George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Tobias Lear, 16 November 1796

Philadelphia 16th Novr 1796

My dear Sir,

I hardly know what apology to make for the positive manner in which I declared the Certificate for the hundred shares in the Bank of Columbia, had never been in my hands. The fact is otherwise, and I delay no time to correct my error.

I found it last night and account for it thus. Given to me, I suppose, (for I have not the most obscure recollection of the circumstances) at a time when my mind was occupied on, or immediately called to some other subject I put it loose in my travelling Chaise-box, where Papers (frequently wanted at Mount Vernon) always remained; intending, I presume, to file it with the other certificates, in the same box, but not doing it then, and forgetting to do it afterwards, and every recollection of having seen it, it might have remained there ’till dooms-day undiscovered, If I had not, for another purpose, examined every paper therein separately, and by that means found the certificate which has puzzled both you and me, to know what had become of it.

Mr Dandridge (as I presume he has informed you) applied, without encouragement, to the Revd Mr Medor of this City (one of the Moravian Clergy) for the Speedy admission of Maria, into the School for young Ladies, at Bethlehem. Since then, I have written to the Principal of that School—the Revd Mr Vanvleck, but have not received his answer. When it comes I will forward it to you.

Mr Smith of Alexandria to whom my flour was sold, is craving, earnestly, a prolongation of payment ninety days. This I do not like for two reasons—1. because it carries along with it distrust of his circumstances; and 2. because the doing of it, would be inconvenient, and a derangement of my own measures. I have however, not wanting to distress him, placed the matter upon the following ground. Pay Mr Pearce the aggregate of his estimate of the Sums necessary to pay his own wages; the Overseers; & other incidental expences of the Estate, on or before the 24th of next month, & I will wait until the first day of March next for the balance—provided he can, and will give indubitable surety that these shall be done.

As Mr Pearce may not be well acquainted with business of this sort, or indeed with the adequacy of the Security which may be offered—Personal or Real—I have taken the liberty of mentioning the matter to you—praying, if you should go down to your farm, that you would aid him with your advice.

Washington Custis has got settled at Princeton College, and I think under favourable auspices, but the change from his former habits is so great & sudden, and his hours for study so much increased beyond what he has been accustomed to, that though he promises to be attentive, it is easy to perceive he is not at all reconciled to it yet. That of getting up an hour before day to commence them, is, I will venture to pronouce not the least irksome to him at present.

Offer my Respects to Mrs Lear, & love to the Children, in which Mrs Washington unites, and be assured of the sincere esteem & regard of Dear Sir, Your affectionate

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DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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