George Washington Papers

To George Washington from the President and Directors of the Potowmack Company, 8 December 1799

From the President and Directors of the Potowmack Company

George Town 8 Decr 1799


Enclosed we have the honor to hand two Resolutions which were passed last week by the Legislature of this State;1 by a calculation noted at foot, to which we beg to refer you, we find it will be a great Object to obtain the transfer of this Stock before the 15th of this month, at which time the Books are shut, & no transfer can be made untill after the 1st of January when a Dividend of 3½ p. Ct will be paid.2

In order to effect this we have thought it best, to call together as many of the Stockholders, as on so short a notice can be had, on Tuesday next, for the purpose of taking such Steps as may be necessary to get the transfer made in the course of the present week.

Your Presence Sir, on this occasion, if convenient [to] yourself, will be very gratifying to us—we have appointed the Union Tavern in this Town for the Place of meeting, because having so little time to collect the Members in, we find it is likely we shall have by this means, a greater number assembled as there are many who live in this neighbourhood3—With great Respect We have the Honor to be Sir Your very Ob. & Hle Servts

Ja. Keith

J. Mason

Wm H. Dorsey

John Laird


1On 4 Dec. John Mason sent GW a printed copy of the resolutions of the Maryland legislature, a handwritten copy of which was enclosed here. For the resolutions, see Mason to GW, 4 Dec., n.1.

2The attached “calculation” reads: “130 Shares at £130 Ste. each is £28166.13.4 Maryd Cury equal to Dollars—75111 10/100.

75111 10/100 Dollars of unredeemed Stock make 81367 10/100 Dollars of original or gross Stock if transferred in the last quarter of 1799.

3½ p. Ct on the gross Sum (81.367 10/100) payable on 1st Jany 1800 will produce 2847 Dollars in Cash, of which 1740 will be on account of principal.

2847$ to be recd on 1st Jany

1740 of which on account of principal

1107 will be the amount of Interest then paid

435 is the difference on 1740 (the principal then redeemed) between selling price and par

1542 Dollars clear gain to the Company by receiving the transfer in Decr 1799” (DLC:GW).

3GW replied on the same day to the president and directors of the company: “Gentln I have received your letter of this date, inform[ing] me of the Resolutions of the Legislature of Maryland to take 130 Shares in the augmented Capital of the Potomac Company, and enclosing a calculation shewing the advantages to be derived from drawing the six per Cent Stock from the Treasurer of Maryland before the 1st of January. And also requesting my attendance at a meeting of the Stockholders on Tuesday next.

“I am very much pleased to learn that the means for comp[l]eating the important work of the Navigation of the River may be obtained; and I should, with pleasure, attend the meeting on Tuesday did not an expectation of Company at that time, and other circumstances, make it inconvenient for me to leave home; and did I not also beleive that my proxy to vote on the occasion (which will be given to Mr Keith, the President) would answer every purpose that could be effected by my personal attendance, as I am persuaded there can be but one object in view with the Stock holders, which is to take such measures as will ensure the completion of the work with certainty and expedition, agreeably to the sense of the Stock holders at their meeting in Augt last. I have the honor to be with great respect Gentln Yr mo. ob. St Go: Washington” (Df, in Tobias Lear’s hand, owned [1994] by Mr. Robert Batchelder, Ambler, Pa.; GW’s signature appears to have been photographed and imposed on the Lear draft).

On the next day GW wrote James Keith, president of the Potowmack Company: “Dear Sir, As it will be inconvenient for me to attend a Meeting of the Stock-holders of the Potomac Company on Tuesday next, agreeably to the request of the President and Directors; I have taken the liberty to enclose you my proxy to vote and act for me on that occasion, which you will oblige me by doing. With great esteem, I am Dear Sir Your most obedt Sevt G. Washington” (typescript, DLC:GW).

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