Worthy Partner: The Papers of Martha Washington

By Joseph E. Fields; Martha Washington | Go to book overview

From John Mercer

Madam

( January 4, 1758)

I am sorry I put you to the trouble of a Journey to Williamsburg about my Account, as I understand it is only like to produce a Reference, in which I am sure to be the Sufferer. When your Brother acquainted me that you desired a Copy of my Account, 1 I made no manner of doubt that the late Colo. Custis had either left particular Directions about it, or that you had been well acquainted with his Intentions upon that head, more especially as he had desired me not long before to draw off his Father's 2 & his own Accounts from the beginning & to give Credit for everything I had ever received from either of them. This I accordingly had drawn off before I saw him, for the last time, but as I then little imagined that would be the Case & he did not particularly enquire for it, I did not choose to deliver it to him (tho I was persuaded so to do) for this very good reason, that the Appeal was not then decided & as he, as well as his Father always made the Success of the Cause the measure of the Satisfaction I was to expect, & I was always sanguine enough to believe that Determination would be in his favor, I thought it would be more to my Advantage to wait that Event & I left the Account with several others in the hands of Mr Lyon. 3

I understand by my son Mr Waller reckons the Interest on my bond amounts to something considerable: It is an Article I little expected to have heard mentioned except my demand was likewise to bear Interest the great number of years I was employed in that Cause. I should never have taken that money from old Colo. Custis, but as part of my fee, for tho he often promised he would liberally reward me if the Cause was determined in his Favour, a friend of mine who knew he had given Sir John Randolph4 a piece of Land as part of his fee in the same Cause & whose death before it was finished, made the old Gentleman cautious of advancing, advised me to secure something in hand which I might do under pretense of borrowing & not wait till the Determination of the suit which was like to last many years. This last put me upon asking him to lend me an hundred pounds, which he readily agreed to on my own giving a Bond for it, which I did not think fit to scruple as it must have shewn that I mistrusted his Generosity. What he might have done had he lived till the Trial I can't tell, but his Professions were always such that I was persuaded they were sincere; Mr Waller told my wife he had left me a Legacy in his will, what it was or how it came to be altered I never heard but I am sure no Behaviour of mine occasioned it.

The late Colo Custis always promised that if he gained the Cause he would satisfy me to my utmost Expectation; He was so far from looking on my Bond as a Debt that when he came up to my House he said he had intended to have brought it up & delivered it to me, and I don't doubt but

-29-

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