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TO THOMAS PINCKNEY. - 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 THOMAS PINCKNEY.
Philadelphia, 20 February, 1796.
Your letter of the 10th of October from Madrid has been duly received.1 With regret I read the request, which is contained in it; but the footing on which you have placed the matter forbids opposition, or even persuasion on my part that you would recede from it; although the difficulty of supplying your place to my satisfaction, or to the satisfaction of your country, or of the court you will leave, will not be found easy.
Having heard through different channels, that you had concluded a treaty with Spain, and that the vessel which had it on board was spoke at sea, we are in daily and anxious expectation of its arrival. The information has diffused general pleasure, and will be soothing to the inhabitants of the Western waters, who were beginning to grow restive and clamorous to obtain the navigation.1
2 Since the re-confinement of M. de Lafayette, (after the attempt made by Dr. Bollman and Mr. Huger, both of whom are now in this city, to effect his escape), we have heard nothing further respecting him, than that his confinement is more rigorous than before. We know, indeed, that Madame de Lafayette and his two daughters have been at Hamburg; that it was reported they were coming to America, but that instead of doing it, they went to Vienna to try the effect of personal solicitation to obtain his releasement. Newspaper accounts go farther and say they were permitted to proceed to Olmutz. But how far the latter information is to be depended upon, and, if true, what has or will be the result, is altogether unknown to me.
I need hardly mention how much my sensibility has been hurt by the treatment this gentleman has met with, or how anxious I am to see him liberated therefrom; but what course to pursue, as most likely and proper to aid the measure, is not quite so easy to decide on. As President of the United States, there must be a commitment of the government by any interference of mine; and it is no easy matter in a transaction of this nature for a public character to assume the garb of a private citizen, in a case that does not relate to himself. Yet such is my wish to contribute my mite to accomplish this desirable object, that I have no objection to its being made known to the Imperial ambassador in London, (who, if he thinks proper, may communicate it to his court,) that this event is an ardent wish of the people of the United States, in which I sincerely add mine. The time, the manner, and even the measure itself, I leave to your discretion; as circumstances, and every matter which concerns this gentleman, are better known on that, than they are on this side of the Atlantic.
I shall add no more on this, and but little on any other subject at present. The gazettes, which I presume you receive, will show you in what manner the public functionaries are treated here. The abuse, however, which some of them contain, has excited no reply from me. I have a consolation which no earthly power can deprive me of, that of acting from my best judgment; and I shall be very much mistaken, if I do not soon find, that the public mind is recovering fast from the disquietude into which it has been thrown by the most wilful, artful, and malignant misrepresentations that can be imagined. The current is certainly turned, and is beginning to run strong the other way. But I am proceeding farther than I intended, and will therefore conclude with assurances of the esteem and regard with which I am, dear Sir, &c.
[1 ]From Mr. Pinckney’s Letter.—“The situation of my family and the attention necessary to my other domestic concerns requiring my return home, I take the liberty of requesting the favor, that you will direct my letters of recall to be expedited so as to reach England by the middle of the month of June next, unless you should intend to recall me at an earlier period. Before that time arrives, I shall have served four years in the diplomatic line; a period which I have always contemplated as the longest I could with propriety dedicate to this employment, and which I also consider as sufficiently extensive for the interest of the United States that the same person should continue in mission, unless very peculiar circumstances should require a prolongation of the term.
[1 ]“The ship Favorite, by which these despatches are sent, having been delayed much longer in this port than was expected, affords me an opportunity of informing you, that the Spanish treaty arrived here on the 22d ultimo, that it was laid before the Senate as soon after as the accompanying papers could be copied, and that, on the 3d instant, the ratification of it was advised and consented to by a unanimous vote of that body. Hence you may form an opinion of the general approbation of your negotiation.”—Washington to Pinckney, 5 March, 1796.
[2 ]Doctor Eric Bollman and Francis Kinloch Huger.