To John Adams
Mount Vernon March 3d 1799
I have been duly honoured with your favour of the 19th Ulto, mentioning the nomination of Mr Murray to be Minister Plenipotentiary to the French Republic.
With the writer of the letter, which I did myself the honour to enclose in my last to you, I truly observed that I had never held any correspondence; and I only knew him in his public mission from this Country to the Barbary States, the functions of which he discharged at that time with ability & propriety. I have indeed, lately, heard of a letter that has been published, which he wrote to Mr Baldwin, filled with abuse of this Government and its Administration: But I have never met with it in any of the Papers wch I take.1
As you have had more opportunities of knowing this man’s character than have fallen to me, I have no doubt but you have formed a just estimate of him—and as I had no other desire than to be useful, in transmitting any sentiments you might wish to convey—I shall, impressed with your observations, take no notice of his letter.
I sincerely pray, that in the discharge of these arduous and important duties committed to you, your health may be unimpaired, and that you may long live to enjoy those blessings which must flow to our Country, if we should be so happy as to pass this critical period in an honourable and dignified manner, without being involved in the horrors and calamities of War.
Mrs Washington and Mrs Lewis (late Miss Custis) thank you for your kind remembrance of them, and offer their best respects to you, at the sametime that they unite with me in every good wish for the perfect restoration of health to Mrs Adams. With sentiments of very great respect, I have the honor to be Sir Your Most Obedt & Most Hble Servt
ALS, MHi: Adams Papers; ALS (letterpress copy), DLC:GW.
1. Abraham Baldwin (1754–1807) on this day left the House of Representatives, where since 1789 he had been a member from Georgia, to become one of Georgia’s U.S. senators the next day. Baldwin was a native of Connecticut, and his friend Joel Barlow was married to his sister Ruth. Barlow had sent his letter to GW of 2 Oct. 1798 under cover of a letter to Baldwin dated 3 Oct. 1798, in which he wrote his brother-in-law: “. . . if you find that neither this [i.e., his letter to GW] nor any other statement of facts is likely to calm the frenzy of him and his associates, but that they continue running wild after a phantom to the ruin of their country, I should think it best to publish it with my name and his . . . and it might be proper to introduce it by publishing the first paragraph of this letter to you” (Todd, Life and Letters of Barlow, description begins Charles Burr Todd. Life and Letters of Joel Barlow, LL.D.: Poet, Statesman, Philosopher. New York and London, 1886. description ends 162–63). The Columbia Centinel (Boston) had printed excerpts of a letter to Baldwin from Barlow dated 1 Mar. 1798 (ibid., 163–74).