George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Tobias Lear, 20 March 1797

From Tobias Lear

Philadelphia March 20th 1797.

My dear Sir,

I have the honor to enclose you a bill of Lading for the Articles ship’d on board the Sloop Salem, which was chartered to take your things around to Mount Vernon.1 She sailed Yesterday with a good wind, and I think the chance is that she will be in the Potomac by this day week. She is entirely filled with your things; and a few are yet remaining, which will be put on board a Vessel that sails for Alexandria this week.

The business of packing up cleaning the House, and putting every thing in order took up more time than I was aware of; tho’ no time was lost in doing these things. Yet it was not ’till Saturday that we were able to get out of the House, and it will be some days yet before Mr Adams can take up his own residence in it as they are putting new Carpets on the floors and talk of having the Rooms painted.

I intend leaving this City on Wednesday, and shall take with me all the accounts—vouchers &c. relative to your business here, which will be all completely settled. The Inventory of the Articles sent to Mount Vernon I shall also take with me, as I expect to be there as soon as the Vessel arrives.2

The Boat is finished;3 but the paint was not in a situation to admit of her being sent by the Sloop which sailed yesterday: She will go by the Vessel that sails this week; and with the other Articles will be landed at Mount Vernon.

Mr Dandridge & Mr Craik are well and unite with me in best respects & wishes for yourself, Mrs Washington & the family at Mount Vernon—I have the honor to be with the purest respect & most sincere attachment my dear Sir, Your grateful & Affectionate friend

Tobias Lear


1The bill of lading, dated 17 Mar. at Philadelphia and signed by the master of the sloop Salem, reads: “Shipped in good order and well conditioned by Tobias Lear on board the good Sloop called the Salem, whereof is master for this present voyage Joshua Elkins—and now riding at anchor in the river Delaware and bound for the river Potomac, the following articles—vizt. Ninety seven boxes; fourteen trunks; forty three Casks; thirteen packages; three hampers; one ton of Iron; four bundles nail rods; twenty four plough plates; four bundles leather; three bedsteads; two spits; one band for a kettle; four trivets; two gridirons; one rack spit; one heater; fourteen round iron rods; one pair Kitchen andirons; one small grate; one pair of Dogs; one iron chamber tub; three Iron Ash-pails; one Cage; two plate baskets; two wooden pillars; two plate warmers; one Safe; one Mangle; one Marble slab; Seven empty demi johns; one demi john with honey; six fire buckets; one bundle fruit trees; three baskets; three green Venetian blinds; four laths for Venetian blinds; four folding screens; three chimney boards; two mahogany India blind frames; one Bidet; one large Carpet; Seven band boxes; one flag; four new window blinds; one Tin shower bath; one toilet table; one floor mat being marked & numbered as in the margin; to be delivered in like good order & well conditioned at Mount Vernon in Virginia, (the danger of the seas only excepted) until George Washington, or to his assigns, he or they paying freight for the said Goods two hundred & thirty Dollars” (DLC:GW). Below Elkins’s signature is a listing of the numbers assigned to the boxes, casks, packages, hampers, and trunks, followed by the notation: “No. 21, 22 Two pipes Med[eir]a wine not mentioned in the No. of Casks.”

2There is an inventory of the goods in the president’s house, in GW’s hand, in DLC:GW under the date February 1797.

3GW’s account with Joshua Humphreys, Philadelphia, dated 1 April 1797, shows payment to him of £55.16.3 for the building, painting, and outfitting of “a boat” (ViMtvL).

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