Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO WILLIAM VANS MURRAY. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. XIV (1798-1799)
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TO WILLIAM VANS MURRAY. - 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 WILLIAM VANS MURRAY.
Mount Vernon, 10 August, 1798.
I doubt not but you have already set me down as an unprofitable correspondent, and with too much truth perhaps;—but not with as much culpability on my part as appearances may indicate.—
I have written you several letters and having put one or two for Mr. Dandridge under your covers, without receiving any acknowledgment of them, the presumption is that they have fallen into other hands. Nothing, however, was contained in either of them, that could entitle them to the honor of a place in the Bureaus of France to which several of my private letters it seems have found a passage.—And but for the impropriety of such conduct, and the deprivation and invasion of another’s Right, all might go, as I write or say nothing I wish to conceal from that nation. My politicks being straight and my views undisguised towards it and all others.
In examining my file of unanswered letters, I find two of yours dated the 9th of Octr. and 1st of Novr. among them. In acknowledging the Rect. of which permit me to thank you for the interesting communications which are detailed therein; and to express a wish that in your moment of leisure, you would favor me with a continuation of matters so satisfactory to be informed of.
I should have wrote oftener to you, if in retirement I had found matter sufficient for amusement:—but revolving days producing similar scenes of domestic & rural occurrences,—none interesting except to those who were engaged in them; knowing that all things of public concern together with the Gazettes, of different complexions were regularly transmitted to you, from the proper Department and knowing also that you had friends near the fountain of Intelligence, who were in the habit of corresponding with you, I conceived that the details of the latter kind from one might be less correct and at best but second-hand information & therefore avoid giving you the trouble to receive it.
But new and unexpected scenes opening upon us, and all the plans of my retirement likely to be marred, by the Domineering Spirit and boundless ambition of a nation whose Turpitude have set all obligations divine & human at naught, may in time to come enable me to communicate some things more Interesting than are to be found in the circle of my present perambulations, in doing which I shall always feel pleasure.
Little did I think when my Valadictory address was presented to the people of the United States that any event would occur in my day that could draw me from the peaceful walks and tranquil shades of Mount Vernon: where I had fondly hoped to spend the remnant of a life, worn down with public cares, in ruminating the variegated scenes through which I have passed and in the contemplation of others which are yet in embrio.
I will hope however that when the Despots of France find how much they have mistaken the American character, and how much they have been deceived by their partizans among us, that their senses will return to them and an appeal to arms for the purpose of repeling an Invasion at least will be rendered unnecessary. To be prepared for them however is the most certain and perhaps the least expensive mode of averting the evil.—Neither they nor their abetors here expected I believe that such a Spirit would be roused as the occasion has manifested among all classes of citizens except the leaders of Opposition—Upon their obtaining correct Statements of the Treatment they have recd. from their good and Magnanimous Allies. The difficulty under which they will find themselves lie, in treading back their steps,—But Envoy Logan may be sent to keep them out of it;1 —or which is to the full as likely, to Direct them into another course to obtain the same end.
Present me if you please to Mrs. Murray; in which Mrs. Washington and Miss Custis unite as they do to yourself and in remembrance to Mr. Dandridge, and be assured of the Sincere Regard & Esteem of, Dear Sir, &c.
[1 ]See note to the letter to Murray, 26 December, 1798, post.