George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Alexander White, 26 December 1796

Philadelphia 26th Decr 1796

Dear Sir,

Your letter of the 15th instt was not received until friday lasttoo late for the Post of that day—of course the receipt of it could not meet an earlier acknowledgment than by the Mail of this Morng.

I wish Mrs White’s determination had been otherwise than is announced in your letter, but if I understand the expression of it, as it respects yourself, I do not see what more the Public could reasonably require of you, than you are disposed to give, when after saying this determination must occasion your resignation you add, "unless my personal attendance may be considered as sufficient" and then subjoin, "My court business is so far disposed of, and I shall make such arrangements with respect to my property, that I have no doubt of being able to perform my full share of the duties of the Office, if under existing circumstances, the residence of my family ought to be dispensed with."

However desirarable on your account, and wished by others, that Mrs White could have reconciled it to her inclination to have become a resident in the federal City, yet, tho’ her not doing it is to be regretted, I am well disposed to accept the continuance of your services upon the terms I understand they are offered—the residence there yourself. It never was expected that a Commissioner should never be absent from his Post—though presumed always that such absence would be so timed as to produce no dereliction of, or inconvenience to the public concerns which are entrusted to their management—and while there are three in Commission (if harmony prevails) matters may, certainly, be so arranged as to avoid these, as well as the unpleasant animadversions which otherwise might attach themselves.

I am perfectly satisfied that your own sense of propriety, will never suffer you to neglect any trust you wd accept, & in that confidence I remain Dear Sir, Your Affecte & Obedt [Servt]

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