Hope Park Decr 18th 1796
I now inclose you a copy of your account made out by Mr Kieth, and allso one of the little extract from your books furnished me by Mr Lear in the Summer 1793—Mrs Stuart’s illness has prevented my doing it sooner. I had considered her recovery as impossible, till within these two days—I flatter myself, she is now out of danger, and will be soon freed from her long and painfull confinement.
I hope Mr Adet’s conduct, together with the report of Louisiana being ceded to France, will prevent our Countrymen throwing themselves into the bosom of France; as it would appear to be the object of some to make them—The former seems to have excited much disgust, and the latter with great justice much alarm—I suspect the Minister has gone rather further than his partisans could wish; or too far to enable them to make dupes of the people—Our election has satisfyed more than [ ] before, of the extreme impolicy of permitting any emigrants to this Country, to have the right of voting or being voted for at an election—They were by far the most zealous, among us, and most influential. I have no doubt but they have had a [powerfull] effect [even when] —I think it is a subject worthy the attention of Congress—I have written to Col. Simms on it, and he promises me to attempt it in our Assembly: tho’ it should fail, it may be the means of calling the attention of other Legislatures, and perhaps Congress to it—To those, who may be opposed to it, from a sense of obligation to this description of persons at the late Election, and in the Politics of the moment at this period, it may be replied, that it is in perfect conformity to the opinion of Mr Jefferson in his notes on Virginia—Those who look further into the subject, must feel some alarm, at finding that Montesquieu (whose authority on the subject of government is admitted among all) in his history of the causes of the subversion of the Roman empire, considers the indiscriminate admission to Citizenship, first introduced by Sylla in the civil war with Marius for party purposes, as an essential cause of it.
It seems Mr Henry refuses the office of Governor, a circumstance much I think to be regretted in our situation as to parties—A Convention Col. Simms writes me is meant to be called to form a new Constitution for this State—Tho’ it is very desirable, it is perhaps not well timed. With respectfull compts to Mrs Washington—I am Dr Sir, with perfect respect Your Affect. Serv.
DLC: Papers of George Washington.