George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Tobias Lear, 23 March 1791

From Tobias Lear

Philadelphia March 23d 1791


I had the honor last evening to receive your commands, through Major Jackson, to deliver the letter for Colo. Clandenen to General St Clair, unless Genl Knox thought Genl Sevier a more direct conveyance or knew of a better, and in obedience thereto I made the inquiry of Genl Knox, who thought Genl St Clair would be most likely to give the letter a direct & speedy conveyance; I therefore delivered it to him—informing him of the purport, to impress the necessity of its being put into a safe and expeditious channel, which he assured me should be done. Genl St Clair leaves this City tomorrow morning. If any other opportunity should offer to send a letter from hence to Colo. Clandenen, I shall write to him by it.1

Mr Coxe, of whom I had made some inquiry respecting a certain person, sent me the enclosed letter today; but I cannot learn from whom the information comes.2 Colo. Hamilton sent today for the Commissions for the Commissioners who are to receive subscriptions to the Bank. They are filled up with the names of Thomas Willing, David Rittenhouse, Samuel Howell of Pennsylvania—John Beale Bordley of Maryland & Lambert Cadwalader of New Jersey.3

We are very happy to hear that the roads will probably be better than you expected to find them. Mrs Lear, who continues in a fine way—unites with me in a respectful remembrance & best wishes for your health & happiness—and a pleasant Journey. I have the honor to be with the highest respect & most perfect Attachment Sir Your most Obedt Servt

Tobias Lear.

ALS, DLC:GW; ALS (letterpress copy), MiU-C.

1GW’s instructions through Maj. William Jackson, his traveling secretary, to Tobias Lear, GW’s chief secretary, who remained to head the president’s household in Philadelphia, have not been found. The letter for “Colo. Clandenen” is probably GW to George Clendinen, 21 Mar. 1791. See also Clendinen to GW, 25 June 1791.

2The enclosure was a letter from Tench Coxe to Lear, dated 23 Mar. 1791: “The gentleman with whom I conversed concerning the character and situation of one of the French emigrants has just called to inform me that letters have been since received from Europe containing information of a nature unfavorable to the persons integrity. He requested me to be guarded in the use I might make of this hint. I think it my duty to give you, confidentially, immediate notice of it” (DLC:GW). For references to the French emigrant, John Joseph de Barth, to whom GW had sold his Kanawha lands, see GW to Clendinen, 21 Mar. 1791 and note 2, and Lear to GW, 5 June 1791.

3Before leaving Philadelphia on 21 Mar., GW had signed commissions for the five commissioners for receiving subscriptions to the Bank of the United States (Df, DLC:GW). Among the commissioners, Samuel Howell (c.1748–1807) was a mariner and a founder of the First City Troop of Philadelphia who had been disowned by the Quakers, and John Beale Bordley (1727–1804), a founder of the Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture in 1785, was a lawyer and agricultural innovator who resided near the mouth of the Wye River in Maryland.

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