George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Sinclair, 9 June 1797

From John Sinclair

Whitehall [London] 9th June 1797

Sir John Sinclair presents his best respects to General Washington, & has the pleasure of sending him by the hands of the gallant Kosciusko the remainder of the Agricultural Surveys.1

If General Washington should want any to complete his sett Sir John begs to know the deficient Counties, and he will take particular care to send them to America, for though those Reports are merely to be considered as printed manuscripts for correction, and additional observations, yet they contain a great Mass of valuable Matter, & are the first instance of a whole Country being completed in that Stile—It is therefore worth while to have a complete sett, or two of the original Surveys of Old England preserved in America.2


1Tadeusz Andrzej Bonawentura Kościuszko (Thaddeus Kosciusko; 1746–1817), the Polish patriot who had served as a colonel of engineers in the Continental army during the American Revolution, arrived in Philadelphia in August 1797. On 23 Aug. 1797 he wrote GW: “Sir By Sending a Packet delivered to me by Lord St Claire for You I have the honor to pay my Respects not only to my ⟨illegible⟩ Cheef Commander, but to a Great Man whose eminent Services to his Country, render him dear to every feeling Breast. your most humble and most obedient Servant. T. Kosciuszko” (owned [1978] by Mr. A.J. Benis, Tokyo). GW replied to Kościuszko from Mount Vernon on 31 August: “Dear Sir, Having just been informed of your safe arrival in America, I was on the point of writing you a congratulatory letter on the occasion, welcoming you to the land whose liberties you had been so instrumental in establishing, when I received your favour of the 23rd instant from Philadelphia; for which, and the Packet you had the goodness to bear from Sir John Sinclair, I offer you my thanks.

“I beg you to be assured that, no one has a higher respect, & veneration for your character than I have; or one who more sincerely wished, during your arduous struggle in the cause of liberty & your country, that it might be crowned with Success. But the ways of Providence are inscrutable, and Mortals must submit.

“I pray you to believe, that at all times, and under any circumstances, it would make me happy to see you at my last retreat; from which I never expect to be more than twenty miles again. With great esteem, I remain Dear Sir Your Most Humble and Obedient Servant Go: Washington” (letterpress copy, DLC:GW). Kościuszko again wrote GW, on 8 Oct. 1797, and received another ceremonial reply from GW, on 15 Oct., before Congress awarded Kościuszko about $1,500 and 500 acres of land.

2Sinclair began sending to GW copies of the agriculture surveys of the counties of Great Britain in 1794. See Sinclair to GW, 6 Feb. 1794, and GW to Sinclair, 20 July 1794, 10 July 1795. For the surveys received by GW and for references to the correspondence between GW and Sinclair regarding the publications, see 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 91–95.

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