To Ann Allen Penn
[Philadelphia] Tuesday 18th Sepr 1787.
Genl Washington takes the liberty of offering his respectful compliments to Mrs Penn—and the Vision of Columbus. It is one of several Copies for which he subscribed some years ago and received since he came to this City. To the merit, or demerit of the performance the General can say nothing—not having had time to read it.1
AL (photocopy), DLC:GW.
1. GW notes in his cash accounts for 18 May that he had “p[ai]d into the h[an]ds of Colo. [David] Humphreys [£10] my Subs[criptio]n for 20 Vols, of his [Joel Barlow’s] Poem entitled the Visions of Columbus @ 1⅓ Dol. each”(Philadelphia Cash Accounts, 9 May–22 Sept. 1787). Two other of GW’s letters of 18 Sept. presenting copies of Barlow’s poem have been found. The one to Benjamin Franklin’s daughter, Sarah Bache (1743–1808), reads: “Genl Washington presents his respectful Compliments to Mrs Bache and prays her acceptance of Barlows Vision of Columbus. It is one of several copies for which he subscribed some years ago and has received since his arrival in this City” (AL, NjMoHP). The almost identical note to the wife of George Clymer (1739–1813), Elizabeth Meredith Clymer, reads: “Genl Washington offers Compliments and best wishes to Mrs Clymer, and begs her acceptance of Barlows Vision of Columbus—It is one of several Copies for which he subscribed some years since and received in this City” (ALS, owned  by Mr. Gary Hendershott). According to the list of subscribers printed at the end of the volume, only Louis XVI of France subscribed to more copies than GW. The king received twenty-five copies and Lafayette, ten.