George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Lafayette, 3 September 1785

From Lafayette

Vienna September the 3d 1785

My dear General

This letter Has been Requested of me as an Introduction for Mr André Michaux whom for Many Reasons I am Very Happy to present—in the first place I Know you will Be Glad to Know a Man whose Genius Has Raised Him Among the Scientifick people, and who, as a Botanist, Has at His own Expense travelled through Countries very little Known—He Now is Sent By the King to America, in order to Know the trees, the Seeds, and Every Kind of Natural production Whose growth May be either Curious, or Useful, and for them the King Will set up a Nursery at a Country Seat of His which He is Very fond of—I am the More pleased with the plan as it oppens a New channel of intercourse and Mutual farming good offices Between the two Nations—I Beg, My dear general, You will patronize this Gentlemen, and I much Want it to Be Said in france that He Has Been Satisfied with His Reception in America.1

I Have Been Visiting the prussian army, and Now am in the Austrian Capital—I Had But an Hour ago a long Conversation with the emperor about the United states and American trade, in which I took Care properly to Answer His Questions—Where ever I go I Enjoy the Unspeackable pleasure to Hear My Beloved General Spoken of with that Respect He So well deserves.2 Adieu, My dear General, My Best Respects Wait on Mrs Washington, Remember me to the Young ones. Most Respectfully and affectionately Your



1GW wrote in his diary on 19 June 1786: “A Monsr. Andri Michaux—a Botanest sent by the Court of France to America (after having been only 6 Weeks returned from India) came in a little before dinner with letters of Introduction & recommendation from the Duke de Lauzen, & Marqs. de la Fayette to me. He dined and returned afterwards to Alexandria on his way to New York, from whence he had come; and where he was about to establish a Botanical garden” (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 4:350). André Michaux (1746–1802), accompanied by his young son François-André (1770–1855), arrived in New York on 14 Nov. and in the following spring established his garden, or nursery, in Bergen Neck, New Jersey. In September 1786 he embarked for South Carolina and made his famous garden 10 miles from Charleston. He remained in America until 1795. Lauzun’s introduction of 25 Aug. reads: “I beg leave to introduce to your Excellency Mr Michau Gentleman of a distinguished caracter by his knowledge and his zeal For every kind of improvement—Mr Michau is presently appointed by the king to a grand tour ⟨thru⟩ the whole wordle making the most compleat collection in his power of trees, seeds and vegetals unknown in France, wich collection will be destined for the king’s private garden at Rambouille and afterwards, propagated in his whole kingdom. the protection of your Excellency will be of the greatest Service to Mr Michau, and he will deserve by his good disposition and behaviour” (DLC:GW). GW acknowledged Lauzun’s letter on 31 July 1786. See also Michaux to GW, 20 June 1786.

2Later on this day Lafayette talked about American trade with the Austrian chancellor Prince Kaunitz (Wenzel Anton, Prince von Kaunitz-Reitberg; 1711–1794). On 4 Sept. Lafayette wrote Thomas Jefferson in Paris at some length about his discussion of American affairs earlier with Frederick II of Prussia and on this day with Emperor Joseph II and Prince Kaunitz (Idzerda, Lafayette Papers description begins Stanley J. Idzerda et al., eds. Lafayette in the Age of the American Revolution: Selected Letters and Papers, 1776–1790. 5 vols. Ithaca, N.Y., 1977-83. description ends , 5:345–47).

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