George Washington Papers

From George Washington to John Mathews, 14-19 February 1781

To John Mathews

New Windsor Feby 14th[–19] 1781

My dear Sir,

Your favor of the 30th Ulto being delayed on the road, did not come to my hands till now, when I am on the eve of a journey to Rhode Island. The information given in it is important, It affords me infinite satisfaction; & I have to thank you for your goodness in giving it to me so early.1

The confederation being now closed, will, I trust, enable Congress to speak decisively in their requisitions of the respective States—Without a controuling power to regulate the different parts, and point the whole, both in time & manner, to proper objects, it is not in the nature of things—circumstanced as we are at present—to conduct the great affairs of War as they ought to be—this I have long thought, & scarce a day arrives that does not bring with it some fresh proof in confirmation.

I am equally well pleased at the relinquishment of the claim of Virginia to the Land West of Ohio—Individual, as well as general policy, in my opinion, required it of her; for I am sure she never could govern the settlers of that extensive Country—I hope the reservations are not exceptionable ones.

My public letters to Congress contain every occurrence of Moment in this quarter—It is needless therefore to repeat them to a Member2—Nor to assure you that I shall always be thankful for any information you are at lib⟨er⟩ty to give me, & that I am with ev⟨ery⟩ sentiment of esteem & regard. Dr Sir Yr Most Obedt Se⟨rvt⟩

Go: Washington

ADfS, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. GW wrote and then marked out the following postscript on his draft: “Feby 19th When the foregoing letter was wrote I expected to be at or Near Newport by this time.” GW had postponed his departure for Newport (see GW to Rochambeau, this date [first letter], 15, and 24 Feb.). The absence of an acknowledgement or reply from Mathews suggests that GW may not have sent this letter.

2See GW to Samuel Huntington, 31 Jan., and 3 and 13 Feb. (first letter).

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