To John Parke
Mount Vernon March 23d 1787
I have receeved the 2 Vol. of your poetical works which you were so polite as to send me and for which I beg you to accept of my best thanks⟨.⟩ The Honor which you have done me in dedicating your book to me merits my grateful acknowledgements; altho’ I have refused many applications which have been made to dedicate litterary performances to me—yet I always wish to give every possible encouragement to those works of Genius which are the production of an American. Had I know[n] of your intention to publish your work I would with pleasure have become a subscriber. I am Sir Yr Most Obed. Hble Servt
John Parke (1754–1789), of Poplar Grove, Kent County, Del., served as a lieutenant colonel in the Continental army until 1778. He had Eleazar Oswald of Philadelphia print for him in 1786 his The Lyric Works of Horace, Translated into English Verse: To Which Are Added a Number of Original Poems. Included in the volume is a pastoral play set at Mount Vernon with Washington as Daphnis surrounded by singing shepherds and shepherdesses, hunters and huntresses. The poem is entitled: Virginia: A Pastoral Drama, on the Birth-Day of an Illustrious Personage and the Return of Peace, February 11th, 1784. Parke dedicated the volume “To his excellency, George Washington, Esq. L.L.D. late General and Commander in Chief of the Armies of the United States of America, Marechal of France, &c. &c. &c.” (Griffin, Boston Athenæum Collection, description begins Appleton P. C. Griffin, comp. A Catalogue of the Washington Collection in the Boston Athenæum. Cambridge, Mass., 1897. description ends 159–60).