George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Samuel Stearns, 3 December 1794

From Samuel Stearns

Philadelphia Dec. 3d 1794.

To His Excellency GEORGE WASHINGTON, Esqr. L.L.D. and President of the United States, &c. &c. &c.

The Petition of Samuel Stearns, Most humbly Sheweth:

That he is preparing for Publication, an American Dispensatory, which he intends to Publish by Subscription, as by the inclosed Proposals will fully appear.1

That as Your Excellency is a Promoter of the Cultivation and Improvement of the Liberal and Mechanical Arts and Sciences, and can do an Author an Essential Service, by Subscribing for his Productions; Your Petitioner Prays that Your Excellency will be pleased, to Subscribe for an American-Dispensatory. And, as in Duty bound, shall ever Pray.

Samuel Stearns.

ALS, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters. Born in Massachusetts, but at this time residing in Vermont, Samuel Stearns (1741–1809) was an astronomer, mathematician, and physician who had published The American Oracle. Comprehending an Account of Recent Discoveries in the Arts and Sciences, with a Variety of Religious, Political, Physical, and Philosophical Subjects, Necessary to Be Known in All Families, for the Promotion of Their Present Felicity and Future Happiness (London, 1791) and other books. He had advertised his intention to publish a dispensatory as early as 1788 (Thomas’s Massachusetts Spy: Or, The Worcester Gazette, 6 Nov. 1788), at which time he claimed to have been working on it for fourteen years, but the book was not completed in his lifetime. Biographical notices about Stearns have claimed that GW was a subscriber to the dispensatory (M.D. Gilman, The Bibliography of Vermont or a List of Books and Pamphlets Relating in Any Way to the State [Burlington, Vt., 1897], 262).

1The enclosures have not been identified.

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