George Washington Papers

To George Washington from One of the People, 16 March 1794

From One of the People

[c.16 March 1794]


I need not, I trust, make any apology for the freedom I now take in sending you these few lines—They are well intended, and cannot, I think, in reason, give any offence.

The following truths are undeniable—There is a God—He is the supreme governor of the universe, both in a natural and moral sense—This God is holy, just, good, and merciful. Being holy, he cannot but hate sin; and being just, he cannot but punish obstinate sinners: But, being also good and merciful, he has provided a Saviour, through whom there is pardon for penitent offenders.

This God is to be worshipped and adored by all intelligent creatures; not merely in their individual, but also in their social, or national capacity. We have national mercies to acknowledge, national sins to confess, and national judgements to depricate.

This country has been repeatedly delivered from impending judgements: but we have been, and continue to be, unmindful of our Deliverer—While He has been adding mercy to mercy, we have been adding sin to sin.

God is again threatening us with the calamity of war. What is our duty in this situation? To use, no doubt, all the natural means in our power to ward off, or repel the blow. But is this all? No, it is not. Let a heathen prince, the king of Nineveh, instruct us on this head.1 His city was threatened with destruction—He did not despise the threatening, nor trust to humans alone for its preservation. He proclamed a solemn fast, and exhorted the people “to turn, every one, from his evil way, and from the violence that is in his hands; adding, Who can tell if God will turn, and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?” And the history informs us that “God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way, and God repented of the evil that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.” 2

Imitate the pious example of this prince.

One of the people

AL, DLC:GW. GW’s docket reads, “March-–1794.” The postal stamp on the cover reads, “16 MR.”

1On the king of Nineveh, see the third chapter of the Old Testament book of Jonah.

2The quotations are from Jonah 3:8–10.

Index Entries