Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO JAMES MERCER. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. II (1758-1775)
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TO JAMES MERCER. - 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 JAMES MERCER.
Mount Vernon, 26 December, 1774.
I do not recollect whether, in my last, I informed you that it was £29 you gave for the negro Kate, and that the whole of your purchases in Frederick amounted to £2385, 14. 2; if I did not then do it, these will be found right, and agreeable to the original entries.
I have heard nothing yet from Colo. Payton, respecting those lands which you appear charged with at the Loudoun sale. There is no doubt, I presume, of courts or others taking them off your hands. If there be, the sums bid for them will require to be added to your account.
I cannot say but that I should have liked to have had 1224 acres of land warranted to me, instead of your granting 1200 acres more or less; for as it was upon the presumption that the tracts of Gray and Adams contained this quantity, clear of disputed bounds, that I agreed to give the price I did; so if it falls short (I mean more than is generally allowed for variation of instruments) I shall not much like, nor indeed think myself bound by it; and am inclined to think (as Mr. Carlyle also does) that Hough must have made some mistake in his measurement, as the original patents to Adams and Gray together contain no more than 1168 acres, whilst it appears that Adams’ patent runs into Gray’s, and one half, or near it, of Gray’s is taken away by Strutfield’s. Notwithstanding all which Hough you say (for I have no plat or report of his) makes 56 acres more than is granted by both patents; at the same time he differs but little (I perceive by your plat) from the original courses and distances.
I do not pretend either to be well acquainted with the phrases which constitute a general warranty, but the words made use of by you, for this purpose are not so strong and emphatical as I have generally observed upon these occasions; which usually run in some such manner as this: “From the claim, or claims of any person, or persons, whatsoever, the said his —, his heirs &c. doth warrant, and will forever defend.” Your covenant may, for ought I know be tantamount, although no such expressions are used, and, therefore, I shall say nothing further on this head.
It was my intention to have run round the lines of these tracts and tried the contents of them myself; but I have never been a day well since my return from Frederick, nor a day without company. If you have Adam’s conveyance, I should be glad to be furnished with it when you send the copy of the power of attorney, to McCoul and Blair, as I have no paper relative to this land, except an unattested copy of the Proprietor’s deed to him.
I have wrote to your Brother1 since I came home. I intended a short letter, just to advise him of the amount of the sales, but insensibly run into a long one. Inclosed is a copy of it, as also of the two queries which he seems anxious for your answering; the reason of my repeating them to you now, being that they are again urged to me in a letter from Mr. Montague. If you choose to answer them, it may be by way of letter to me, which I can enclose to your brother. It was for this reason I have furnished you with my preparatory letter.
As ye quantity of wheat threshed at Marlborough, agreeably to your letter of the 13th inst. is too much for a load; and as the holidays are near at hand, and bad weather probably approaching, it will be out of my power to send for it very soon. Indeed this will always be the case, (which makes no material difference to me,) if it cannot be got ready for delivery before Christmas, it being difficult afterwards, to procure craft till the frosts are thought to be over in the spring.
I have heard no person speak of the sale of cattle in Frederick but what thought it a great one. I have mentioned the average price to no one since, but what thinks I might buy for much less; and although I do not dispute, as I have never seen the goodness of your cattle at Marlborough, yet give me leave my friend to tell you, that you are too sanguine in your expectations in matters of this sort. It is not my intention to buy at high prices, as I am in no immediate want. My design, as I raise a great deal of provender, was to stock my plantations more plentifully than they are, if I could purchase upon terms as I liked; and hearing you talk of selling cattle from Marlborough, I thought it might answer both our purposes; but you are to observe that if your bond upon delivery of the cattle is to have a credit for the amount of ye sale, it is, to all intents and purposes, a ready money sale to both [of] us, although no cash is deposited. This, in fact, is the case in respect to the land, which makes the £446 allowed for your moiety equal to £468. 6. 0, a year hence, to say nothing of the disadvantage attending ready money sales; and is a circumstance I did not advert to. The kind of cattle I should prefer, would be cows and heifers, as they would put me into a full stock the soonest; but when I wrote to you on this subject, my intention if we could agree upon terms, was to take off all you could spare of every kind; if the person I should send liked the cattle at the price they should be offered, and found they were not the worse for having a parcel picked out for your plantation use, for I would not be concerned with refuse cattle at any rate.
I find, in order to lay your brother’s affairs fully before him in my next, that it will be necessary for me to have copies of both the reports made by the commissioners, neither of which I have. As I think you spoke something of a plan when we were in Frederick together, of your committee being branched out to [NA] different purposes, I shall be obliged to you for forwarding me a copy of your resolution respecting the matter. A plan of this kind I am sure is necessary for us, and we may be benefitted by a precedent.
With very great esteem, and with the compliments of the season, I remain, &c.1
[1 ]George Mercer.
[1 ]Endorsement on back of letter: “The genl. then corresponded with Mr. Montague, the friend of Mr. Gravatt and brother of Mis Wroughton, thro’ whom the power of attorney originally came to George Mason, John Taylor, and the gen’l. to sell G. Mercer’s estates in Frederick and Loudoun.