George Washington Papers

From George Washington to William Crawford, 9 June 1781

New Windsor June 9th 1781

Dear Sir,

Mr Randolph delivered me your letter of the 23d Ulto—& some time ago I was favoured with another from you. give me leave to thank you most sincerely for yr kind attention to my Interest, & to assure you that I shall ever hold in grateful recollection your friendly endeavors to serve me. My whole time is, and has been since I came into the Service, so much engrossed by the public duties of my station, that I have totally neglected all my private concerns, which are declining every day, and may, possibly, end in capital losses, if not absolute ruin, before I am at liberty to look after them.

With respect to the round bottom, I can give you little or no information—as far as a bad memory serves me (for I have no papers by me to refer to)—I located it in the Office of Mr Thoms Lewis, surveyor of Augusta; and laid some Rights, which I had purchased upon it to the Amount of the contents of your Survey but what has been done in the matter since, I know not, nor am I quite certain that all that I have heard said was actually done. If without giving yourself much trouble you could enquire into this matter, and pursue the necessary measures to secure this Land for me I shall acknowledge it as an act of kindness—will repay any expence you may be run to in the prosecution of the business—and make grateful returns when it is in my power to do so. I could wish to obtain a Patent for it, after obviating other claims; for I have heard, I think, that there is a caveat to prevent my obtaining a Patent.

Can you tell me how matters stand with respect to my Racoon Tract? Are the People who live on it stil unconvinced of my havg a Patent for it? If on the contrary they know, or believe that I have such a Patent, what do they propose to do in that case? It is hard upon me to have property which has been fairly obtained, disputed and with held—on the other hand, if the Settlers on the Land either through ignorance or disbelief of its being mine have made improvements of value thereon & wish to live on and enjoy them, I would agree that they should remain Seven years longer upon their respective [Plantns] on terms which should in their own eyes appear moderate and easy even if it amount to nothing more than a bear acknowledgt subject nevertheless at the expiration of that term to such reasonable Rents as the Land and Improvemnts are worth; and shall be adjudged just for both landlord & Tenant—Upon these terms I would give Leases for lives, or a great length of years—provided also (in the latter case especially) some mode can be adopted to set the value of the Rents every Seven or ten years, be so raised as to bear some proportion to the increased value of the Land.

I shall thank you for giving me information respecting this matter—and the round bottom—and in general, what situation my landed affairs in that Country are in, it not being impossible nor yet very unlikely (as I can give no attention to them myself) that my other Patented Lands may be settled upon and claimed in the same way as the Racoon. I pray you also to be so kind as to let me know how Simpson employs his time—his force—and my Mill—He has not that I can hear of rendered any acct or paid one farthing for the profits of my Mill or share of the Plantation since he has been on the Land. which is poor encouragement for me to lease my property in his hands. Does the boundary as it is now settled between Virginia and Pensylvania affect the property of those Lands which were surveyed & Patented in Virginia but which by the late line are thrown into Pensylvania? This I believe, is the case with respect to my Tract on Racoon Creek if no more of it. I shall hope to receive a long full Acct from you on the several matters contained in this letter by the first safe oppertunity—Should Genl Clark be able [to] prosecute his intended expedition and you accompany him I sincerely wish you success in the enterprize & health to encounter the fatigues of it. My best wishes attend you—Mrs Crawford & family—and I am sincerely & Affectly Yr friend & Servt

G: W——n

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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