George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Landon Carter, 20 February 1776

From Landon Carter

[Sabine Hall] 20 February 1776. Wrote “attacking Paine for publishing ‘Common Sense,’ and urging against independence.”1

ALS, sold by Anderson’s, Robinson sale21 Jan. 1904, American Book Prices Current, 10 (1904), 636.

1In his diary entry for 20 Feb. 1776 Landon Carter (1710–1778) of Richmond County, Va., says that he “Wrote to Col. F[rancis] L[ightfoot] Lee and Genl. Washington about getting Landon made Aid du Camp to the Maj. Genl. who is to command our forces. I could not help in both those letters giving my sentiments on the Pamphlet called Common Sense; it is so repleat with art, and contradiction. And Man is represented in it as a being which ought to be not only unforgiving but implacable to the highest degree and he that does not so think is nothing short of a coward and a sycophant, which in plain meaning must be a damned rascal. Nay, he goes farther. This implacability must be a part of that divine image which was implanted in us. I have in Washington’s letter complimented Gen. Lee in desiring to be excused from thinking that the Gent who could Publish his thoughts to Burgoyne at his departure for England could be the Author of such a Pamphlet” (Greene, Landon Carter Diary description begins Jack P. Greene, ed. The Diary of Colonel Landon Carter of Sabine Hall, 1752–1778. 2 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1965. description ends , 2:985–86). GW suggested in his response of 27 Mar. that Carter make his wishes regarding his grandson Landon Carter (1757–1820) known directly to Charles Lee who had been appointed commander of the southern department. If Carter followed that advice, he was not successful for Lee did not make the young man an aide-de-camp. GW eventually found a place for him, however. On 23 Feb. 1777 Carter wrote in his diary: “my Grandson having had offer of a Lieutenancy by Genl. Washington in Colo. G[eorge] Baylor’s regiment of horse, was Preparing to set off with my letters to the General and to Colo. Baylor for it was through my recommendation he became so respected. . . . But the mother could not any longer contain her grief and after having imployed the whole night in tears, she discovered a greater willingness to leave the world than part with her son. . . . the whole scheme of his going into the army was laid aside; and I accordingly wrote to Genl. W[ashington] and to Colo. Baylor to give my excuse for soliciting his notice of my Grandson, desiring it to be laid in the Scale of sensibility and friendship” (ibid., 1082; see also Carter to GW, 22 Feb. 1777).

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