Jun 15, 2023 - Sale 2641

Sale 2641 - Lot 66

Price Realized: $ 23,750
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 15,000 - $ 25,000
"MY OBJECT [IS] TO HAVE MY LANDS IMPROVED BY . . . REPUTABLE PEOPLE" WASHINGTON, GEORGE. Autograph Letter Signed, "G:Washington," to Edward Snickers, accepting his offer to manage the leasing of the land Washington purchased from George Mercer's Estate [on the Shenandoah River near Snickers's home], sending a map of the plots and a copy of the lease [not present], summarizing the terms of the lease, explaining when a lease is permitted to exceed 10 years, stipulating that he should only consider tenants who intend to reside on the land, and requesting a report of the result when Washington returns home. 1 1/4 pages, folio, written on recto and verso of a single sheet; some chipping to edges with minor loss to text, loss to lower left corner (not affecting text), faint scattered foxing, folds, docketing on verso at middle right well below signature. Berkeley [VA], 4 September 1784

Additional Details

"Several persons have been with me this day to rent the Land I bought at the Sale of Colo. George Mercer's Estate; but I find it is essential that some one, or more of them, should engage for the whole rent; or, that I should delay renting it until the Land can be divided to the greatest advantage; so as that each Lot may have water and (if there is any difference) a proportionate quantity of good Land. For these reasons I mean to avail myself of the kind offer you made me yesterday, of letting the two lots (I bought as above) to the best advantage for & on my behalf.
". . . I have told [John] Williams, who is a liver on one of the Lots, that I have no objection to his having a hundred or more acres provided he will give as much as another, and the laying it off does not hurt the other part. As to the Rent, I suppose the same which Mr [Nathaniel] Burwell has . . . Ten pounds and the Taxes for each 100 acres; In other respects, my printed leases (one of which I enclose you) is to be . . . their terms.
"I do not mean to give leases for lives--indeed I do not incline to exceed Ten years, but if it should be thought by the Tenants, and it is your opinion also, that ten years is too short a term to make the buildings and other improvements which are required by the printed copy I send you, I would lengthen them to fourteen years.
"There is one thing I think it necessary to caution you against. My object being to have my Lands improved by an industrious class of reputable people, I w'd not lease any of them to persons who do not mean to reside thereon; or to those who have lands adjoining--because, in either case I should expect to have my Land hard worked (perhaps totally ruined), without those aids, or improvements, which is to be expected from residents, whose convenience & comfort would call for many things that never would be furnished Negro Plantations. . . ."