George Washington Papers
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To George Washington from Tobias Lear, 4 March 1798

From Tobias Lear

March 4th 1798

Dear Sir,

I enclose a deed for the Potomac Shares which you subscribed for the use of the Potomac Company, which you will be so good as to execute whenever it may be convenient. The form of the Receipt to be given to those who convey their Shares is also enclosed, which will be given when the deed shall be delivered. It was thought best to have those shares conveyed to the President of the Company rather than to the Presidt & Directors—to facilitate the mortgage of them to those who may lend money or Stock thereon.1

Mr Charles Carroll has not only lent his Shares, but also informs that he will lend five thousand Dollars in Cash immediately on a mortgage of the Shares as proposed by the Resolution of the Stockholders.2 Mr Danl Carroll of Duddington has also offered the loan of four or five thousand Dollars in six prCt Stock.3 The Interest of the Stock or Cash lent will be paid half yearly at the Bank of Alexandria or Columbia. I flatter myself we shall yet be able to do considerable work this year on the Locks. A large quantity of flour has already come down to the falls and is pouring in daily. From Harper’s ferry alone there will be ship’d at lea[s]t six thousand barrels.

On Tuesday I shall go to the Great Falls to a meeting of the Board of Directors, and from thence I shall go up to Berkley. I expect to be down about the 20th of the month—and any time previous to that will answer for the execution of the within deed. With the purest respect & attachment I am Dear Sir, Your grateful & affectionate

Tobias Lear


1At the meeting of the members of the Potowmack Company in Georgetown on 8 Feb., it was decided that stockholders would be asked to transfer for two years up to one hundred shares of stock in the company to its directors so that the directors could mortgage the stock and thereby secure desperately needed funds for the work of the company. GW agreed to transfer twenty of his shares to the company, but before complying with Lear’s request to do so, GW wrote, on 13 Mar., to his attorney James Keith and received Keith’s response of 14 March. See also Bacon-Foster, Patomac Route, description begins Corra Bacon-Foster. Early Chapters in the Development of the Patomac Route to the West. Washington, D.C., 1912. description ends 95–97.

2Charles Carroll (1737–1832) of Carrollton was one of the original members of the Potowmack Company in 1784 and remained a strong supporter. On 8 May Carroll wrote Lear: “At present it is not in my power to lend the Company either stock or cash . . . I do not understand that anyone except Mr Dan. Carroll has lent stock or cash. General Washington, you say, will lend stock, which is not a large sum” (owned [1972] by Mr. Henry C. and Mr. Douglass S. Mackall, Fairfax, Virginia).

3Daniel Carroll of Duddington in 1798 agreed to lend the Potowmack Company “$2,500 of six per cent. stock of the United States” (Bacon-Foster, Patomac Route, description begins Corra Bacon-Foster. Early Chapters in the Development of the Patomac Route to the West. Washington, D.C., 1912. description ends 97). See note 1. After receiving Keith’s response of 14 Mar. in which Keith gave further information regarding the company’s plans for mortgaging the stock, GW on 27 Mar. conveyed twenty shares in the company to its board of directors (see GW to James Keith, 13 Mar., n.2).

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