George Washington Papers

From George Washington to William Livingston, 2 February 1778

To William Livingston

[Valley Forge, 2 February 1778]


I have the honor to acknowlege the receipt of your favour of the 26 ulto.

The recent detection of the wicked design you mention gives me the most sensible pleasure, and I earnestly hope you may be alike successful in discovering and disappointing every attempt, that may be projected against you, either by your open or concealed enemies. It is a tax, however, severe, which all those must pay, who are called to eminent stations of trust, not only to be held up as conspicuous marks to the enmity of the public adversaries to their country, but to the malice of secret traitors and the envious intrigues of false friends & factions.1

I am obliged to you for the interest you take in the affair of the two Hendricks and Meeker; and I have no doubt that the measures adopted are, considering all things, best.2

You are pleased to intimate, that you would take pleasure in recommending at the approaching session of your assembly any hints from me respecting the army by which your state can advance the general interest; I should be happy in offer[i]ng any such in my power; but as there is now in Camp a Comittee of Congress to confer with me at large on the measures proper to be adopted in every respect for the benefit of the army whatever shall be thought necessary to this end, will of course be communicated to you by Congress. I have the honor to be With real respect & regard Yr Excellys Most Obedt.

Df, in Alexander Hamilton’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The draft, which is docketed 2 Feb., contains an exceptionally large number of corrections and deletions, the more significant of which are noted.

1After several corrections, Hamilton completed an additional passage at this place before finally crossing out the whole and beginning a new paragraph. The deleted passage reads: “It is easy to bear the first, and even the devices of private enemies, whose ill will only arises from the common hatred to the cause we are engaged in, are to me tolerable; yet I confess, I cannot help feeling the most painful sensations, whenever I have reason to beleive, I am the object of persecution to men, who are embarked in the same general interest, and whose friendship my heart does not reproach me with ever having done any thing to forfeit. But with many, it is a sufficient cause to hate and wish the ruin of a man; because he has been happy enough to be the object of his Countrys favour.”

2Hamilton wrote an additional sentence and then marked it out: “If these fellows have really acted an unfaithful part to us, and have been truer to the interest of the enemy, it would be a pity they should not receive a proper reward for their infidelity.”

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