George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 16 May 1785]

Monday 16th. Mercury at 63 in the Morning—66 at Noon, and 68 at Night. General Moylan, Mrs. Moylan, Doctr. Stuart, Wife & Sister, went away after Breakfast.

Mr. Mazzai came here to breakfast and went away afterwds.

Philip Mazzei (1730–1816), born in Italy, had been a wine merchant in London for 18 years before coming to Virginia in 1773. He purchased an estate named Colle, adjoining Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Albemarle County, where he carried on agricultural experiments. In 1774 GW subscribed for one share at £50 sterling to Mazzei’s scheme to form a company “for the Purpose of raising and making Wine, [olive] Oil, agruminous Plants and Silk” (JEFFERSON [1] description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 40 vols. to date. Princeton, N.J., 1950—. description ends , 1:156–58). The project came to a halt during the Revolution, and in June 1779 Gov. Patrick Henry sent Mazzei to France to borrow money for the state. He returned in 1783 but sailed for Europe again in June 1785, shortly after his visit to Mount Vernon. In 1788 Mazzei published his history of America, Recherches historiques et politiques sur les États-Unis de l’Amérique septentrionale (Paris, 1788), based in part on notes Jefferson gave him.

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