George Washington Papers

From George Washington to William Moultrie, 5 May 1792

To William Moultrie

Philadelphia May 5th 1792.

Dear Sir,

I have had the pleasure to receive your letter of last month, and the seeds you had the goodness to send me by Mr Pinckney.1 The plants & trees which arrived at Norfolk, have reached Mount Vernon in pretty good order.2

My thanks and acknowledgements are due to you, my dear Sir, for the kind attention which you have paid to my wishes with respect to the seeds, plants &c. You must likewise accept of them for the detail which you have been so good as to give of the mode of carrying on a war against the Indians; the cloathing of the Troops employed in that service &c.

The first wish of the United States with respect to the Indians is, to be at peace with them all, and to cultivate a good understanding to our mutual benefit. As we have not been able to attain this without the effusion of blood, the next wish is, to pursue such measures as may terminate the hostilities in the speediest manner, & most for the honor & interest of the U.S. Observations, therefore, which are founded in experience, tending to effect this, cannot but merit the thanks and acknowledgements of those who have the management of public affairs.

I am much pleased to hear that the picture by Colo. Trumbull, gives so much satisfaction. The merit of this Artist cannot fail to give much pleasure to those of his Countrymen who possess a taste for the fine arts: and I know of no part of the U:S. where it could be put to a stronger test than in South Carolina.3 With sincere regard, & best wishes for your health & happiness, Sir, Your Affte and Obedt Servt

Go: Washington

LS (photocopy), DLC:GW, ser. 9; Df, in Tobias Lear’s hand, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; LB, DLC:GW.

1Moultrie’s letter to GW of April 1792 has not been found. Thomas Pinckney, who had been appointed U.S. minister to Great Britain in January 1792, apparently transmitted the seeds from Charleston, S.C., to Philadelphia while en route to his new position overseas.

3John Trumbull wrote in his autobiography that the “city of Charleston, S.C. instructed William R. Smith, one of the representatives of South Carolina, to employ me to paint for them a portrait of the great man, and I undertook it con amore [in early 1792], (as the commission was unlimited,) meaning to give his military character, in the most sublime moment of its exertion—the evening previous to the battle of Princeton. . . . The result was in my own opinion eminently successful, and the general was satisfied. But it did not meet the views of Mr. Smith. He admired, he was personally pleased, but he thought the city would be better satisfied with a more matter-of-fact likeness, such as they had recently seen him—calm, tranquil, peaceful. . . . another was painted for Charleston, agreeable to their taste—a view of the city in the background, a horse, with scenery, and plants of the climate” (Trumbull, Autobiography, description begins Theodore Sizer, ed. The Autobiography of Colonel John Trumbull: Patriot-Artist, 1756–1843. 1953. Reprint. New York, 1970. description ends 170–71). The first portrait is on display at Yale University, and the second is located at the city hall in Charleston.

Index Entries