Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO JAMES ANDERSON. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. XIV (1798-1799)
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TO JAMES ANDERSON. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. XIV (1798-1799) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890). Vol. XIV (1798-1799).
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TO JAMES ANDERSON.
Mount Vernon, 25 July, 1798.
Your favor of the 8th February came safe, and would have received an earlier acknowledgment, if any thing had sooner occurred worthy of communication.
I hope you have not only got relieved of the fever from which you were then recovering, but of the languor with which it had affected you, and that you are now engaged in the literary pursuits, of which you gave the outlines, and which, with your pen and under your arrangement of the subjects, must be curious, entertaining, and instructive. Thus persuaded, if you propose to conduct the work on the plan of subscription, it would give me pleasure to be enrolled in the list of subscribers.1
I little imagined, when I took my last leave of the walks of public life, that any event could bring me again on a public theatre. But the unjust conduct of France towards these United States has been and continues to be such, that it must be opposed by a firm and manly resistance, or we shall not only hazard the subjugation of our government, but the independence of our nation also; both being evidently struck at by a lawless, domineering power, which respects no rights, and is restrained by no treaties, when it is found inconvenient to observe them.
While we are thus situated, sustaining daily injuries, even indignities, with a patient forbearance, from a sincere desire to live in peace and harmony with all the world; the French Directory, mistaking the American character, and supposing that the people of this country were divided, and would give countenance to their nefarious measures, have proceeded to exact loans (or in other words contributions), and to threaten us, in case of non-compliance with their wild, unfounded, and inconsistent complaints, that we should share the fate of Venice and other Italian states.
This has roused the people from their slumbers, and filled them with indignation from one extremity to the other of the Union; and I trust, if they should attempt to carry their threats into effect, and invade our territorial, as they have done our commercial rights, they will meet a spirit, that will give them more trouble than they are aware of, in the citizens of these States.
When every thing sacred and dear to freemen is thus threatened, I could not, consistently with the principles which have actuated me through life, remain an idle spectator, and refuse to obey the call of my country to lead its armies for defence, and therefore have pledged myself to come forward whensoever the exigency shall require it.
With what sensations, at my time of life, now turned of sixty-six, without ambition or interest to stimulate me thereto, I shall relinquish the peaceful walk to which I had retired, and in the shades of which I had fondly hoped to spend the remnant of a life, worn down with cares, in contemplation of the past, and in scenes present and to come of rural enjoyment, let others, and especially those who are best acquainted with the construction of my mind, decide; while I, believing that man was not designed by the all-wise Creator to live for himself alone, prepare for the worst that can happen.
The gardener, whom you were so obliging as to send me, continues to conduct himself extremely well. He is industrious, sober, and orderly, and understands his business. In short, I never had a hired servant that pleased me better; and what adds to my satisfaction is, that he is himself contented, having declared that he never was happier in his life. My best wishes will always attend you, and, with very great esteem and regard, I am, Sir, &c.
[1 ]From Dr. Anderson’s Letter: “I have been urged to engage once more in a literary enterprise; and it begins to wear such a seducing aspect, that I am not certain but I may be drawn into it. Agriculture is proposed to be one principal department of the work; natural history, another; by which I mean a general view of the phenomena of nature, the causes of these as far as they are known, and their influence in this universe. This is a noble and inexhaustible theme to engage a man advancing in years, who wishes to free himself as much as he can from those little objects, which form the perplexities of life. The remaining part of the work will be appropriated to miscellaneous disquisitions on arts and literature. It will be a monthly periodical. I am particularly fond of that mode of publication, because truth can thus be gradually impressed on the mind by little and little.”—London, February 8th.