Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Rediscovering George Washington
Washington: Father of His Country The Washington Collection
Washington in the Classroom About the Program
Timeline: George Washington's Life Milestones
Multimedia Room Search the Site
Gilder Lehrman Collection Documents
Gilder Lehrman Collection Images
Other Documents
Gilder Lehrman Collection Documents
Letter to Gouverneur Morris, March 25, 1793
TRANSCRIPT GLC 494
George Washington. Autograph letter signed: Philadelphia, to Gouverneur Morris, 1793 March 25. 3 p. + address leaf.

Philadelphia, March 25 1793.
(Private)

My dear Sir,

It was not till the middle of February that I had the pleasure to receive your letter of the 23d. of October.

If you, who are at the fountain head of those great and important transactions which have lately engrossed the attention of Europe & America, cannot pretend to say what will be their event surely we, in this distant quarter, should be presumptious indeed, in venturing to predict it. And unwise should we be in the extreme to involve ourselves in the contests of European Nations, where our weight could be but small – tho’ the loss to ourselves would be certain. I can however with the truth aver that this Country is not guided by such narrow and mistaken policy as will lead it to wish the destruction of any nation, under an idea that our importance [2] will be encreased in proportion as that of others is lessened. We should rejoice to see every nation enjoying all the advantages that nature & its circumstances w[oul]d admit, consistent with civil liberty and the rights of other nations. Upon this ground the prosperity of this Country w[oul]d unfold itself every day – and every day would it be growing in political importance.

Mr. Jefferson will communicate to you such official information as we have to give, & will transmit the Laws – public papers &ca.

I have thought it best, my dear Sir, not to let slip this opportunity of acknowledging the receipt of your Letter lest no other should occur to me very soon – as I am called to Mount Vernon by the death of my Nephew, Major Washington, and am on the point of setting out for that place (tomorrow). I need not tell you that this is of course, a very busy moment with me. It will therefore account for the conciseness of this letter by which however you must not measure my regard.

[3] You see me again entering upon the arduous duties of an important Office. It is done so contrary to my intention, that it would require more time than I have allowed to myself, to assign the reasons; and therefore, I shall leave them to your own suggestion – aided by the publications which you will find in the Gazettes.

I am always
Your sincere friend
& Affecte. Servant
Go: Washington
Gouvr. Morris Esqr.

Notes: Published with variations in Fitzpatrick’s, Writings of Washington, 32 :402-403. Washington’s nephew, George Augustus Washington, died of tuberculosis.