Gunston Hall 9th April 1768.
I have your favour of this Day, & will endeavour to wait on you some time next week in order to settle the Bounds of the Lands you mention; but this will depend upon Mrs. Wm. Mason’s Recovery, who has been ill for some Time past, & tho’ now something better, is still very weak & low. I have no Doubt of our setling every thing amicably between ourselves, without troubling any other person—We are both tollerably [sic] well acquainted with these kind of Affairs: I am truly conscious of desiring to hold nothing more than I have a just Right to, & shall therefore readily give up anything upon being convinced that it is the property of another, & I have all the Reason in the World to expect the same part from Colo. Washington—Where this is the Case reasonable Men can not easily differ.
I have always understood that there was some Defect in Trenn’s Title, particularly that no original Deed for his Land cou’d be found; but as it did not concern me, I never inquired into it, & know nothing of the matter but merely from Hear-say; the Lines of the Chappel Land I believe are well known, & the Hickory, the second Corner (as you justly observe) seems to be ascertain’d by Mason’s & Hereford’s patent. In your Quotation, I do not observe that Ball’s patent calls for the Corner of the Chappel Land; but—you think this implied in its’ mentioning the same Distance with that in Traverses’s patent, altho’ it appears that the Distance to the sd. Hickory is greater—had Balls’ patent (which you inform me is the original patent for Trenn’s Land) call’d here for the Corner of Travers’s patent, & from thence continued the same course 60 (?) further, there cou’d be no Doubt, but that the 60 (?) must be extended from the sd. Corner, without any Regard to the overmeasure upon the Line; but if this is not the case, it may lie incumbent upon you to prove the Corners of Ball’s Land (at least some of them) after it leaves the Chappel Land—I have not started [sic] these Objections to raise Difficultys; but to give you an Opportunity of throwing all the Light upon it that the Subject will admit—Upon looking over my papers, I find that Travers’s patent in mentioning this Course says "running along Mr. Thomas’s Land" & in a platt I have of Traverss’s Land made in the Year 1673, I find this Line laid down as Thomas’s Line, & the Land between that & Dogues Run called Thomas’s Land; this platt appears to have been recorded in Stafford County in the year 1694—How the same Land cou’d afterwards be taken up by Ball, unless he traces his Title from Thomas, I know not; nor can I account for such a mistake in Mason’s & Hereford’s patent, as to run thro' Ball’s land, when my Granfather (one of the patentees) had for a great many years been in Possession of Travers’s patent; a Circumstance which one wou’d have thought might have acquainted him with the Lands which bound on it: I could wish when we settle this Affair, that Mr. Wm. Triplett, Mr. John West, or whoever claims Harrison’s patent, cou’d be present, that the Bounds of that might also be setled at the same Time.
As to my Tenant Gates, I believe him to be a great Rascal, & as such, have several times threaten’d to turn him off, if I heard any complaints of him; indeed for this year or two past he has been continued upon promise of good Behaviour (for his has no manner of Right under his purchase from Paul) & as I heard nothing against him from the neighbours for some Time past, I was in Hopes he had left off his Rogue’s Tricks.
I wish it was in my power to advise anything that wou’d be agreeable to you & Mrs. Washington with Regard to Master Custis—I have no very (?) intimate Acquaintance wth. Mr. Campbell; but take him to be a good Classic Scholar, as well as a good Mathematician, & very capable of teaching; tho’ I have heard of late years that his School was not attended so carefully as formerly: this Circumstance I can enquire particularly into, when my School Master, Mr. McPherson, who is now in Maryland, returns—If you put Master Custis under Mr. Campbell’s Care, I wou’d advise you to board him is some Family in the Neighbourhood, rather than in Mr. Campbell’s own House; as I know that Mr. Campbell’s Boarders have frequently complained of their living, & I believe not without Cause—
I am with my Compliments to your Lady & Family, in which Mrs. Mason joins,
Yr. most obdt. Sert
The Line to which this letter has reference were settled by & between Colo Mason and myself the 19th of April 1769 as will appear (if there should ever be occasion to recur to it) by a Survey thereof made on that day in his presence and with his approbation—Entered among other proceedings of a like sort and tied up in a Book with a green parchment cover, which Book is deposited along with my Land Papers.
Feby 23d 1789