George Washington Papers

To George Washington from “A Friend”, 20 August 1790

From “A Friend”

Ireland 20 August 1790


You with the assistance of Your Countrymen and Foreigners have effected a Wonderful Revolution You have free’d Yourselves from the power of the British Government a Government overwhelming in corruption and oppression, Now You are Free hol[d] Yourselves so form Wise Laws and see them executed but not with too much arbitrary Government for that brings on a Revolution such as will be in Ireland soon if persisted in; the seat of learning and Empire that began in the East is now wearing fast towards the Western hemisphere first Greece Rose and fell Next Rome and now France is on the decline and England is in its Meridian, But Amerrica is only in its middle state, but will soon be a Great Kingdom in the World; But the chief point of My Writing to You is to inform You of the dreadfull shock that is to happen this Year, perhaps this may reach You before it—and Am Your Excellency’s, Humble Sevt

A Friend

N:B. Sir Isaac Newton1 knew this would happen in 1790 and it falls on Ireland.

AL, DLC:GW. The cover is addressed in the same hand as the text of the letter, “His Excellency George Washington. Amerrica,” with the last word crossed out by another hand that wrote “Philadelphia” beneath it.

1Before Isaac Newton died in 1727, he had begun to study ancient chronology and corresponded with John Locke and others on the subject of sacred texts and early Church history. Only some of this historical work appeared in print in the eighteenth century: a 1770 edition of Newton’s posthumously published The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended (London and Dublin, 1728); Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel, and the Apocalypse of St. John, which was edited by Benjamin Smith and published in London in 1733; “Dissertation upon the Sacred Cubit of the Jews,” which was translated from the Latin and first published in 1737; and a fragment on the ancient calendar, which was reproduced in the Gentleman’s Magazine in 1755 (see Frank E. Manuel, Isaac Newton, Historian [Cambridge, Mass., 1963], 1–2, 13–14, 150, 238–39).

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