To Tobias Lear
Mount Vernon June 26th 1791.
This is the eve of my departure for George town, & being Sunday, ought to have been a day of rest; but it is not so with me, either from company, or business; the latter, occasioned by a constant succession of company during the whole of last week: wch obliged me to postpone many matters until this day, which ought, & but for that reason, would have been done in the course of it—Such time as I have been able to spend in my study to day, has been employed in sorting of the Letters & Papers which have been recd since I left Charleston—part of which I enclose, because my travelling writing desk will not contain them.1
I have but little leizure to say much in this letter, if much (as I expect soon to be in Philadelphia) was necessary. I presume all the letters which had been sent to Taylors ferry, and other places have got to me—but that you may judge, the following is a list of them.
April—3d 5th 10th 15th 17th 24th
May—1st 8th 15th 22d 29th
June—5th 12th 19th
What my stay at Georgetown may be, is at present beyond my ken—I go there prepared to proceed, and shall make Herculas take the Waggon box in place of Paris. From that place, so soon as I shall be able to decide on the day of my departure from it, and the rout, I will inform you, or Mrs Washington thereof.2 I think it was a duty you owed Mrs Lear, your mother, to meet her at New York, for the purpose of accompanying her to Philadelphia. If she is still in that city I request my respects may be presented to her. The last Post came without the Commissions promised in the P.S. to your letter of the 19th or any letter from you—my best wishes attend Mrs Lear &ca and I am Your sincere friend and affecte Servant
ALS, DLC: Tobias Lear Papers.
1. The enclosed papers have not been identified. Sometime before leaving Mount Vernon at 6:00 A.M. on 27 June, GW drafted a memorandum, probably for George Augustine Washington (see Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington description begins John C. Fitzpatrick, ed. The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745–1799. 39 vols. Washington, D.C., 1931–44. description ends , 31:307, n.4): “The Work which immediately occurs to me to be done is the following; but the order in wch it is to be executed, must depend in part upon the weather, and circumstances; but chiefly upon the Orders of Mr Whiting, viz. A Corn house at the New Barn, at Ferry & French’s Plantation exactly of the size and appearance of the one by the Overseers House at the Ferry. Another Corn House at the River Plantation of the size, and similar to the one that is now there. Shingling the side of the Overseers House at the Ferry that leaks, and making it tight. Finishing the well by the New Quarter that the efficacy of the Rope may be tried in drawing Water. Building a Necessary, with two Seats for the use of the New Quarter; It may be shingled with old Shingles, & weatherboarded with old plank ripped of the old Quarter—Isaac knows where it is to be placed. Removing Richards House in the Hollow to Muddy hole for Davy to live in. Huts, or some kind of covering will be wanting at Dogue-run; some of the People at that place complain much of the Leakiness of their Houses and others will be sent there. Setting up the New Gates where wanting; & will be pointed out by Mr Whiting. Muddy hole Barn is to be compleady repaired; and that in the Neck is to be thoroughly examined; but, if upon examination it is found to be so far gone as to be irreparable—or, that the repairs would be almost as tedious & expensive as building a new one; it must, in that case be only patched & propped so as to serve until a new one can be built. The old Quarter at Mansion House to be taken down; and all the Scantling, Boards and Shingles worth any thing secured—and the nails saved. Frames for Hot beds to be prepared for the Gardener according to his directions if it is not upon an expensive plan. Air, by means of dormant Windows, or doors like the others, to be admitted into the graineries at the New Barn at Ferry &: French’s. agreeably to directions given. The same thing to be done, and for the same purpose, on the stable at the Mansion House. This also has been explained. The Floor and Sleepers of the Ice House should be examined & repaired, if they want it before the time for filling it shall arrive. A Screen, or Sieve for separating stone for gravel should be got ready for the Gardener. Preparation should be made, and the materials provided, for making new, and repairing old Harrows—Ploughs—Cradles—Rakes & such like things: As also for the necessary repairs of Houses &ca; In short, every thing of this kind should be looked forward to, as work for weather which would make out-door labour unprofitable & inconvenient. The Houses at the Ferry & French’s Plantations are to be removed to the center of both (where marked) as soon as circumstances will admit of it. And, I believe, I shall lay in materials for building a Barn & treading floor at Dogue Run. but this I shall consider of. New Posts for the circle before the door must be thought of, but of what kind is not absolutely resolved on at present. Making gravel Walks in the upper Garden—and in the Pine Labyrinths. Getting up all the ground in the Vine yard Inclosure. Keeping the Shrubberies clean. Planting Trees—in Clumps and otherwise and trimming others. Planting Ivy around the Ice House and at the No. end of the Lawn East of the Ho.—also on the sides by the front gate” (AD, DLC:GW).
2. GW arrived at Georgetown about 9:00 A.M. on 27 June and left there shortly after 4:00 A.M. on 30 June; no letters written by him or William Jackson to Lear or Martha Washington in Philadelphia between those dates have been found, but Lear did inform Clement Biddle in a “Saturday noon” note, probably 2 July, that “the President, having taken the rout through York & Lancaster, does not expect to be in this City sooner than the middle of next week” (PHi: Washington-Biddle Correspondence). Before leaving Georgetown GW decided to proceed by way of Frederick, Md., and York and Lancaster, Pa., as he noted a desire “of seeing the nature of the Country North of Georgetown, and along the upper road” (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 6:166). GW’s party arrived at Frederick at sundown on 30 June (ibid., 164, 166, 167).