George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Poellnitz, 26 December 1789

From Poellnitz

New York 26th Decbr 1789.


The countenance Your Exellency has been pleas’d to give, to my feeble efforts in agriculture, has encouraged the promulgation of this Essay, the manuscript of which, I send to your Exellencys perusal, before I giv’ it to the printer, from whom I expect the alteration, of the to a foreigner unavoidable faults of ortography.1

Permit’ me Sir to decorate this pamphlet with a great Title, by writing on the head “This Essay is respectfully inscribed &.&.&. to your Exellency; this will make more impression on the minds, then all the Arguments contained in the Essay, as it conveys the Idea, that what may be Useful in it, has received your Exellency’s gracious Sanction. I am respectfully your Exellencys, most humble, and devoted, Servant.

F. C. H. B. Poellnitz

The quantity the Mill can thrash in an hour, is left in bianco, ’til I receive Your Exellency’s Order, for the Experiment.


Friedrich Charles Hans Bruno, Baron von Poellnitz (d. 1801), a native of Poland, lived on a 21–acre farm near Murray Hill on Manhattan. Poellnitz carried on various agricultural experiments on his farm and corresponded with GW on agricultural matters. See Poellnitz to GW, 20 Mar. 1790, 28 July 1795, and GW to Poellnitz, 29 Dec. 1789, 23 Mar. 1790. Sometime before 1795 Poellnitz sold his farm and moved to South Carolina, settling on a plantation on the Great Pee Dee River near Georgetown (Janvier, In Old New York, description begins Thomas A. Janvier. In Old New York. New York, 1894. description ends 123–24; South Carolina Historical Magazine, 32 [1931], 198; Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 20 [1896], 44).

1This is undoubtedly an early version of Poellnitz’s Essay on Agriculture, printed in New York in 1790 by Francis Childs and John Swaine. GW replied on 29 Dec: “I have received your letter of the 26th; and given such attention to the Manuscript which accompanied it, as my obligations to public duties would permit. I shall always be happy to see experiments in agricultural machines, which can be brought into general use. Of those in your possession I was not able to form a decided judgment, except in the instance of the Horse-Hoe; of the utility of that instrument I was fully convinced. I propose to take some farther occasion of seeing the manner in which the threshing machines operates, when you shall let me know it is in readiness for the purpose” (copy, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters). In January 1790 GW visited Poellnitz’s farm to observe the operation of one of his threshing machines. See Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 6:12.

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