George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Israel Shreve, 1 October 1798

To Israel Shreve

Mount Vernon 1st Oct. 1798


I have waited four months to see if, in that time, you would discharge the Instalment of your judgment Bond, due the first of June last. and am determined to wait no longer than the proceedings in a regular course will compel me to do:1 for which reason I give you notice that by this day’s Post I have requested Mr Ross to obtain from the Bank of Pennsylvania (where it was deposited for collection) your judgmt Bond, & put it in suit without further delay.

I think myself extremely ill used by your conduct in this business. You know that it was in order to raise money I sold the land. You have sold a part at nearly the double of what you was to have given me; and yet I have been trifled with by you more than by any person I have had to deal with.

My own want of money, to fulfil engagements, is such, that I inform you beforehand, that any application for further indulgence will be unavailing, and need not be attempted. And further, that henceforward, if the Instalments are not paid at the times they become due, the bond will be inforced without any questions being asked. I am—Sir Your Hble Servant

Go: Washington

ALS, CSmH; ALS (letterpress copy), DLC:GW; LB, DLC:GW.

1Shreve wrote GW on 14 May 1798 explaining that it was unlikely that he would be able to obtain the money for the payment due on the tract of land, called Washington’s Bottom, which Shreve had bought from GW in 1795. Following GW’s instructions of 1 Oct., James Ross wrote GW on 26 Oct. that he would proceed with the legal action against Shreve. Shreve wrote GW on 29 Oct. and again on 21 Dec. begging for more time, promising, if left free, never to “rest untill the money is paid.” In his reply of 10 Jan. 1799, GW continued to complain about Shreve’s treatment of him but ended by only saying that he would “expect the next payment due on the Instalment Bond, when it becomes due (the first of June next).” For the terms of Shreve’s purchase of the Pennsylvania tract, see Timothy Pickering to GW, 21 April 1797, n.1. Shreve, in failing health, was unable to make the payment in June 1799 (see GW to James Ross, 26 June 1799, and Ross to GW, 24 July 1799).

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