Front Page Titles (by Subject) 1772. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. II (1758-1775)
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1772. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. II (1758-1775) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1889). Vol. II (1758-1775).
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TO DR. BOUCHER.
Mount Vernon, 4th May, 1772.
After a tiresome, and in my opinion, a very unimportant Session, I returned home about the middle of last Month accompanied by Colo Bassett &c.
The expediency of an American Episcopate was long & warmly debated, and at length rejected. As a substitute, the House attempted to frame an Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction, to be composed of a President and four other clergymen, who were to have full power and authority to hear and determine all matters and causes relative to the clergy, and to be vested with the [power] of Suspension, deprivation, & visitation. From this Jurisdiction an Appeal was to be had to a Court of Delegates, to consist of an equal number of Clergymen and Laymen; but this Bill, after much canvassing, was put to Sleep, from an opinion that the subject was of too much Importance to be hastily entered into at the end of a Session.—An Act has passed this session empowering Trustees (to be chosen by ye Subscribers to the Scheme) to raise money by way of Subscription, & Lottery, for the purpose of opening, & extending the Navigation of Potomack from the Tide Water, to Fort Cumberland; & for perpetuating the Toll arising from vessells to the Adventurers in the scheme1 —but ye Execution of it must necessarily be suspended till some thing similar passes into a Law in your province.—An Act has also passed for Erecting a Light House on Cape Henry, from which I think the Shipping will derive great advantages2 —and a Bill went through the House, but rejected in the Council, for having Septennial Vestrys, and a general dissolution of all those now in existence.
Herewith I send the Pamphlets you desird me to get, together with your Accts from both Printing Offices discharged; both Printers being desired to forward your Gazettes for the future to the care of Mr. Lowndes of Bladensburg.
I expected to have made you a visit soon after my return from Williamsburg, and to have gone from thence to Annapolis, but am a little uncertain now when it will be in my power to enjoy this pleasure; as I have business that will call me into Loudoun, Fauquier, and Berkeley (one of the New Counties taken from Frederick, the other Dunmore) sometime between the middle, & last of this month; & am now engaged in Fishing and other matters which seems I think to require my attendance.
TO DR. BOUCHER.
Mount Vernon, 21st May, 1772.
Inclination having yielded to Importunity, I am now contrary to all expectation under the hands of Mr. Peale; but in so grave—so sullen a mood—and now and then under the influence of Morpheus, when some critical strokes are making, that I fancy the skill of this Gentleman’s Pencil, will be put to it, in describing to the World what manner of man I am. I have no doubt of Mr Peale’s1 meeting with very good Incouragement in a Tour to Williamsburg; for having mentioned him to some Gentlemen at our Court, they seem desirous of employing him in his way down.2
Your excuse for denying us the pleasure of your Company, with Governor Eden & Lady, tho not strictly warranted by Scripture, is nevertheless highly admissable, and I sincerely congratulate you upon the prospect of happiness; as I think there is a fair Field of it opening to your view, from the judiciousness of your choice—Whether Mrs Washington ever stretches as far as Annapolis or not, we shall certainly take some very early opportunity of making your acquaintance on this occasion.
The foregoing Letter was designed to go by Jack Custis, who intended, as he said, but afterwards altered his mind; to take the benefit of a Ball at Alexandria on Thursday Evening, in his way home the next day.—In the interim Joe brought me your favor of the 21st, forbidding us any longer to hope for the pleasure of Govr Eden and Lady’s Company; which we had been flattering ourselves with the honor of, for several days; & which I now beg the favor of you to assure them we regret; at the same time I am further to ask you to apologize to Mr Eden for my not paying my respects to him at Mr Digges; which I fully intended to do, but falling under Mr Peale’s hands that morning in a regular Rot[ation, he kept] me so long, knowing that it w[as his custom] of asking, that I had not time [to visit him bef]ore Dinner, and the Govr You wrote me he was to set out for Mr Rogers after it.—Be pleased to assure Mr and Mrs Eden, which you may do with great truth, that Mrs Washington and myself shall think ourselves very happy in seeing them at Mount Vernon whenever they can make it convenient to give us the honor of their Company.
I find upon enquiry that, it will not be in my power to supply you and Mr Calvert with the Weathers you want; the Rot, or some other distemper among my sheep swept off near an hundred, in the Space of a Month, this Spring for me.—I am much obliged to Mr Galloway for the Claret, and as I have no immediate use for it (having a Box or two by me) I must trouble Mr Digges for House Room for it till I return from my trip upward.
TO LORD DUNMORE, LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA.1
Mount Vernon, 15 June, 1772.2
The very obliging offer your Lordship was pleased to make, the day I left Williamsburg, in behalf of the officers and soldiers, who, under the faith of government, lay claim to two hundred thousand acres of land, on the waters of the Ohio, promised them by proclamation in 1754, I did not embrace, because it is evident to me, who am in some degree acquainted with the situation of that country, and the rapid progress now making in the settlement of it, that delay at this time in the prosecution of our plan would amount to the loss of the land, inasmuch as immigrants are daily and hourly settling on the choice spots, and waiting a favorable opportunity to solicit legal titles, on the ground of preoccupancy, when the office shall be opened. I therefore hoped, and the the officers and soldiers, who have suffered in the cause of their country, still hope, that, although your Lordship was of opinion you could not at that time vest them with an absolute and bonâ fide grant of the land, yet that you will permit them to take such steps, at their own expense and risk, as others do, to secure their lands agreeably to proclamation, especially as their claim is prior to any other, and better founded, they having a solemn act of government and the general voice of the country in their favor.
This is the light, my Lord, in which the matter appeared to me, and in this light it is also considered by the officers with whom I have lately had a meeting. The report gains ground, that a large tract of country on the Ohio, including every foot of land to the westward of the Allegany Mountains, is granted to a company of gentlemen in England, to be formed into a separate government. If this report is really well founded, there can be no doubt of your Lordship’s having the earliest and most authentic accounts of it, since it so essentially interferes with the interests and expectations of this country.
To request the favor of your Lordship to inform me whether this report be true, and, if true, whether any attention has been or probably will be paid to the order of Council and proclamation of 1754, may be presumptuous; but, as the officers and soldiers confide in me to transact this business for them, and as it would be a real advantage to them to know the truth of this report, and how it is likely to affect them, there needs no other apology for my taking the liberty of addressing to you this request, in the hope that your Lordship will condescend to do me the honor of writing a line on the subject by the next post to Alexandria, which will be acknowledged as a peculiar obligation conferred on, my Lord, your Lordship’s most obedient servant.
TO MATTHEW CAMPBELL.1
Mt. Vernon, 2 August, 1772.
In reply to your letter of the 4th I think it a piece of justice due to you to acknowledge that I was not lead to inquire into the price of the goods I had purchased of you already, and might hereafter take from anything that passed between us at the time I offered to discontinue my own importations (upon condition I could get my goods at nearly what they would cost to import them myself). I very well remember that nothing conclusive passed between you and me on that occasion, as a proof of which I made out my own invoice and sent it home by Captain Jordan as usual. Consequently you were not restrained on that account from charging me what you pleased. My inquiry arose from an opinion that I was dealing with you upon better terms than common, and this opinion was founded upon what Mr. Adam told me of his scheme. When I came, therefore, to see an article advanced a good deal higher than I expected I own to you that I was alarmed and thought it high time to know upon what footing I was purchasing. If after this acknowledgment, which I thought it incumbent on me to make, in order that you might be released even from the apprehension of an engagement, you still think proper to let me have the goods I may find occasion to buy in the country at 25 per cent sterling advance upon the genuine cost, dischargeable at the current exchange, I will confine my whole country dealings to your store, and will endeavor to throw the wages which I pay to hirelings into your hands also; provided, you will let me know upon what certain reasonable advance they can have their goods (upon the strength of my credit). For unless they can deal with you upon better terms than with others, I should not think myself justifiable in attempting to influence their choice, and this knowledge I must come at in order that I may convince them (if satisfied myself) of the propriety of the measure.
You may believe me sincere when I assure you that no man wishes to see your company prosper in trade more than I do, and self interest apart, I have always thought the way to do this was to import largely and sell low provided you could get a ready vend and quick payments for your goods. But do not deceive yourself by the ready despatch you have hitherto met with; for though I do not pretend to dispute your selling at a low advance in general, (having had no opportunity at all of judging) yet give me leave to add that the progress you have hitherto met with, is by no means an evident proof of it. The mind of man is fond of novelty; curiosity led many to your store, and inclination when there tempted them to be doing. To this they were excited by an opinion which most people had imbibed of your large importation, and intended scheme of trade. But, my good sir, this is but the work of a day, and like the evening of it, will sink into obscurity, unless by a steady adherence to your plan you convince the judgment as well as satisfy the curiosity of your customers. You see that I have used a freedom which friendship only can excuse me for. If I did not wish well to your undertaking, I should not take the liberty of troubling you with my sentiments, which however different from your own, or wrong in your principles, are truely genuine.
TO LORD DUNMORE AND COUNCIL.
5 November, 1772.
My Lord, and Gentlemen;
The whole quantity of 200,000 acres of land granted by the Hon. Robert Dinwiddie’s proclamation of the 19th of Feb., 1754, being now fully obtained (within the number of surveys limited) and the last certificates thereof lodged in the Secretary’s office, I take the liberty humbly to inform your Excellency and Honors that the surveys formerly made are already patented, agreeably to an order of Council of the 6th of Nov., 1771, and that the certificates lately returned and unappropriated, are for 28,400, 21,941, 7,276, 7,894, and 6,788 acres, in all, 72,299 acres. It is also necessary to inform the Board that the following claims, including not only those which were given on the — day of Oct. 1771, but such as have been entered here, are yet to be acknowledged and satisfied accordingly:
This ninth of 53,432 acres of land, taken from the amount of the survey on the other side, leaves, of the 30,000 acres, (set apart in Oct., 1771, for satisfying any claims which might thereafter come in, and for the further purpose of reimbursing the few who had been at the trouble and whole risque) 18,867 acres, which if appropriated to those who were full in advance at that time, and distributed according to the former proportions, will go thus:
And if this method of proportioning the 18,867 acres of land is approved of by Y’r Exc’ll’y and Hon’rs, and you are pleased to order, as before, an association of names into each Patent, so as to bring the amount of their several claims as near to the quantity of land in the survey as may be, the following method of doing it probably will be found to answer as well as any other, as it cost some hours in shifting and changing the claims from one survey to another, to bring them so near; but if any other method, better approved of, it cannot but be equally agreeable to the parties concerned, as chance, at all events, must have the government of this matter.
As the opening of the patents for these lands will put an end to the business of this tract of 1754, so far as depends upon Y’r Excellency and Hon’rs, I would beg leave to offer two points of material interest to some of the trustees to the serious consideration and determination of the Board. The first is, as none of the patentees, under the mode adopted of granting land to numbers in the same patent, can be ascertained of their particular property therein till a legal division is established, which (as in the case of a late grant of 28,667 acres to sixty odd patentees, is scarcely practicable to accomplish, and, of consequence the saving of the land by cultivation and improvement, next to impossible; by this means the intended bounty offered for a valuable consideration is not only rendered void but to those who have contributed to the expense, evidently injurious, inasmuch as they have paid for that which it is not in their power to come at,) I say, under these circumstances, whether some expedient cannot be hit upon to serve those who are willing and desirous of complying with the theory of the grant, either by prolonging the time of cultivation, if this can be done, or by directing each man’s share in any patent to be laid off, (if the division is not effected by consent of parties) within a certain limited period, of which public notice to be given, as each patentee thereafter shall respectively apply to the Surveyor, who may be instruced, to lay off the same in one body and in a good figure to prevent injustice,
The second matter to be offered is: whether something cannot, and if it can, ought not to be done, compeling those who have never paid one farthing, or taken one single step towards obtaining their lands, (not even the fees of office on their own particular tracts,) to contribute in proportion to the quantity of land they have, and are to receive? Without something of this sort can be done previous to the patenting, or in the patenting of these lands, nothing is to be expected from them afterwards; for where men (I am speaking of those who hold principal shares in this grant, for as to common soldiery, little ever was expected from them,) are found so remiss, after repeated exhortation, as neither to afford time nor money for the purpose of conducting a work which could not possibly have gone without both, little of the latter is to be expected after the business is at an end and their patents delivered to them, unless litigious law-suits are commenced, some of which against infants, and some against persons beyond sea, and without this, I must, after having been already saddled with almost the whole trouble and many expenses peculiar to myself, submit to considerable loss, as I have been obliged to advance all the fees of office, and many drafts of the Surveyor, and considered, I dare say, by him, as liable for his whole fees, assured by having one, in that case, for the before mentioned tract of 28,600 acres patented to the common soldiery to pay for without. (I fear,) their being a penny the better of it, as no step hath yet been taken to obtain a division. One year of the three gone, and one-half of them may never more be heard of.
I have thus, may it please Y’r Excellency and Hon’r, endeavored to draw the whole of this matter into one short view, to save you the trouble of referring from one order of Council to another. I have now to beg pardon for the trouble I have had occasion from time to time to give in prosecuting this matter, and have the honor to be, &c.
[1 ]Hening, Statutes, viii., 570.
[2 ]Hening, Statutes, viii., 539.
[1 ]Charles Willson Peale.
[2 ]“May 19. Found Mr. Peale & J. P. Custis.
“This picture, painted in May, 1772, a three quarter length, represents Washington in the costume of a Colonel of the 22d. (?) Regiment of Virginia Militia; a blue coat faced with red, bright metal buttons having the number of the regiment cast upon them, and a dark red waistcoat and breeches. He wears the hat usually called the Wolfe hat, with sash and gorget. This has been engraved by Steel, Paradise, Parker, Forrest, Rogers and Buttre.”—Baker, Engraved Portraits of Washington, 12. In January, 1774, Mr. Peale painted a picture of Mr. Custis, at an expense of ten guineas.
[1 ]Mr. Sparks prints this letter as dated 1771; but Lord Dunmore did not reach Virginia until early in 1772, and the Assembly was prorogued June 10, 1772, thus allowing for the meeting to which Washington alludes in his opening sentence.
[2 ]The position of John Murray, Earl of Dunmore, in Virginia was not a little curious, and in the absence of full information has not been interpreted by historians of the colony to his credit. He was transferred from New York to Virginia, and became unpopular almost from the beginning of his rule (1772). Burk charges that he went on a “party of pleasure to the back settlements” and meeting Dr. John Connolly, a man of “some taste, an intimate knowledge of Indian affairs, a considerable knowledge of the world, and a lax morality,” plotted with him to engage Pennsylvania and Virginia in a civil war about their territorial boundaries, and to incite the Indians against the settlers. (History of Virginia, iii., 375, et seq.) Doddridge asserts that “it was the general belief among the officers of our army, at the time, that the Earl of Dunmore, while at Wheeling, received advice from his government of the probability of the approaching war between England and the colonies, and that afterwards, all his measures, with regard to the Indians, had for their ultimate object an alliance with these ferocious warriors for the aid of the mother country in their contest with us.” (Notes on the Wars West of the Allegany.) Jacob, in his Life of Cresap, repeats what Burk wrote, and these charges are accepted, with some reserve, by Howison, in his History of Virginia, ii., 72, 73. Campbell believes the governor’s proceedings were actuated “rather by motives of personal interest, than of political manœuvre.” History of Virginia, 593, 594. Brantz Mayer regards the charge as “not altogether proved against the British earl” (Logan & Cresap, 81). The differences that arose between Virginia and Pennsylvania respecting the disputed territory, and the curious performances of Connolly, are described in Force’s American Archives.
[1 ]A merchant in Alexandria.