George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Edward Savage, 17 June 1799

From Edward Savage

Philadelphia June 17 1799


The print I promist to Send Mrs Washington was ready Last March I have Been So unlucky as to Miss Every oppertunity Since; till the present one; it is Shipt on board the Schooner Tryal Capt. Hand Master, Not being acquainted with any one in Alexandra I Directed the Cas to the Care of the Customhouse.1

This Last winter I Discovered the Method of Engraving with Acquafortis, in order to proove my Experement I Executed two prints which is my first Specimen in that Stile of Engraving, one is the Chace the other the action of the Constellation with the L’Insurgent, I have put two of those prints into the Case for you to See that Method of working on Copper. I intend as Soone as time will permit, to Execute a Set of Large prints of the Most Striking and Beautifull Views in America, in that Stile of Engraving, as it is Best Calculated for Landskips: and a very Expeditious Method of working.2

I hope Yourself and Mrs Washington will Excuse the Delay of the print it woud have been Sent Last Summer if the Sickness Had not Dreven me out of the City before I had time to print any in Colours. I am Sir your Much Oblidg’d Humble Sert

Edward Savage

Please to present my Most Respectfull Compliments to Mrs Washington & Family.


1When Savage wrote GW on 3 June 1798 that he had sent to Clement Biddle, for GW, four copies of his print of his painting of the Washington family, he added: “As Soone as I have one printed in Colours I Shall take the Liberty to Send it to Mrs Washington.”

2GW wrote on 30 June: “Sir, Your letter of the 17th instant and the Print (which is exceedingly handsome, and well set) have come safe; and receives, as it highly deserves, the thanks of Mrs Washington; to whom you have had the kindness, and politeness to present it.

“I thank you also for the prints of the Chase, & action between the Constellation and the L’Insurgent; exhibiting a specimen of the art of Engraving by means of Aquafortis. The invention is curious, and if the sample of it which you have sent is the first essay, it will, no doubt, prove a valuable discovery, as, like all other discoveries⟨,⟩ it will undergo improvements.

“Mrs Washington is thankful for your kind remembrance of her, and joins in every good wish for you & yours, with Sir—Your Most Obedt & very Hble Servant Go: Washington.

“P.S. Whenever you have fixed upon your Landscapes, for Engraving by means of Aquafortis, and have executed them, be so good as to inform me thereof” (letterpress copy, DLC:GW).

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