George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Gordon, 30 August 1781

Jamaica Plain Aut 30. 1781

My dear Sir

You have been so obliging as to promise me your assistance in my designed history of the present glorious contest for liberty; & I have no doubt of your affording it. Truth & impartiality are what I aim at; & therefore am for getting the best information possible, which must be by having a recourse to original papers in the possession of those who have borne a distinguished & active part in the transactions of the day. I flatter myself from appearances in Europe, that the war is hastening to a close, & that if the present campaign proves somewhat more successful answerable to the wishes of your Excellency it will be the last. This & some other favourable circumstances have induced me to conclude upon a journey to the southward the approaching fall. I propose setting off by divine permission next monday six weeks, & of visiting Genl Gates before my return. Should be glad to call at Head Quarters, that I might have the pleasure of an interview with your Excellency; but expect to be in company, & apprehend should be put to much inconvenience should I take the route needful for it, & pass thro’ the camp; however as the campaign will be closed before I am upon my return, shall contrive to enjoy that pleasure. Cannot suppose, my dear Sir, that you have the papers of former campaigns with you, but that they are deposited in some secure place at a distance from the camp. Could You indulge me with the perusal of them upon my repairing to such place, you would confer an unspeakable obligation upon me, & enable me to make the more dispatch in the history, by bringing it down to where your papers end. I shall conscienciously conceal whatever it may be imprudent & unsafe to divulge; & make it a rule with me, as a minister of peace, to promote peace & prevent or destroy dissensions.

Our affairs to the southward once wore a threatening aspect; but the same kind Providence hath wrought effectually in that quarter, as it had before done in others; & I congratulate you upon the disappointments[,] losses & defeats that our enemies have met with. It would give me the highest pleasure had the several States furnished [   ] with the necessary force; & were our allies with their fleet ready to begin their operation [   ]tely, so as to leave no fear but what with the common smiles of Heaven your Exc[   ] be able before winter to reduce New York. Indolence & Selfishness are preventive of [   ] which ought to distinguish the Massachusetts as the first mover in the present war. It is [to] no little purpose to complain, that I am almost tired of it, & am ready to conclude at times to let things go as they will without endeavouring to serve the public. Had not You possessed an uncommon share of Patriotism, You would have quitted your post long ago upon observing how little attention was paid to your repeated complaints & applications. Your friends have put your virtue to the trial full as much as your enemies. I can write you nothing new, excepting that Col. Sears is going on board a frigate this evening to cruise in the Bay in company with other vessels, in order to drive off or take a number of the enemy that infest it & make many captures. I wish him a successful voyage, but am not captivated with the notion of his going, for I am not clear that it is his present duty to put himself in the way of being killed or wounded. I shall be glad to know where your Lady is, that I may pay my respects to her. Mrs Gordon joins in kindest remembrance to her, & to your Excellency, with my dear Sir Your affectionate Friend & most obedient Servant

William Gordon

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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