George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Gordon, 4 March 1782

Jamaica Plain March 4. 1782

My dear Sir

I cannot omit writing by the present safe conveyance, tho’ I have nothing in particular to communicate. Genl Lincoln will give your Excellency a fuller account of all matters of consequence in this quarter, than what I can do. I was over the other day at Col. Quincy’s. He is breaking fast; but the powers of his mind remain strong. I wish he may live to see & enjoy a happy peace; but I much question it. An apprehension that Britain will make no advances towards it—that ministry means to push this year for the superiority in the West Indies—& that their exertions will be chiefly on the watery element. I hope Heaven will baffle them; for should they gain any very considerable naval advantages, it will finally affect our affairs most especially. (The difficulties that the generality are under in this quarter, with scarcity of money, together with the failure of patriotic principles afford no pleasing prospect. Taxes are heavy, people complain, & numbers will not be able to pay. I should be heartily glad, could I send your Excellency more agreeable intelligence; such as might warrant your expecting that your toils & dangers would be speedily ended, & your unwearied endeavours to establish the liberties of America answered. That same kind Providence that hath befriended us hitherto & extricated us out of former difficulties, I trust will not fail us should darkness return again upon us. Some things mentioned in the papers lead me to suspect, that the king designs furnishing the nations with troops from the electorate of Hanover to be sent here, or elsewhere that so other troops may be spared for the American service. His obstinacy is such that while he can find men & money, & keep a powerful fleet at sea he will not give up the present contest. I am grieved, when I recollect the opportunities that our allies had, for lessening the British navy, & that they missed of improving them properly. The demolishing of that should have been their first object. That performed, & all the other desiderata would have followed of course: then Gibraltar, Minorca & the West Indies would have fallen. But why do I dwell upon subjects that can afford you no satisfaction? Excuse me, my dear Sir, I mean not to give you the least uneasiness, but your Excellency knows that out of the abundance of the heart the pen will write, as well as the mouth speak. I will change the topick, & wish You all desirable blessings before & when You take the field, May your head be covered in the day of battle! & may the inspiration of the Most High give you the best understanding when in [   ]. Mrs Gordon desires with me to be remembered to your Lady, & prays You to accept of our most [   ]. The multiplicity of your engagements leaves one little hope of hearing from your Ex[cellency but] whenever You can write I shall esteem it an honour. [   ] Your Excellency’s very affectionate Friend & humble Servant

William Gordon

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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