Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO BARTHOLOMEW DANDRIDGE. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. IX (1780-1782)
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TO BARTHOLOMEW DANDRIDGE. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. IX (1780-1782) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890). Vol. IX (1780-1782).
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TO BARTHOLOMEW DANDRIDGE.
Newburgh, 20 April, 1782.
Since my last to you from Philadelphia I have been favoured with your Letter of the 20th ulto. from New Kent.
How far it is proper or improper to delay the appointment of a Guardian or Guardians to Mr. Custis’s children I shall not take upon me to decide, but this I am clear in, and beg leave again to urge it, that whenever the necessity for it arrives you shou’d take upon yourself the trust. I confess to you candidly, that I see very little prospect of the War’s ending with this Campaign, or if it does that I shall have leizure to engage in New Matters. My own affairs will, I am convinced, be found in a very perplexed condition. All my Book Acc’ts, Bonds, &c., stand as I left them (except those which have been discharged with depreciated notes)—But this is not all—matters which relate immediately to myself is the least of my concern. Unfortunately for me, I became, much against my inclination, but at the earnest request of Colo. Thos. Colvill, one of his Executors to an Estate which was left under the most peculiar circumstances imaginable, as it was intricately involved with an Estate of his Brother’s (who had died before him)—and in Legacies to people in England—not by name, but by description and descent almost from Adam; who had given infinite trouble before I left Virginia by their claims, unsatisfactory proofs of their descent, discontents, &c. The other Executor—a Mr. West—whom it was intended by the Testator should, and who ought to have had all the trouble, died three or four years ago; and from an indolence of disposition, inattention to business, and bad acc’ts, has, I fear, made that which at best would have been exceedingly troublesome in a great degree perplexing and difficult, so that I have not only all these difficulties to encounter, but shall think myself very fortunate if I escape without loss. Besides this business I stand alone in another which is also under very peculiar circumstances—I mean my transactions under a power of attorney from Colo. Geo. Mercer, and his mortgages to Colo. Tayloe and myself; in which I disposed of his Estate to the Am’t. of £14,000, payable the Nov’r. succeeding my leaving home, and left the business with Colo. Tayloe to finish; but this Gent’n never took one single direct or proper step in it while he was in a condition so to do, and died insane; so that, that matter stands on a most wretched and ruinous footing. Add to this, that yielding to the pressing solicitation of my neighbor Colo. Fairfax, when he was about to leave the Country, I accepted of a power of attorney authorising me to direct his business, which when I left Virginia, was (after selling good part of his personal Estate) left at sixes and sevens.
In a word, I see so many perplexing and intricate matters before me, which must be the work of time to arrange and bring to a conclusion, that it would be injurious to the children, and madness in me, to undertake, as a principle, a trust which I could not discharge. Such aid however, as it ever may be with me to give to the children, especially the boy, I will afford with all my heart, with all my soul, and on the assurance of it you may rely.
Inclosed you have a copy of my Acct. with Mr. Custis, settled by Colo. Mason as the mutual friend to us both. I have no doubt but that every Article of Debit and Credit contained in it, is right; but that there is a dificiency in the acct. is obvious from the face of it, when compared with known facts. This acc’t. carries with it, the appearance of a final settlement—comprehending all our dealings up to the date—to wit, the 28th of June, 1778. Whereas the fact is, that all articles of charge, or credit between that period and the settlem’t, with the Gen’l Court on the 4th Nov., 1773, are omitted; many of which may be important, one I know to be so, and that is the rent of the dower Estate near Wmsburg. during that Interval. This imperfection in the settle’t I can only acct. for by their having (as I directed for Colo. Mason’s satisfaction) recourse to certified copies of the last settled acc’ts as Vouchers with the Gen’l Court, and their not attending, or perhaps knowing of the open one on my Books, by which means the whole of it is excluded. I shall write to Mr. Lund Washington (by this conveyance) for a copy of the open acc’t subsequent to the date of that settled with the Court, and previous to my leaving Virginia in May, 1775, as also for any acc’ts which he on my behalf may have raised since, and will send them both to you.
You also have inclosed, a Copy of Mr. Custis’s Bond to and Agreement with me, at the time I relinquished all my right to and property in the Dower Estate except the Negros under that description which I had on my Estate of Mount Vernon. At the time of Bargaining, I gave him all the Horses and implements of Husbandry at the Plantation; but he was to pay for the stock of every kind which should be found thereon, at such rates as Colo. Bassett might affix to them; 47 of the cattle, however, he removed to his seat in Fairfax before any valuation was made; the remainder was appraised by Colo. Bassett on the 21st of December in that year (1778), in the manner, and to the amount of the inclosed list—the 47 head also included in this list was valued the September following at the rate of £40 pr. head by Colo. Bassett—in consequence I suppose, of the depreciation; but to this Mr. Custis objected on account, he alledged, of the extravagant price which by the by appeared only so in sound. However, as I wanted nothing more than the real value, and was persuaded he meant to do me justice, I wrote him that the matter might be settled in any manner consistently with these views—so the matter (I believe) has rested ever since.
Thus, my dear Sir, have I given you every information in my power respecting the State of my Acc’ts with Mr. Custis. When I get, and can send you the Acc’ts which I am now writing to Mr. Lund Washington for, you will have the whole Matter as fully before you as it is in my power to place it.
If the Legislature of Virga. will not put it in the power of Individuals to recover Debts, it would be extremely hard upon Mr. Custis’s Heirs to have their property sold to discharge his; when there are such ample means to do it without; if they could be got at, and when, if property was to be sold on credit, there might be the same difficulty to obtain the money arising from the Sales as there is to come at that which is already due. As the Assembly has called in all the Paper Money, it can no longer I presume be a tender, but if the case had been otherwise the mere attempt to do it is so incompatible with my ideas of common honesty, and is of so fraudulent a nature that I should have advised the refusal of it in every instance. The Articles which you propose to sell, to wit—Horses and Mares, can well be spared; for I think they contribute more to the amusement than profit of the raiser at any time, and without the latter, there can be no plea for the former in the Instance before us. Without the Household furniture Mrs. Custis cannot do; this therefore ought not to be sold.
I had no particular reason for keeping and handing down to his son the Books of the late Colo. Custis, saving that I thought it would be taking the advantage of a low appraisement to make them my own property at it; and that to sell them was not an object, as they might be useful to him. How far these considerations should weigh at a time when Money is wanting, you are the best judge of. I am exceedingly glad to hear that you found your family well on your return from Fairfax, and that yr. own health was improved by the Trip. Your Sister joins me in the most Affecte. Manner to all Friends, & I am, &c.