George Washington Papers

Tobias Lear to Thomas Lowrey and Abraham Hunt, 7 March 1793

Tobias Lear to Thomas Lowrey and Abraham Hunt

Philadelphia 7th March 1793.


The President wishes to procure a Studhorse, to put to such mares as may not prove with foal by the Jacks—& to try Mares with that may be brought to the Jacks; as well as to ascertain, after they have been put, whether they are satisfied or not—for it some times happens that they will refuse the Jack, when they will not a Horse. Conceiving that you may know of, or have an opportunity of meeting with such an one as would answer his purposes—and believing in your readiness to oblige him in this instance, he has directed me to apply to you on the occasion.1

He wishes him to be at least 15½ or 16 hands high—well formed—of a handsome carriage—not exceeding Eight years of age. a bay would be preferred. His Pedigree will not be considered as an object of much consequence, if it should be the means of greatly enhancing the price of such an horse; but at the same time the President would prefer one of some blood, if he cou’d be obtained upon terms nearly equal to one destitute of that quality, but equal in other respects.

From the above description you will see that the President is not disposed to give an extraordinary price for the Horse he wants; and relying upon your knowledge of & judgment in those animals, he thinks it unnecessary to be more particular in the description.

If such an Horse can be obtained for the President he must be here by the 22d or 23d of this Month, as the President intends going to Mount Vernon about that time, & will have him taken down there at the same time.2 You will therefore be so good as to let the President know as soon as possible, if you can get such an Horse as is mentioned, with his price & a description of him—and the President will inform you immediately whether he shall be purchased or not.3 I am Sir, &c. &c.

Tobs Lear.


1For other letters concerning the purchase of a stud horse, see GW to Anthony Whitting, 24, 26 March.

2GW left Philadelphia for Mount Vernon on 27 Mar. (JPP, description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends 107).

3On 13 Mar., Lear, at Philadelphia, wrote Trenton, N.J., merchant Abraham Hunt: “I have been favored with your letter of yesterday, with its enclosures, in reply to mine of the 7th inst.

“Of the several horses which you mention, the Colt belonging to Mr Baker seems to strike the President as most likely to answer his purposes; but before he can determine respecting him, the President wishes to know whether he was three years old last spring or is but three now. If the former, there can be no great prospect of his ever being much higher than he now is, altho he will undoubtedly spread & become stouter. If the latter, the President thinks he would bid fair to be a large horse. He likewise wishes to be informed whether he has been broken to the Saddle & performed service, or not. The President will be much obliged to you for information on these points as soon as you can conveniently give it.

“With respect to Mr Hamilton’s Horse, the President thinks his head might be an objection to him, (altho’ in other respects answering very well) as he considers a small well-formed head & neck as constituting essential parts in the beauty of a horse. But your view of him (you say) was slight—perhaps at a closer one he might appear to greater advantage—& he believes Your Judgment good.

“The Price of Mr Phillips’ horse is so much beyond what the President thinks of giving, as to put him out of the question.

“For your prompt attention to the President’s request, and your trouble in this business, he begs you to accept his thanks” (ViMtvL).

On 26 Mar., GW paid $200 to “Mr A. P. Morris for a stud Horse” (Household Accounts description begins Presidential Household Accounts, 1793–97. Manuscript, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. description ends ). GW described this horse in an advertisement in the 4 April 1793 issue of the Maryland Gazette (Annapolis) as “TRAVELLER, A full-blooded dark-bay Horse, fifteen Hands and an Half high, and well formed” (see GW to Anthony Whitting, 26 Mar., and note 2).

GW apparently had some reservations about Traveller’s suitability, and on 9 May, Lear wrote Lowrey from Philadelphia: “When I mentioned to the President the other day the horse which you spoke about to me—Altho’ from the description, he thought well of him, yet as he was supplied he did not conclude to take him. But upon further consideration, the President conceives it might be better for him to get the horse you spoke of—as he was younger & larger than the one he has, & dispose of his—And has therefore directed me to write to you on the subject.

“If I understood you rightly, you represented the horse to be four years old this spring—a good bay—nearly 17 hands high—well formed & almost full blooded—the price wh. the man asked for him 200 dolls; but supposed he might be obtained for something less. Should this be a just conception of your description—and his head (upon the form & leanness of which the President counts much) be an handsome one & his figure just—The President will take him at a price not exceedg two hundred dollars—and will be much obliged to you for your agency in gettng him; but if the owner of him will agree to send him here for the President to see, first fixing the price at which the President may have him if he chuses to take him after seeing him—it would perhaps be better—the president to pay the reasonable expence of bringg him here if he takes him, & if he should not to pay also the expense of taking him back again” (NjMoHP). At the bottom of this document, Lear wrote: “Duplicate sent to Colo. Lowrey 3d June by the post[.] The first having been del[ivere]d to Mr [Michael] Roberts son in law to Colo. Lowrey to forward.”

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