George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Churchman, 9 August 1790

From John Churchman

Philadelphia, 9 Aug. 1790. Encloses his recent publication1 as a token of his best respects for the president. “Being convinced that no name would be likely to stamp so great a value on the work as that of the personage to whom it is dedicated,2 he hopes to be pardoned for the Liberty which he has taken in this respect.”3

AL, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters.

For John Churchman’s previous correspondence with GW, see Thomas Ruston to GW, 20 Mar. 1789, and Churchman to GW, 7 May 1789 (see also Boyd, Jefferson Papers, description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 40 vols. to date. Princeton, N.J., 1950—. description ends 18:61,68).

1Churchman enclosed a copy of his An Explanation of the Magnetic Atlas, or Variation Chart, Hereunto Annexed; Projected on a Plan Entirely New . . . (Philadelphia, 1790; Evans, American Bibliography, description begins Charles Evans et al. American Bibliography and Supplement. 16 vols. Chicago, Worcester, Mass., and Charlottesville, Va., 1903–71. description ends 8:17), for which the copyright was issued on 17 June 1790. Only a copy of the second edition (London, 1794), with Churchman’s autograph inscription to GW of 2 Sept. 1796 on the flyleaf, was in GW’s library at his death (Griffin, Boston Athenæum Collection, description begins Appleton P.C. Griffin, comp. A Catalogue of the Washington Collection in the Boston Athenæum. Cambridge, Mass., 1897. description ends 47, 549).

2The dedication to the first edition reads: “To George Washington, President of the United States of America, this Magnetic Atlas or Variation Chart, is humbly inscribed.”

3Lear replied to Churchman for GW on 28 Aug. 1790: “The President of the United States has received a Copy of the Magnetic Atlas or Variation Chart, together with the book of explanation which you have been so polite as to send him and requests your acceptance of his thanks for the same.

“I am, moreover, ordered by the President to inform you, that being ever desirous of encouraging such publications as tend to promote useful knowledge, he requests you will consider him as a subscriber to your work” (DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters). Churchman printed Lear’s letter in an appendix to subsequent editions of his work, but GW’s name does not appear in the list of subscribers appended to them.

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