George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 15 November 1788]

Saturday 15th. Thermometer at 43 in the Morning—52 at Noon and 50 at Night. Clear morning with the Wind at No. Wt. Pleasant all day & clear with less Wind.

Went with my Compass and finished the line of stakes from Dogue run (at the Tumbling dam) to Hunting Ck.; for a road on the border of my land adjoining to Colo. Masons. Also connected this with the road leading from the Gum Spring to Alexandria and from the former run the courses and measured the distances to my Mill and from the Mill to the Mansion House.

On my return home in the Evening I found Mr. Warville and a Mr. de Saint Tries here—brought down by Mr. Porter who returned again.

Jacques (Jean) Pierre Brissot de Warville (1754–1793), French journalist and reformer, came to the United States in July of this year as an agent for three European financiers who were interested in investing in the American public debt and in public lands. However, Brissot also had reasons of his own for coming. A warm friend of the United States and an admirer of Jean Jacques Rousseau, he was thinking of settling in America, possibly in the Shenandoah Valley and was planning to write a history of the new country (BRISSOT description begins J. P. Brissot de Warville. New Travels in the United States of America, 1788. Translated by Mara Soceanu Vamos and Durand Echeverria. Edited by Durand Echeverria. Cambridge, Mass., 1964. description ends , xi—xxi). It was this last project that brought him to Mount Vernon. Brissot, Lafayette wrote to GW 25 May 1788, “is . . . very desirous to Have a peep at Your papers, which Appears to me a deserved Condescension as He is Very fond of America, writes pretty well, and will set Matters in a proper light” (PEL). How much Brissot used GW’s papers during his brief stay, if at all, is not known, but he was well received by GW and was given, he said, “a great deal of information both on the recent war and on present conditions in America” (BRISSOT description begins J. P. Brissot de Warville. New Travels in the United States of America, 1788. Translated by Mara Soceanu Vamos and Durand Echeverria. Edited by Durand Echeverria. Cambridge, Mass., 1964. description ends , 345). From Mount Vernon, Brissot went to New York and sailed for France, where he soon became deeply involved in the French Revolution. He was a prominent member of the Paris Commune and a leader of the Girondist party, but during the Terror he fell from power and was guillotined.

The chevalier de St. Trys (St. Tries, St. Trise, St. Fris), “a Captain in a french Rgt of dragoons,” had a letter of introduction to GW from Lafayette (4 May 1788, PEL). He had probably come to America on the ship that brought Brissot, but did not return to France with him (Thomas Jefferson to Charles Thomson, 1 May 1788, James Madison to Jefferson, 12 Dec. 1788, JEFFERSON [1] description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 40 vols. to date. Princeton, N.J., 1950—. description ends , 13:122–23, 14:352–53; St. Trys to Benjamin Franklin, 25 July 1788, HAYS description begins I. Minis Hays, ed. Calendar of the Papers of Benjamin Franklin in the Library of the American Philosophical Society. Philadelphia, 1908. description ends , 4:377).

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