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TO HENRY RIDDELL. - 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 HENRY RIDDELL.
Mount Vernon, 22 February, 1774.
Mr. Young, hearing me express a desire of importing Palatines to settle on my lands on the Ohio, tells me, that, in discoursing of this matter in your company, you suggested an expedient, which might probably be attended with success; and that if I inclined to adopt it, you wished to be informed before the sailing of your ship.
The desire of seating and improving my lands on the Ohio, is founded on interested as well as political views. But the intention of importing Palatines for the purpose was more the effect of sudden thought, than mature consideration, because I am totally unacquainted with the manner, as well as the expense of doing it; and I was led into the notion principally from a report of either this or some other ship of yours being blamed, for not taking an offered freight of these Germans at forty shillings sterling. I was thus induced to think if this charge was not much accumulated by other expenses, that I could fall on no better expedient to settle my lands with industrious people, than by such an importation.
The terms upon which I have thought of importing Palatines, or people from Ireland, or Scotland, are these; to import them at my expense, where they are unable to transport themselves, into the Potomac River, and from hence to the Ohio; to have them, in the first case, engaged to me under indenture; in the second, by some other contract equally valid, to become tenants upon the terms hereafter mentioned; as without these securities, I would not encounter the expense, trouble, and hazard of such an importation.
But to make matters as easy and agreeable as possible to these emigrants, I will engage, on my part, that the indentures shall be considered in no other light, than as a security for reimbursing to me every expense I am under, with interest, in importing them, removing them to the land, and supporting them there, till they can raise a crop for their own subsistence; giving up the said indentures, and considering them altogether as freemen and tenants, so soon as this shall happen; not to each person or family respectively, but when the whole accumulated expense shall be discharged; as I must, for my own safety, consider them as jointly bound for this payment, till the expiration of the indented terms, otherwise I must be an inevitable loser by every death or other accident; whilst they cannot, in the worst light, be considered as more than servants at large during the indented term. I can also engage to set them down upon as good land as any in that country; and, where there is neither house built, nor land cleared, I will allow them an exemption of rent four years; and, where there is a house erected, and five acres of land cleared and fit for cultivation, two years.
They shall have the land upon lease for twenty-one years, under the usual covenants; and also at an annual rent, after the first becomes due, of four pounds sterling for each hundred acres, allowing each family to take more or less, as inclination and convenience may prompt. And I will, moreover, engage to renew the leases at the expiration of the above twenty-one years; and, in like manner, at the end of every seven years afterwards, upon an increased rent, to be agreed on between the landlord and tenant; or, in order to fix the matter absolutely, if this should be more agreeable, the rent may be increased at these periods in proportion to the increased value of that, or the adjoining lands possessed of equal advantages of soil and situation.
These are the terms on which I thought to import and plant people on my Ohio lands, which are, for the quantity, equal if not superior to any in that country; situate altogether upon the Ohio, or Great Kenhawa, two fine inland navigable rivers, abounding in fish and wild fowl of all sorts, as the lands do in wild meats of the best kind.
From Alexandria to the navigable waters of the Ohio, along a much frequented road used by wagons, is, according to the computed distance, two hundred miles. This land-carriage, if the inland navigation of the Potomac should be effected, than which I think nothing easier, will be reduced to sixty miles as matters now stand; some say to forty, and others to twenty. But call it the greatest distance, any commodity made upon any part of these lands of mine may be transported along a very easy water-communication to the settlement of Red-stone, where the land-carriage at this time begins. To say nothing, therefore, of the advantages of raising stock of all kinds, and horses, which will carry themselves to market, and are now and will, from the nature of things, continue to be in great demand in the interior parts of this great continent, hemp, flax, pot-ashes, indigo, and the like, will well afford the expense of this land-carriage, admitting it never may be reduced. and can be cultivated to advantage on the river bottoms in that country.
Having thus exhibited a general view of my design, I shall now be obliged to you, Sir, to inform me with as much precision as you can, what certainty there is that your ship will go to Holland; what probability there is of her getting Palatines, if she does go; when they may be expected in this country; what would be the freight; and, as near as you can judge, the whole incidental expense attending each person delivered at Alexandria; and, moreover, whether it would be expected, that the whole of these charges, including freight, should be paid down immediately on the arrival of the ship here, as it must appear rather hard to make a certain provision for an uncertain event.
It may not be amiss further to observe, that I see no prospect of these people being restrained in the smallest degree, either in their civil or religious principles; which I take notice of, because these are privileges, which mankind are solicitous to enjoy, and upon which emigrants must be anxious to be informed.
I wrote to Philadelphia by the last post for full information of the manner and charge of importing these people from Holland1 ; and, if your account in answer to this letter should prove agreeable to my wishes, I will send a more particular description of the lands, which I wish to settle, as well as copies of the plots, and do any other matter which may be judged necessary to further the design. I am, &c.
[1 ]“Interested as well as political motives render it necessary for me to seat the lands, which I have patented on the Ohio, in the cheapest, most expeditious, and effectual manner. Many expedients have been proposed to accomplish this, but none, in my judgment, so likely to succeed as the importing of Palatines. But how to do this upon the best terms, is a question I wish to have answered. Few of this kind of people ever come to Virginia, whether because it is out of the common course of its trade, or because they object to it, I am unable to determine. I shall take it very kind in you, therefore, to resolve the following questions, which I am persuaded you can do with precision, by inquiring of such gentlemen, as have been engaged in this business.