Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO GOVERNOR JONATHAN TRUMBULL. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. XIV (1798-1799)
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TO GOVERNOR JONATHAN TRUMBULL. - 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 GOVERNOR JONATHAN TRUMBULL.
Mount Vernon, 30th August, 1799.
My Dear Sir:
Your favor of the 10th instant came duly to hand. It gave me pleasure to find, by the contents of it, that your sentiments respecting the comprehensive project of Colonel Trumbull coincided with those I had expressed to him.
A very different state of politics must obtain in this country, and more unanimity prevail in our public counsels, than is the case at present, ere such a measure could be undertaken with the least prospect of success. By unanimity alone the plan could be accomplished—while, then, a party, and a strong one too, is hanging upon the wheels of government, opposing measures calculated solely for internal defence, and is endeavoring to defeat all the laws which have been passed for this purpose, by rendering them obnoxious, to attempt anything beyond this, would be to encounter certain disappointment. And yet, if the policy of this country, or the necessity occasioned by the existing opposition to its measures, should suffer the French to possess themselves of Louisiana and the Floridas, either by exchange or otherwise, I will venture to predict, without the gift of “second sight,” that there will be “no peace in Israel,”—or, in other words, that the restless, ambitious, and intriguing spirit of that people will keep the United States in a continual state of warfare with the numerous tribes of Indians that inhabit our frontiers, for doing which their “diplomatic skill” is well adapted.
With respect to the other subject of your letter, I must again express a strong and ardent wish and desire that no eye, no tongue, no thought, may be turned towards me for the purpose alluded to therein. For, besides the reasons which I urged against the measures in my last, and which, in my judgment and by my feelings, are insurmountable, you yourself have furnished a cogent one.
You have conceded, what before was self-evident in my mind, namely, that not a single vote would thereby be drawn from the anti-Federal candidate. You add, however, that it might be a means of uniting the Federal votes. Here, then, my dear sir, let me ask, what satisfaction, what consolation, what safety, should I find in support which depends upon caprice?
If men, not principles, can influence the choice on the part of the Federalists, what but fluctuations are to be expected? The favorite today may have the curtain dropped on him tomorrow, while steadiness marks the conduct of the Anti’s; and whoever is not on their side must expect to be loaded with all the calumny that malice can invent; in addition to which I should be charged with inconsistency, concealed ambition, dotage, and a thousand more et ceteras.
It is too interesting not to be again repeated, that if principles, instead of men, are not the steady pursuit of the Federalists, their cause will soon be at an end; if these are pursued, they will not divide at the next election of a President; if they do divide on so important a point, it would be dangerous to trust them on any other,—and none except those who might be solicitous to fill the chair of government would do it. In a word, my dear sir, I am too far advanced into the vale of life to bear such buffeting as I should meet with in such an event. A mind that has been constantly on the stretch since the year 1753, with but short intervals and little relaxation, requires rest and composure; and I believe that nothing short of a serious invasion of our country (in which case I conceive it to be the duty of every citizen to step forward in its defence) will ever draw me from my present retirement. But, let me be in that or in any other situation, I shall always remain your sincere friend, and affectionate humble servant, &c.