George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Tobias Lear, 10 April 1791

From Tobias Lear

Philadelphia April 10th 1791.


Since my letter of the 5th I have been honored with your favors of the 3d & 6th of the present month, with their enclosures.

In Colo. Cannon’s letter to you there appear’d (as you apprehended) an idea that he conceived himself authorized to let your lands on the Ohio and Kanawa; but he does not express an intention of doing anything respecting them until he shall have seen you, which he expected would have been the case this spring. I have, however, written to him (by the post) giving information of your having disposed of those lands—and shall send a duplicate of my letter to him by one of the Representatives from that County when the Assembly rises, which it is expected to do this week.1

As there have been no further accounts from Fraunces, either through his son or from himself, it is presumable that he does not intend to come; I have, therefore, taken such measures to ascertain the point with respect to Holker’s man, that if he inclines, and has it in his power to come, he may do it without any impropriety on either part.2

The man who has been employed in the Garden shall be paid agreeable to your directions; and every attention shall be given to have it kept in complete order by our own people. Rhemur and Jacob have little else to do at present.

Mrs Washington has, for some days past, been very much afflicted with a violent cold—which confined her to her Chamber and swelled her face very much; but she is now, thank God, recovering very fast, and today appears tolerably well.3 The Children and the rest of the family enjoy good health—Mrs Lear begs you to accept her grateful respects & best wishes for a continuance of your health—With the most sincere Attachment & highest respect, I have the honor to be—Sir, Your obliged & very humble svt

Tobias Lear.


1Tobias Lear wrote to John Canon on 9 April 1791: “In a letter which you wrote to the President of the United States on the 17 of last month, you mention that many people had applied to you to go upon his lands lying on the Ohio and Kanawa rivers From this circumstance the President is apprehensive that you might give some encouragement to those who have applied as above, and induce them to remove thither—He has therefore directed me to inform you that he has disposed of all those lands which he possessed on those rivers, and requests that no steps may be taken to engage settlers to go there on his account” (DLC:GW). Canon’s letter to GW of 17 Mar. 1791 has not been found.

2Samuel Fraunces finally returned to the president’s household on 12 May (Decatur, Private Affairs of 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 233).

3Martha Washington was sufficiently recovered to visit Peale’s Museum on 16 April (ibid., 222).

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