George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Tobias Lear, 23 September 1791

To Tobias Lear

No. 28.1

Dear Sir,MOUNT VERNON, Septr. 23d. 1791.

Your letter of the 18th. with the Gazettes came duly to hand, and I wish you to forward the latter (such as were sent last) by Wednesday’s and Friday’s Post; in which case they will arrive in Alexandria, on Mondays and Fridays when I shall have a messenger at the Post-Office in readiness to receive them. Accompany the papers with occurrencies worthy of communication, if any there be uncontained in them.

Let Mr. Page know that it shall depend upon his carriage’s being at George Town by Noon, on Tuesday the 18th. of Octr. that I may be able to proceed Philadelphia-wards the same day. Mrs. Washington, the children and the servants, will be there in readiness for that purpose.2

Favored with fine weather we had a pleasant Journey home, and arrived safe on Tuesday last. Mrs Stuart and her family were all here and well, and join us in best wishes to you Mrs. Lear & Major Jackson.3 Sincerely & affectionately, I am Yrs.

P.S. Christopher and the Black Smith got home before us. The latter is trying his hand at some Mill work for Evans, but I have had no apportunity yet of deciding upon his skill.4

Pray measure the height of the walls of the house you are in, from the Cornice at the shingling of the roof to the pavement, and give it to me in the first letter you may write to me after the rect. of this.5

Letters and Recollections of George Washington, description begins Letters and Recollections of George Washington: Being Letters to Tobias Lear and others between 1790 and 1799, showing the First American in the management of his estate and domestic affairs. With a diary of Washington’s last days, kept by Mr. Lear. New York, 1906. description ends 48–49.

1For this numerical notation, probably added to the original receiver’s copy when it was in the hands of Jared Sparks, and background to the source text of this letter, see GW to Lear, 9 Sept. 1790, source note, and 28 Mar. 1791, source note.

2GW had used the conveyances of Philadelphia stagecoach operator Stephen Page for his journey to Philadelphia the previous autumn (see GW to Lear, 31 Oct., n.3, and 22 Nov. 1790, n.1). Eleanor (Nelly) Parke Custis and George Washington Parke Custis, the youngest children of Martha Washington’s deceased son, John Parke Custis, lived with their grandmother and GW who essentially adopted them.

3GW left his secretaries Tobias Lear and William Jackson in Philadelphia on 15 Sept. and arrived at Mount Vernon on 20 Sept. 1791 with his family, servants, and traveling secretary, Bartholomew Dandridge, Martha’s nephew. Eleanor Calvert Custis Stuart, the widow of John Parke Custis, married GW’s friend Dr. David Stuart in 1783. She probably was accompanied to Mount Vernon by her eldest children: Elizabeth (Betsy) Parke Custis and Martha (Patsy) Parke Custis.

4GW had hired Evan Evans to install in his gristmill the machinery patented by his brother, Oliver Evans (see Lear to Oliver Evans, 29 Aug., and GW to Anthony Whitting, 4 Sept., n.3).

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