George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Hamilton, 17 March 1792

From William Hamilton

The Woodlands [Philadelphia County, Pa.]
17th March 1792

Dear Sir

I will with great pleasure forward you on Monday whatever is in my power of the kinds of plants you desire & will prepare them in the best manner for the voyage.1

The time being short, I am uncertain at what time of the day they may be ready. You need not therefore send for them. I will have them deliver’d at your House in the course of it. With the most perfect respect & sincerest regard I am dear Sir Your most obedt humble servt

W. Hamilton


William Hamilton (1745–1813), a wealthy patron of the arts who lived at The Woodlands, a large, handsome estate on the Schuylkill River near Gray’s Ferry, imported and propagated a large variety of plants. GW, who had dined with Hamilton on several occasions during the spring and summer of 1787 at another one of Hamilton’s estates near Philadelphia, Bush Hill, along with his wife, Martha, visited Hamilton at The Woodlands on 19 May 1792 (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 5:160, 165, 181, 238–39, 244; Decatur, Private Affairs of George Washington, description begins Stephen Decatur, Jr. Private Affairs of George Washington: From the Records and Accounts of Tobias Lear, Esquire, his Secretary. Boston, 1933. description ends 259).

1An undated “List of Plants, from Mr Hamilton’s” probably accompanied the plants that Hamilton delivered to GW on Monday, 19 March:

no. of plants
No. 1. Spanish chesnut; bears very large Fruit 2.
2. Bladder Senna, with yellow Flowers (grows 10 or 12 feet high.)
3. Laburnum; call’d Ebony of the alps (12 or 15 feet high) 4.
4. Roan tree, or Mountain ash—bears beautiful clusters of red fruit 4.
5. Flowering Raspberry 8.
6. Twice bearing Raspberry (the fruit excellent) 12.
7. Pyracantha, or Evergreen Thorn 2.
8. white flowering Lilac 6.
9. Manna ash from Italy 2.
10. Junipers 2.
11. Willow with variegated leaves 2.
12. Paper Mulberry of Japan 4.
13. English white Thorn—the sort used for hedges 1.
14. St Peters wort (grows 3 or 4 feet high) 4.
15. Hypericum: shrub St Johns wort (4 feet high) 6.
16. Spirea frutex 4.
17. Dwarf Syringa or Mock orange, with double flowers 4.
18. Rose Acacia 15.
19. Double flowering Almonds 3.
20. Willow with Bay leaves 2.
21. English Laurel 1.
22. Spanish broom, & white broom, 1 plant of each 2.
23. Double flowering Bramble 5.
24. Common Broom 24.
25. Dwarf American Laurel 12.
26. Rhododendron or Mountain Rose Laurel 4.
27. True Osier, or Basket willow
28. Flowering, or Palm Do
29. Bay leafed Do
30. Variegated Do


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