George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Sinclair, 15 June 1793

From John Sinclair

London 15th June 1793.


I had the honour of receiving yours, and hear, with much pleasure, that the pursuits in which I am engaged, have the good fortune to meet with your approbation.1

I am persuaded that you will learn with peculiar satisfaction, that I have at last succeeded, in procuring a public institution for promoting a zeal for agricultural pursuits, & ascertaining the best means of carrying on the internal improvement of this country.2 I hope that a similar Board will be set on foot by Congress, and, under its auspices, a statistical survey carried on, of your extensive & flourishing Empire.3 I could almost pledge myself to take a voyage to America, to have the pleasure of setting such a plan a going, and of seeing so many respectable characters there whom I esteem. Believe me, with great regard—Your very faithful humble Servant

John Sinclair


1This is probably GW’s letter to Sinclair of 15 Mar. 1793, in which GW expressed his approval of Sinclair’s efforts to improve the practice of agriculture. No intervening letter from GW to Sinclair has been found.

2Sinclair was instrumental in the establishment in 1793 of the British Board of Agriculture and Internal Improvement, and he served as its president, 1793–98 and 1806–13. He sent a copy of his plan in care of Dr. James B. M. Adair, who arrived at New York City on 29 August (Sinclair to GW, 15 Aug., and Adair to GW, 31 Aug. 1793). Sinclair’s Plan for Establishing a Board of Agriculture and Internal Improvement: As Intended to be Proposed in Parliament, by Sir John Sinclair (London, 1793) was in GW’s library (Griffin, Catalogue of the Washington Collection description begins Appleton P.C. Griffin, comp. A Catalogue of the Washington Collection in the Boston Athenæum. Cambridge, Mass., 1897. description ends , 89).

3The U.S. Department of Agriculture was created by Congress in 1862. GW replied to Sinclair on 20 July 1794 (ALS, Uk-LoBM: Add. Ms 5757; LB, DLC:GW).

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