George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Tench Tilghman, 13 December 1785

From Tench Tilghman

Baltimore 13th Decemr 1785.

Dear Sir

I do myself the honor to introduce to you Count Castiglioni knight of the Order of St Stephen, an Italian Nobleman, who, in pursuit of Botanical Knowledge, has thought it worth his while to visit this, hitherto, almost unexplored Continent.1 The recommendations he brings from Europe, not only ascertain his Rank, but, what you will esteem of more consequence, they speak in the most favorable manner of the amiableness of his private Character.

The Count having other introductory letters from your Friends to the Northward, rendered this, in fact, unnecessary. I could not however refuse his request of adding mine to the number.2 I have the honor to be with perfect Respect & Esteem Dear Sir Yr most obt and humble Servt

Tench Tilghman


1Count Luigi Castiglioni (1757–1832) of Milan traveled about the United States from May 1785 until 1787, and in 1790 he published in Milan his Viaggio ne gli Stati Uniti dell’ America Settentrionale.

2The young New York lawyer Edward Livingston (1764–1836), who had spent the night of 26 May at Mount Vernon, wrote GW from New York on 26 Nov. in these terms: “Sir I have the Honor of introducing to your Acquaintance the Count De Castiglioni an Italian Nobleman who has been well recommended to many Gentlemen in this City and appears to be a Man whose Conversation will justify the liberty I take in bringing him acquainted with your Excellency.

“My Mother and Sisters beg to be remembered to Your Excellency & Mrs Washington. I have the honor to be with the greatest Respect, Your Mo. Obdt Sevt Edward Livingston” (ALS, owned [1971] by Dr. Gilbert C. Norton, Endicott, N.Y.).

Castiglioni arrived at Mount Vernon on 26 Dec. and left three days later with this rather noncommittal letter from GW to Gov. William Moultrie (1730–1805) in Charleston, S.C., dated 27 Dec, in hand: “Dear Sir, The Gentleman who favors me with the delivery of this letter to Your Excellency, is the Count Castiglioni—an Italian Nobleman—well recommended to me—As he is about to make a tour through the United States I use the freedom of giving him this letter of introduction to you. Mrs Washington joins me in every good wish for Mrs Moultrie and yourself, and with great esteem and regard I am—dear Sir Your most Obedt Hble Servant Go: Washington” (ALS, NBLiHi). GW misdated the letter ’Jany 27th 1785,” instead of 27 December.

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