ALS: American Philosophical Society
Vienna Sept. 1. 1783.
The inclosed note and bill of exchange of 150 florins on Messrs. Goll & Verbrugge at Amsterdam are delivred to me by his Excellency Count Chotek chanchellor of Bohemia and Austria,1 one of our first Noblemen, and, what more is, a true Lover and encourager of Sciences; deserving therefore very highly your attention in fulfilling his desires, by sending the inclosed list of American plantes to a good botanist or nursery man, and to engage him in a pressing way to forward, as soon as possible, by the first vessel bound to Amsterdam, all, or as many of such grains or seeds mentioned in this list, as he will be able procure immediately, principaly those marked L. You will be so good as to send by the Same way the inclosed bill of Exchange, after having endossed it, the amount of which must balance the expenses of the Commission, shipping included. What the Commissioner may not be able to collect immediately, must not stop in the least the sending of those he may procure immediately, as the remaindre is to be Sent in the autum of 1784. Those which he will send by the first oportunity will be made use of in the spring of 1784.
I hope you have recieved my last dated August 5th,2 with an inclosed to mr. Le Begue de Prèsle.
I hope you will now disentangle your Self from the boisterous and capricious Political world, and finish in a more elevated sphere, the last revolutions of years, Providence has reserved to you for the good of Mankind. You have done enough. (Spectatum satis est et donatum Iam rude)3 Elevated on the highest pinnacle of human Grandour, which a private man can attain, you can, at your age, not be so fond of it as of the immortal name of a Philosopher of the first rang— Fulfill now your ardent wishes, and finish your Glorious carriere in philosophical tranquillity. After having now given the finishing stroke to the greatest revolution which the world ever beheld, and after having had a grate share in the foundation of an immense empire on the basis of Liberty and independence, you have acquired the greatest right to enjoy the remnant of life left to you, in a way the most suited to your inclination— My ardent wishes are Still to enjoye once more your company— If, according to your plan, I may Still hope to embrace you here, you will be eye witnesse of those immense labours, which I have undertaken, and still pursue with unremitting assiduity and attention, to the sole purpose of enlarging human knowledge; and you will be pleased to see, that I have not laboured quite in vain— Contented with what I have acquired by saving the most illustrious Princes of the world from the dangers of a disease so fatal to their family,4 I enjoye, tho in a philosophical obscurity, more real happiness, than a Conquerour of the World.
That you may enjoye still many years of health, happiness and tranquillity, is the wish of Your old and affectiona friend.
J. Ingen Housz
to his Excellency B. Franklin Ministre Pleny of The United states of America at Passy.
Endorsed: Sept. 1. 83
1. Johann Rudolph Graf Chotek von Chotkowa und Wognin (1748–1824) was also the president of the Royal Bohemian Society of Sciences. He owned several estates on which he experimented with agricultural innovations and landscape design: Constant von Wurzbach, ed., Biographisches Lexikon des Kaiserthums Oesterreich (60 vols., Vienna, 1856–91).
2. Actually, Aug. 15, above.
3. One who has proved himself and now received a badge of service: Horace, Epistolae, book 1, epistle 1, line 2.
4. Probably a reference to his inoculation of the Austrian royal family against smallpox: XIV, 4n.