George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Clement Biddle, 2 October 1788

To Clement Biddle

Mount Vernon 2d Octr 1788.

Dear Sir,

Your letter of the 17th Ulto came duly to hand, and the one enclosed therein from Mr Dubey has received an answer.1 In my last letter to you I requested that you would not put yourself to any trouble in procuring Winter barley for me as I expected to get a supply from the brewer in Alexandria.2

You will oblige me by forwarding the enclosed letter to Pittsburg3—and also by informing me, in your next, at what rate I could procure a large quantity of red Clover Seed, say 3000 lb., of the best quality, to be delivered here before the River closes, or upon its first opening in the spring. If Mr Peters has got a Riddle (I believe it is) for cleaning Potatoes ready for me, you will be so good as to send it in the next packet that sails for Alexandria, and likewise the articles mentioned in the enclosed memorandum.4 With very great esteem, I am, Dear Sir, Yr Most Obedt Hble Servt

Go: Washington

LS, PHi: Washington-Biddle Correspondence; LB, DLC:GW.

After the Revolution Clement Biddle (1740–1814), commissary general of forage for the Continental army 1777–80 and quartermaster general of the Pennsylvania militia in 1781, set up a mercantile and importing establishment in his native Philadelphia. In the 1780s and 1790s GW entrusted much of his Philadelphia business to Biddle, who probably acted as a commission merchant for GW’s purchases for his plantations. GW appointed Biddle United States marshal for Pennsylvania in September 1789.

1The letter enclosed by Biddle was Nicholas DuBey to GW, 11 Sept. 1788.

2See GW to Biddle, 16 Sept. 1788. The Alexandria brewer was probably Andrew Wales, with whom GW frequently did business.

3Presumably the enclosure was GW’s letter to Thomas Lewis, 2 Oct. 1788.

4Richard Peters (1744–1828), secretary for the Board of War from 1776 to 1781 and member of the Continental Congress in 1782 and 1783, carried out extensive agricultural experiments at Belmont, his country estate on the west side of the Schuylkill near Philadelphia. GW visited Peters’s estate during the Constitutional Convention (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 5:160, 181), and Peters frequently sent GW seeds to plant at Mount Vernon. In his letter to GW of 27 April 1788, Peters described “a riddle fixed in a Box moving in a lower Frame” for cleaning and separating potatoes which he was having made for his own use and offered to have one made for GW.

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