George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Elbridge Gerry, 20 February 1781

To Elbridge Gerry

New Windsor 20th Feby 1781

Dear Sir,

The Mail of last Week brought me your favor of the 7th.1

Never having entertained a doubt of your friendship, the trouble you have taken to remove a supposed suspicion of it would have given me concern were it not overballanced by the pleasure I felt at receiving, in the same instant, fresh assurances of your esteem & regard for me.

Declarations thereof on your part, require candor & confidence on mine.

I do not scruple therefore to confess that, I was not a little hurt by the implications, and the general complexion of Mr Lovels letter—and was not a little embarrassed in determining upon a proper line of Conduct for me to observe on the occasion.2

Conscious that (neither directly nor indirectly) no Act, Word, or thought of mine had given birth to the motion—transmitted you—It was not a very pleasant thing to see a letter published, the natural interpretation of which, held out very different ideas.

The paragraph immediately following the motion, is perfectly enigmatical to an uninformed Mind; but from the context, and other circumstances must be supposed to relate to the same person and subject—I have heard it did not—but the combination was remarkable—and its falling into the hands of the enemy, and being exposed to public view, unfortunate. With great esteem and regard I am—Dr Sir Yr Most Obedt Hble Serv.

Go: Washington

ALS (photostat), ViMtvL; ADfS, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. GW addressed his draft to Gerry at Boston.

2For an analysis of the letter from Massachusetts delegate James Lovell to Gerry written on 20 Nov. 1780, see Austin, Gerry description begins Austin, James T. The Life of Elbridge Gerry. With Contemporary Letters. To the Close of the American Revolution. Boston, 1828. description ends , 336–44.

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