George Washington Papers

From George Washington to La Luzerne, 28 May 1788

To La Luzerne

Mount Vernon May 28th 1788


As not any thing which is interesting to your happiness and glory can be indifferent to me, I have a sincere pleasure in congratulating you on your appointment as Ambassador from the most Christien King to the Court of London.

Altho your Excellency may possibly have had some knowledge of Mr Barlow (the gentleman who will put this letter into your hands and of whom it is recommendatory) during your residence in America; yet his celebrity as a writer was not then so great as to have attracted the same admiration and applause, which he hath since merited and obtained by the publication of his celebrated Poem entitled the Viseon of Columbus.1 That Work is dedicated by permission to the King of France, and is intended as an honorable testimony of America[’s] gratitude and affection for the Frence nation. I observe that it has been republished in London, and that the Critical Reviewers have treated the Author, in their Strictures upon it, as a person possessed of a very distingueshed and sublime Genius. I will only trespass on your time to add that Mr Barlow’s character and talents are such as authorize me to commend him to your particular notice: and to assure you, my dear Marquis, with how great personal consideration and esteem2—I have the honor to be Your most Obedt and Most humble Servant

Go. Washington


1GW purchased ten copies of Joel Barlow’s Vision of Columbus upon its publication in 1787. See GW to Elizabeth Powel, 6 June 1787, n.1.

2On the same day GW wrote a similar letter of introduction to Rochambeau: “My dear Count. I take the liberty of introducing to your acquaintance Mr Barlow, the person who will have the honor of handing this letter to you. He is a Gentleman of liberal education, respectable character, great abilities, & high reputation for literary accomplishmts. He is peculiarly & honorably known in the republic of Letters both here and in Europe, for being the Author of an admirable Poem, in which he has worthily celebrated the glory of your Nation in general & of yourself in particular—Attended, as he is, with so many interesting circumstances & under so many unusual advantages, I need add no more than just a recommendation to your attention & civilities.

“Since I had the pleasure of writing to you by the last Packet, nothing worthy of notice has happened in America, except the adoption of the Constitution in Maryland by a very great majority. I embrace you, my dear Count, with all my heart; and have the honor to be—with the highest sentiments of friendship and esteem Your most Obedt and Most Hble Servant Go: Washington” (ALS, DLC: Rochambeau Papers; LB, DLC:GW).

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