Front Page Titles (by Subject) 30: TO AN UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT - George Washington: A Collection
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30: TO AN UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT - George Washington, George Washington: A Collection 
George Washington: A Collection, compiled and edited by W.B. Allen (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1988).
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TO AN UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT
Morristown, February 14, 1777
I have receiv’d your Letter of yesterday. In answer to it I beg leave to observe that it is not within the scan of human Wisdom to devise a perfect Plan. In all human Institutions. In the accomplishment of all great events. In the adoption of any measure for general operation, Individuals may, and will suffer; but in the case complain’d of, the matter may, I think, be answered by propounding a few questions.
Is it not a duty Incumbent upon the Members of every State to defend the rights and liberties of that State? If so, is an [oath ex]orted from them, to observe [a con]trary conduct, obligatory [ ] If such Oath was not [extorted] but the effect of a volunta[ry act] can the person taking of[fence be] considered in any other light than as an Enemy to his Country? * In either case then, where is the Injustice of calling upon them to a declaration of their Sentiments?Defense of oath of allegiance Is a Neutral character in one of the United States, which has by her Representatives, solemnly engaged to support the Cause, a justifiable one? If it is, may it not be extended to corporate bodies; to the State at large, and to the inevitable destruction of the opposition; which under Providence, depends upon a firm union of the whole, and the spirited exertions of all its Constituent parts?
Upon the whole, it appears to me that but two kinds of People will complain much of the Proclamation, namely, those that are really disaffected, and such as want to lay by, and wait the Issue of the dispute. The first class cannot be pleased; the next are endeavouring to play a dble. game, in which their present protections may, eventually, become a sure Card.
[*]The manuscript of this letter (in The Huntington Library, San Marino, California) is badly mutilated. The bracketed interpolations in the text, supplying missing words, were offered by Fitzpatrick, in his The Writings of George Washington, p. 144.