George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Lafayette, 17 December 1784

From Lafayette

New York 17th Decr 1784

I Shou’d think myself much Obliged to Your encellency if through Your Means Some of the Following Seeds might be Procured From KentucKé for the Use of the King’s Garden—Viz., The Seeds of the Coffe Tree which Resembles the Black oak

Do of the Pappa Tree

Do of the Cucumber Tree

Do Black berry Tree

Do Wild Cherry Tree

Do Buck-Eye Tree

Do of Wild Rye, Buffalo Grass—Shawanese Salad—Wild Lettuce—Crown Imperial[—]Cardinal Flower—the Tulip-bearing Laurel Tree—& the Seeds of Every thing else Curious which that Famed Country Producs.1

It wou’d be Necessary Your Encellency Wou’d order the whole to be Carefully Sent to the Care of the director of the French Pacquets at New York, that it might be Transmitted to Paris.

God Bless you, my dear General, I am Requested By Mr St John to sign this, and do it with the Greater pleasure as these seeds and trees will be very wellcome in france.


LS, PEL. The closing of this letter is in Lafayette’s hand; the body of the letter does not seem to be in St. John Crèvecoeur’s hand, but presumably it was he who presented it to Lafayette for his signature.

1The trees may be identified as the Kentucky coffee tree (Gymnocladus dioica), papaw (Asimina triloba), cucumber tree (Magnolia acuminata), perhaps black alder or winterberry (Prunus virginiana), buckeye or horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum), and, probably, tulip poplar (Liliodendron tulipifera). The flowering plants, crown imperial and cardinal flower, are Imperialis coronata and Lobelia cardinalis. GW wrote Lafayette about the seed on 15 Feb. and 25 July 1785.

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