Washington, George (ON HOLD)

1794 ALS while President to a Philadelphia lawyer on whether interest should be paid on debts incurred before the Revolutionary War to an estate of which Washington was executor for over 30 years!

Price: $21500.00

Description:
(1732-1799) Virginia-born soldier, Comander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, 1st President of the United States 1789-1797, 1st President of The Society of the Cincinnati (1783), presiding officer at the Constitutional Convention (1787). On his deathbed in 1767, Col. Thomas Colvill, Washington's friend and neighbor, informed Washington that he had appointed him as one of his executors. Washington protested, declaring that he already had numerous engagements of a similar kind. Colvill assured Washington that all details of settling the estate would be seen to by Colvill's wife and John West. When Washington returned to private life at the end of the War, he discovered that Mrs. Colvill and West were dead and no final settlement of the estate had been made. Settlement of the estate was aggravated by claims of Colvill's relatives in England, given 5 years to put in their claims and prove their right to a legacy. Lastly, Colvill had sold land in Maryland to a John Semple from whom the executors could get neither the land nor the money and were thus unable to pay off American legatees, meaning they could not answer the English legatees' claims, who were to entitled to any surplus. The affairs of Colvill's estate dragged on for nearly 30 years, finally settled by a court on July 25, 1796. The protracted delay in settling the estate, the dreary necessity of slogging through the minutiae of estate paperwork while serving as Commander-in-Chief and then as President, surely tested Washington's generous nature and patience. In July 1799, Washington sat down to write his own will. His lifelong experience with settling the estates of others with all attendant complications caused him the greatest anxiety in preparing his own will. He desired to leave all his own affairs and those of others for whom he was responsible "in such a clear and distinct form...that no reproach may attach itself to me when I have taken my departure for the land of spirits". After the deaths of George and Martha Washington, nephew Bushrod Washington inherited the Mount Vernon mansion, part of the estate as well as Washington's library and papers. ALS, 2pp (1st & 2nd 9 x 7 pps of folded sheet), Philadelphia, March 31 1794, while President, docketed on 4th page), replying to William Tilghman, then a lawyer in Philadelphia, regarding money due the estate of Col. (Thomas) Colvill, of whose estate Washington was executor. Washington sought Tilghman's advice as to whether or not interest should be paid on debts incurred before the Revolutionary War, saying that his conduct must be regulated by the laws in the cases of Mr. George and Mr. Chalmers: "To do all that these will permit, is enough for my justification-more I shall not covet. If, however, as I conceive the fact assuredly is, the latter gentleman has actually received, and did not pay, a hundfred pounds which was put into his hands as part (underscored by Washington) of a Bond due to the estate of Colvill (and was then bearing interest) it would seem but justice that he should allow interest for that sum, when applied to his own use but if there is a principle arising from analogy or reciprocity, opposed thereto, I must be content with what Mr. Chalmers will pay; and this I am disposed to receive, in order that my administration of the estate of Colo. Colvill may be finally closed." Washington discusses his preferences as to how he would prefer Mr. George pay the money to the estate, adding: "If the law of Maryland was otherwise in Virginia, for there I have lately recovered a pretty heavy debt with interest from the date of the bond, which was taken before the War..." WILLIAM TILGHMAN (1756-1827) Brother of Tench Tilghman (Washington's aide-de-camp, selected by Washington to carry news of the surrender at Yorktown to the Congress). A Maryland lawyer, politician, jurist and statesman, he served a term each in the Maryland House of Delegates and State Senate before moving in 1793 to Philadelphia, where he had gone to college. After some years of private practice, he was appointed a justice to Philadelphia and state courts. On February 26, 1801, he was nominated by President Adams to a new seat as a federal judge on the US circuit court for the Third Circuit, was confirmed by the Senate on March 2, 1801, and received his commission March 3. He served as chief judge of the circuit throughout his tenure, but his service was terminated on March 8, 1802, due to abolition of the court. In 1805, he was named Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court, serving 1806 to his 1827 death. In 1811, when he ran for governor, as Pennsylvania abolished slavery in 1780, he began to emancipate his slaves. He was not elected. In 1816, Tilghman was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society. A member of the American Philosophical Society, he served as its president from 1824 to his death in 1827. With transcripts of two letters between Tilghman and Washington preceding this letter.

Condition: Very good, dark ink, tiny hole between 2 lines affecting no content, , remnant and light water stain down the right side of the docket page, not affecting content
Type:Letter






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