WASHINGTON, George. Autograph letter signed ("G:o Washington"), to Clement Biddle, Mount Vernon, 23 September 1786.
1 full page, 4to, integral address leaf with panel in Washington's hand, "favoured by Mr Porter," and with recipient's docket. Small seal tear to address leaf, otherwise in superb unrestored original condition.
CURTAINS FOR THE LARGE DINING ROOM AT MOUNT VERNON AND 16 CHAIRS
Biddle (1740-1814), of the well-known Philadelphia family, had served with Washington during the Revolution. He helped raise a company of Quaker volunteers, was commissary general at Valley Forge and fought at Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine and Monmouth. After the war he often acted as Washington's agent in Philadelphia. Here, Washington writes concerning the curtains and matching chair upholstery for the imposing Large Dining Room at Mount Vernon. Begun in 1774 and completed in 1788, the Large Dining Room "was the last and arguably, the most magnificent addition to the Mansion" (Mount Vernon Tour). It was in this room that Washington received formal notice from Charles Thomson, Secretary of Congress, confirming his election as the first President of new nation under the new Constitution, on April 14, 1789.
"Dr. Sir: It is sometime since a pair of window curtains were sent to you to get dyed; I should be glad to have them back as soon as an opportunity offers. Let me beg you to send by Mr. Porter, (who will deliver you this letter) if he can bring it, or with the curtains if he cannot, 16 yards of stuff of the same kind and colour of the Curtains to cover two dozen chairs, the front of which will require cloth near 2 feet wide, & the hinder part near two feet; this I fear is wider than that kind of Stuff generally is, but it is to be hoped that the gores wch come off the latter, will be sufficient for the former. Does [sic] the prices of the articles mentioned in my former letter still keep up? I pray you to cause the enclosed advertisement to be published three weeks in one of your Gazettes which has the most general circulation..." In a brief postscript (not in Fitzpatrick), he adds "Add if you please 3500 good brass nails, for the chairs."
Published from a Letter-Book copy (with some variant readings) in W.W. Abbot, The Papers of George Washington, Confederation series, 4:262.