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title:“George Mason to William Lee”
authors:George Mason
date written:1778-10-8

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:29 a.m. UTC
retrieved:April 13, 2024, 3:58 a.m. UTC

Mason, George. "Letter to William Lee." The Papers of George Mason. Vol. 1. Ed. Bernard Bailyn and James Morton Smith. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1970. 439-41. Print.
Recipient's Copy, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond, Va.

George Mason to William Lee (October 8, 1778)

Virginia, Gunston-Hall, Octor. 8th. 1778.
Your Favour from Nantes in October last, (dated in London 22d. May 1777) § the Congress Capt. Skinner, was duly received, covering Accts. of Sales for my one hundred Hhds. of Tobo. ship'd you to London in 1775, Nett proceeds £1053. .11. .10. Ster: with which I am by no Means pleased. Had the Tobo. been kept up, as I desired (& put it in your Power to do, by not drawing on it for a year or two) it wou'd have produced more than double the Sum; instead of which, I observe it was sold, soon after it's Arrival, at a less price than I refused for it in Virginia; & if I was to take Paper-Money here for it, as you intended, I shou'd not receive one fifth of the Value, & will sooner submit to a Loss of the whole. I therefore imediatly return'd your Orders, one on Mr. John Mills for the Sum of £388. .17. .5. & the other on Messrs. Triplett & Thornton for the Sum of £445. .12. .10, to your Brother, Colo. Richd. Henry Lee, whose Receipt I have for them. I have certainly a legal, as well as just Right to the Benefit of the Exchange for my own Money in another Country, or to make such other Use of it as I judge best, and if you endeavour to disappoint me in doing this, I must draw Bills on you, & in Case of non-payment, order them to be regularly protested & returned; that I may seek my proper Remedie. I intreat you, my dear Sir, not to lay me under this disagreeable Necessity; for my Friendship for your Family will make it exceedingly so to me. My Bills of the 13th of March 1777, favr. Messrs. Jenifer & Hooe, for £190. . Ster: you say shall be duly paid; but take no Notice of my Bills of the 24th of April 1777 favour Messrs. J. Gruell & Company Merchts. in Nantes for the Sum of £850. . Ster: which I understand, from your Brother, you had refused to pay. Had I known of your removal from England to France, I shou'd not have drawn the sd. Bills to Gruell & Compy. having no other Motive in doing it, but to get my Money out of England; & therefore your not paying them has not (that I know of) been any Disadvantage to me; as I had rather my Money shou'd have remained in your Hands than a Stranger's; & this Suggestion might perhaps induce you not to pay them; but I shou'd have taken it more kindly, if you had mentioned the matter openly &candidly to me, instead of studiously avoiding such an Explanation. I hope you will excuse the Freedom with which I write, as in doing so, I deal with my Friend, as I wish all Men to deal with me.
I have now to desire you will send me Goods, to the amount of the Ballance I have in your Hands, as per List on the other Side, per the first good Ship to Virginia agreeing particularly for the Freight, & transmitting me Bills of Loading accordingly; and that a proper Insurance be made on them, & in Case of Loss, the Goods reship'd. [*] As many vessels, bringing goods from Europe hither, come out not fully loaded, I shou'd hope the Freight might be reasonable; but at all Events, wish it to be firmly fixed; because great Impositions, respecting Freight, have been attempted here.
I pray you to let me hear from you speedily, and sincerely wishing you Health & Happiness, remain, Dr Sir Your most obdt. Servt.
P. S.
If the Goods cou'd be sent to Potomack it wou'd be more convenient to me than any other River—
[enclosure] [8 October 1778]
Goods to be ship'd by William Lee Esqr. on Acct. & Risque of George Mason, § the first good Ship to Virginia; the Goods to be insured, & in Case of Loss, the same Articles reship'd, & again insured. The Packages containing the Goods to be mark'd G 4 M. NB. it will be more convenient to receive them in Potomack than any other River. Rappahannock will be nearly as convenient.
One Set of good common Black Smith's Tools, to consist of-1. pr.
good Bellows 1. best large Bench-Vice _____2. Hand Do. 1. best Anville ______1. Beake Iron ____ 1. Sledge Hammer 2 large Hand-Hammers ____ 2 smaller Do.____ 4. pr. Tongs & 1. dozn. Smith's Files sorted. N. B. other small Tools are not wanted.
Good ozenbrigs, or strong brown Linnen, to the amount of about two hundred Pounds Sterling ____
200. pr. good Wool Cards ____ I00. pr. good Cotton Cards.
10. pr. good woolen Bed-Blankets.
I. dozn. fine Linnen Handkerchiefs ____ r. doz: coarser Do.
3. pr. of white Sheeting, at abt. 15d. Ster: .§ yd.
2. doz: pr. of men's thread or Cotton Stockings.
  • * And the remainder of the Balle. due G Mason, in white Linnens solid, such as usually cost in London from 1 to 2 Sterling § yard

    * 1 lb: Nun's thread sorted—1 lb. find Do. sorted

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