George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Timothy Pickering, 24 January 1799

From Timothy Pickering

Philadelphia Jany 24. 1799.


I have been so much occupied since the receipt of your letter desiring a copy of one you wrote last year, that I have not had time to search for the original: as soon as I can I will do it, & if found, forward a copy.1

Your letter of the 15th covering one for Mr Murray & one for Lafayette I will take care of, and forward those two to their destination in a few days, when I shall write to Mr Murray.2

I take the liberty of inclosing my late report on French affairs: as soon as a correct copy shall be published in a pamphlet, I will do myself the honor to inclose one, together with Mr Gerry’s budget. I learn from Massachusetts that he is doing mischief—as I expected.3 I am with great respect Sir your most obt servt

Timothy Pickering

ALS, NNMM; William A. Smith Collection, property of Metropolitan Museum of Art, on deposit at New York Public Library.

2GW wrote from Mount Vernon on 15 Jan.: “Dear Sir, You would oblige me by forwarding the enclosed letters to their respective Addresses, by such opportunities as you may think safest & best; and if you should hear of their miscarriage (by Capture of the Vessel) that you would be so good as to inform me thereof. I am—Dear Sir Your Affecte and Obedt Hble Servant Go: Washington” (ALS, Vi). GW wrote to both Lafayette and William Vans Murray on Christmas Day.

3On 21 Jan. 1799 President John Adams forwarded to the Congress the “Report of the Secretary of State on the transactions relating to the United States and France, since the last communication to Congress on that subject.” The report covering the period from the spring to the fall of 1798 concentrates on Talleyrand’s efforts “to exculpate” himself “from the charge of corruption” and “to detach Mr. [Elbridge] Gerry from his colleagues, and to inveigle him into a separate negotiation” (ASP, Foreign Relations, description begins Walter Lowrie et al., eds. American State Papers. Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States. 38 vols. Washington, D.C., Gales and Seaton, 1832–61. description ends 2:229–38). On 2 Feb. Pickering wrote GW: “In my report, I had noticed . . . Mr Gerry’s conduct, as wrong in principle,

and in many particulars very reprehensible: but these (contrary to my wishes) were omitted. . . . For your own eye, I have inserted in the copy of my report now inclosed, the passages referred to, as I had written them.”

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