George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Bushrod Washington, 24 October 1798

To Bushrod Washington

Mount Vernon 24th Octr 1798.

My dear Sir,

Your letter of the 19th instant came duly to hand. I think you were perfectly right in accepting the appointment of Associate Judge—Not only for the reasons you have mentioned, but on every other account.

I only regret that Judge Wilson had it not in his power to have postponed his exit (which I am persuaded he was not indisposed to do) to a later period.1 The Elections in New Jersey are not favourable, & in Pennsylvania—so far as we have heard—are bad. What these, and such like will produce, is left for wiser heads than mine to foretell. I auger very ill of them.2

I wish your Circuit may be pleasant and honorable to you, and that you may return safe to your family & friends. The Season is propitious for a Southern tour and I hope your attention to the duties of your present Office will give satisfaction. Of some of the Judges who have gone that Circuit their has been heavy Complaints—I am Yr sincere friend & affecte Uncle

Go: Washington

ALS, ViMtvL.

1There were rumors that the financially ruined justice of the Supreme Court had committed suicide, but James Wilson, after suffering a stroke, died on 21 Aug. 1798 in Edenton, North Carolina. GW wrote “exist” for “exit.”

2In the elections held in New Jersey in October self-declared Republicans replaced two of the five Federalists who had made up the New Jersey delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives. The election in Pennsylvania was also held this month; the result was an increase in Republicans by one, so that there were now eight instead of seven men identifiable as Republican and five instead of six as Federalists.

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