Intention to purchase our Lands (unless he could obtain them far below their value) or that he could command the ready Cash for the purpose2 yet lest I should be misstaken, the Price I have mentioned is what I think we ought not to reject if offered, and on the other hand we ought not to accept of less—Our first Sales were low tho quite as high as others sold for at the Time; but unfortunately we sold rather too much at the Commencement of the Settlement of that Quarter of the Country. These Sales however tended to inhance the value of our remaining Lotts and they have since increased in value far beyond the usual Interest of Money—Our first Sales you will recollect was at 2 Dollars pr Acre, the second at 3 Dollars and the last two Lotts I agreed to sell are at something better than 5 Dollars3 pr Acre with Interest from the Date of the Agreement—I am of Opinion therefore that the remaining Lotts will command the like Price Admitting the value of Lands there to be stationary whereas I am inclined to believe they will yet continue to rise tho perhaps not in the same proportion they have hitherto done—It is obvious then that the only advantage in selling the whole together at 40/ pr Acre would be in receiving the Cash down and in an Excemption from the Trouble of retailing it out in Farms & receiving the Money in parcels and for this we must relinquish the Advantages which may accrue from their rising value—I shall however be willing & happy to conform to your Sentiments on the subject. I am with the highest Respect & Esteem Dear Sir Your Affectionate Humble Servant

Geo: Clinton

ALS, DLC:GW; ADfS, N: accession 744. The draft was very heavily revised, and two of the revisions are indicated in notes 2 and 3.

1Clinton’s reply to GW’s letter of 28 Feb. also was dated 7 March. It reads: “Satturday Evening [5 March] I received your Letter of the 28th Ultimo—In answer I have to inform you that of our Land in Coxburgh there remains unsold 1446 Acres consisting of Lott No. 8 in the first Division, Numbers 3. 6. 19. 22 & 26 in the 3d Division and No. 12 in the 7th which I value on an average at 5 Dollars pr Acre, and under that I should not think it adviseable to sell—The Soil is good and in proportion to the rapid settlement of that Part of the Country the value of those Lands continues to increase” (ALS, DLC:GW; ADfS, N). Notes added to the draft reply point out that number 6, containing 253 acres, was sold after the letter was written.

2At this point on the draft, Clinton wrote and then struck out: “for tho he has made some advantageous land speculations since he has been in the State I imagine they can not as yet be converted into Cash & he had none when he came here.”

3On the draft, Clinton initially continued from this point: “And tho no Part of the Money has been recd on these last Sales yet it is to draw full Interest from the Date of the Agreement & the Improvements made on the Lotts will amply secure a Compliance with the Agreement.”

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