George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Lafayette, 10 February 1786

From Lafayette

Paris february the 10th [1786]

The inclosed, my dear general, is a vocabulary which the Empress of Russia Has Requested me to Have filled up with indian Names, as she Has ordered an Universal dictionary to be made of all languages—it would greatly oblige Her to collect the words she sends translated into the several idioms of the Nations on the Banks of the Oyho—presley Nevill and Morgan at fort pitt, general Mullemberg in fayette’s County and our other friends Could undertake it for us, and be very attentive to Accuracy—I Beg Your pardon, My dear general, for the trouble I give you, But Have Been so particularly Applied to, that I Cannot dispense with paying great attention to the Business.1

This goes with so long an epistle of Mine that I shall only present you Here with My Best love and wishes and am my dear general Your respectfull & tenderest friend


ALS, DLC:GW; copy, PEL. Both are endorsed by GW.

1On 20 Aug. GW sent copies of Lafayette’s letter to George Morgan and Thomas Hutchins asking for their help. Receiving no encouragement from either, on 27 Nov. he made the same request to Richard Butler, who in August had been made Indian Superintendent for the Northern Department. Butler assembled the vocabulary and sent it to GW on 30 Nov. 1787. GW forwarded it to Lafayette on 10 Jan. 1788. John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg (1746–1807) had a distinguished career as a brigadier general in the Continental army during the Revolution, and after the war he had a successful career in Pennsylvania politics.

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