George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Simeon DeWitt, 9 June 1784

From Simeon DeWitt

New York June 9th 1784


I am honored with Your Excellency’s Letter of the 3d March—I write this to acquaint Your Excy that I am appointed Surveyor General of the State of New York in the room of Genl Schuyler who has resigned that Office; in consequence of which I shall make a resignation of my commission as Geographer, as soon as Congress have met again at Trenton; requesting at the same time permission to retain the papers I have, with the view of compiling them into a map or maps for publication as soon as I shall find it practacable. I have done part of a fair copy of one which shall include the Country between the meridians of Philadelphia and Norwalk in Connecticut and the Latitudes of Philadelphia and Fredericksburgh of a size of near 40 by 50 Inches. If the Congress allow my last request I have thoughts of sending it to France to be engraved, if not, I must think of other expedients.1 St John the French Consul at this place has offered me his recommendations of persons to whose care designs of this nature might be entrusted, by which means I might have them executed with greater perfection and at less expence than can be expected in this Country.2 I am with the greatest respect Your Excellency’s most Obedient humble Servant

S: DeWitt


1See DeWitt to GW, 12 Jan. 1784, and notes. The maps he retained in his possession were some of the rough military sketch maps that he helped make during the war. The maps eventually were presented to the New-York Historical Society and constitute the largest collection of maps prepared for the Continental army. See Walter W. Ristow, “Simeon De Witt, Pioneer American Cartographer,” Surveying and Mapping, 30 (1970), 239–55. DeWitt never published the proposed collection of revised Revolutionary War maps.

2Michel-Guillaume St. Jean de Crèvecoeur (1735–1813), himself a mapmaker, was a resident of the colony of New York from 1759 until his return to France in 1780. He came back to New York in November 1783 as the French consul in the city, a position he held despite frequent absences until his final departure in 1790. Crèvecoeur is best known for his Letters from an American Farmer, first printed in 1782.

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