Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO DAVID STUART. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. XIII (1794-1798)
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TO DAVID STUART. - 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 DAVID STUART.
Philadelphia, 8 January, 1797.
Your letter of the 18th ultimo, with its enclosures, came to hand in the usual course of the post; but the pressure of public business has prevented my giving it an acknowledgment until now.
The first thing I shall do, after I am settled at Mount Vernon, will be to adjust all my accounts of a private nature; the doing of which, as they ought, has been prevented by public avocations.
What effect M. Adet’s conduct has had or will have on the public mind, you can form a better opinion than me. One of the objects, which he had in view, (in timing the publication,)1 is too apparent to require explanation. Some of his own zealots do not scruple to confess, that he has been too precipitate, and thereby injured the cause he meant to espouse; which is to establish such an influence in this country, as to sway the government and control its measures. Evidences of this design are abundant, and new proofs are exhibiting themselves every day to illustrate the fact; and yet, lamentable thought! a large party, under real or pretended fears of British influence, are moving Heaven and earth to aid him in these designs. It is a fact well known, for history proves it, that, from the restless temper of the French and the policy of that nation, they attempt openly or covertly, by threats or soothing professions, to influence the conduct of most governments. That they have attempted it with us, a little time will show. But, finding a neutral conduct had been adopted, and would not be relinquished by those who administered the governments, the next step was to try the people; and, to work upon them, several presses and many scribblers have been employed, to emblazon the improper acts of the British government and its officers, and to place them in all the most exaggerated and odious points of view they were susceptible; to complain, that there was not only a deficiency of friendship, but a want of justice also, in the executive towards France, the cause of which, say they, is to be found in a predilection for Great Britain. This not working as well as was expected, from a supposition that there was too much confidence, and perhaps personal regard for, the present chief magistrate and his politics, the batteries latterly have been levelled at him particularly and personally. Although he is soon to become a private citizen, his opinions are to be knocked down, and his character reduced as low as they are capable of sinking it, even by resorting to absolute falsehoods. As an evidence whereof, and of the plan they are pursuing, I send you a letter from Mr. Paine to me, printed in this city, and disseminated with great industry.1 Others of a similar nature are also in circulation.
To what lengths the French Directory will ultimately go, is difficult to say; but, that they have been led to the present point by our own people, I have no doubt. Whether some, who have done this, would choose to accompany them any farther or not, I shall not undertake to decide. But I shall be mistaken, if the candid part of my countrymen, (although they may be under a French influence,) do not see and acknowledge, that they have imbibed erroneous impressions of the conduct of this government towards France, when the communication, which I promised at the opening of the session, and which will be ready in a few days, comes before the public. It will be seen, if I mistake not, also, that that country has not such a claim upon our gratitude, as has been generally supposed, and that this country has violated no engagement with it, been guilty of no act of injustice towards it, nor been wanting in friendship, where it could be rendered without departing from that neutral station we had taken and resolved to maintain.
Enclosed also you will receive a production of Peter Porcupine, alias William Cobbett. Making allowances for the asperity of an Englishman, for some of his strong and coarse expressions, and a want of official information of many facts, it is not a bad thing.
I rejoice to hear of Mrs. Stuart’s restoration to health, and congratulate you and her on it, and on the birth of a daughter. My best wishes attend her and the family. I am, &c.
[1 ]Probably the pamphlet, which has just been issued in Philadelphia, entitled “Notes addressées par le Citoyen Adet, Ministre Plénipotentiare de la République Française près les États-Unis d’Amérique, au Secrétaire d’État des États-Unis.” This pamphlet was printed in French, with a translation facing each page, the whole extending to ninety-five pages.
[1 ]This letter from Thomas Paine was one of the many unnecessary follies of which he was guilty. When in England he received the title of “citizen” from France, along with Washington, Hamilton, Madison, and a number of others. He accepted the title of citoyen effusively, and was elected a member of the National Convention. He was a member of that nondescript body through all its many changes, was on the constitutional committee, received pay as a delegate, signed himself concitoyen, and voted even on the question of the king’s execution. Becoming obnoxious to Robespierre, he was thrown into prison on the charge of being an Englishman, and plotting against France, and he was fortunate in escaping the fate of his colleagues—the Girondists. He conceived that Washington should interfere in his behalf; but such a conception of the functions of the President was as novel as it was remarkable. Morris was unable to secure his release, and it was not until the death of Robespierre that he was freed, and went to live with Monroe. Under the roof of that minister he wrote his famous letter to Washington, of which one sentence read: “As to you, sir, treacherous in private friendship (for so you have been to me, and that in the day of danger) and a hypocrite in public life, the world will be puzzled to decide, whether you are an apostate or an impostor; whether you have abandoned good principles, or whether you ever had any.”