Tobias Lear to Clement Biddle
New York, February 14th 1790.
I have been duly favoured with your letters of the 9th and 10th inst.1—the latter enclosing the President’s acct as it then stood with you.
In reply to your wish to know the President’s birth day, it will be sufficient to observe that it is on the 11th of February Old Style; but the Almanack-makers have generally set it down opposite to the 11th day of the present Style. How far this may go towards establishing of it on that day I dont know; but I could never consider it any otherwise than as stealing so many days from his valuable life as is the difference between the old & the new Style.2 with very Sincere esteem, I am, Dear Sir, Your most Obedt Servt
ALS, PHi: Washington-Biddle Correspondence; ADfS, ViMtvL; LB, DLC:GW.
1. Biddle’s 9 Feb. 1790 letter to Lear reads: “I have sent the Bags to Trenton for the Buckwheat and expect them down when the River Opens & shall at same time expect a Vessel to be up for Potowmack by which I may forward it.
“Colo. Procter who Commands our City Artillery requests to know whether the 21 or 22nd Instant is the President’s Birth Day as they propose a field Day and are not Certain some Doubts having been mentioned” (PHi: Clement Biddle Letter Book).
Biddle wrote to Lear on 10 Feb.: “After I had wrote you last Evening I recieved your favour of 7th instant and have procured the Boulting Cloth from Mr Lewis agreeably to the last Directions & it will go by Tomorrow’s post to Major Washington at Mount Vernon as the Post Master will free it by the Mail.
“Inclosed is the Presidents Account Current to this Time—the Buckwheat not being delivered is not yet paid for” (PHi: Clement Biddle Letter Book).
2. Biddle wrote to Lear in his reply of 23 Feb. 1790: “Our River is Open and the Trenton shallop hourly Expected down by which I look for the Buckwheat and there is a vessel which will put up in a few Days on freight for Alexandria by which I propose to send it—Am I to Call on Mr Meredith for the seed Potatoes for this Conveyance.
“I am much Obliged by Your Answer to my Enquiry after the Presidents Birth Day we had Celebrated it here the 11th which I think was premature” (PHi: Clement Biddle Letter Book).