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TO EDMUND PENDLETON. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. XIII (1794-1798) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890). Vol. XIII (1794-1798).
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TO EDMUND PENDLETON.
Philadelphia, 22 January, 1795.
From a long acquaintance with and sincere regard for you, I always feel pleasure in hearing from you and of you. Consequently your letter of the 30th ultimo was an acceptable annuity.1
Notwithstanding you have passed your seventy-third year, whilst you enjoy tolerable health, and retain your faculties in the vigor they are, I wish, as well on public as on private account, that length of days may be added to those which you have already numbered. A month from this day, if I should live to see the completion of it, will place me on the wrong (perhaps it would be better to say on the advanced) side of my grand climacteric; and, although I have no cause to complain of the want of health, I can religiously aver, that no man was ever more tired of public life, or more devoutly wished for retirement than I do.
I hope and believe, that the spirit of anarchy in the western counties of this State, (to quell which the force of the Union was called for,) is entirely subdued; and although, to effect it, the community has been saddled with a considerable expense, yet I trust no money could have been more advantageously expended, both as it respects the internal peace and welfare of this country, and the impression it will make on others. The spirit with which the militia turned out in support of the constitution and the laws of our country, at the same time that it does them immortal honor, is the most conclusive refutation, that could have been given to the assertions of Lord Sheffield,1 that, without the protection of Great Britain, we should be unable to govern ourselves, and would soon be involved in confusion. They will see, that republicanism is not the phantom of a deluded imagination. On the contrary, that, under no form of government, will laws be better supported, liberty and property better secured, or happiness be more effectually dispensed to mankind.
The successes of our army to the westward have already been productive of good consequences. They have dispelled a cloud, which lowered very heavily in the northern hemisphere (the Six Nations); and, though we have received no direct advices from General Wayne since November, there is reason to believe, that the Indians, with whom we are or were at war in that quarter, together with their abettors, begin to see things in a different point of view. But what effect these favorable changes may have on the southern Indians, it is not easy at this moment to decide.
I accord fully in opinion with yourself, that the plan of annual presents, in an abstract view, unaccompanied with other measures, is not the best mode of treating ignorant savages, from whose hostile conduct we experience much distress; but it is not to be forgotten, that they in turn are not without serious causes of complaint, from the encroachments which are made on their lands by our people, who are not to be restrained by any law now in being, or likely to be enacted. They, poor wretches, have no press through which their grievances are related; and it is well known, that, when one side only of a story is heard and often repeated, the human mind becomes impressed with it insensibly. The annual presents, however, to which you allude, are not given so much with a view to purchase peace, as by way of contribution for injuries not otherwise to be redressed. These people are very much irritated by the continual pressure of land speculators and settlers on one hand, and by the impositions of unauthorized and unprincipled traders, who rob them, in a manner, of their hunting, on the other. Nothing but the strong arm of the Union, or, in other words, adequate laws can correct these abuses. But here jealousies and prejudices, (from which I apprehend more fatal consequences to this government, than from any other source,) aided by local situations, and perhaps by interested considerations, always oppose themselves to efficient measures.
My communications to Congress, at the last and present sessions, have proceeded upon ideas similar to those expressed in your letter, namely, to make fair treaties with the savage tribes, (by this I mean, that they shall perfectly understand every article and clause of them, from correct and repeated interpretations;) that these treaties shall be held sacred, and the infractors on either side punished exemplarily; and to furnish them plentifully with goods, under wholesome regulations, without aiming at higher prices than are adequate to cover the cost and charges. If measures like these were adopted, we might hope to live in peace and amity with these borderers; but not whilst our citizens, in violation of law and justice, are guilty of the offences I have mentioned, and are carrying on unauthorized expeditions against them; and when, for the most atrocious murders, even of those of whom we have the least cause of complaint, a jury on the frontiers can hardly be got to listen to a charge, much less to convict a culprit.
The madness of the European powers, and the calamitous situation into which all of them are thrown by the present ruinous war, ought to be a serious warning to us to avoid a similar catastrophe, so long as we can with honor and justice to our national character. What will be the result of Mr. Jay’s mission is more than I am able, at this moment, to disclose. Charged as he has been with all matters in dispute between the two countries, (not, as has been insinuated in some of the gazettes, merely with that of spoliation,) it may easily be conceived, that there would be a large field of discussion. But upon what principle (except that of piracy,) to account for the conduct of the Bermudian privateers, at this stage of the negotiation, is beyond my comprehension on any fair ground of conjecture, as it must swell the bill. With very great esteem and regard, I am, dear Sir, &c.
[1 ]From Mr. Pendleton’s Letter.—“Lest I should suffer the year to expire, I take up the pen to congratulate you on your safe return from the westward, and on your having, as we hope, quelled the spirit of anarchy and disorder in that quarter, without shedding other blood than what shall be found on a legal trial to have been justly forfeited to the laws, a circumstance which affords considerable consolation under the enormous expense incurred on the occasion, which, though inevitable, is yet grievous in the present situation of America.
[1 ]In his Observations on the Commerce of the American States. This tract was published shortly after the peace at the end of the revolution, and within two years it passed through six editions. Its object was to disparage the importance of the English trade with the United States, and to prevent a commercial treaty. It contained an elaborate array of details respecting the American trade, stated and arranged in such a manner as to give the author’s reasoning a plausible aspect, and to produce a considerable influence on the public mind, especially as his views accorded with the prevalent feeling in England. Several pamphlets were written in reply to Lord Sheffield’s Observations.