George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 19 March 1790]

Friday 19th. Exercised on Horseback betwn. 9 and 11 Oclock.

Information being given by Mr. Van Berkel, that Mr. Cazenove just arrived from Holland, and of a principal Mercantile House there had letters for me which he wished to deliver with his own hands and requesting to know when he might be presented for that purpose. It was thought, before this should be done, it might be proper to know whether they were of a public nature, and whether he was acting in a public character. If so, then to let them come to me through the Secretary of State—if not, then for him to send them, that the purport might be known before he was introduced, which might be at the next Levee when he might be received & treated agreeably to the consequence he might appear to derive from the testimonial of the letters. It being conceived that etiquette of this sort is essential with all foreigners to give respect to the Chief Majestrate and the dignity of the Government, which would be lessened if every person who could procure a letter of introduction should be presented otherwise than at Levee hours in a formal manner.

Theophile Cazenove (1740–1811) was born in Amsterdam and from 1763 to 1788 operated a leading brokerage firm in that city. Serious business reverses in the latter year led him to accept a commission as agent in the United States for a number of Dutch bankers, including Pieter Stadnitski & Son and Nicholaas and Jacob Van Staphorst, who were interested in the purchase of American securities and in investment in various American enterprises. In 1792 Cazenove was appointed agent in purchasing western lands for the six Dutch banking houses that banded together in 1796 as the Holland Land Company. Cazenove arrived in the United States early in 1790, carrying numerous letters of introduction to American financiers (see EVANS [3] description begins Paul Demund Evans. The Holland Land Company. Buffalo, 1924. In Buffalo Historical Society Publications, vol. 28. description ends , 3–7).

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