George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Gouverneur Morris, 14 February 1793

From Gouverneur Morris


My dear SirParis 14 Feby 1793

I have receivd yours of the twentieth of October which was very long on its Way. You will find that Events have blackened more and more in this Country. Her present Prospects are dreadful. It is not so much perhaps the external Force, great as that may be, for there are always Means of Defence in so vast a Nation. The exhausted State of Resources might also be borne with, if not remedied. But the Disorganized State of the Government appears to be irremediable. The Venality is such that if there be no Traitors it is because The Enemy has not Common Sense. Without the Aid of Venality there are not a few who from mistaken Zeal and from Ignorance contribute to the Success of those Powers who are leagued against France. Many also under the Garb of Patriotism conceal their Attachment to the former Government[.] in Short the Fabrick of the present System is erected on a quagmire. The new Constitution has not yet made it’s Appearance but it is easy to conjecture what it will not be. In the mean Time I learn that the Ministers of War and Marine declare it impossible for them to go on. How all this will end God only knows but I fear it will end badly.1

I will not speak of my own Situation. You will judge that it is far from pleasant. I could be popular but that would be wrong. The different Parties pass away like the Shadows in a Magic Lanthorn, & to be well with any one of them would in a short Period become Cause of unquencheable Hatred with the others. Happy Happy America governd by Reason, by Law, by the Man whom she loves, whom she almost adores. It is the Pride of my Life to consider that Man as my Friend and I hope long to be honor’d with that Title. God bless you my dear Sir and keep and preserve you. Your cool and steady Temper is now of infinite Consequence to our Country. As soon as I can see the Way open to any Thing decisive I shall inform you of it. At present I weary myself with unavailing Reflection Meditation and Conjecture. A Partition seems the most probable Event at present—Adieu. I am truly yours

Gouv. Morris

ALS, DLC:GW; LB, DLC: Gouverneur Morris Papers.

1For the election of the National Convention in September 1792 and the subsequent abolition of the monarchy, see Morris to GW, 23 Oct. 1792, and source note. Although the National Convention had selected a committee on 11 Oct. 1792 to write a constitution for the new republic, the Convention rejected the committee’s final report of 15 Feb. 1793. The Convention later adopted a revised version of the proposed constitution but never fully implemented its provisions. France, already at war with Austria and Prussia, had declared war on Great Britain and the Netherlands on 1 Feb. and would do the same against Spain on 7 Mar. 1793. Pierre Riel de Beurnonville (1752–1821), who had replaced Jean-Nicholas Pache as the minister of war on 4 Feb. 1793, remained in this position only until 11 Mar. 1793. Gaspard-Louis Monge served as minister of the navy from 12 Aug. 1792 until 13 April 1793.

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