George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Gordon, 23 July 1778

From William Gordon

Jamaica Plain [Mass.] July 23. 1778

My dear Sir

It’s with great pleasure I congratulate you upon our late success, on a double account—the advantage it is of to the Continent—& the honour it reflects upon your Excellency. I hope this happy beginning will, thro’ the blessing of heaven, be productive of so glorious a campaign as to admit your changing the toils & hazards of the field for the repose & safety of domestic happiness. I shall rejoice to have the war terminated, & a stop put to the effusion of human blood, & I pray God to crown you with the glory of finishing the great work of securing those American liberties for the defence of which you offered yourself so willingly, & have so perseveringly exposed your life, I may add also your reputation, when the country hath failed in affording you the promised & necessary support. In this world character depends more upon success than any thing beside: And how often doth the want of success flow from the neglects & carelessness of others? By fixing yourself in the winter as you did, you gave the united States an opportunity of enabling you to have demolished the British army before the arrival of spring, but they were too languid to embrace it. Thro’ the like languor we have lost many a golden opportunity, the war hath been prolonged, & we had nearly lost our cause; but the timely interposition of France hath changed the face of our affairs, & filled me with the pleasing expectation, that the British troops will quit our shores or have their weapons taken away from them before the setting in of winter. I should with the highest satisfaction pay your Excellency a visit this fall, but apprehend my affairs will not admit of it: but notwithstanding personal absence am ever mindful of you. When your Excellency can retire to y⟨our ha⟩bitation, & have your papers about you, must then apply for the honour of being admitted ⟨mutilated⟩ for a few weeks, that I may collect the proper materials for my intended history, which I propose shall be a narrative of facts & not merely an entertaining tale.1 Mrs Gordon joins me in tendering you our best wishes, & in desiring to be respectfully remembered to your Lady. With great esteem I continue your Excellency’s most affectionate friend & very humble servant

William Gordon

ALS, DLC:GW. The docket on this letter is in GW’s writing.

1For discussion of Gordon’s history, see Gordon to GW, 19 Dec. 1776, and the source note to that document.

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