From Aeneas Lamont
Philadelphia 31st December 1784
Perhaps you will be surprized at receiving a letter from a person entirely unknown to you, and more so, I fear, at the liberty I have already taken with your name: Altho’ I cannot attempt to Justifie this impertinance, yet I consider it some liquidation of my offence that I am not the first man of genius (or immaginary genius) that have succoured their efforts by the influence of the great.
The little world, whose thoughts and pursuits are busied in necessary and domestic employments, seldome pay attention to those who flatter the Muses—they often laugh at their simplicity, tho’ seldom contribute for their amusement—But, believe me, great Sir, whatever bauble or toy contributes to a mans happiness—wo be to the heart that can revile against the acquisition, he is but a dunce in the school of nature!
If you can forgive a transgression which politeness would not excuse, my best ambition shall be to merit so much goodness. I am, Sir, With every sentiment of respect, your Devoted Humble Servant,
My address is at Edward Jones’s, Esqr. Walnut St[r]eet, Philadelphia.
ALS, PHi: Washington-Biddle Correspondence.
GW wrote to Lamont on 31 Jan. 1785, sending the letter to Clement Biddle with a request that Biddle deliver it if Lamont was “a man of decent deportment, & his productions deserving encouragement.” Biddle wrote on 7 Mar. 1785 that he had not yet been able to get information about “the Author of the Poems,” and on 12 April he informed GW that he had shown Thomas Paine GW’s letter and that Paine’s advice was not to forward it to Lamont. No record has been found of Lamont’s publishing a book of poems. GW’s letter to Lamont of 31 Jan. is printed in note 3, GW to Biddle, 2 Feb. 1785.