George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Benjamin Flower, 17 March 1794

From Benjamin Flower

Cambridge [England], Mar. 17. 1794


I beg leave to present you with a performance which my Countrymen have favourably received, and which I request your acceptance of, as a small, though sincere token of respect, for a gentleman whose talents and virtues have excited the admiration of the great and the good, in every quarter of the Globe. I should not have presumed in the liberty I have now taken, had I not been assured by my Friend Dr William Gordon, that it would not only be excused, but that the mark would be favourably received.1

You will perceive at once Sir, that this tribute of respect does not come from a Statesman, or a Courtier, but from one who has nothing to recommend his performance, but an ardent zeal for the we[l]fare of his country, and of the whole human race. Was I to indulge my inclination at this moment, It would be impossible for me not to particularize the pleasure I receive when I hear of your exertions for the welfare of your country—Happily for you sir, and for that country! May the latter never shew the least degree of that insensibility and Ingratitude which has marked the conduct of the French Nation towards your excellent, persecuted Friend, Monsr De La Fayette2—May you—But my Book is such an intrusion that I will no longer intrude on you by letter than while subscribe myself with the most Respectful esteem Sir Your most obedient & most humble servant

Benjamin Flower


Benjamin Flower (1755–1829) was a British political writer known for his anti-government views. He was the editor of the liberal newspaper Cambridge Intelligencer, 1793–1803, in which he denounced the current war with France and promoted religious liberty. His National Sins Considered (London, 1796) continued to express his anti-war sentiments. In 1799 he was sentenced to jail for six months for remarks he printed about a bishop of the Anglican Church. He later settled at Harlow in Essex, where he published the monthly magazine The Political Register, 1807–11, and continued to champion religious toleration.

1This letter was accompanied by a copy of Flower’s book The French Constitution; with Remarks on Some of Its Principal Articles, 2d ed., London, 1792 (Griffin, Catalogue of the Washington Collection description begins Appleton P.C. Griffin, comp. A Catalogue of the Washington Collection in the Boston Athenæum. Cambridge, Mass., 1897. description ends , 519). Both the letter and book were transmitted to GW though the agency of William Gordon (Gordon to GW, 7 and 25 March 1794).

2On the series of Prussian and Austrian prisons in which the Marquis de Lafayette was held between August 1792 and May 1797, see n.7 of Marquise de Lafayette to GW, 12 March 1793.

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