Gunston-Hall May 12th. 1792.
I yesterday received a Letter (forwarded by Mr. Johnson) from you, dated the 23d: of Octbr. 1791, covering an old Letter from Mr. Rutland to you, respecting some Land he said he had upon James River. Had this Letter come to my Hands in Rutland's Life time, it might have enabled me to have examined into the Title Situation & Value of the Land, & perhaps, by it, to have secured Part of my Debt. At present, I do not know that it will be of any Use to me.
I wrote to you last Fall, respecting two Bonds from the late Mr. George Frazer Hawkins to me (which I had formerly put into your Hands) & enclosed you a Memdm. of the Dates & Amounts of them; but have not been favour'd with any Answer from you, upon the Subject; and Mr. Johnson tells me you do not recollect having had them. If I now had the Bonds, I cou'd find Means of obtaining the Debt, and must entreat you to search for them. I remember, at the time I gave them to you (in my own House) seeing you put them into a Pocket-Book, you then had with you; they must certainly be somewhere among your Papers, & if carefully searched for, I have no Doubt may be found. In case you can not find them, I have to request, that you will advise me in what Manner I shall proceed to ascertain, & recover the Debt; for the Sum is too large for me to lose; if the Loss can be avoided. The said Bonds are regularly entered &charged in my Ledger. I can prove, by Colo. Lyles (who transacted the Business with Mr. Hawkins for me) that he took two such Bonds from Mr. Hawkins, on my Behalf; tho' perhaps he may not now recollect the precise Dates, or respective Amounts. These Bonds were both put in Suit in Prince George's County Court against Mr. Hawkins, in his Life time, & the Suits abated by his Death; and it appears, from the Records of that Court, that the two Actions of Debt, Geo: Mason v George Frazer Hawkins, respectively correspond exactly with the Bonds charged in my Ledger; that is, the said Suits are exactly for double the Sum (or the Penalty) of each of the Bonds charged in my Ledger. Upon the Abatement of the Suits, on Mr. Hawkins's Death, I withdrew the Bonds from the Clerk's Office of Prince George's County; and after having kept them some time by me, gave them to you; that you might join my Claim to those of some of the other Creditors; who I understood had filed a Bill in Chancery, in order to subject Mr. Hawkins's Lands to the Payment of his Bond-Debts, during the minority of his Devisees. Perhaps you may have lodged them in the Chancery Office for this Purpose. I have cause to believe there are, or soon will be Assets in the Hands of his Exrs. or rather in the Hands of his Admrs. de bonis non. I beg you will let me hear from you, upon this Subject, as soon as you have had time to make the proper Inquirys. I am altogether unacquainted with the present State of my Suit with Mr. David Ross. I have wrote to Mr. Luther Martin once [or] twice lately about it; but can get no Answer from him, and have Reason to believe, it has been very much neglected by him. When I conversed with you about it last, you was of Opinion, that it wou'd not be proper (Mr. Ross's Father having obtained a Patent for the Land) to venture a Trial, at Common Law, upon the Ejectment; until we had either obtained a Patent from the Land Office, upon Mr. Bladen's Certificate of Survey (of many Year's older Date than Mr. Ross's Patent, Survey, or Warrant) assigned to me, by Mr. Benjm. Tasker, Mr. Bladen's Attorney in Fact; a Pattent ordered to be issued theron to me, & the Patent to me actually drawn; but before the Governor had affixed the Seal &c, [he was] stop'd by a Caveat from Mr. Ross's Father, and the Caveat never tryed. Or else, that we shou'd, by a Bill in Chancery endeavour either to vacate Mr. Ross's Patent, or compel him to convey to me, so much thereof as is included in Mr. Bladen's Certificate of Survey for the Tract called the Pleasant Valley.
The papers, & Statement, in yours, & Mr. Martin's Hands, give all the Information I am able to furnish; and I hope you will now be able to attend to it; for I am extreamly anxious, to have the Matter fairly & speedily tried, upon it's real Merits; so that the Title may be clearly & finally setled and enable me, if setled in my Favour, to sell the Land, in order to close the Ohio Company's Affairs, as speedily as possible.
I am, with great Regard, dear Sir, Yr. most obdt. Sert.