George Washington Papers

Tobias Lear to Clement Biddle, 14 September 1789

Tobias Lear to Clement Biddle

New York, September 14th 1789

Dear Sir,

I have now before me your several favors of the 15th, 19th and 29th of August, and 2d of September.1

The Prayer-Books came safe to hand, and were much approved of by Mrs Washington.2

As there is, at present, no opportunity from this place to So. Carolina by water, I have taken the liberty to commit the enclosed letter to your care, requesting that you will be so good as to have it put on board the first Vessel which sails from Philadelphia to So. Carolina with a charge to the Captain to have it delivered immediately on his arrival.3

Mrs Washington wishes you to send 25lb. of Chocolate shells to Mount Vernon by the first opportunity, which you will charge to the Acct of the President; and I will thank you for a statement of his Acct from the last rendered in, whenever it may be convenient for you to send it.4 I am, Dear Sir, with very great esteem, Your most Obedt Servt

Tobias Lear.

ALS, PHi: Washington-Biddle Correspondence; ADfS, ViMtvL; LB, DLC:GW.

1The letters of 19 and 29 Aug. are in PHi: Clement Biddle Letter Book, 1789–92. The letters of 15 Aug. and 2 Sept. have not been found.

2On 10 Aug. Lear wrote to Biddle asking: “Will you be so good as to send Mrs Washington two handsome prayer books—of the new form, as none of that description are to be had here?” (PHi: Washington-Biddle Correspondence). A week later, at the first lady’s behest, Lear sought from Biddle an additional book (17 Aug., PHi: Washington-Biddle Correspondence). Biddle wrote back on 29 Aug.: “The Prayer Books expected having Come to hand I have Order three of them for Mrs Washington to be bound in Morocco & expect them to be ready by Wedsy” (PHi: Clement Biddle Letter Book, 1789–92).

3Biddle’s response to this letter on 16 Sept. (PHi: Clement Biddle Letter Book, 1789–92) reveals that the first vessel to sail for Charleston from Philadelphia was the schooner Friendship, commanded by a Captain Aaron Welsh, who agreed to deliver Lear’s letter of the fourteenth to Nicholas Eveleigh. The letter contained Eveleigh’s appointment by GW to the office of Comptroller of the Treasury.

4Biddle enclosed the president’s accounts in his letter to Lear, 16 Sept., and also promised that “the Cocoa Nut Shels shall be sent by first Vessel for Patowmack.” On 28 Sept. Lear notified Biddle that the president’s account was correct.

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