George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Dwight Foster, 30 January 1795

From Dwight Foster

Philadelphia January 30th 1795.


Mr Asa Ellis Junr of Brookfield, Worcester County, Massachusetts, a Native of that State, has requested Me on his Behalf to present to You the Piece of Cloth herewith transmitted as a Specimen of American Manufacture.1

The art of dying scarlet has not been generally known in this Country—he apprehends he has discovered it and says the Colour is as durable as that made in Europe—This Cloth is altogether of his Manufacture and he will be obliged by Your acceptance of it2—I am, with the highest respect, Sir, Your obedt & very humble Servt

Dwight Foster.


Dwight Foster (1757–1823) of Worcester County, Mass., represented Massachusetts in the U.S. House, 1793–1800, and in the U.S. Senate, 1800–1803.

1In 1798 Asa Ellis, Jr., had printed at Brookfield, Mass., The Country Dyer’s Assistant, which he described as “the result of twenty years practice, close study, fair trials, unwearied pains and expense” (vii).

2GW replied to Foster on 2 Feb.: “The President presents his compliments to Mr Foster, and requests the favor of him—when he shall have occasion to write to Mr Ellis of Brookfield—to offer him his thanks for the piece of Scarlet cloth which that Gentn has been so obliging as to send him, as a speciman of his own manufacture. And to add his wishes that, the discovery of the Scarlet dye may answer his most Sanguine expectations” (AL, MHi: Foster Family Autograph Collection).

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