Gunston-Hall Febry. 18th. 1775.
I shall always think my self obliged to any Friend to communicate wth. Freedom & Candour whatever Doubts he may have of my Conduct towards him, as the most effectual Means of preventing Misrepresentation; and I hope you will believe me when I assure you that you have greatly misconstrued my Intentions in making the Collection I mentioned. Was either of us to take the advantage of receiving what he wou'd from those who are most able & willing to pay, leaving the other to scuffle as he wou'd wth. the rest, it wou'd not only be unequal & ungenerous, but absolutely dishonest: the thing is self-evident, & needs no Proof.
I thought that the Collection wou'd not be made by the Sherif 'til late in the Summer, & that therefore collecting as much as we cou'd ourselves wou'd not only save Commissions, but expedite the Business,
& reimburse us so much the sooner. I had also another Reason, not finding that simular Measures were adopted in the other Countys, I was, & still am of Opinion that the Collection may be more easily made now than some time hence. I hinted your taking the same Measures, & offer'd a Copy of the List of Tytheables, distinguishing such as had paid to me: by these Means I imagined we cou'd, between us, collect the greatest Part of the Money in two or three Weeks, when a Dividend of what we had both received cou'd be easily made; leaving the rest to be collected by the Sherif or by any other Person (if the Sherif refused) at his Leisure; & as I expected a good deal might be paid in Pensilvania Curry. & paper Dollars, I thought, if Mr. Harper wou'd wait a few Days, I shou'd get such Money off my Hands (instead of being obliged to keep it upon my own Acct.) without Injury to any one; for otherwise the advancing or not advancing the Money just at this time, makes not a farthing odds to me, having kept a Sum bye me on Purpose; and nothing cou'd be further from my Mind than the Idea of making a partial Collection for my own seperate Benefit; it can not but give me Concern that I shou'd be thought capable of such disingenuous Conduct. I may perhaps be blameable for not explaining myself fully before; but in a Matter so palpable, I had no Conception that it was necessary.
It has not been in my Power to do any thing, since I came from Maryland, towards the Potomack River Bill; but I will apply to it as soon as I can, & when finish'd forward it to you.
By a Letter from Maryland Yesterday I am inform'd that his Majesty has ordered his Embassadors at the different Courts in Europe to declare his American Subjects in a State of Rebellion.
I am, wth. my Comps. to Mrs. Washington & the Family at Mount Vernon, Dr Sir Yr. affecte. & obdt. Servt.