George Washington Papers
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From George Washington to Clement Biddle, 28 April 1799

To Clement Biddle

Mount Vernon 28th Apl 1799

Dear Sir,

Since my last I have receiv’d the Seeds which you sent me by Captn Hand—after several fruitless enquiries after them.1

There was a Manufactury of Machines for raking Meadows, and Harvest fields after they are cut, at Kensington while I resided in Philadelphia—These are worked by a horse, and were, in my opinion useful impliments on a Farm, for expeditiously gleaning the fields of the scattered grain, or Hay. I would (if now to be had) thank you for sending me one by the first Vessel bound to Alexandria.2

What would well cured Shad and Herrings sell for by the Barrel in the Philadelphia Market? I have put up some this Season, and if the price would encourage it, would send you a few barrels of each, to sell on Commission. Be so good as to inform me what price Wheat & Flour bear in your Market—I am—Dr Sir Your Obedient Hble Servant

Go: Washington

ALS (photocopy), Samuel T. Freeman & Co. catalog, 23–24 Feb. 1978; ALS (letterpress copy), DLC:GW.

2Biddle had difficulty finding the maker of the raking machine, who had moved from Kensington, but he learned from the owner of one of these that the machine moved only on “Ground that was perfectly level & free from Stones” (Biddle to GW, 18 May, n.1). GW wrote on 6 June that he in any case would like to have one of the rakes. None of the letters that GW and his agent Biddle exchanged between 7 June and 13 Nov. 1799 has been found, but there is no indication in GW’s surviving accounts that he ever acquired one of the raking machines from Pennsylvania.

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