George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Boinod & Gaillard, 18 February 1784

To Boinod & Gaillard

Mount Vernon 18th Feby 1784


I have been favored with your polite & obliging Letter of January the 20th, & thank you for the many flattering sentiments contained in it.1

To encourage Literature & the Arts, is a duty which every good Citizen owes to his Country, & if I could be instrumental in promoting these, and in aiding your endeavours to do the like, it would give me pleasure.

Your Books being chiefly in a foreign Language (which I do not understand) & my Library containing the most valuable of those which are named in the English catalogue,2 my demand will be small, but if those mentioned below are yet in your Store, they may be laid by, or sent to me as occasion offers, & the cost shall be paid to your Order.3 I am Gentlen Your Most Obt &ca

G: Washington

An Accot of the New Northn Archipelago by M.J. Von Stræhlin 8Vos.

The Histy of the Ud Provinces of the Netherlands by Wm Lothian 4to

A review of the characters of the principal Nations in Europe—2 Vols. 8vo.

Hermes, or a phlol enquiry, concerning Languages &ca by J.H. 8vo.

The true French master, or rules for the Fh tongue by Mr Cheneau of Paris, 8vo.

The New pocket Dicty of the Fh & Eng: langs. by Thos Nugent 2 vols. 8vo.

A course of Gallantries, translated from the Freh of Mr Duclos.2 parts—8vo.

The rise, progress & prest state of the Northn Govts by J. Williams Esqr. 2 Vols—4to.

LB, DLC:GW. Daniel Boinod and Alexander Gaillard, French booksellers, issued two catalogs from Philadelphia in 1784. In the first, Catalogue des Livres que se Trouvent chez Boinod & Gaillard, they wrote in the introduction of “the Establishment we are now about to form” with “not so much the Desire of Gain as that of living among a Free-People.” Their advertisement of 3 Feb.1784 in the Pennsylvania Packet, and Daily Advertiser (Philadelphia) indicates that their store was on Second Street near Vine. Thomas Jefferson bought a number of books from Boinod & Gaillard in the spring of 1784 before he left for Paris. See Boyd, Jefferson Papers, description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 41 vols. to date. Princeton, N.J., 1950–. description ends 6:529–30, 541, 544, 7:280, 288, 290.

1Letter not found.

2In the Catalogue, cited above, the French titles run through page 81, the Latin titles from 82 to 103, and those in English from 103 through 112.

3None of these titles appear in the inventory of GW’s library which was made after his death, and no record has been found in GW’s cash accounts in Ledger B description begins General Ledger B, 1772–1793. Library of Congress, George Washington Papers, Series 5, Financial Papers. description ends of his having made any payments to Boinod & Gaillard in 1784 or 1785.

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