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Letter to Henry Knox, February 5, 1788

George Washington. Letter signed: Mount Vernon, to Henry Knox, 1788 February 5. 2p.+ docket

Mount Vernon 5th. Feby. 1788.

My dear Sir,

Soon after my last was dispatched to you, I was favoured with the receipt of your letter of the 14th. Ult; by which, and other accts. of more recent date, I am sorry to find that the important question under deliberation in Massachusetts, stands on such precarious ground. - The decision of that State will, unquestionably, have considerable influence on those which are to follow; especially on the one in which you now are; - at the same time that an unfavourable issue, will strengthen the cords of dissention in others, which have already decided. -

What may be the final determination on this Subject in Virginia, is more, I believe, than any man can say with precision. - Every one, with whom you converse, delivers his own sentiment as the sentiments of the State; whilst there is no just criterian that I know of, to form a decided judgment. - My own opinion of the matter is, as I observed to you in my last, that it will certainly be received; but, for the reasons [2] then assigned, I may be mistaken; not having been from home ten miles (my jouney up the River being prevented by bad weather & a slight indisposition) since I returned from Philadelphia, and from not having seen many beyond that circle, except travellers & strangers; whose means of information is too often defective to be relied on.

The poor Patriots of Holland, must either have been greatly decieved, or they have acted form weakness & precipitency. - The first, I conceive to be the case - & the peculiar situation of the affairs of France - perhaps too, divisions among themselves, will acct. for it. - Be this as it may, their case is pitiable. -

The Navigation of this River has been stopped for near five weeks - at this moment we are locked fast by Ice - and this air of this day is amongst the keenest I ever recollect to have felt. - Mrs. Washington joins me in every good wish for you & Mrs. Knox - and I am,

My dear Sir,
Yr Sincere frd & affec Servt
Go: Washington
PS. Pray, if it is not a secret, who is the author, or authors of Publius?
Majr. Genl. Knox
[docket] Genl Washington 7 Febry 1788-
[inserted - different hand: Original No. 17-]

Notes: Published in Fitzpatrick, John C. The Writings of George Washington. v. 29, pp. 400-1.
GLC02437.52.165 is a duplicate of this document.