Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 65,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Washington, George (1732-1799) to Sir John Sinclair

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC08095 Author/Creator: Washington, George (1732-1799) Place Written: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 11 December 1796 Pagination: 1

Summary of Content: Written by President Washington to Sinclair the Scottish politician and writer on finance and agriculture. Describes the natural characteristics of various sections of the country, their chief resources, climates, interests and activities, relative land values, and the planned federal city. Says land in Pennsylvania is more valuable than that in Virginia or Maryland because of immigration and naturalization laws, and because of slavery regulations: "there are laws here for the gradual abolition of slavery, which neither of the two states above mentioned have, at present, but which nothing is more certain than that they must have, and at a period not remote."

People: Sinclair, John
Washington, George, 1732-1799.

Historical Era: The New Nation, 1783-1815

Keywords/Subjects: President, Geography and Natural History, Washington, D.C., Land Transaction, Law, Immigration and Migration, Abolition, African American History, Slavery

Sub Era: The Early Republic