George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Noah Webster, 31 March 1786

From Noah Webster

New York March 31st 1786


I am happy in the opportunity, which Mr Lee’s politeness has offered, of presenting Your Excellency a copy of Mr Dwights Poem. Whatever faults may be found in this performance, its merit cannot fail to recommend it to every friend of America & of virtue.1

I flatter myself that in three or four weeks I shall be able to furnish you with an Instructor, as several Gentlemen will assist me in procuring a man of worth.2

Reading Lectures in several towns has detained me longer than I expected; but I am encouraged, by the prospect of rendering my country some service, to proceed in my design of refining the language & improving our general system of education. Dr Franklin has extended my views to a very simple plan of reducing the language to perfect regularity: Should I ever attempt it, I have no doubt that I should be patronized by many distinguished characters. Please to present my respects & Compliments to Mrs Washington—to the Major & his Lady ⟨&⟩ to Mr Shaw, if in your family—& believe me with perfect respect Your Excellencys most obliged & most obedient Servant

Noah Webster jun.


1Timothy Dwight sent GW a copy of The Conquest of Canaan in October 1785 (Dwight to GW, October 1785). Arthur Lee brought this letter and poem to GW on 15 April (GW to Webster, 17 April; Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 4:311).

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