George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Clement Biddle, 15 September 1797

To Clement Biddle

Mount Vernon 15th Sep. 1797.

Dear Sir,

The picture frames are received, and without the smallest injury to the glasses, for the careful packing of which I feel myself obliged.

I pray you to send me four more gilt frames, at a dollar a foot running measure for paintings; no glasses; the size of the frames, to shew the canvass one foot 7¾ Inches, by 1.4¼ within the frame.1

Upon a more careful examination of the place for which the Stove written for some time since is wanted, I find I was not correct in the direction I then gave and have endeavour’d now to explain it better, by transmitting the exact form of the Room; shewing the angle in which the Stove is to be fixed; the manner of fixing it; and the exact size & proportions of the same, with its relative situation to the chimney (wall) and partition, as mentioned in the Plan.2

I have written thus far on a supposition that a Stove has not been provided agreeably to the directions in my last, and provided also, that one, agreeably to the enclosed plan, without difficulty and without delay, could be sent; but if the first is already procured I would have it sent on without loss of time; if not, and the one I am now furnishing a plan of could be subsituted, I would prefer it:nor shd I object to both if the former is on hand and the latter could be obtained with ease and without much delay.3

The first of October will put you into the receipt of another quarters interest of my cirtificates, otherwise I would forward money to you for the purpose of meeting the expences of these calls; as it is by no means my wish or desire to run you into any advance for me, or on my account.4 With esteem & regard I am Dear Sir Your Obedt Hble Servt

Go: Washington

P.S. I would thank you for causing the advertisement herewith sent to be inserted agreeably to the endorsation thereon—and for paying the expence of doing it.5

Send me the history of the United States (by whom I know not) but the one which contains Nos. 5 and 6 alluded to in Colo. Hamilton’s late Pamphlet.6


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

1When on 28 May GW wrote Biddle to ask him to act again as his agent for the transaction of any business that he might have in Philadelphia, he instructed Biddle to acquire for him a large number of picture frames. See note 3 of that letter. In Biddle’s account with GW, 16 Jan. 1798 to 14 Dec. 1799 (PHi), he records the payment of £31 on 27 Feb. 1798 to John McElwee for picture frames.

2See GW’s memorandum for the installation of a stove in the attic bedroom, c.15 Sept., ViMtvL.

3GW first wrote Biddle on 21 Aug. about securing a stove for him to be used to heat a room in Mount Vernon. On 15 Oct. GW wrote Biddle that he had bought a stove in Alexandria and that Biddle was not to send one from Philadelphia.

5This may be GW’s advertisement for a housekeeper. See GW to Nathaniel Ramsay, 13 Aug. 1797, n.2.

6Alexander Hamilton’s “Reynolds Pamphlet” was printed in Philadelphia under the title Observations on Certain Documents Contained in No. V & VI of “The History of the United States for the Year 1796,” in Which the Charge of Speculation against Alexander Hamilton, Late Secretary of the Treasury, Is Fully Refuted . . . (Syrett, Hamilton Papers, description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends 21:215–85). Hamilton wrote of James T. Callender’s History, printed earlier in the year in Philadelphia: “Of all the vile attempts which have been made to injure my character that which has been lately revived in No. V and VI, of the history of the United States for 1796 is the most vile” (ibid., 243).

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