George Washington Papers
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From George Washington to Timothy Pickering, 14 February 1797

Philadelphia 14th Feb. 1797.


I have given the draughts of the letters to Messrs Pinckney—Humphreys—and Adams an attentive perusal, and approve of their contents.

It might however be better, to soften some of the strong expressions in the letter which is addressed to the first of those characters; or to convey them in Cypher, lest they should (which is not improbable) fall into hands they are not intended for. and might it not be advisable to let Mr Pinckney know how unpleasant to this country it would be, that the French should be possessed of Louisiana & the Floridas, that he might act as opportunities and circumstances would justify?

It would seem that the same principle, which induced a call upon the Merchts to come forward with their statements and proof of British Spoliations, apply equally to those who are suffering by French depredations; but as we may, every moment, expect to hear from Mr Pinckney at Paris, I am inclined to think the call had better be suspended until it is known what his reception has been.

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MHi: Timothy Pickering Papers.

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