George Washington Papers

From George Washington to James Duane, 19 February 1781

New Windsor 19th Feby 1781

Dear Sir,

The recpt of your letter of the 29th Ulto, and of a former by the Marqs De la Fayette I have the honor to acknowledge and to return you my thanks for them.

The contents of that of the 29th are very important. it presents a fair field, capable of yielding an abundant harvest if it is well improved—Skilful labourers are all that are wanting, & much depends upon a judicious choice of them. Men of abilities at the head of the respective departments, will soon introduce system order and oeconomy, our affairs, consequently, will put on a different aspect—but not unless Congress is vested with, or will assume greater powers than they exert at present—and will dispense them freely, upon general principles, to the Ministers of State.

But for the assurance you give me of being soon at Hd Quartrs I would go more into detail on the several important points of your letter. I will, under the expectation of it, defer the pleasure of a further converse on these matters till I see you—I cannot close my letter, however, without expressing the joy I feel at the completion of the Federal union, & that Virginia has relinquished her claim to the Lands west of Ohio—The first, I trust, will enable Congress to speak with decision—The other will heal differences & contribute to our funds. as there is no finer Country in the known world than is incircled by the Ohio, Mississipi, and Great Lakes. A few days ago I was on the eve of a journey to Rhode Island—some important matters delayed it & now the time of my setting off is precarious. Mrs Washingtonn, and the rest of the family, salute you cordially. with sentiments of the greatest esteem & regard I am Dr Sir Yr Most Obedt Servt

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DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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