George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Samuel Low, 4 May 1784

To Samuel Low

[Philadelphia], Monday Evening 4th May 1784.

G: Washington presents his Compliments to Mr S.L. and begs leave to decline the honor of his dedication.1 He would have answered the letter from Baltimore under the signature of the author long ago, if he had been informed to whom, or to whose Care he might have addressed it, but, as no direction was given in either case, the thing was not practicable.

Extreme hurry, at this moment, prevents his adding more than thanks for the honor intended him by Mr S.L. If he had leizure; he would assign the Reasons.

AL, NNgWHM; LB, DLC:GW. The letter-book copy is headed, “To The anonymous author of a Poem.”

1The “dedication” was enclosed in a letter from Samuel Low, signed “The Author,” and dated 13 Feb. 1784. The opening sentence (and paragraph)reads: “Being conscious of an unwarrantable presumption in addressing your Excellency, & impress’d with a thorough sense of the Striking contrast between the writer & the patron; the Merits in the one, which (without the smallest tincture of adulation) have excited the admi[ra]tion of men in all Nations, & the vast comparative demerits in the other, I was cautious of inscribing to your Excelly the following Poem, especially as I apprehended it might incur the imputation of a too great effrontery; But from the powerful consideration that there is no one so proper, so worthy to receive this weak (tho’sincere) tribute of gratitude as your Excelly to whom every American is indebted, as a part of that people, so wonderfully emancipated by your patriotic exertions; & convinc’d of that unparralel’d goodness of heart for which your Excelly is so justly celebrated, added to that endearing, that aimiable condescension to inferiors, which ever indicates the noble mind, I am embolden’d to present this poor production of an American Genius, to the perusal of one, whose innate understanding, joined to his Knowledge in the literary world, constitute no small part of his illustrious Character” (DLC:GW). It continues in this vein for several pages. A typescript of the complete letter is in CD-ROM:GW.

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