George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Tobias Lear, 12 January 1798

From Tobias Lear

Jany 12th 1798

Dear Sir,

I enclose the letter from Colo. F. Deakins which I mentioned to you yesterday.1 Any Commands you may have for Richmond I shall be happy to take. Altho’ I have not sanguine expectations of pecuniary aid from the Assembly of Virginia; yet a petition to permit the collection of Tolls is an object of too much importance to be neglected at this moment. I therefore feel it a duty incumbent on me to promote this.2

I feel extremely anxious to see the affairs of the Potomac Company in a prosperous train that I may resign, with satisfaction to myself, the agency which I now hold in that important business; which I shall, at all events, resign.3 I have the honor to be, invariably & devotedly, Dear Sir, Your grateful & affectionate

Tobias Lear

P.S. Mr Hartshorne is desireous of having one of your Jacks of two years old; for which his ultimatum I presume wd be one hundred pounds.

Go: Washington

ALS, DLC:GW. Lear wrote on the cover: “pr Julius.”

1For reference to Francis Deakins’s missing letter of 28 Dec., see GW to Francis Deakins, 15 January. Lear dined at Mount Vernon on 11 Jan. (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 6:277).

2As president of the Potowmack Company, Tobias Lear, along with the other directors of the company, reported to the company’s stockholders at the meeting of 8 Feb.: “Application has been made to the Assemblies of Virginia and Maryland for a grant of money, either upon loan, or to be vested in new shares as they might choose; but without success” (Bacon-Foster, Patomac Route, description begins Corra Bacon-Foster. Early Chapters in the Development of the Patomac Route to the West. Washington, D.C., 1912. description ends 96). Both legislatures, however, did at least approve the collection of tolls at or near the falls of the rivers. See also GW to John Mason, 2 Jan., and Mason to GW, 24 January.

3GW provided Lear with this letter to James Wood, governor of Virginia, dated this day at Mount Vernon: “Dear Sir This letter will be presented to your Excellency by Mr Lear, President of the Potomack Company, who waits on the Legislature to solicit the loan of a sum of money to enable the Stock holders to proceed with vigour, to the completion of an Enterprise so great, honourable & useful, as is that of laying open the shortest and easiest communication between the Atlantic States & the extensive Country westward of us, on the Waters of Ohio. A communication which will be found not less beneficial than honourable for the States of Virginia & Maryland to encourage. Mr Lear has other matters relative to the Falls &ca to lay before that Honble body, equally claiming its attention. Such facility as your Excellency can, with propriety give to these important objects, will not, I persuade myself, be wanting. Permit me to introduce Mr Lear to your notice & civilities, and to assure you of the respect & regard with which I am Dear Sir Your most obedient Humble Serv. Go: Washington” (letterpress copy, DLC:GW; LB DLC:GW).

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