George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Tobias Lear, 12 February 1794

From Tobias Lear

London february 12th: 1794

My dear Sir,

Having had the honor of writing to you very fully by the Ship Delaware, Capt. Truxon (by whom I sent the watch for Mrs Washington)1—and a few days ago by the Ship Peggy of George Town, I shall at present take up no more of your precious time than to inform you that I have put on board the latter ship 5000 white thorn plants for you—and a packet containing Reports made to the Board of Agriculture of G.B. which were put into my hands by Sir John Sinclair, the President of the Board, to be forwarded to you. There are also on board said Ship a number of fruit trees which I have got for myself; but not knowing how they might fare if I did not commit them to the special care of some one who knew what should be done with them, I took the liberty to have them directed to you at Mt Vernon—And the letters in the Peggy will point out my wishes on that head.2

A Mr Bartrand, a famous Agriculturalist belonging to Flanders, put into my hands a few days ago several papers for Mr Jefferson on the subject of manures & vegetation, requesting that I would forward them to him by some vessel going to America, I could not decline it; but being uncertain whether Mr Jefferson is in Philada or Virginia, I have taken the liberty of putting them under cover to you.3

In the present critical state of Affairs here it is not prudent for me to say much on politicks; but if I recollect rightly, I had the honor of writing a letter to you some time in April last, when you was at Mount Vernon, in which I ventured certain predictions, and the opinion, which I then formed, I can now undertake to say, on better grounds, is just.4

My best respects & most grateful remembrance await Mrs Washington—My young friends, together with Mr Dandridge & Mr Lewis have my best regards.5 With the purest respect & most affecte attachment I have the honor to be my dear Sir Your grateful & Obliged friend

Tobias Lear.


1For this letter and a description of the various items placed aboard the Delaware, including the watch made for Martha Washington, see Lear to GW, 26–30 Jan., and n.10.

2For this letter and information about the plants placed aboard the Peggy, see Lear to GW, 4 Feb., and n.4 to that document. On the packet of agricultural reports, see John Sinclair to GW, 6 February.

3For papers sent by O. A. Bertrand, see his letter to Thomas Jefferson of 8 Feb. 1794 (Jefferson Papers description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 40 vols. to date. Princeton, N.J., 1950—. description ends , 28:16–19). Questions sur l’agriculture et l’économie rural propres à donner une idée de la marche considérable qu’il y a encore à faire, pour porter l’agriculture & l’économie rurale à un certain point de perfection (France, 1792) has been attributed to Bertrand. Jefferson, having submitted his letter of resignation to GW on 31 Dec. 1793, left Philadelphia on 5 Jan. and was now at Monticello, his home near Charlottesville, Virginia. Upon receipt of these papers in May, Jefferson decided that Bertrand’s proposition for “an assignment of lands can only be answered by the government,” and he forwarded these papers to Edmund Randolph, the current secretary of state (Jefferson to Horatio Gates, 3 Feb., and to Randolph, 14 May, Jefferson Papers description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 40 vols. to date. Princeton, N.J., 1950—. description ends , 28:14, 74).

4For Lear’s opinion on the state of British politics, see his letter to GW of 8 April 1793.

5Bartholomew Dandridge, Jr., and Howell Lewis were currently serving as GW’s secretaries.

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