George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Gordon, 8 February 1793

From William Gordon

St Neots Huntingdonshire [England]
Feby 8. 1793.

My Dear Sir

I write, to testify the continuance of my affection; & to express my hopes, that before the receipt of this You will happily have entered into the 62d year of your age.1 I doubt not your having been re-elected to the Presidentship, & I most sincerely wish you may fill it the next four years with equal reputation, ease, & success: & if you are assisted with the joint abilities of the same vice-president, secretary of state, & secretary of the treasury, you will go near to do it, if health & strength are granted from Heaven, which I pray God may be the case.2 The flames of war are spreading in Europe. May they issue in the overthrow of civil & ecclesiastic tyranny, & in bestowing upon the inhabitants the liberties to which they are justly entitled, without destroying subordination! May the United States enjoy peace during the contest; & be thereby at liberty to supply their friends with provision &c! I suspect that Demourier is making forced marches for Amsterdam. Should he succeed, & possess himself of the naval stores &c. of the Dutch, it may produce a revolution in Holland, & introduce a form of government more favorable to the rights of all orders, than what has been for many past years.3 The present British war I consider as having in principles a great affinity to the last, & as entered into upon the like presumptuous hopes of being soon ended, from a confidence in the amazing power of the confederates. But the conquering event is not always to the strong. May it issue as the former, in liberating the human race from despotism! We shall rejoice in the reception of a few lines assuring us of your & your Lady’s health.4 That the best of blessings may attend you thro’ life, & terminate in everlasting blessedness, is the earnest prayer of Mrs Gordon, & Your Excellency’s most sincere & affectionate friend

William Gordon


1Gordon previously wrote GW on 12 April 1792. The date on which GW received this current letter has not been identified.

2Congress received the votes of the electoral college on 13 Feb. 1793. The election of GW to a second term as president was unanimous, while that of John Adams for vice president was by a plurality of votes (Annals of Congress description begins Joseph Gales, Sr., comp. The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States; with an Appendix, Containing Important State Papers and Public Documents, and All the Laws of a Public Nature. 42 vols. Washington, D.C., 1834–56. description ends , 2d Cong., 2d sess., 645–46). Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson wrote his letter of resignation to GW on 31 Dec. 1793. Alexander Hamilton did not submit his resignation as secretary of the treasury until 31 Jan. 1795.

3France, already at war with Austria and Prussia, declared war on Great Britain and the Netherlands on 1 Feb. 1793. Following the capture of Belgium in the fall of 1792, French general Charles-François du Périer Dumouriez began an invasion of the Netherlands on 16 Feb., but by mid-March the Austrian army had stopped the advance against Amsterdam and forced the French army to retreat.

4No reply from GW to this letter or to any subsequent letter from Gordon has been found, until that of 15 Oct. 1797 (AL [letterpress copy], NN; LB, DLC:GW).

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