From David & Francis Clark
Philadelphia 13th September 1790
Your favor of the 9th Instant I have received1—with Respect to Mr Morris’s Coach, he has no Coat of Arms theron, but a Cypher on Doors, back & front, with a Chryst over the Cypher, and no inclosure—the ground colour of your Coach being White, the silver in our opinion will have but a bad effect—should you prefer continuing the seasons as already on the carriage, on the Doors, front & Back, your Chryst painted on the four quarter Pannels all inclosed within the original Ovals, which corresponds with the mouldings of the Coach, would in our opinion look well, but should you prefer having your Cypher & Chryst in Silver, in place of the Seasons, it would look extremely well within the original Mouldings, & on a deep Silver Grey, or purple Ground, and in our Opinion preferable to the other.2
Inclosed we hand you a draft of a Cypher done in the same Manner with that of Mr Morris’s,3 also a pattern of the Cloth for the lining of the Coach, which we hope will meet with your approbation—should you prefer the silver Cypher & Chryst, we would recommend having the Cypher only on front, Doors & Back, & the Chryst on the 4 quarter pannels with Ovals reversed from what they now are, by this we mean having the oval4 in this way—every attention in our power will also be paid to the harness, & we would recommend the following to make the Coach uniform—a pair of plated handles to the Doors; plated Brace buckles, and plated mouldings around the roof—there being no Glass or Frame in front of Coach, I would wish to know if we are to fit one in5—We have the honor to be With the greatest respect Sir Your Obedt Servants6
David & Francis Clark
1. GW’s 9 Sept. 1790 letter to the Clarks, which he probably sent under cover to Clement Biddle the same day, has not been found.
2. The four medallions on GW’s coach panels were copperplate engravings of allegories of the four seasons that Royal Academy member Giovanni Battista Cipriani (1727–1785) painted on George III’s royal coach in 1782 (Decatur, Private Affairs of George Washington, description begins Stephen Decatur, Jr. Private Affairs of George Washington: From the Records and Accounts of Tobias Lear, Esquire, his Secretary. Boston, 1933. description ends 172).
3. The enclosed sketch of GW’s cipher (DLC:GW) is reproduced in Freeman, Washington, description begins Douglas Southall Freeman. George Washington: A Biography. 7 vols. New York, 1948–57. description ends 6: between 77 and 78.
4. The figure of an oval on its side was drawn in the text after this word.
5. GW answered the questions posed by the Clarks on 17 Sept. 1790. For his further instructions concerning the coach, see also GW to Lear, 17 Sept., 31 Oct., and 17 Nov. 1790, and Lear to GW, 20 Sept. 1790.
6. An undated bill for “Repaires for the Coach” (DLC:GW) reads:
|Taking out the Creans and reasing higher & a pair of new Shafts||£ 7.10.0|
|a new iron Coach box Sett||3.15.0|
|a new Ruff Leather & new Conish||4.12.6|
|linning the Boady with 11½ yards of Super fine Cloath at 37/6 pr yard||
|Leaces Glass String &ce.||38. 5.3|
|making and putting in Do.|
|a new fulle trimed hamer Cloath||12. 0.0|
|repaires wanted to the boady & 2 pair of new hinges||2. 0.0|
|a pair of new double insid foulding Staps||5.10.0|
|4 new bands to the hoobs of the wheels||0.10.0|
|Painting the Boady and high Varnishing||5.10.0|
|Boarder roud all the pannels from £8.—to £11.5|
|Ornaments & Coats of Armes||4.10.0|
|Gilding the frame work Solid||6. 0.0|
|Painting Carraige & wheels||2.10.0|
|Picking in Do.||1.10.0|
|8 Vinison blinds||22.10.0|
|Gilding the Springs||2. 5.0|
|a sett of Silke fastoon Curtains with fringes and tosals to all the ineside of the Ruff||8. 0.0|
Another undated estimate, totaling £37.17.6, probably also relates to the refurbishment of GW’s coach. An accompanying note signed and dated by David & Francis Clark reads: “Received Decr 3d 1790 of Mr Lear one hundred Dollars on acct of work done to a Coach for the President of the United States” (CtNlHi). The Clarks’ total bill for their work on GW’s coach in the autumn of 1790 came to $866.42. GW was so pleased with the results that he ordered a new carriage from them a few months later. His old coach was offered for sale in Philadelphia in 1797 and scrapped for its iron the following year (Decatur, Private Affairs of George Washington, description begins Stephen Decatur, Jr. Private Affairs of George Washington: From the Records and Accounts of Tobias Lear, Esquire, his Secretary. Boston, 1933. description ends 170, 172, 202, 207; Freeman, Washington, description begins Douglas Southall Freeman. George Washington: A Biography. 7 vols. New York, 1948–57. description ends 6:296, n.106).