Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO JAMES McHENRY. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. XIV (1798-1799)
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TO JAMES McHENRY. - 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 McHENRY.
Mount Vernon, 10 October, 1798.
[private and quite confidential.]
My dear Sir,
You will be at no loss to perceive, from my private letter to you of the 16th ulto., extracts from which you sent to the President of the United States; and from my representation to him, dated the 25th following, the rough draught of which was enclosed in my last, what my determination is, if he perseveres in his Resolution to change the order of the Major Generals, and to disregard the conditions on which I accepted the Commission of Lieut. Genl. of the Armies, &c.—
Let me then request you, with the frankness and candor of a friend, to give me your opinion fully and freely of the measure;—to ask if you think I could, with propriety and a due respect for my own character retain the Commission under such violations of the terms on which I accepted it;—and what you conceive will be the consequences of my resignation thereof.
If Col. Pickering, and the Gentlemen who act with you, are intimately acquainted with all the circumstances of the case, it would be satisfactory to me, to know their opinions also, with respect to my eventual resignation; but not as a matter required by me, but as questions propounded by yourself, entirely and absolutely.
Be so good as to let me know the ground on which you and Colo. Pickering are certain the President is mistaken in his conjectures that the New England States would be disgusted if Hamilton preceeds Knox in Rank; and add, if you please whether Pickering’s predelection in favor of the former proceeds from pure conviction of the utility of the measure, or from some personal dislike to the latter. I have some suspicion that he is not a friend to Knox, but cannot suppose that this would have any influence in the case.
I should like to have seen a copy of Mr. Wolcott’s letter to the President, but as it was not sent, I presume there was some reason for withholding, and do not repeat the request.1
I wish to hear from you on the subject of this letter as soon as possible.—Burn it, as soon as it is perused, as I will do your answer, that neither the one, nor the other may appear hereafter. With much truth I am.
[1 ]“The letter written by Mr. Wolcott to the President of the United States, and the representation made by me to him so soon as I received official information of the change intended by him in the relative Rank of the Major-Generals, and of his departure in almost every other instance from what I considered a solemn compact, and the only terms on which I would, by an acceptance of the commission, hazard every thing dear and valuable to me, will soon bring matters to a close, so far as it respects myself. But, until the final result of them is known, the less there is said on the subject the better.”—Washington to Pickering, 10 October, 1798.