Clement Biddle to Tobias Lear
Philadelphia 10th December 1789
Since my last of the 30th Ulto I have had an Opportunity of further Enquiry Concerning Buckwheat and find that it cannot easily be had before the Close of Winter but can be Certainly procured during the winter about the prices mentioned in my last letter. Capt. Carhart is arrived from Alexandria and tells me he shall return immediately to potowmack if he can procure a Freight and in that Case will sail about the 20th of this Month1— I shall take care to inform Mrs Meredith in time to ship the Potatoes if the Vessel goes for Alexandria.2
LB, PHi: Clement Biddle Letter Book, 1789–92.
1. On 24 Dec. Lear notified Biddle that “Capt. Carhart could not procure a freight for Alexandria before the Close of the River which is daily expected therefore Could not sent the potatoes & no Opportunity will offer before February or early in March when I expect there will be one or more without doubt” (PHi: Clement Biddle Letter Book).
2. On 14 Dec. George Augustine Washington informed GW that “the Apricot Potatoes you expected to be sent from Maj. Meredith have not come to hand.” On 23 Feb. 1790, with a vessel about to depart for Alexandria, Biddle wrote Lear “am I to Call on Mr Meredith for the seed Potatoes for this Conveyance” (PHi: Clement Biddle Letter Book). Lear failed to reply and Biddle again wrote on 6 Mar.: “I was much in Doubt about Calling for the Potatoes from Mrs Meredith and wrote to you the 23d ulto to have your Directions but receiving no Answer I concluded I had but Omit it but if they are to go I expect another vessel will sail for Potowmack in about a fourtnight tho’ the time is not yet certain” (PHi: Clement Biddle Letter Book). Lear responded on 10 Mar. that “a delay may be favourable, as we have had weather lately which might have injured them if they had been sent by Captain Ellwood—but by the next Vessel you will be so obliging as to have them sent” (PHi: Washington-Biddle Correspondence). Biddle informed Lear on 27 April that “By the Sloop Polly Capt. Ellwood I have forwarded to Major Washington at Mount Vernon forty Bushels of Seed Potatoes recd from Mrs Meredith” (PHi: Clement Biddle Letter Book). See also Biddle to Lear, 22 Nov. 1789.