George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Persse, 11 October 1788

From William Persse

Roxburrow Near Loughrea Ireland Octr 11th 1788

Dr Sr

Some time ago I mentioned to Sr Edwd Newenham1 my Intention of sending you some goosberry plants of a remarkable fine Line which I now send you by a ship from the Port of Galway, which is but sixteen miles from my place, I intended sending you some grass seeds, but our sumers are so uncertain I Could not get any this season fit to send.2

It would give me particular pleasure to have it in my power to Contribute to your rural Amusements it is the Line of Life I take the greatest pleasure in, & feel for those that delight in so plentifull & pleasing a study—it would make me extreamly Happy if you would mention to me any kinds of Corn or seeds you would wish to have I Could send them to you with the greatest Ease.

plant the goosberries in a rich deep soyle; put a good Deal of roten Dung into Each hole before you plant them keep them open in the Midle, dont allow to many Branches on a Tree, & the fruit will be very Large & fine, I have them as Large as Wallnuts, give them a North Aspect & as Little sun as you Can, but not the shade of Trees, I fear your Climate is to hot.

Sr Edwd Lady Newenham & Family are now here,3 also Mr Wallace who often mentions your name with the greatest gratitude, he often Entertains me with the plantifull situation of your place[.]4 Sir Edwd & I often Talk of Visiting America but I fear the Attention of our Families wont permit us, tho’ our wishes are to see it, it is the Country of all on Earth I long most to see, it would give me new life & Vigor to see the5 upright & Honest men of America give me leave Dr Sr to assure you, I have been in the Worst of Times your Wellwisher, & a Sincere Freind to the liberties of America, I have the Honor to be Dr Sr your sincere & afft. Huml. Servt

Willm Persse


William Persse (d. 1802), who was appointed high sheriff of county Galway in 1766, lived at Roxborough, the Persse estate.

1Sir Edward Newenham (1732–1814), an Irish politician, was collector of the excise at Dublin from 1764 to 1772 and an active member of the Irish parliament from 1769 to 1797. A friend to American independence during the Revolution, Newenham rendered substantial services to American prisoners held in Ireland during the war (Report of John Jay to Congress, 10 Jan. 1787, DNA:PCC, item 5). He began correspondence with GW in 1781, occasionally sending him books and newspapers from Ireland as well as accounts of political affairs in Europe. Newenham’s son Edward Worth Newenham married Persse’s daughter Elizabeth.

2The gooseberry slips arrived in the United States in February 1789. See Hugh Young to GW, 16 Feb. 1789.

3Lady Newenham was Grace Anna, daughter of Sir Charles Burton. The Newenhams had eighteen children.

4Wallace came to Mount Vernon in March 1786, bearing introductions from Newenham, remained for several days, and returned in June to spend the night (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 4:301, 302, 303, 344, 349).

5In MS this word reads “they.”

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