George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Moreau de St. Méry & Company, 15 December 1794

From Moreau de St. Méry & Company

Philadelphia 15th Xber 1794.


Deign receive with Goodness the advise of our new Establishment in a City where Lives the precious and dear father of the all united states.1 our most exciting encouragement would be that it could inspire your Excellency with Some Benevolence. We are with the utmost Respect sir of your Excellency The most obedient & very humble servants

Moreau de st méry & Co.

ALS, DLC:GW. Médéric-Louis-Élie Moreau de Saint-Méry (1750–1819) had taken part in the early stages of the French Revolution as a deputy from Martinique to the Constituent Assembly. His moderate views put him out of favor after the overthrow of the monarchy on 10 Aug. 1792, and he eventually was arrested and condemned to exile. He fled to the United States in 1793 and established himself at Philadelphia. His partner in Moreau de St. Méry & Co. was Frederic Franck de la Roche (1757–1805), who claimed to have been an aide to Lafayette and was later mortally wounded at the Battle of Austerlitz. The firm, which was located at 84 S. Front St. at the corner of Walnut Street, was dissolved in August 1795, but Saint-Méry remained a bookseller at that address (Kenneth Roberts and Anna M. Roberts., trans. and eds., Moreau de St. Méry’s American Journey [1793–1798] [Garden City, N.Y., 1947], 126, 129–34, 138–39, 177, 196–201). While in France, Saint-Méry had published a study of the Loix et Constitutions des Colonies Françoises de l’Amérique sous le Vent (6 vols., Paris, 1784), and during his stay in Philadelphia he published a Description Topographique, Physique, Civile, Politique et Historique de la Partie Française de L’Isle Saint-Domingue … (2 vols., Philadelphia, 1797–98). He returned to France in 1799.

1The enclosed announcement, dated 1 Nov., informed “that we are just established here in the general business of Stationers, Booksellers, and dealers in most fashionable and choice Engravings. It is our intent to connect therewith a Printing-Office and Bookbinding, adding thereto a select collection of Music, as also to complete what we are enabled to offer in Mathematical Instruments, and every thing relating to Geography and Hydrography.

“This enterprize, that a steady zeal will study to accomplish, is intended to propagate and diffuse knowledge, as conducive to the happiness of man. The American, the English, the French, and the German, will equally find in our store wherewith to instruct and amuse him.”

In asking for patronage, the new firm claimed that the “literary productions respecting the West-India Islands” of Moreau de Saint-Méry “will probably inspire you with confidence as to our exactness in fulfilling your orders” (DLC:GW).

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