George Washington Papers

From George Washington to James Anderson, 25 April 1793

To James Anderson

Philadelphia April 25th 1793


It was not until the 18th instant that I had the pleasure to receive your letter of the 3d of November, enclosing one from Lord Buchan, and accompanied by the 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th & 11th Volumes of the Bee—and a copy of the pamphlet on Wool.1

While I beg your acceptance of my best thanks for the polite attention you have shewn in forwarding the several Volumes of the Bee—and express my sincere wishes for the prosperity of that liberal and useful work, I must repeat my desire of being considered as a subscriber to it, and request to be informed to whom I shall make payment therefor.2

I have been hitherto prevented, by my numerous avocations of a public nature, from perusing the Volumes which you first sent me, with that care & regularity I wished; but such parts of them as I have had an opportunity of looking into, have convinced me that the work has been conducted with that view to a diffusion of useful knowledge upon which it was undertaken, and in such a manner as must meet the approbation of the friends of Science and those who wish to promote the best interests of mankind. I am persuaded that when the work becomes more generally known in this Country than it is at present, you will find a pretty considerable demand for it from this quarter; for I beleive I may say, without vanity, that my Countrymen are as eagar in the pursuit of useful knowledge as their circumstances & necessary avocations will permit; and as these are every day becoming more favorable to such acquirements, it will not be an unfounded calculation to count upon an increasing demand here for such publications as inform the head & improve the heart.

I hope you will find it convenient to prosecute your proposed plan of publishing a periodical work on Agriculture, the utility of which pursuit is so abundantly evident, and in which, comparatively speaking, so little progress has been made, at least in this Country.3

I am pleased to learn that you have been so successful in the experiments to improve your wool. I have been always convinced that nothing more is necessary than an attention to the breed and management of sheep to produce the best wool in every Country that is suitable for tending them.4 I sincerely hope that Sir John Sinclair will meet the success which his exertions merit in this, as well as in his other laudable undertakings to promote the good of Society. I am, Sir, with consideration & esteem, Your most Obedt Servt

Go: Washington

LS, in Tobias Lear’s writing, owned (1979) by Mr. Philip H. Jones of Shelton, Conn.; Df, in Lear’s writing, NjMoHP; LB, DLC:GW.

1GW had received earlier volumes of Anderson’s Bee, or Literary Weekly Intelligencer in June 1792 (GW to James Anderson and to the Earl of Buchan, both 20 June 1792). By the time of his death in 1799, GW had acquired eighteen volumes of the Bee for his library (Griffin, Boston Athenæum Washington Collection, description begins Appleton P.C. Griffin, comp. A Catalogue of the Washington Collection in the Boston Athenæum. Cambridge, Mass., 1897. description ends 492). He responded to the enclosed letter from Buchan, dated 22 Oct. 1792, on 22 April 1793. GW and Sir John Sinclair, author of the enclosed pamphlet, Address to the Society for the Improvement of British Wool (1791), were engaged in a running correspondence about sheep breeding and improvements to wool production (Sinclair to GW, 18 May 1792, GW to Sinclair, 20 Oct. 1792, and note 1).

2For GW’s insistence that he pay for a subscription to the Bee, see GW to Anderson, 20 June 1792, note 5.

3On Anderson’s publishing plan, see Anderson to GW, 3 Nov. 1792, and note 4.

4For GW’s efforts at raising sheep, see his letter to Anthony Whitting of 21 April 1793.

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