George Washington Papers

From George Washington to George Skene Keith, 22 June 1792

To George Skene Keith

Philadelphia June 22d 1792.

Revnd Sir,

I have received your letter of the 14th of January together with the copies of a pamphlet on Weights, Measures and coins which accompanied it.

On the 7th of may I acknowledged the receipt of your letter dated July 1st1 1791, and its enclosure, which did not get to my hands ’till some time this spring.2

I have now to request that you will accept my thanks for this further mark of politness and attention in sending me this additional number of your tracts, as well as for the manuscript which accompanied them.3 The subject of your book is of high importance to society in general, and particularly so to the commercial4 world. If an uniformity of weights and measures could be established upon a proper foundation through the several nations of Europe and in the United States of America, its advantages would be great indeed: And so important is the object that we ought not to lose sight of it, altho’ it may not be attained at the present moment.

I have caused the letter to Mr[s] Barclay, and one of the pamphlets, to be sent to Easton agreeably to your request. I am, Revnd Sir, Your most Obedt Servt

Go: Washington

LS, in Tobias Lear’s hand, CCC; Df, in Lear’s hand, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; LB, DLC:GW.

1On the draft manuscript Lear mistakenly wrote “5th.”

2Keith had enclosed a copy of his Tracts on Weights, Measures, and Coins (London, 1791) in his letter to GW of 1 July 1791. GW’s acknowledgment of 7 May 1792 had been made by his secretary Tobias Lear (see Keith to GW, 1 July 1791, note 2).

3Keith had enclosed a handwritten critique of Thomas Jefferson’s advocacy of the rod-pendulum as a standard of measure in his letter to GW of 14 Jan. 1792. For Jefferson’s ill-tempered answer to the points Keith raised in his paper, see Jefferson to GW, 14 June, and note 2; see also Jefferson Papers, description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 41 vols. to date. Princeton, N.J., 1950–. description ends 24:44–45, 64–66.

4At this place on the draft manuscript, Lear wrote and then struck out “parts of the.”

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