George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Tobias Lear, 11 June 1791

To Tobias Lear

Fredericksburgh [Va.] June 1[1]th 1791

Dear Sir,

Yesterday we arrived at this place in good health, but with horses much worn down.1 To morrow I expect to reach Mt Vernon2—where, even if my horses were able to proceed, I am obliged to remain until the 27th instant—the day appointed by me at the last meeting, to meet the Commissioners at George town, in order to fix on the spot for the public buildings, and for other purposes, arising from the residence Act.

I have, at this place, received your letter of the 30th Ulto; but none of an intermediate date between that of the 15th and it.3 Your directions to have them sent cross-wise the Country, was unlucky—first, because there are no cross-posts. 2d because my rout back was not irrevocably fixed—and 3d because I had, knowing these circumstances, directed from Charleston all letters which might be following me, to be returned to this place to await my call. The slow movement of the Mail in the three Southern States prevented (I presume) these directions getting to Richmond before the letters were forwarded to Taylors ferry—& my crossing at Carters (a ferry much higher up James River) has been the cause, or causes, I imagine, of my missing them.4

Being interrupted by visitors, I shall postpone until I arrive at Mt Vernon, further communications; the principal, indeed the only purpose of this letter being, to advise you of my arrival at this place, and of my intended stay at Mount Vernon, for the reason which I have assigned. My best wishes attend you, Mrs Lear & the Child; and I am sincerely & affectionately Yrs

Go: Washington


1GW mistakenly dated this letter 12 June; the date of his arrival at Fredericksburg was 10 June. That evening he dined and lodged with his sister, Betty Washington Lewis, and the next day, 11 June, “After a dinner with several Gentlemen whom my Sister had envited to dine with me I crossed the Rappahannock & proceeded to Stafford Ct. House where I lodged” (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 6:163).

2Upon his homecoming after a 1,887–mile trip that took sixty-seven days, GW noted laconically in his diary on 12 June: “About Sun rise we were off-breakfasted at Dumfries and arrived at Mt. Vn. to D.” (ibid.).

3GW probably was referring to Tobias Lear’s letter of 29 May.

4For GW’s journey from Salem, N.C., to Fredericksburg and his difficult crossing at Carter’s ferry on 9 June, see ibid., 154–63. After leaving Salem on 2 June, GW examined with North Carolina governor Alexander Martin the site of the Battle of Guilford Court House of 15 Mar. 1781 and discussed politics with him, particularly local reaction to the excise tax and the activities of the Yazoo land companies (ibid., 155, 158–59).

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