Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO JOHN ADAMS, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. XIV (1798-1799)
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TO JOHN ADAMS, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. - 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 JOHN ADAMS, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
Mount Vernon, 3 March, 1799.
I have been duly honored with your favor of the 19th ultimo, mentioning the nomination of Mr. Murray to be Minister Plenipotentiary to the French Republic.1
With the writer of the letter, which I did myself the honor to inclose in my last to you, I truly observed that I had never held any correspondence; and I only knew him in his public mission from this country to the Barbary States, the functions of which he discharged at that time with ability and propriety. I have, indeed, lately heard of a letter that has been published, which he wrote to Mr. Baldwin, filled with abuse of this Government and its Administration; but I have never met with it in any of the Papers wch I take.
As you have had more opportunities of knowing this man’s character than have fallen to me, I have no doubt but you have formed a just estimate of him; and, as I had no other desire than to be useful in transmitting any sentiments you might wish to convey, I shall, impressed with your observations, take no notice of his letter.
I sincerely pray, that in the discharge of these arduous and important duties committed to you, your health may be unimpaired, and that you may long live to enjoy these blessings, which must flow to our Country, if we should be so happy as to pass this critical period in an honorable and dignified manner, without being involved in the horrors and calamities of war.
Mrs. Washington and Mrs. Lewis (late Miss Custis) thank you for your kind remembrance of them, and offer their best respects to you; at the same time that they unite with me in every good wish for the perfect restoration of health to Mrs. Adams. With sentiments of very great respect, I have the honor to be, &c.
[1 ]In his message of 21 June, 1798, President Adams said: “I will never send another Minister to France without assurances that he will be received, respected, and honored, as the representative of a great, free, powerful and independent nation.” In a note to Pichon, the French agent in Holland, dated 7th Vendemiaire (28 September), Talleyrand echoed the last words of this sentence, and held out the promise that a minister from the United States would be properly received in Paris. This note was given by Pichon to Murray, who transmitted it to America. Without consulting any member of his cabinet, or giving any intimation of his intention, Adams, on February 18th sent to the Senate the name of William Vans Murray to be minister plenipotentiary to the French Republic. Such a step was as unexpected to the Federalists as it was to the Republicans, and called out severe criticism. “The President,” wrote Pickering to Washington, “was suffering the torments of the damned at the consequences of his nomination.” Sedgwick characterized the measure in strong language. “Had the foulest heart and the ablest head in the world have been permitted to select the most embarrassing and ruinous measures, perhaps it would have been the one which has been adopted.” Hamilton thought the step “in all its circumstances would astonish, if anything from that quarter could astonish,” and suggested a commission of three. The nomination was referred to a committee, who took the unusual step of calling upon the President, but found him determined. He said, however, that if the Senate should negative the nomination of Murray, he would join with him two other individuals, who were not to leave for France until direct assurances of a good reception had been received. While the report of the committee advising the rejection of Murray was being drawn, a message came from Adams nominating Oliver Ellsworth, chief justice of the supreme court, and Patrick Henry, of Virginia, with Murray, under the condition just stated. The senate confirmed the appointments, but was unanimous only on Murray. Henry declined to serve, and his place was filled by William R. Davie, of North Carolina, nominated 5 December, 1799.