George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Tobias Lear, 10 November 1797

To Tobias Lear

Mount Vernon 10th Novr 1797

Dear Sir,

I have received both of your letters dated yesterday; & thank you for the information given in them.1

If Mr Liston’s arrangement to proceed from Alexandria to this place by Water appeared to you to proceed from the want of Carriages (for I do not know in what manner he got to the City) say to him, that you are sure mine would attend upon him at any hour he wd name at that place, to bring as many of them as it would contain to Mt Vernn.2 This however, as the presumption is that I am unacquainted with his intentions & movements must go as from yourself. Yours always and Affectionately

Go: Washington


1Letters not found.

2On 13 Nov. “the British Envoy Mr. [Robert] Liston [1743–1836] & his Lady [Henrietta Marchant Liston]—Mr. [Nathaniel] Marchant [Jr.] & his lady [Mary Brown Marchant] & her Son Mr. [Frank] Brown and Mr. [James] Athill Speaker of the Assembly of Antigua came to Dinner” (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 6:268). On 22 Feb. 1798 GW drafted this letter to Henrietta Liston for Martha Washington: “Dear Madam, Before I had the honor to receive your favor of the 12th Instt from Phila. we were informed (by Mr Patten) of your having passed through Alexandria on your return from Charleston; and of the accidents which you had met with on the journey. On your happy escape from which, we sincerely congratulate you.

“It is unnecessary, I trust, to ass⟨mutilated⟩ you of the pleasure we should have felt in seeing you on your return to Philadelphia, and which we shall feel, at all times, when it may be convenient, & agreeable to you to visit us in our Retreat.

“Your Voyage from hence to Norfolk was of a length hardly ever known before; This, accompanied by bad weather, & a short allowance of Provisions; of which we could have had no conception from the provident care we supposed Mr Patten had taken to lay in a store, must have rendered your situation on bd very unpleasant; & have given you an unfavourable idea of the Navigation of Potomac.

“Mr Washington begs to be respectfully presented to Mr Liston & yourself. Nelly Custis would do so likewise was she at home, but sh⟨e⟩ is, at present, with her Sister Peter in the Federal City. Washington Custis is thankful for your kind remembrance of him, & With Compts to Mr Liston I am—Dr Madm Yr Most Obt Hble Servt M.W.” (ADf, in GW’s hand, DLC:GW; LB DLC:GW). GW docketed this: “To Mrs Liston—from Mrs Washington 22d Feby 1798.” The editor of Martha Washington’s letters was unable to find any copy of this letter made by Martha Washington or of Mrs. Liston’s letter of 12 Feb. (Fields, Papers of Martha Washington, description begins Joseph E. Fields, ed. “Worthy Partner”: The Papers of Martha Washington. Westport, Conn., and London, 1994. description ends 313–14). See also James Athill to GW, 21 July 1798. “Mr Patten” was James Patton, a shipping merchant of Alexandria.

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