George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Heth, 12 January 1799

From William Heth

Petersburg 12th Jany 1799

Dear Sir

Persuaded that it will afford you much gratification, to see how our much esteemd friend General Pinckney was received at this place, hitherto considerd, as highly democratic; I hasten to hand you a paper, wch contains an history of our doings.1

Our toasts are lengthy to be sure—but, they are what I wishd—pointed, & animated.2 I have the honor to be, Dear Sir, with the greatest respect & affection Yr Obt Sert

Will. Heth


1The enclosed newspaper, presumably printed either in Richmond or Petersburg, has not been found, but a report from Petersburg, dated 11 Jan. 1799, appeared in the City Gazette in Charleston, S.C., on 26 January: “It having been understood by mere accident on Friday, by the citizens of this place, that Major-General Pinckney, one of the late envoys extraordinary to the French republic, was on his way from Richmond to this town; the mayor and a considerable number of respectable citizens, determined immediately to give him a public dinner. . . . About eleven o’clock in the afternoon of Saturday, he arrived, and was saluted by a discharge of cannon. . . . The citizens met about half after four o’clock, consisting of upwards of seventy respectable inhabitants of the town.” On 14 Jan. Heth also sent the newspaper account of Charles Cotesworth Pinckney’s reception in Petersburg to Alexander Hamilton and wrote: “Persuaded that it will give you much pleasure to find how our friend Pinkney was recd at this place hitherto considered as highly Democratic—you have enclosed an history of our doings. . . . The toasts you will say, are too long. True—but they are what I wished them to be, pointed, unequivocal, & animated . . .” (Syrett, Hamilton Papers, description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends 22:413–16).

2GW replied from Mount Vernon on 20 Jan.: “Dear Sir, Your favor of the 12th Inst. enclosing the account of General Pinckney’s reception at Petersburgh, came duly to hand.

“The attentions which were shewn him, were, in my opinion, judiciously bestowed; and must be gratifying to the lovers of merit; to none more than to Dear Sir Your Most Obedient and Affecte Hble Servant Go: Washington” (ALS, NjP: De Coppet Collection).

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