George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Clement Biddle, 28 May 1797

To Clement Biddle

Mount Vernon 28th May 1797

Dear Sir,

The business I shall have to transact in Philadelphia will, more than probable, be of so piddling & trifling a nature, as to produce more trouble, than profit from the Commission, to whomsoever undertakes it. Notwithstanding (this being premised) as it has always been done by you, while I was not myself in Philadelphia as a Resident[,] I could not think of applying to another without first enquiring whether it would be agreeable to you to engage in it on the usual terms or not.1

If you answer in the affirmative, the first thing I should require of you would be to receive the Interest of my certificates at the Treasury, or Bank of the United States; amounting to about one hundred dollars pr quarter; one of which became due the 31st of Mar. last, and the rest will be so in succession: and (as I am not acquainted with the form) that you would send a Power of Attorney for me to execute, thereby enabling you to do this.2 From this fund I would then ask you to send the things mentioned in the enclosed Memorandum.3 I am—Dear Sir Your Obedient Hble Servt

Go: Washington

ALS, PPIn; ALS (letterpress copy), DLC:GW; LB, DLC:GW.

1GW wrote Timothy Pickering on 28 April to inquire about the present status of Clement Biddle, and Pickering replied on 16 May to report that Biddle was “apparently wealthy, at this time.”

2Biddle continued to receive in 1798 the interest on GW’s 6 percent stock (Ledger C description begins Manuscript Ledger in Morristown National Historical Park, Morristown, N.J. description ends , 19). For the power of attorney, see GW to Biddle, 8 June 1797, n.1.

3In the enclosure, which appears in GW’s letterpress and has been transcribed for CD-ROM:GW, GW asks Biddle to secure for him nineteen gilded frames not of a “high price,” of assorted sizes for pictures, and also paper for the back of the pictures as well as glass for the front. He instructed Biddle to send: “Morse’s Gazetteer of America—if published. Smith’s comparative view of the Constitution, [and four dollars’ worth of] Unguent Delamare.” Biddle on 8 June forwarded the unguent and William Loughton Smith’s A Comparative View of the Constitutions of the Several States . . . (Philadelphia, 1796). For Jedidiah Morse’s gazetteer, see Morse to GW, 8 June. An inscribed copy of Smith’s book was in GW’s library. Several lists of pictures owned by GW are included in the inventories of furniture which are filed at the end of February 1797 in DLC:GW.

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