To James Duane
[Preakness, New Jersey] Oct 18. 1780
My Dear Sir:
Since my last to you, I have had the pleasure of receiving two letters from you. I am sorry to find we do not seem to agree on the proper remedies to our disorder, at least in the practicability of applying those which are proper. Convinced, as I am, of the absolute insufficiency of our present system to our safety, if I do not despair of the Republic, it is more the effect of Constitution than of Judgement.
With the sentiments I entertain of Gates, I cannot but take pleasure in his removal, and with the confidence I have in Greene, I expect much from his being the successor;1 at least, I expect all his circumstances will permit. You seem to have mistaken me on the subject of this Gentleman. When I spoke of prejudice,2 I did not suppose it to exist with you, but with Congress as a body—at least with a great part of them. The part they have taken in the affair, in my opinion, does honor to their impartiality. I hope they will support the officer appointed with a liberal confidence. His situation surrounded with difficulties will need support. Of your influence for this purpose, I am too thoroughly persuaded of your patriotism, My Dear Sir, to doubt.
Be assured, My Dear Sir, the marks of your regard give me a sincere pleasure, and I shall be always happy to cultivate it, and to give you proofs of my affectionate attachment.
JCH Transcripts description begins John C. Hamilton Transcripts. These transcripts are owned by Mr. William H. Swan, Hampton Bays, New York, and have been placed on loan in the Columbia University Libraries. description ends ; ALS, sold by Christie, Manson & Woods International Inc., October 21, 1977.
1. On October 5, 1780, Congress adopted resolutions directing Washington to order a court of inquiry for Major General Horatio Gates and to appoint an officer to take over Gates’s southern command “until such inquiry be made” (JCC description begins Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (Washington, 1904–1937). description ends , XVIII, 906). On October 14, Washington wrote to Major General Nathanael Greene, informing him of his appointment to the southern command (George Washington Papers, Library of Congress).