George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Nathanael Greene, 2 December 1784

From Nathanael Greene

Newport [R.I.] Decem. 2d 1784

Dear Sir

Mr Watson by whom this will be handed you having some things for you brought with him from England and having it in contemplation to call at Mount Vernon it gives me an opportunity to inform you of my safe arrival with my family.1 I found Mrs Greene and the children all in good health.

I hope the Marquis arrivd safe in Virginia. A report prevails here that his Frigate is cast away near the Hook; but this must have happened if true since the Marquis landed in Virginia.2 I wish to see him before he returns to France and would meet him in New York if he embarks from that place. I hope he will return to France well pleasd with the reception he has met with in America and advocate our cause tho we little deserve it in many respects. Congress are dilatory in meeting and I fear little will be done to restore public credit. I have not been at home long enough to learn the present temper of the people of this State. Many begin to be alarmed at the proposition of Connecticut; and I can but hope if Congress persist in the Plan of finance it will finally succeed. However we are such a heterogeneous body that it is difficult to draw conclusions from any general principles which influence human conduct.

Mrs Greene joins me ⟨mutilated⟩ affectionate complemen⟨ts⟩ to you and Mrs Washington to Doctor Steward and his Lady—I am dear Sir with esteem & regard Your Most Obedt humble Serv.

Nath. Greene


1Elkanah Watson (1758–1842) was sent to France in 1779 by the great Rhode Island merchant John Brown of Providence and became a merchant on his own in Nantes. Watson records in his memoirs that shortly before returning to Rhode Island in October 1784 he conversed in England with that “noble enthusiast in the cause of African emancipation and colonization,” Granville Sharp, who “confided two bundles of books to my care, embracing his entire publication on emancipation and other congenial topics, directed to Washington” (Watson, Men and Times of the Revolution, description begins Winslow C. Watson, ed. Men and Times of the Revolution; or, Memoirs of Elkanah Watson, Including His Journals of Travels in Europe and America, from the year 1777 to 1842, and His Correspondence with Public Men, and Reminiscences and Incidents of the American Revolution. New York, 1856. description ends 233). Watson arrived at Mount Vernon on 19 Jan. 1785 with this letter from Greene, another from John Fitzgerald, and Sharp’s books. He then spent with GW what he calls, and describes in some detail, “two of the richest days of my life” (ibid., 243–46; see also Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 4:78). Eight pamphlets by Granville Sharp, published between 1771 and 1780, are listed as belonging to GW in Griffin, Boston Athenæum Collection, description begins Appleton P.C. Griffin, comp. A Catalogue of the Washington Collection in the Boston Athenæum. Cambridge, Mass., 1897. description ends 179–82.

2In his letter of 23 Dec, GW refers to the grounding of the frigate Nymphe while she was en route to New York to take aboard Lafayette and his two companions for their passage to France.

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