George Washington Papers

From George Washington to John Marshall, 30 December 1798

To John Marshall

Mount Vernon 30th Decr 1798.

My dear Sir,

If General Pinckney should have left Richmond, let me request the favor of you to forward the packet herewith sent, in the manner he may have directed; or, as your own judgment shall dictate, to ensure its delivery to him in Hallifax, or on the Road thro’ North Carolina.1

The Alien & Sedition Laws having employed many Pens—and we hear a number of tongues, in the Assembly of this State; the latter, I understand, to a very pernicious purpose; I send you the production of Judge Addison on these subjects.2 Whether any new lights are cast upon them by his charge, you will be better able to decide when you have read it. My opinion is, that if this, or other writings flashed conviction as clear as the Sun in its Meredian brightness, it would produce no effect in the conduct of the leaders of opposition, who, have points to carry, from which nothing will divert them in the prosecution.

When you have read the charge give it to Bushrod Washington, or place it to any other uses you may think proper. I wish success to your Election, most sincerely; and if it should fail (of which I hope there is not the least danger) I shall not easily forgive myself for being urgent with you to take a Poll—I offer you the compliments of the Season, and with much truth remain Dear Sir Your Most Obedt and Affecte Hble Servant

Go: Washington

ALS, ViRAPA; ALS (letterpress copy), DLC:GW; LB, DLC:GW.

1On this day GW wrote Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, who left Mount Vernon on the morning of 28 Dec. after a visit of three days with his wife and daughter Eliza: “My dear Sir, Accompanying this, you will receive Letters for Brigadier Generals Davie & Washington; left open for your perusal; to be sealed before delivery.

“The night after your departure being rainy, & the morning following thawing, makes us anxious to hear of your safe arrival as far as Fredericksburgh. Our best wishes will attend you to the end of your journey, and with sincere & affectionate regard, & regret to part with you & the Ladies, I am—my dear Sir—Your Most Obedt Hble Servt Go: Washington” (ALS, OCHP; letterpress copy, DLC:GW). GW’s letters to William Richardson Davie and William Washington are dated 28 December. On 28 Dec., according to the endorsements on the documents, GW gave or sent Pinckney copies of a list of cavalry officers from the various states for the New Army and a list entitled Estimate of Artillery small Arms principal articles of Military stores and Camp Equipage for an army of 50000 men. On 30 Dec., again according to the endorsements, GW sent Pinckney copies of his letter to McHenry of 16 Dec. and lists entitled Prices of rations at the different posts, Names of places at which recruiting rendezvous have been established, and Return of Troops at the undermentioned places. All of these lists are undated and filed in DLC:GW at the end of December 1798.

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