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From George Washington to Timothy Pickering, 16 April 1798

To Timothy Pickering

Mount Vernon 16th April 1798

Dear Sir,

Your obliging favour of the 11th instant, enclosing copies of the Instructions to, and Dispatches from the Envoys of the United States at Paris, was received with thankfulness, by the last Post.

One would think that the measure of infamy was filled, and the profligacy of, & corruption in the system pursued by the French Directory, required no further disclosure of the principles by which it is actuated than what is contained in the above Dispatches, to open the eyes of the blindest; and yet, I am persuaded, that those communications will produce no change in the leaders of the opposition; unless there should appear, a manifest desertion of their followers. There is sufficient evidence already, in the Aurora, of the turn they intend to give the business, and of the ground they mean to occupy1—but I do not believe they will be able to maintain that, or any other much longer. With very great esteem & regard I am—Dear Sir—Your Obedt Servt

Go: Washington

ALS, in the Forbes Magazine Collection (1993); ALS (letterpress copy), DLC:GW; LB, DLC:GW; copy, MHi: Pickering Papers. To the copy in Jared Sparks’s hand in the Pickering Papers, Sparks has appended this note: “Nov. 12. 1827. I have this day received the original of this letter, of which the above is a copy. Jared Sparks.”

1The proposal put forth by Benjamin Franklin Bache’s Aurora that Adams should pursue the policy the administration had followed with the Barbary pirates and buy off the French led to a drastic loss of revenue for his paper and attacks on his person (DeConde, Quasi-War, description begins Alexander DeConde. The Quasi-War: The Politics and Diplomacy of the Undeclared War with France, 1797–1801. New York, 1966. description ends 79).

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