George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Alexander White, 23 November 1793

To Alexander White

Germantown [Pa.] 23d Novemr ’93.


The advantages which result from a state of peace & amity (preserved upon respectable conditions) with all nations—and particularly when applied to our Country, yet in its infancy, are too striking to need elucidation; & such as must be obvious to the least accurate enquiry into the subject.

To secure these advantages to the United States, it was thought expedient to pursue a friendly & impartial conduct towards the belligerent powers; & with a view to this object, and to the advancement of the prosperity of these States, the proclamation declaring the actual state of things was thought right & accordingly issued—and I am pleased to find the measure approved by the enlightened Citizens of Frederick County.1

I cherish a grateful recollection of the distinguished services rendered to our Country by the French Nation, & unite my wishes to those of my Fellow Citizens of Frederick, that it may establish a Government for itself upon those principles, which are best calculated to make it happy.

If in the discharge of the duties attendant on the trust committed to me by my Fellow Citizens, my conduct should meet their approbation, it will be my highest glory—& I am happy to have it approved by the Citizens of Frederick County.

Go. Washington

LB, DLC:GW. On 7 Dec. White submitted a copy of this letter for publication in order to “effectually communicate the sentiments of the President” to his fellow citizens. In the newspaper printings that have been identified, the letter bears the date 25 Nov. (see, for example, the Daily Advertiser [New York], 24 Dec). It has not been determined whether the letter sent was so dated or whether the date was erroneously transcribed by White or by the first publishing newspaper.

1GW was replying to the resolutions of Frederick County, Va., citizens of 5 Nov., enclosed in White’s letter to GW of 11 November. The proclamation was the Neutrality Proclamation of 22 April.

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