George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Alexander Addison, 4 March 1799

To Alexander Addison

Mount Vernon 4th March 1799


Your favour of the 31st ofjany, enclosing your second charge to the Grand Juries of the County Courts of the fifth Circuit of the State of Pennsylvania, at the last Decr Sessions, has been duly received, and for the Enclosure I thank you.1

I wish, sincerely, that your good example, in endeavouring to bring the People of these United States more acquainted with the Laws & principles of their Government, was followed. They only require a proper understanding of these, to judge rightly on all great National questions; but unfortunately, infinite more pains is taken to blind them by one discription of men, than there is to open their eyes by the other; which, in my opinion, is the sourse of most of the evils we labour under.

I would pray you, my good Sir, to use your endeavours, that I may be paid the balance of the last Instalment due to me from the Estate of the deceased Colo. Ritchie; & that no failure may happen in complying with that which will be due the first of June next ensuing.

I can assure you, most truly, that I am in real want of these payments; the most conclusive evidence I can give you of which, is, that I am driven to the necessity of borrowing at the Banks, by renewed notes every Sixty days—which, I am sure you will allow, is a ruinous mode of obtaining money, when I can receive common interest only for that out of which I am kept.2 With very great esteem—I am Sir Your Most Obedt and Very Humble Servant

Go: Washington

ALS, NGeno; ALS (letterpress copy), DLC:GW; LB, owned (1976) by Miss Penissa Wills and Mr. L. J. Wills, Halesowen, England.

1Addison wrote GW from Washington, Pa., on 31 Jan.: “I have again taken the liberty of inclosing to you a small pamphlet. In doing this it is not and on former occasions it was not my intention to tax your politeness with any acknowledgement such as by your letter of 6th December last you honoured me with. I am sensible that important engagements leave you but little time for purposes of this kind and content myself with a hope that these papers will be received by you as I mean they should as the only testimonials of respect which I have it in my power to offer” (owned [1974] by Mr. Herbert Rubin, New York City).

2On 6 July 1799 Addison informed GW that he had been a silent partner of Matthew Ritchie in the purchase of GW’s Millers Run property in 1796. He also told GW of his recent efforts to persuade Ritchie’s widow and Ritchie’s brother to make the payment due from Ritchie’s estate.

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