Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO THOMAS LEWIS, ESQ. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. II (1758-1775)
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TO THOMAS LEWIS, ESQ. - 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 THOMAS LEWIS, ESQ.
Mount Vernon, 5th May, 1774.
Your letter of the 31st of March did not come to my hands ’till the latter end of last month; and no direct opportunity that I have heard of, has offered since, this letter taking the chance of conveyance from place to place only.—
Immediately upon the receipt of your favor by Mr. Young, I despatched a letter to Capt. Crawford (covering yours to him) pointing out the necessity of his attempting to qualify as your Deputy, at your Court for April. Before this I did not urge him (as he appeared anxious to return home) to take that rout, for two reasons:—in the first place I did not advert to the necessity of this qualification; in the next place ’till your letter arrived (which was after he was gone) I did not know whether you would accept of him as an assistant or not.—At the same time I wrote to him, I forwarded Letters under his cover, (in order to be deliver’d by him, to Mr. Madison, Mr. Jones and Capt. Hog, requesting the favor of each to facilitate his business if he came in on this errand; but what has been the result of all this I know not, never having heard a syllable from him since.—
I come now to take notice of what you have said in respect to Mr. Michael Cresap, whose claim to the round bottom and other Lands along the banks of the Ohio (for as I am credibly informed) thirty miles, is equally well founded; and founded upon no other right, or pretence than that of claiming, every good bottom upon the river; building a cabbin thereon to keep off others, and then selling them, and going on to possess other Lands in the same manner.—This if common report tells truth, is the foundation of Mr. Cresap’s claim to the round bottom; set up long after I had made choice of it, and had had it survey’d as a stage, or Lodgment between Fort Pitt, & my Lands on the Great Kenhawa:—it is true, as this is esteem’d a valuable bottom, he may have taken more pains in the improvement of it, than of the others; but his choice, or even knowledge of it, was long after I had had it survey’d.
This being the amount of his claim, I will now give you the substance of mine, which cannot be better done, than by informing you, that in the fall of the year 1770, when I went to view the Lands, which have been since surveyed under the Proclamation of 1754, I made choice of this spot of Land (called the round bottom) marked Trees, & directed Captn. Crawford, when he went down the spring following to survey it, which he accordingly did, as may appear by his certificate inclosed you by Mr. Young. Sometime after this, hearing that Doctor Brisco had taken possession of it, & actually had or was going to fix Negroes on it, I wrote him a letter of which No 1 is a copy, upon which I was informed he had quit it. Sometime after this again, I learned that Mr. Michael Cresap had taken possession of it, built houses, and was working hands thereon, upon which I also wrote him a letter of which No. 2. is the copy; and was given to understand that Mr. Theobald (or Tibbles, as he is commonly called) who was Partner with Mr. Cresap in this Land, was determined to give it up; receiving at the same time a message by Capt. Crawford from Mr. Michael Cresap, that if I would let him have the Land he would pay me what I thought the worth of it; to which I returned for answer, that as it was the only piece of Land I had upon the Ohio, between Fort Pitt and the Kenhawas, and found it very necessary as a stage or Lodgment, in coming up the river, I could not agree to part with it, but again offered to pay for any labor or improvement, which he had made.
In this situation things were, when I wrote to you by Mr. Young;—otherwise, if I had thought that Mr. Cresap could, with any color of Justice, or even at any rate (as he must be conscious, that the mode he has praticed, of engrossing & selling Lands, I should have mention’d it to you before, but in truth, from every thing that has passed, I concluded that he had yielded to my prior claim.—In like manner may my title to the three thousand acres on the waters of Sharter & Racoon) be disputed: For after that also was surveyed for me; after I had bought the rights (or claims rather) of several people to it, & after I had actually built several houses thereon, by way of strengthening my right, numbers of People went, in a forcible manner, and in defiance of repeated notices, & took possession of the Land, & built cabbins in such a manner as to prevent even entrance into my houses, & may, as Mr. Cresap has, dispute my title under pretence of having improved it;—but I do not expect that such claims as these can ever have an operation to my prejudice, or ought to retard my Patent; however, I do not wish to hasten any measure faster than it can be done with propriety.—1
[1 ]“The late Col. Angus McDonald, near Winchester, and several other individuals, went out in the spring of 1774, to survey the military bounty lands, lying on the Ohio and Kanawha rivers, allowed by the king’s proclamation to the officers and soldiers of the army, for their services in the preceding war with the Indians, but were driven off.” This act led to Dunmore’s War. Kercheval, History of the Valley of Virginia, 145.
Fairfax County,Va., May 10, 1774.
In the month of March last the subscriber sent out a number of carpenters and laborers, to build houses and clear and enclose lands on the Ohio, intending to divide the several tracts which he there holds, into convenient sized tenements and to give leases therefor for lives, or a term of years, renewable forever, under certain conditions which may be known either of him, or Mr. Valentine Crawford, who is now on the land.
The situation and quality of these lands having been thoroughly described in a former advertisement, it is unnecessary to enlarge on them here; suffice it generally to observe, that there are no better in that country, and that the whole of them lay upon the banks of the Ohio or Great Kanawha, and are capable of receiving the highest improvement.
George Washington.* * * * * *
“Before I conclude (as the whole of my force is in a manner confined to the growth of wheat and manufacturing of it into flour) permit me to ask how flour of a good quality would sell in London? What would be the freight of it there, and commission? and whether if our commerce with Great Britain is kept open (which seems to be a matter of very great doubt at present) you would choose to accept a commission to sell one or two hundred barrels at a time as I could meet with a convenient freight (for it will not do to be put into tobacco ships, the heat thereof being too great and apt to the flour musty.”—Washington to Robert Cary & Co., Williamsburg, 1 June, 1774.