George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Archibald Cary, 15 June 1782

Head Qrs Newburgh 15th June 1782

My dear Sir,

I have been honored with your favor of the 25th Ulto Inclosing sundry resolutions of your Assembly respecting the insiduous Manoeuvres of the enemy, who, it is evident, cannot mean well, because they take indirect steps to obtain that, to which a plain road is opened; and every good Man is desirous of obtaining upon honourable terms.

I thank you my good Sir for the resolves, wch you did me the honr to inclose—they breathe a proper spirit—& with others of a like kind in the different Assemblies will, it is to be hoped, convince the enemy that it is both their interest and policy to be honest—I very sincerely condole with you on your late heavy loss, but he that gave has a right to take away, and it is the duty of us all, to submit to his will altho’ we cannot but feel the strokes we sustain.

I should have been very happy to have seen you while I was in Virginia, if it had been but for a moment—indeed the pleasure must have been momentary—for my hours all the while I was in that State were so occupied by the constant duties of my station that I could devote no part of them to the enjoyment of my friends which was not only mortifying to me, but, probably displeasing to some of them.

It gives me much pleasure to learn from so good authority as your pen, that the Assembly of Virginia is better composed than it has been for several years—much I think may be expected from it—the path we are to tread is certainly a plain one—the object is full in our view—but it will not come to us, we must work our way to it by proper advances and the means of doing this is Men and Money—In vain is it to expect, that our aim is to be accomplished by fond wishes for Peace—and equally ungenerous as fruitless will it be, for one State to depend upon another to bring this to pass; for if I may be allowed to speak figuratively, our Assemblies in Politics are to be compared to the Wheels of a Clock in Mechanics—the whole for the general purposes of War shd be set in motion by the grt Wheel (Congress) & if all will do their parts the Machine works easy but a failure in one disorders the whole—& without the large one (wch set the whole in mo’tn) nothing can be done—it is by the united wisdom & exertions of the whole, in Congress, who, I presume, do justice to all (but if they fail by being disproportionate in the first instance it should in my opinion be saught for & remedied in the second rather than derange the whole business of a Campaign by the delays incident to contention) that we are to depend upon. without this, we are no better than a rope of Sand and are as easily broken asunder.

I write thus openly, and freely to you my dear Sir, because I pant for retirement, and am perswaded that an end of our warfare is not to be obtained but by vigorous exertions—the subjugation of America so far at least as to hold it in a dependt State is of too much importance to Great Britain to yield the palm to us whilst her Resources exist, or our inactivity, want of system or dependence upon other Powers or upon one another prevail—I can truely say that the first wish of my Soul is to return speedily into the bosom of that Country which gave me birth and in the sweet enjoyment of demestick pleasures and the company of a few Friends to end my days in quiet, when I shall be called from this Stage. With great truth and sincerity I am Dr Sir Yr Obedt & Affecte S[ev.].

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