George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Edward Rutledge, 24 January 1790

From Edward Rutledge

Charleston [S.C.] January 24th 1790.

My dear Sir

Our mutual Friend General Pinckney1 has desired me to write with him in requesting you would be so obliging as to favor him with a Letter of introduction for a youth who is his nephew,2 and on the Eve of entering of his Travels to the Marquis de Fayette.3 Altho I did not imagine that there was any request that the General could make you would be declined, yet I most readily complied for a variety of Reasons. There is no doubt my dear Sir that the national Gratitude of America will remain to you, and to your Memory as long as Divine Providence shall permit any Blessings to flow from Liberty. But as my affection for you is as much attached to the Man, as that of others is to the General & the President, I am anxiously desirous that the Individual should be united to the national Regard, & that both should be continued as long as possible. I wish that our young People should look up to you as the common Father of the Country, consider your Name as a Protection to them, and entitle them to the Rights of Americans in foreign Countries—When I view the Subject as a public man, I feel an anxiety in obtaining for the rising Generation a Knowledge of the politics of foreign States. In spite of our best Efforts it may be often very difficult, & some times altogether impossible to keep clear of their Politics: it is therefore a part of our general Duty to be prepared to meet them, and if we must intermingle with them, to make the best of it. And if this be true in the general it gathers new strength when applied to the Citizens of a State peculiarly weak from its local Situation, & will forever I fear continue so from its modes of Cultivation. We must therefore endeavour to counteract what I consider as natural Evils, and I know of nothing so likely to accomplish our desires as giving to our Children good Educations & extensive Knowledge—to improve them by Travel—to enable them to travel under the most favourable Circumstances. It is from these Considerations that I unite in giving you what I look upon as that kind of Trouble which receives a compensation from the Pleasure which it affords—The occasion therefore will be the apology: & I am sure you will consider it as such.4 I am my dear Sir with every Sentiment of Friendship & Esteem your most affectionate Humble Servt

Ed: Rutledge


1Edward Rutledge was Gen. Charles Cotesworth Pinckney’s brother-in-law and business partner (see GW to Rutledge, 5 May 1789, source note). No letter from Pinckney requesting GW to write letters of introduction for his nephew has been found.

2Daniel Huger Horry, Jr. (1769–1828), who changed his name to Charles Lucas Pinckney Horry, was the only son of Pinckney’s sister Harriott Pinckney Horry (1748–1830), whose South Carolina plantation GW visited on his southern tour in the spring of 1791. In 1781 Horry went to England with his father, Col. Daniel Horry (d. 1785), and was educated at the Middle Temple in London. He settled in France after marrying the daughter of Vincent-Marie Viénot, comte de Vaublanc (1756–1845). GW invited Horry to Mount Vernon when he visited America in 1798 with his wife and mother-in-law (GW to Horry, 6 May 1798; Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 6:126; Rogers, Evolution of a Federalist, description begins George C. Rogers, Jr. Evolution of a Federalist: William Loughton Smith of Charleston (1758–1812). Columbia, S.C., 1962. description ends 89; Bio. Dir. of the S.C. House of Representatives, description begins Joan Schreiner Reynolds Faunt et al., eds. Biographical Directory of the South Carolina House of Representatives. 4 vols. Columbia, S.C., 1974–84. description ends 2:329–30; Gottschalk, Letters of Lafayette to Washington, description begins Louis Gottschalk, ed. The Letters of Lafayette to Washington, 1777–1799. 1944. Reprint. Philadelphia, 1976. description ends 377,379.)

3GW’s 26 April 1790 letter to Lafayette reads: “I will draw your attention from the busy and momentous scene, in which you are acting so distinguished a part, but for one moment, to introduce to your notice, Mr Horry of south Carolina, who proposes to have the satisfaction of delivering this letter to you—He is a Nephew of General Pinckney, and a young Gentleman, whose flattering expectations induce him to travel through Europe, for the sake of completing his education. I know full well the multiplicity of business with which you are oppressed, and only suggest that such marks of your civilities as may be bestowed upon him, consistent with the discharge of your public functions, will be considered as a particular favor to me.

“You know, my dear Marquis, that all my best wishes ever attend you—May you be as successful and as happy in your great undertakings, as your own heart can desire. I am always, with sentiments of the tenderest affection and regard, My dear Marquis, Your sincere friend and humble servant” (LB, DLC:GW). GW wrote similar letters on the same day to William Carmichael, Rochambeau, and William Short (all in DLC:GW).

4On 26 April 1790 GW wrote to Pinckney: “I comply with your wishes in giving letters introductory of your Nephew to several Gentlemen in France and Spain—They are under flying seals, but, as I mean letters of this sort shall be rare, I pray you to close them before they go out of your hands, lest the indiscretions of youth should make an improper use of them before they are delivered to their address.

“Wishing the young Gentleman success, and yourself health and happiness I remain, with sentiments of esteem and consideration, Your most obedient humble servant” (LB, DLC:GW).

GW reported to Rutledge the same day: “I have remitted under cover to General Pickney several letters introductory of his Nephew, with my sentiments thereupon. I cannot, on the occasion of acknowledging your polite and friendly letter omit to reiterate the assurances, with which I am, My dear Sir, With the highest regard & esteem Yr Most Obedt & Affecte Servt” (ALS, PHi: Dreer Collection).

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