George Washington Papers

To George Washington from George Martin, 15 December 1783

Dubn Decr 15th 1783


With the purest Sentiments of Esteem and respect I took the earliest Opportunity of acknowledging the Honor of your Letter by the hands of My Nephew Mr Geo: Martin who was preparing to embark for Virginia from England, but I since find that unexpected Occurrences have detain’d him so long that it is more than probable this Letter will reach your hands before he can present his—give me leave however to refer to my former one, which I trust he will soon have the honor of delivering in person, as it contains [a more] explicit declaration of the exalted Opinion I entertain of your worth & Character.

Satisfied as I am, as well as all other impartial Persons, that your Retirement will never preclude your best Services from your Countrys wellfare, and observing from your public Declaration in Augst last on an Invitation from Congress to assist their Deliberations for establishing a permanent Legislative thro’ out America, that you were ready to cooperate with the Sovereign Power, at least for a limitted time, to adjust & accomplish such a desirable Event. I take the liberty at present to transmit for the perusal of Congress, an Act of Parliament now going thro’ the usual Forms here for facilitating the Commerce between the United States of America & Ireland, which however is to continue only three months in force, being intended as a kind of Foundation Stone for raising a more perfect Super structure upon, and which cannot as yet be established untill Treaties of Amity & Commerce are adjusted between the Two Countries, and also between G:B: & America, for altho’ Ireland is now a Seperate Independant State yet being so closely connected with G:B.—it is thought adviseable by Government here to wait the final Adjustment of the British Treaty, in Order that nothing may be done wch may hereafter create any jealousy or animosity between the Sister Kingdoms—Nothing cou’d make me so happy as the Estimation of my Country men to be thought a proper Object of Confidence and honorable Trust, to guard and watch over their Interests—But I have no Idea that a simple Consulate Commission can be at all equal to the Services requisite—In such Cases every poor [pal]try Comes in Office wou’d give himself Airs and think it sufficient to inform the Consul when and how he pleasd of any Transaction necessary to be known.

Whereas a Commission appointing a Person Resident and Consul General with the Apellation [of] Honourable & Sacredness of Person from all Legal restraints save in Cases Criminal & Breaches of the Peace wou’d give Weight, Dignity, respect, attention & Importance to the Officer & his Solicitations, being in some degree the Representive of the United States of America; by wch means he wou’d at all times be intitled to Access by Government & in every particular more likely to be useful than if less rais’d, honour’d, & trusted by his own State. I shou’d think the Office of Consul-General might be annex’d to the Commission with power to appoint Seven Deputies to the different Posts mention’d in this Bill—but then the question is whether the ordinary Emoluments of such an office here wou’d defray the Expence attending it.

No man can be more sensible than I am of the absolute necessity of Oeconomy in American Disbursements of Finance, but est modus in rebus Penury in a State is perdition to its Existance the Labourer is worthy of his hire, and reasonable Compensation is not only an act of natural Justice but it is in some measure the secundum Mobile of faithful Services. Far be it from me to arrogate the power or even presume to dictate on a Subject where I wish to be employ’d, but I humbly think that £250 paid quarterly cou’d not be deem’d extravagant or burthensome for establishing a Resident in Ireland to protect American Interests; and the addition of Consul General with such Emoluments as usually affect such offices and of which I am utterly Ignorant, cou’d be annex’d without any disadvantage whatever. Having thus pretty fully explain’d my thoughts in a matter of public Concern let me entreat your favorable representation of them to Congress in such manner as seems most agreeable to you, forgive me leave to assure you from the very bottom of my Soul, that I have the highest conceptions of your Judgement as well as inexpressible admiration of your Military Talents—Under these Impressions I shall live and die, ever esteeming myself highly flatter’d and gratified with the Friendship and good Wishes of a Gentleman so eminently Conspicuous in the Annals of Mankind and I beg you will Sir believe me to be your Constant and Sincere Admirer, & devoted faithful and Obedt hb. Servt

Geo: Martin

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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