I do for these reasons acquit them, and the said estate, from the payment thereof.My intention being, that all accounts between them and me, and their fathers estate and me shall stand balanced.9 Item The balance due to me from the Estate of Bartholomew Dandridge deceased (my wife’s brother) and which amounted on the first day of October 1795 to four hundred and twenty five pounds (as will appear by an account rendered by his deceased son John Dandridge, who was the acting Exr of his fathers Will) I release & acquit from the payment thereof.Whereas by a Law of the Commonwealth of Virginia, enacted in the year 1785, the Legislature thereof was pleased (as an evidence of Its approbation of the services I had rendered the Public during the Revolution—and partly, I believe, in consideration of my having suggested the vast advantages which the Community would derive from the ex⟨te⟩nsions of its Inland Navigation, under Legislative patronage) to present me with one hundred shares of one hundred dollars each, in the incorporated company established for the purpose of extending the navigation of James River from tide water to the Mountains: and also with fifty shares of one hundred pounds Sterling each, in the Corporation of another company, likewise established for the similar purpose of opening the Navigation of the River Potomac from tide water to Fort Cumberland, the acceptance of which, although the offer was highly honourable, and grateful to my feelings, was refused, as inconsistent with a principle which I had adopted, and had never departed from—namely—not to receive pecuniary compensation for any services I could render my country in its arduous struggle with great Britain, for its Rights; and because I had evaded similar propositions from other States in the Union; adding to this refusal, however, an intimation that, if it should be the pleasure of the Legislature to permit me to appropriate the said shares to I would receive them on those terms with due sensibility; and this it having consented to, in flattering terms, as will appear by a subsequent Law, and sundry resolutions, in the most ample and honourable manner, I proceed after this recital, for the more correct understanding of the case, to declare—5 That as it has always been a source of serious regret with me, to see the youth of these United States sent to foreign Countries for the purpose of Education, often before their minds were formed, or they had imbibed any adequate ideas of the happiness of their own; contracting, too frequently, not only habits of dissipation & extravagence, but principles unfriendly to Republican Governmt and to the true & genuine liberties of Mankind; which, thereafter are rarely overcome.For these reasons, it has been my ardent wish to see a plan devised on a liberal scale, which would have a tendency to sprd systemactic ideas through all parts of this rising Empire, thereby to do away local attachments and State prejudices, as far as the nature of things would, or indeed ought to admit, from our National Councils.
And to prevent misconception, my meaning is, and is hereby declared to be, that these twenty shares are in lieu of, and not in addition to, the thousand pounds given by a missive letter some years ago; in consequence whereof an annuity of fifty pounds has since been paid towards the support of this Institution.4 Item.
In the name of God amen I George Washington of Mount Vernon—a citizen of the United States, and lately Pr⟨es⟩ident of the same, do make, ordai⟨n⟩ and declare this Instrument; w⟨hic⟩h is written with my own hand ⟨an⟩d every page thereof subscribed ⟨wit⟩h my name, to be my last Will & ⟨Tes⟩tament, revoking all others. All my ⟨deb⟩ts, of which there are but few, and none of magnitude, are to be punctu⟨al⟩ly and speedily paid—and the Legaci⟨es he⟩reinafter bequeathed, are to be disc⟨ha⟩rged as soon as circumstances will ⟨pe⟩rmit, and in the manner directe⟨d⟩. To my dearl⟨y be⟩loved wife Martha Washington ⟨I⟩ give and bequeath the use, profit ⟨an⟩d benefit of my whole Estate, real and p⟨er⟩sonal, for the term of her natural li⟨fe⟩—except such parts thereof as are sp⟨e⟩cifically disposed of hereafter: ⟨My i⟩mproved lot in the Town of Alex⟨andria, situated on⟩ Pitt & Cameron ⟨streets, I give to her and⟩ her heirs forev⟨er;1 as I also do my⟩ household & Kitc⟨hen⟩ furniture of every sort & kind, with the liquors and groceries which may be on hand at the time of my decease; to be used & disposed of as she may think proper.
⟨Ite⟩m Upon the decease ⟨of⟩ my wife, it is my Will & desire th⟨at⟩ all the Slaves which I hold in ⟨my⟩ , shall receive their free⟨dom⟩.
And by way of advice, I recommend it to my Executors not to be precipitate in disposing of the landed property (herein directed to be sold) if from temporary causes the Sale thereof should be dull; experience having fully evinced, that the price of land (especially above the Falls of the Rivers, & on the Western Waters) have been progressively rising, and cannot be long checked in its increasing value.
And I particularly recommend it to such of the Legatees (under this clause of my Will) as can make it convenient, to take each a share of my Stock in the Potomac Company in preference to the amount of what it might sell for; being thoroughly convinced myself, that no uses to which the money can be applied will be so productive as the Tolls arising from this navigation when in full operation (and this from the nature of things it must be ’ere long) and more especially if that of the Shanondoah is added thereto.