Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/60989
Type: Other
Title: [Letter from George Washington to W.V. Murray, 26th December, 1798]
Author: Howchin, George, 1732-1799.
Issue Date: 1798
Abstract: Letter from George Washington to William Vans Murray This letter was bequeathed to the Library by Sir Samuel Way (1836-1916), third Chancellor of the University, Chief Justice of South Australia and one of the Library's most generous benefactors. In July 1798 George Washington was nominated commander in chief of a provisional force being assembled to counter the threat of attack on the United States by France. At the time this letter was written William Vans Murray (1760-1803) was Minister Resident to the Batavian Republic (a French satellite state established in the Netherlands) and had acted as an intermediary between President John Adams and the French foreign minister, Charles Maurice de Talleyrand. The "Envoy Logan" referred to by Washington was George Logan (1753-1821), a gentleman farmer, medical graduate and former Quaker who had served as member of the Pennsylvania Assembly (1785-89, 1795-96). With the support of Republican leaders Logan undertook a private diplomatic mission to France in 1798. This move succeeded in securing trade concessions and the release of imprisoned American sailors, but it also angered Federalists at home. Logan's actions led to Congress passing the "Logan's Law" in 1799, enacted to make such unofficial policy missions illegal in the future.
Description: Mount Vernon, December 26, 1798. Dear Sir: Having some cause to believe the Vessel was captured, in which went the original of the enclosed copy, I forward a duplicate. I returned a few days ago from Philadelphia, whither I had been for the purpose of making some Military arrangements with the Secretary of War respecting the Force wch. is about to be raised. It was there I received a letter from Mr. Dandridge, announcing his intention of returning to America, (partly on account of his health), expressing in lively and grateful terms his sense of your attentions to, and kind treatment of him, adding that as experience had more and more convinced him, that a sedentary life was incompatible both with his health and turn of mind (a sentiment he had often expressed whilst he lived with me) he wished for an appointment in the Army we were about to raise. The application arriving in the nick of time, he stands arranged as Captn. of a Company of Infantry in one of the Regiments wh will be raised in Virginia, and it is necessary he should enter upon the duties thereof as soon as it can be made convenient. Mr. Envoy Logan, who arrived at Philadelphia about the time I did, brings very flattering accounts of the Disposition of the French Directory towards this Country. He has dined with one, supped with another, and in short has been as familiar with them all, (that were in place) as the hand is with its glove: and is not a little employed in propagating this Doctrine in all parts of the U: States by means of the Presses which are at the command of that Party. He says the inclination of France to be upon good terms with the United States is now so strong, that it must be our own mismanagement, and disinclination to Peace, if matters with that Country are not accommodated upon terms honorable and advantageous to this. Both houses of Congress were formed before I left Philadelphia, but had not been long enough in Session for an opinion of the result to be prognosticated. Their answers to the Speech would, it seems, have passed unanimously, could Mr. Varnum of Massachusetts have retained his Spleen. How far this measure is indicative of a tranquil and energetic Session, remains to be decided by more unequivocal evidence. The Alien and Sedition Laws, are now the desiderata in the Opposi[t]ion. But any thing else would have done; and something there will always be, for them to torture, and to disturb the public mind with their unfounded and ill favored forebodings. The family join me in presenting Mrs. Murray and yourself with the Complimts. of the Season, and in wishing you many happy returns of them. With very sincere esteem, &c.
Scanned from the original held in Rare Books & Special Collections, Barr Smith Library.
Call number: Strong Room Oversize 92 W318l
Appears in Collections:Rare Books: texts

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