George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Samuel Magaw, 15 February 1794

From Samuel Magaw

[Philadelphia] Febry 15th 1794


In venturing to lay before You the discourse herewith presented;1 my diffidence is overruled, only by a Desire to pay some Tribute of Duty and Respect, where much is owed. The instance, indeed, is, of itself, quite inconsiderable: Yet, it appreciates in my view, as under the immediate direction of those Gentlemen, whose sentiments I can with greater safety rely upon, than on my own. They have instructed me, on this occasion: and they allow me the Honour of having this agreeable Communication with them. I am, Sir, Your most obedient Servt

Sam. Magaw


Samuel Magaw (1735–1812), a native of Pennsylvania, graduated from the College of Philadelphia (later the University of Pennsylvania) in 1757. After his 1767 ordination as a priest in the Anglican church, he served several years in Dover, Del., as a missionary for the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. He was the rector of St. Paul’s Church in Philadelphia, 1781–1804, vice provost and professor of moral philosophy at the College of Philadelphia, 1782–91, and a member of the American Philosophical Society. He was also one of the founders of the Academy of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Philadelphia.

1The enclosure probably was Magaw’s Things Lovely and of good Report. A Sermon, delivered in St. Paul’s Church, Philadelphia. On the 27th of December, 1793: being St. John the Evangelist’s Day; in the the Presence of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania: to which is prefixed a Prayer, before the Sermon, Philadelphia, 1794. This sermon, as well as four other tracts by Magaw, were in GW’s library. Added to this collection after GW’s death in 1799 was Magaw’s An Oration commemorative of the Virtues and Greatness of General Washington; pronounced in the German Lutheran Church, Philadelphia: before the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, on the twenty-second day of February, eighteen hundred, Philadelphia, 1800 (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 , 132–33, 176, 406).

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