From John Parker
Philad[elphi]a Feb. 9th 1798
(No. 253, Market street)
George Washington esq.
Permit me, great sir, to address you and solicit the honor of your name and patronage to the work which I am now engaged in—“The Journals of Congress” from the year 1775 to the present time, including the reports of the Heads of Departments &c. My undertaking has met with the encouragement of Mr Jefferson & the Committee of Congress to whom the printing the old Journals was referred—The assembly of this state have also shewn their opinion, by subscribing for a number of copies, for the use of the state.1
Although I am convinced of the success of my proposals, yet the honor of your name to my list of patrons will be the greatest satisfaction I can feel—My terms are
It shall be printed in octavo volumes of 400 pages, on a good paper & new type, delivered in boards, at one dollar per volume. I am, sir with great respect your most obedient very humble servant
Copy, DLC: James McHenry Papers. GW sent Parker’s letter to James McHenry on 4 Mar., and this appears to be a clerk’s copy. The ALS was listed for sale on 20 June 1979 by Sotheby Parke-Bernet, as item 860 of the Sang Collection.
1. No evidence has been found that Parker ever published any of the journals of Congress. In his letter of 4 Mar. to James McHenry inquiring about Parker, GW enclosed his letter of the same date to Parker: “Sir, Your favour of the 9th Ult. came duly to hand, & would have received an earlier acknowledgment had not causes of one kind or another intervened.
“Always desirous of promoting works which are calculated for the use and benefit of mankind, and believing that the one you have in contemplation if well compiled, will contribute to this end, I readily become a Subscriber to it.
“For the flattering terms in which you have been pleased to introduce the subject to me, I pray you to accept the thanks of Sir Your Most Obedt Hble Servt Go: Washington” (letterpress copy, DLC:GW; LB DLC:GW). McHenry did not respond to GW’s inquiry of 4 Mar. until 26 June when he reported that he had not forwarded to Parker GW’s letter and explained why.