Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO TIMOTHY PICKERING. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. XIV (1798-1799)
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
TO TIMOTHY PICKERING. - 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).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
TO TIMOTHY PICKERING.
Mount Vernon, 10 February, 1799.
Your two letters of the 24th of the last, and 2d. of the present month, have been duly received, for which and their enclosures, I thank you.
I am not surprised that some members of the House of Representatives should disrelish your report. It contains remarks and speaks truths which they are desirous should be unknown to the People. I wish the parts which were left out had been retained. The crisis in my opinion calls loudly for plain dealing; that the citizens at large may be well informed and decide with respect to public measures upon a thorough knowledge of facts. Concealment is a species of misinformation, and misrepresentation and false alarms found the ground work of opposition—the plan of which is to keep the people as much as possible in ignorance and terror, for it is believed by themselves that a perfect understanding of our real situation, in regard to our foreign relations would be a death blow to their consequence and struggles, and for that reason have always something on foot to disquiet the public mind.1
I am sorry to see Mr. Gerry is pursuing a mischievous path. That he was led astray by his own vanity and self-importance, and was the dupe of diplomatic skill, I never had a doubt; but these doubts were accompanied by faint hopes (faint indeed they were) that he possessed candor, fortitude and manliness enough to have come forward with an open declaration that he had been practised upon, and was deceived. But Mr. Gerry’s mind is not enlarged enough for such conduct as this, especially assailed as I presume it was on his arrival by those whose labors are unceasing to inculcate their doctrines of hostility against the proceedings of their own government.
The session of Congress is fast drawing to a close. What traits it will leave behind of strong and energetic measures remain to be seen—such I hope as will show that we are ready at all times to negotiate upon fair and honorable terms, but never to be bullied into them. With very great esteem, &c.
[1 ]Pickering sent the omitted passages to Washington, who wrote in reply: