TRANSCRIPT GLC 581
George Washington. Autograph letter signed: Mount Vernon,
to James McHenry, 1798 Sept. 30. 3 p.
Mount Vernon 30 Sep 1798.
I have lately received information, which, in my opinion,
merits attention. It is that the brawlers against Governmental
measures in some of the most discontented parts of this state,
have, all of a sudden, become silent; and; it is added, are
very desirous of obtaining Commissions in the Army, about
to be raised.
This information did not fail to leave an impression upon
my mind at the time I received it, but it has acquired strength
from a publication I have lately seen in one of the Maryland
Gazettes (between the Author of which and my informant, there
could have been no interchange of sentiments) to the same
The motives ascribed [inserted: to them] are, that  in
such a situation they would endeavour to divide, & contaminate
the Army, by artful & seditious discourses, and perhaps
at a critical moment, bring on confusion. What weight to give
these conjectures you can judge of as well as I. But, as there
will be characters enough of an opposite description, who
are ready to receive appointments, circumspection is necessary;
for my opinion of the first are, that you could as soon scrub
the blackamore white, as to change the principles of a profest
Democrat; and that he will leave nothing unattempted to overturn
the Government of this Country.
Finding the resentment of the People at the conduct of France
too strong to be resisted, they have, inappearance, adopted
their senitments; and pretend that, not withstanding the misconduct
of Government have brought it upon us, yet, if an Invasion
should take place, it will be found that they will be among
the  first to defend it. This is their story at all Elections,
and Election meetings, and told in many instances with effect.
Whether [inserted: there] be little, much, or nothing in
the information, I shall not take upon me to decide; but it
appeared to me to be of sufficient moment to apprise you thereof.
With esteem & reg[ar]d
I am Dear Sir
Your Obed[ien]t H[um]ble Serv[an]t
The Secretary of War.
Notes: Published in Fitzpatrick, 36: 474-475. Washington writes
to James McHenry, Secretary of War, that he fears a French
invasion and a possible war with France in the wake of the
X, Y, Z Affair and French dissatisfaction with
the Jay Treaty.