George Washington Papers

Tobias Lear to Clement Biddle, 2 October 1789

Tobias Lear to Clement Biddle

New York, October 2d, 1789.

Dear Sir,

Your favor of the 30th ultimo came to hand last evening accompanied with the Padusoy for Mrs Washington, the bill of which was enclosed.1

The President will thank you to get from Mr Bartram a list of the plants & shrubs which he has for sale, with the price affixed to each, and also a note to each of the time proper for transplanting them, as he is desireous of having some sent to Mount Vernon this fall if it is proper.2

It is customary for those persons who publish lists of their plants &c. to insert many which they have had, but which have been all disposed of—the President will therefore wish to have a list only of what he actually has in his Gardon. I am, Dear Sir, with very great esteem Your most Obedt St

Tobias Lear.

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

1Biddle’s letter of 30 Sept. has not been located.

2William Bartram (1739–1823) and his brother John Bartram, Jr. (1743–1812), operated a botanical garden on the Schuylkill River about three miles from Philadelphia. GW visited the gardens in 1787 when he was at the Constitutional Convention. At that time he was not particularly overly impressed with the Bartrams’ establishment “which, tho’ Stored with many curious plts. Shrubs & trees, many of which are exotics was not laid off with much taste, nor was it large” (Diaries, description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends 5:166–67). GW was eventually successful in acquiring plants from the Bartrams. One shipment was sent by the firm in March 1792, and as some of the plants failed to survive, a second shipment was sent in November of that year. See Catalog of Plants from John Bartram, March 1792.

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