George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Caleb Gibbs, 21 July 1793

To Caleb Gibbs

Philadelphia July 21st 1793

Dear Sir,

When your letter of the 15 ulto came to this place I was in the act of setting off for Virga on urgent private business of my own—and, since my return that of a public nature has engrossed all my time.1

I write to you now because you have requested an acknowledgement of your letter—not because there is any place vacant (known to me), or⟨,⟩ that I would be under any promise if there was.2 I have observed an invariable line of conduct in all nominations to Office, and that is to hold myself entirely free from all engagements until the moment shall arrive when it is necessary to make them & then to do it with the fittest character, from the best evidence before me, without regard to private friendship or other considerations that might warp my public Judgment.

It would give me, & I am sure it would give Mrs Washington also much pleasure to hear that you & family were living comfortably, & doing well,3 being—Dear Sir Your Obedt Hble Servt

Go: Washington

ALS (letterpress copy), DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; LB, DLC:GW.

1GW departed Philadelphia on 24 June for a visit to Mount Vernon and arrived back at Philadelphia on 11 July (JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 189–90). GW’s main impetus for the trip was to check on Mount Vernon, since the death of his estate manager Anthony Whitting seemed imminent (GW to Whitting, 9 June, James Craik to GW, 15 June, Tobias Lear to GW, 24 June, GW to Henry Lee, 21 July 1793). Much of GW’s attention in the public sphere was focused on the administration’s efforts to maintain neutrality during the current war between France and Great Britain (see Cabinet Opinion, 12 July 1793).

2On the repeated attempts by Revolutionary War veteran Caleb Gibbs to obtain a federal appointment, including his letter to GW of 15 June 1793, see Gibbs to GW, 11 Mar. 1789, and source note, and 8 Aug. 1790, and note 3.

3The next extant letter from Gibbs to GW is dated 12 Dec. 1794. Gibbs does not mention either his family or his personal circumstances, and he does not solicit an appointment (DLC:GW).

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