George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Charles Pinckney, 8 July 1790

To Charles Pinckney

New York July 8th1 1790.

Dear Sir,

I have had the pleasure to receive your letter of the 14th of June2 and a few days after a duplicate of the same3 each in closing a copy of the Constitution lately formed for your State. The address of the Convention, which you mentioned in your letter, has been presented by the Gentlemen in Congress from South Carolina; and I have endeavoured to express, in my answer thereto, the grateful sense which I have of the favourable opinion entertained of me by the people of that State.4

I sincerely wish that the citizens of South Carolina may experience, under their new form of Government, every species of political happiness that can result from equal & just laws wisely executed.

I thank you, my dear Sir, for the friendly anxiety which you express for my health, and have the pleasure to inform you that it is now pretty well established.5 Mrs Washington thanks you for your polite remembranc[e] of her & desires her compliments may be presented to you. With sentiments of esteem, I am Dear Sir, Your most Obedt Sert.

P.S. In consequence of measures which I have taken for that purpose; and the agency of a person sent into the Creek nation with that express view, I have received certain information that Mr McGillivray & a number of the Head men of the Creeks are now on their way to this Place.6

Df, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; LB, DLC:GW.

1The letter-book copy is misdated 5 July 1790.

2Pinckney’s private letter from Charleston, S.C., covering a printed copy of the new South Carolina constitution, reads: “Upon my return to this City I was very much concerned to hear you had been dangerously ill & that you still were far from being out of danger—it is unnecessary for me to say I am sure that the public anxiety is exceedingly raised upon this occasion & that no part of the Union more sincerely participates in it than the people of this State.

“I have the Honour & I will add the pleasure to transmit to our members in Congress by this opportunity the address of our Convention which they are directed to present as soon as it arrives—this would have been done by the Legislature in January last, but I apprehend the reason for postponing it was, that it was conceived to come more respectfully from a Convention of the people, assembled for the solemn purpose of forming a Constitution than from the Legislature—I inclose you the Copy of the Constitution they have formed, which is a very good one in every thing except the duration of the Executive Department—This they have so far improved as to compleat the Unity of the Executive & to give him more ample powers than he formerly had—But their republican jealousy is not yet sufficiently convinced of the necessity of going farther than they have done—as they have yielded the points of the Representation & Judicial I think they have paved the way for granting in a few years all the other necessary powers of Government & I would rather they would gradually improve in this way than imitate the form published in Pennsylvania which appears to me going from one extreme to the other” (DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters).

3The duplicate of Pinckney’s 14 June letter to GW, which was favored by Captain Allen of the sloop Cynthia, has a postscript that does not appear in the original: “I am pleased to hear & wish it may be true that a pacification is concluded with the Creek Indians & that Mr McGillvay is on his way to pay you a Visit & if the communications I had the honour to make you in December last have had any agency in this business or may in the remotest degree have contributed to it, I shall be very happy, as I consider the Work of peace, where it can be effected upon honourable terms, as of all others the most pleasing” (DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Despatches; see also Pinckney to GW, 14 Dec. 1789).

5For GW’s illness of May 1790, see William Jackson to Clement Biddle, 12 May 1790, editorial note, and Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 6:76–77.

6On 1 July GW received official information from Marinus Willett that he and Alexander McGillivray’s party were at Hopewell, S.C., and would proceed to New York by way of Richmond (Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 6:80).

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