George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Sinclair, 11 September 1796

Whitehall. 11 Sepr 1796


I do not much like the present aspect of Europe, and have some thoughts, incase of accidents, to secure an asylum for my family in america. The Revolution of France, now confirmed, will probably occasion Revolutions in other Countries, and it is not impossible, even here, where, though the government is good, yet it is ill administered. Indeed what else could be expected from surrendering the administration of the affairs of a great country, to inexperienced boys, such as Pitt and his companions, to lawyers, like Dundas & Wadderburn, who are men of information and abilities in the line of their own profession, but were not trained up to be regular Statesmen; and having nobody to look up to, incase of thier dismission, but such characters as Fox and Sheridan, who have talents, particularly those of an oratorical nature, but from their dissipation, their extravagance, their pecuniary difficulties, and in some respects, their vicious conduct, never can acquire, the confidence of the people, and who have not application enough for public business—With a load of debts and taxes on the country almost unsupportable, and yet increasing every year—without any bounds to our public expences, and our public credit not a little shook, and joined to all these untoward circumstances at home, with so formidable an enemy abroad as France, an armed nation ably governed, within a few hours sail of us—these points united, furnish but a gloomy prospect, to a thinking native of this country.

I should be glad to be favoured with your opinion, respecting a purchase in America, on a moderate scale, from 2 to £3000. you wrote me that you had some farms to let in the neighbour hood of Mount Vernon—Have any of them a tolerable good house, and instead of letting them on a short lease, would you grant, what in Scotland is called a feu a species of perpetual lease, at a rent not augumentable, or would you sell them out right, as they seem to be in an eligible part of the country. If either plan would be acceptable, have the goodness to mention the terms. With great respect & regard believe me your faithful & obt Servant

John Sinclair

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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