Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO CHARLES C. PINCKNEY, MAJOR-GENERAL. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. XIV (1798-1799)
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TO CHARLES C. PINCKNEY, MAJOR-GENERAL. - 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 CHARLES C. PINCKNEY, MAJOR-GENERAL.
Mount Vernon, 31 March, 1799.
My dear Sir,
Your favor of the 8th inst from Charleston has been duly received, and it gave us the pleasure of hearing that you, Mrs. P., and Miss Pinckney had arrived in good health at that place. The first few days of January excepted, you could not have been more favored in the weather than all the remainder of that month, and until the middle of Feby afforded. Although your Report of the arrangement for South Carolina and Georgia, your Reconnoitre of the seaboard to St. Mary’s, and visit of the posts on the Indian Frontier of the latter State, will be made to the Department of War, I should be glad, nevertheless, to know the result of them; for, although I do not mean to act in the present state of our military concerns, yet it is my wish to be regularly informed of the real situation of them; that I may not have every thing to learn, if the exigencies of our affairs should require my attendance in the Field. To have been informed of the arrangements made by you with General (now governor) Davie would have been satisfactory also.
I am disposed to believe, from circumstances which had just got to my knowledge before I left the helm of Government, that the Garrisons on the frontier of Georgia required a strict Inspection; not only for the purpose of restoring due subordination, but for the correction of other misdemeanors in the officers. Your determination, therefore, to look closely into these matters, and to establish strict discipline, is highly proper, and will certainly be supported. An army cannot be governed without, and no mistake in him who commands it is greater, or more fatal to its existence, and the welfare of its Country, than Lax Discipline. Nor is it the right road to true and permanent popularity. Civility is due to, but obedience is required from, all its members. These, accompanied with strict justice, and a proper attention to army rights and wants, will secure love and respect; while one indulgence begets an application for another and another, until order is lost in disorder, and contempt of him brings up the Rear.
I shall be very glad to see Brigadier-General Washington on his route to Princeton, but he will find but little to do in the military line in this State. To what cause to attribute the delay I know not; but the fact is, that not an officer, that I have heard of, has received his commission, nor one who has had any orders to Recruit. The enthusiasm of last summer and autumn was suffered to evaporate for want of these. The dreary months of Winter which (for want of employment of that class of men who usually become Soldiers) bring on idleness and dissipation is now succeeded by the opening of spring, when laborers are in demand by the husbandmen, and other avocations, and has passed away also. In a word, all is a mystery to me.
I have very little more knowledge of the captains in the Virginia line, as arranged by us at Philadelphia, than what was derived from the source of information then laid before us. I have no hesitation, however, in mentioning the name of a gentleman (conditionally,) to whom, under my present view of them, I should give a decided preference. It is Presley Thornton, son of one of the most respectable gentlemen, now deceased, of the same name, in this State. He is thirty or thereabouts, amiable in his character. He was a British officer during our Revolution, but would not fight against his country, and therefore went to Gibraltar, and was in Garrison there during its siege by the Spaniards, where it is said he distinguished himself by his gallant behavior.
The condition I alluded to, and which I annex to this recommendation, is, that, if I shd want him myself, and circumstances in the combinations I should have to make in the choice of my own aids-de-camp should not be opposed to it, that you may not take amiss my calling him into my military suite. I have never given him the most distant hint of such an intention, nor would I have him know, that it ever was in contemplation; especially as it is an event that may never happen. Indeed, I mean to be under no engagement to any of my established aids, until I am about to enter on my military duties.
Mrs. Washington is much obliged to Mrs. Pinckney for the Mellon seeds—as I am to you for your attention to the Paines, and with Mrs. Lewis (that now is,) &c. best wishes to you, Mrs. Pinckney, & family, & to enquiring frds. I am always your sincere and affectionate, &c.
P. S.—Mr. Lewis & Nelly Custis fulfilled their matrimonial engagement on the 22nd of February. In consequence the former, havg relinquished the lapp of Mars for the sports of Venus, has declined a Military appointmt.