TRANSCRIPT GLC 3705
George Washington. Autograph letter signed: Mount Vernon,
to John Francis Mercer, 1786 Sept. 9. 3 p.
Mount Vernon 9 Sep 1786
Your favor of the 20th. ulto. did not reach me till about
the first inst. It found me in a fever, from which I am now
but sufficiently recovered to attend to business. I mention
this to shew that I had it not in my power to give an answer
to your propositions sooner.
With respect to the first. I never mean (unless some particular
circumstances should compel me to it) to possess another slave
by purchase; it being among my first wishes to see some plan
adopted by [inserted: the Legislature by] which slavery in
this Country may be abolished by slow, sure, & imperceptable
degrees. With respect to the 2d., I never did, nor never intend
to purchase a military certificate; I see no difference it
makes with you (if it is one of the funds allotted for the
discharge of my claim) who the the [sic] purchaser  is.
If the depreciation is 3 for 1 only, you will have it in your
power whilst you are at the receipt of Custom - Richmond -
where it is said the great regulator of this business (Greaves)
resides, to convert them into specie at that rate. If the
difference is more, there would be no propriety, if I inclined
to deal in them at all, in my taking them at that exchange.
I shall rely on your promise of Two hundred pounds in five
Weeks from the date of your letter. It will enable me to pay
the workmen which have been employed abt. this house all the
Spring & Summer, (some of whom are here still). But there
are two debts which press hard upon me. One of which, if there
is no other resource, I must sell land or negroes to discharge.
It is owing to Govr. Clinton of New York, who was so obliging
as to borrow, & become my security for £ 2500 to
answer some calls of mine. This sum was to be returned in
 twelve months from the conclusion of the Peace. For the
remains of [struck: this sum], about Eight hundred pounds
york Cy. I am now paying an interest of Seven pr. Ct., but
the high interest (tho' more than any estate can bear) I should
not regard, if my credit was not at stake to comply with the
conditions of the loan. The other debt, tho' I know the person
to whom it is due wants it, and I am equally anxious to pay
it, might be put of [sic] a while longer. This sum is larger
than the other.
I am. D[ea]r Sir
Y[ou]r Most Obed[ien]t H[onora]ble Ser[vant]
Jno. Francis Mercer Esqr.
Notes: Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington, 29: 5-6. In 1782
Mercer was elected to the Virginia legislature and named as
a delegate to the Confederation Congress, replacing Edmund
Randolph. In 1801 Mercer served two terms as the governor