Gunston-Hall March 24th. 1784.
This will be delivered you by my Son George; who comes to Annapolis, I believe, to furnish himself with some matrimonial Aparatus; and I cou'd not omit the Opportunity of paying my Respects to you, and inquiring after your Wellfare.
If the Deed of Cession, from Virginia to Congress, is not already executed, I wish particular Attention may be paid to it; and care taken to insert such clauses as will contain an Acknowledgement, from Congress, of the Right of Virginia to her remaining Territory, on this Side the Ohio—E. G. "all that Part of the Territory of the Commonwealth of Virginia, which lieth on the North West Side of the Ohio River" or some such Expression; which I presume will hardly be excepted to, in the Conveyance, and will imply an Acknowledgement, in the Grantees, of our Right to the Remainder, on the South East Side the Ohio.
I have just seen a Resolution of a Committee of Congress, upon the Subject of erecting new States, I received it but last Night; and have been so un[well] all this Day, with a Complaint in my Stomach; w[hich] I fear is a forerunner of the Gout, that I have n[ot] been able to consider it thoroughly. From my pres[ent] Notion of it however, it seems whimsical, & prem[ature]. I may, perhaps, misunderstand it; but I think it covers (or at least leaves a door open for) furth[er] Demands upon Virginia, notwithstanding her la[st] Cession; it surely behoves her Delegates to bew[are] of any Expression which may lead to, or countena[nce] this hereafter. The Reference too to the 11th. Artic[le of] the Confederation is a manifest Misapplication or Misconstruction of that Article of the Union; w[hich] it is notorious meant no such thing at the tim[e]. It will be a much safer honester & wiser Method to obtain from the different States an additional Article to the Confederation, vesting in Congress proper Powers, for the purpose, than to attemp[t to] arrogate them by such an equivocal Subterfuge] to say no worse of it.
I think, some time ago, upon your telling me you wanted to purchase a Tract of Land, in some convenient part of the Country, I mentioned to you a Tract which Capt. Hancock Lee offered for Sale, upon Rappahannock River, about six Miles above Falmouth. I have lately seen Capt. Lee, and made particular Inquiry of him concerning it. He tells me there are abt. 3000 Acres in the Tract, part of it but indifferent Land, & part of it under [Lease?] but that there are about nine hundred Acres, alltog[ether] very good, & free from the Incumberance of Leases; being a Part his Father had always reserved; and that he wou'd sell these 900 Acres (separately from the rest) at 30/ Virga. Curry. P Acre. It is probable, if you were to see the Land, & like it, you & he might come to an Agreement. I am not at all acquainted with the Land myself.
I am, with real Esteem & Respect, Dr. Sir Your Most obdt. Sert.
P. S. If you have Thoughts of purchasing, Capt. Lee wishes you to see the Land soon; as he is in great Want of Money—