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TO PRESLEY NEVILLE.
Philadelphia, 16 June, 1794.
I should have written to you at an earlier period, but for the extreme hurry into which I was thrown at the close of the session of Congress, which did not terminate before Monday last, and from my not having adverted, in time, to the Pittsburg postday of last week. This letter, as I shall set out for Virginia to. morrow, is left to go by next Saturday's mail.
Enclosed is a blank power, authorizing Mr. Charles Morgan, or any other with whose name you shall fill it, to collect the rents arising from my land in Fayette and Washington counties, in this State, together with such arrearages as may be due for the preceding years, if any there be. Another blank is also left, which I pray you to fill up with the per centage to be allowed, as a compensation for the trouble and expense of collection. The inducements to this are, first, because I do not recollect what Colonel Cannon has been allowed for his services; and, secondly, because there is no invariable allowance established, places and circumstances varying it.
A letter for Colonel Cannon is also enclosed, requesting him to give the necessary information to his successor, and to desire that he would discontinue all further agency in my business. This letter is left open for your insertion of the name of his successor. The emolument arising from this collection is too trifling to become an object worthy of your acceptance, or I should never have inquired for another before I had offered it to you.
From the experience of many years, I have found distant property in land more pregnant of perplexities than profit; I have, therefore, resolved to sell all I hold on the Western waters, if I can obtain the prices which I conceive their quality, their situation, and other advantages would authorize me to expect. Conversing with Mr. Ross, one of your senators, on this subject a day or two before he left the city, he gave it to me as his opinion, that the present juncture was favorable for the sale of my land in this State; and was so obliging as to offer his services to effect it. He thought the quality of my land in Fayette county, together with the improvements and show of iron ore within less than thirty yards of the mill door, ought on credit to command six dollars. The other I have always held at four dollars. The former tract
contains 1,644 acres; the latter, 2,813 acres, by the patent, but it measures more than 3,000 acres by a subsequent survey.
If, Sir, as you live at Pittsburg, the probable place of inquiring after land in that country, you should find it convenient, and not militating against any plans of your own to make mention of mine, and to aid Mr. Ross in the sale of these tracts, it would oblige me.
If a fourth of the purchase money is paid at the time of conveyance, a credit of four, five, or six years might be allowed for the remainder, provided it is fully secured, and the interest thereon regularly paid at one of the banks in this State, Baltimore, Georgetown, or Alexandria. To receive this without trouble, and with punctuality as it becomes due, will be insisted upon.
My land on the Ohio and Great Kenhawa Rivers, amounting to 32,373 acres, was once sold for sixty-five thousand French crowns to a French gentleman, who was very competent to the payment at the time the contract was made; but, getting a little embarrassed in his finances by the revolution in his country, by mutual agreement the bargain was cancelled. Lately I have been in treaty for the same land at three dollars and a third per acre for the whole quantity ; but, being connected with other matters, it is not likely to result in a bargain, as I once expected, and therefore I am at liberty to seek another market.
To give a further description of these lands than to say they are the cream of the country in which they are, that they were the first choice of it, and that the whole is on the margin of the rivers and bounded thereby for fifty-eight miles, would be unnecessary to you, who must have a pretty accurate idea of them and their value. But it may not be amiss to add, for the information of others, that the quantity before mentioned is contained in seven surveys, to wit, three on the Ohio, east side, between the mouths of the Little and Great Kenhawas. The first is the first large bottom below the mouth of the Little Kenhawa, containing 2,314 acres, and is bounded by the river five miles and a quarter. The second is the fourth large bottom, on the same side of the river, about sixteen miles lower down, containing 2,448 acres, bounded by the river three miles and a quarter. The third is the next large bottom, three miles and a half below, and opposite nearly to the Great Bend, containing 4,395 acres, with a margin on the river of five miles. The other four tracts are on the Great Kenhawa. The first of them contains 10,990 acres on the west side, and begins within two or three miles of the mouth of it, and
is bounded thereby for more than seventeen miles. The second is on the east side of the river, a little higher up, containing 7,276 acres, and bounded by the river thirteen miles. The other two are at the mouth of Cole River, on both sides and in the fork thereof, containing together 4,950 acres, and like the others are all interval land, having a front upon the water of twelve miles.
Besides these, I have the Round Bottom, opposite to Pipe Creek, about fifteen miles below Wheeling, which contains 587 acres, with two miles and a half front on the river, and of quality inferior to none thereon; and 234 acres at the Great Meadows on Braddock's Road, with the allowances.
For the whole of these tracts taken together, I would allow seven years' credit, without requiring a fourth of the purchase money to be paid down, provided the principal is amply secured, and the interest also, in the manner before mentioned; for to have no disappointment or trouble in the receipt of this must be a sine quâ non. If the tracts are sold separately, I should expect a fourth of the purchase to be paid down, and more than three dollars and a quarter per acre for the Round Bottom, and the tract of 10,990 acres on the Great Kenhawa, knowing from my own view the extraordinary value of these tracts. With very great esteem and regard, I am, dear Sir, &c.
TO THOMAS JEFFERSON.
Mount Vernon, 4 October, 1795. Dear Sir, Your letter of the 12th ultimo, after travelling to Philadelphia and back again, was received by me at this place the 1st instant. The letter from Madame de Chastellux to me is short, referring to the one she has written to you for particulars respecting herself and infant son. Her application to me is unquestionably misplaced, and to Congress it would certainly be unavailing; as the Chevalier de Chastellux's pretensions (on which hers must be founded) to any allowance from this country were no greater than that of any and every other officer of the French army, who served in America the last war. To grant to one, therefore, would open a wide door to applications of a similar nature, and to consequent embarrassments. Probably the sum granted at the last session of Congress to the daughters of the Count de Grasse has given