George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Brown Cutting, 22 February 1792

From John Brown Cutting

46 Walnut Street [Philadelphia] 22 Feb. [17]92.


I take the liberty to inclose to You a few stanzas which several persons, eminent in polite literature—and who have moreover the honor of a more intimate acquaintance with you than myself—affirm to be neither inelegant unjust nor unworthy of the subject on the occasion.1

I rejoice in this opportunity of testifying the fervency of that attachment and patriotic homage with which I am, your very respectful and most obedt sert2

John Brown Cutting


1John Brown Cutting’s enclosed poem has not been found. Another sixtieth-birthday tribute, “Stanzas on the Presidents Birth-Day February 22d 1792” is in Elizabeth Willing Powel’s writing:

No Peerage we covet, no Sceptres desire

Nor Gow-Gaws that garnish a Throne;

Yet Liberty loves on her own native Lyre

To celebrate Sons of her own

And always with Rapture, his Virtues she sings

And exults on the Morn of his birth

Who Shakes every Throne of despotical Kings

And gives a new Lesson to Earth

O widely deffuse it, ye Winds, so ye blow,

O waft it ye Waves, that they fan,

For the choicest of Gifts that the Gods can bestow

Is the blessing of Freedom to Man

O Washington, hail whom the Breath of pure Fame

With Praises more sweet shall perfume,

Than ever embalm’d or exalted a Name

I[n] Macedon, Athens, or Rome

For Freedom say what did that Foe of the Greek

Alexander, that Hero admired

Let the Foes, or the Friend whom he massacred, speak

Or the beautiful City he fir’d

Did Athens, did Sparta, one Hero produce

T’extinguish their Feuds by his Mind

Or prove to the Free the pre-eminent use

Of Union to them and Mankind

Oh no! if wise Greece but one Patriot adept,

One Leader like ours had enjoyed

No Lover of Science or Freedom had wept

For Science or Freedom destroy’d

(ViMtvL: Powel Collection).

2GW responded to Cutting this day: “I beg you to receive the expression of my sensibility for the flattering compliment your poetic genious hath presented” (LB, DLC:GW).

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