Philadelphia 19th Decr 1796
A day or two ago I received your letter of the 4th instant.
As it is more than probable that my tenants on Goose Creek must have resolved, ’ere this, to go or stay; any opinion I can now give with respect to the terms, will have arrived too late. If the case however should be otherwise, get the best Rent you can from them for the ensuing year, or even let them remain on the old Rent; as I am not disposed to give leases for more than Seven years, and wish for more time, & leizure, to consider the nature of my landed property, than I have been able to do for some years back, before I even grant them for that term. But if you find any difficulty in procuring tenants in the manner I have mentioned, you may in that case, adopt the mode which you yourself have suggested, in your letter of the above date; & confine the tenants to the fulfilment of the conditions therein mentioned with respect to cultivation, &ca &ca.
I have not here, nor do I possess any where, I believe, a single paper relative to the Land on Deep run. It was originally taken up by my father & uncle; in doing which, One Warner who was the Surveyor, contrived to leave out about 170 Acres for himself, as was afterwards discovered, & recovered. My Uncle gave his part to Warner Washington, and my father left his part to my brother Samuel & myself. The first division took place during my non-age; the subdivision I left to my Brother Samuel to make; who had, as I have always understood, disposed of his property therein to Mr Lawrence Washington of Chotanck. In what manner the latter was accomplished I know not, not being able to attend to the matter myself. The 170 Acre Tract became mine, but by what means I am unable at this time, to give any distinct accou[nt of,]—but think my elder brother Lawrence who was the acting Executor of my fathers will, recovered it from Warner (the Surveyor) and gave it to me.
The original Patent for the large tract was for 5000 Acres—the half of which, as has been observed, came to my brother Samuel & me, by a devise in my father’s Will; it was him, not me that sold to Mr Lawrence Washington of Chotank. I never parted with a foot of mine until I gave it to you. Who Warner Washington sold to I know not.
This is the best, indeed the only account I have it in my power to give, relative to the Lands on Deep run. You did well therefore, in my opinion, to compromise for the small tract, in preference to letigious investigation of Rights. And you must make the most you can of the other. Your Aunt unites with me in best wishes for yourself, Mrs Lewis & the family, and I am your sincere friend & Affectionate Uncle
DLC: Papers of George Washington.