George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, 25 June 1799

From Charles Cotesworth Pinckney

Charleston [S.C.] June 25th 1799

Dear Sr

I am much obliged to you for your favour of the fifth instant—The Communications made you from Mulberry Grove were by no means troublesome to me. It will always give me pleasure to keep you regularly informed of the situation of the command entrusted to me; and I solemnly assure you I meant no compliment, but it is my most sincere & earnest desire to be favoured from time to time with your instructions & advice. I should indeed be very self sufficient not to wish to avail myself of your knowledge, abilities & Judgment.

Brigr Genl Washington left home this day week for the Northward so that you may expect to see him a few days after receiving this.1

The enclosed letter is a copy of one in Cypher sent me from the Hague by Major Mountflorence, on whose information I can depend. You may remember you had a conversation on the subject of the Gentleman mentioned in the letter with Genl Hamilton & myself at Philadelphia. I lament that he does not seem disposed to keep himself quiet at present. But it is impossible; I never knew an individual of that nation but who loved to be meddling.2

I have put Capn Thornton in orders, and am much obliged to you for having procured him for me. I would not have him move Southwardly at present. Mrs Pinckney who is still indisposed unites with my Daughters & myself in best respects to Mrs Washington & you & in Compts to Coll Lear & Mr Custis. When you write to Mr & Mrs Lewis pray remember us to them. I sincerely congratulate you on the late defeats of the French in Italy & Germany. There will be no solid peace for Europe or for ourselves ’till they are reduced within their antient limits. I ever am with the greatest gratitude & affection Your most devoted & obedt sert

Charles Cotesworth Pinckney


1Gen. William Washington did not reach Mount Vernon until 6 August. See GW to Pinckney, 10 August.

2Writing from The Hague on 12 Mar., Maj. James C. Mountflorence expressed his strong suspicion that Talleyrand was attempting to use Lafayette as a pawn by sending him as a French agent to America: “In my letter to the Secry of State of the 9th instant, I communicated the positive intelligence, I had from Paris, that the Consul there & Mr [Joel] Barlow, had individually written to the French Directory, praising their wise & prudent conduct towards the U. states, & recommending that a Minister be immediately sent to America to adjust matters, & thereby to be beforehand with the President. They recommend particularly that this person should have manifested even before the French Revolution, if possible, Republican principles & done some great service to America. I smell in this, a double intrigue of crafty Talleyrand, & I beleive you will be of my opinion, when I inform you that La Fayette, has been in this country for some weeks, with an intention of going to America—that he has letters from Talleyrand advising him strongly to it, & buoying him up with his canting flattery; that a man of his talents, respectability &c. could be of infinite service in settling matters between the two Nations, & founding his disposition to that effect. . . . Trusting to what popularity, & influence this character may still retain in the U. states, especially among the people, Talleyrand expects that on his arrival, he would be courted, flattered & cherished by the Democrats & Anti’s . . .” (DLC:GW).

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