George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Clement Biddle, 18 May 1799

From Clement Biddle

Philadelphia May 18. 1799

Dear sir

I cannot find the person who made the Machines for raking Meadows—he has removed from Kensington and I can learn no more of him or his machines.1

The sellers of Shad & herrings tell me they are very dull sale & a worse prospect at this Market—they ask 4 Drs per bbl for Herrings but nobody to buy them & shad are merely retailed by the single barrel—Flour is 9 to 9½ Ds. for Super fine, common in proportion rather dull, wheat 13/—but the market depends on the Opening the market to Hispaniola—reports of this Day say the British have declared that Island independant but we hear nothing from Dr Stevens our Consul General & Commissioner who was Authorised to treat for Opening the Trade.2 I am very respectfully Yr mo. Obed. & very humle serv.

Clement Biddle


1GW wrote Biddle about the raking machine on 28 April. Biddle followed up this letter of 18 May with another one on 21 May: “Since I wrote you on the subject of the Machine for raking Meadows & harvest fields I have seen Jonathan Williams Esqr. who gives me Information where to find the Maker, but, he says he tried One on his farm—that it did not answer—the Teeth broke & it got out of order & would only answer for Ground that was perfectly level & free from Stones—the one he tried was thrown aside on the Canal near his place—No Change in prices of Wheat or flour since my last nor Appearance of Demand for shad or herrings at this market—Our Exports are remarkably dull” (DLC:GW).

2For references to developments in Saint Domingue, see Biddle to GW, 5 Feb. 1799, and note 4 of that document.

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