Virginia, Cleve 28 Septr 1796
Your warmest well wisher has not more devoutly desired the pleasure of your acquaintance, than I have ever done; but I could promise myself no success in the attempt, stranger as I am, whilst you have been surrounded by the Formalities of your Office: Therefore I have not yet made my appearance at Mt Vernon, even.
The Aurora, Gazzet, has boldly announced your definitive resolve to retire from the present high Trust; and I am forced to admit the evidence, as none would sure presume to meddle in a matter so important to America, without a full assureance of the Fact: I lament it, truely! but I cannot wonder—I cannot, even, wish.
Now that the time approaches, that I can see you without a doubt of my sincere intent, I take the liberty to present you with some thoughts on Agriculture; a science I am told is most your delight. I flatter myself I shall not intrude; for tho’ you are greatly occupied in public Affairs, I am assured you lend a moment in each day, to your favorite amusement. Inclosed I have layed before you some thoughts on the mode of Culture, best adapted to the improvement of the Land and most apt for the salvation of the Indian Corn field.
To enable you to direct the mighty Regulator, you have had in hand, with so much glory to yourself; and so many Blessings derived to your constituents; bespeaks you conversant in first principles: And that will have manifested to you a Chain of Ordinances made at the Creation, for accomplishment to the Creature’s Works.
The Earth was appointed to sustain Created things; and therefore, from its importance in the great arrangement, must have had an Assignment for the support of its fertiltily. As a Dwarf is unequal to the Task of Hercules; so is it indefinite to suppose that Man’s exertions, on the [stercosary] for actual application, can have been that Assignment We must look for this as we do for every other great accomplishment; and it will be found to be an Ordinance made at the Creation: To be obtained by Man, or not, as he shall work for an Effect.
The sun is appointed to exhale—The Air to contain—The Earth to attract; The Ballance equal while the Ground is at rest—unequal when in cultivation; against it if injudicious—and luxuriously in its Favor, if man directs aright.
I will not encroach any farther, at present, on your time; but will end with the ardent Effusions of a Family wrapt in delight to enumerate the Virtues of their common Friend. I am Sir, Your very respectful, & Hl. Friend, & servt,
P.S. If you should haply approove, and your Engagements permit you to favr this small address with Notice, be pleased to direct, Via, Port Royal.
DLC: Papers of George Washington.