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Letter to Tobias Lear, November 16, 1796
George Washington. Autograph letter signed: Philadelphia, to Tobias Lear, 1796 Nov. 16. 3 p.

Philadelphia 16 Novr. 1796
[Lear’s docket] rec’d 18 “
answ’d 20 “

My dear Sir,

I hardly know what apology to make for the positive manner, in which I declared the Certificate for the hundred shares on 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 circumstance) 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 [inserted: to do] it afterwards, as [inserted: also] 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 seperately; and by that means found the certificate which has [2] 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 S[c]hool for young Ladies, at Bethlehem. Since then, I have written to [strikeout] the Principal of that School, The Revd. Mr. [Jacob] Van Vleck, 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 [struck: the] 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 [3] balance – provided he can, and will give indubitable surety that [inserted: both] 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 you 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 be perceived 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 pronounce, 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 frd.
Go: Washington
Mr. Tobias Lear

Notes: Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington, 35: 283-285. Maria is Anna Maria, the daughter of George Augustus Washington.