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The freedom of your communications is highly pleasing to me. The portrait you have drawn of our affairs is strictly agreeable to the life, and you do me but justice m supposing, that my mind is fortified against, or rather prepared for, the most distressing accounts that can be given of them. It would not be the part of friendship, therefore, to conceal any circumstance, from an unwillingness to give pain, especially as the knowledge of it, to a man determined not to smk under the weight of perplexities, may be of the utmost importance. But we must not despair ; the game is yet in our own hands ; to play it well is all we have to do, and I trust the experience of error will enable us to act better in future. A cloud may yet pass over us, individuals may be ruined, and the country at large, or particular States, undergo temporary distress ; but certain I am, that it is in our power to bring the war to a happy conclusion.
My public letters to Congress, and in a more especial manner my private communications to Governor Rudedge, will bring you fully acquainted with the situation of things in this quarter, and the prospects before us. How far we shall be able to extricate ourselves from the former, and realize the latter, time only can show. I have great expectations from the appointment of Mr. Morris, but they are not unreasonable ones; for I do not suppose, that by any magic art he can do more than recover us by degrees from the labyrinth into which our finances are plunged.
I am very sorry for the disagreeable situation of our suffering soldiery at Charleston, and wish they could be relieved without adding to the pressure under which we at present groan. How far it is in General Greene's power to liberate, by exchange, our prisoners in that quarter I know not ; but he has all the authority I can give to do this, reserving the troops of convention from his disposal. With those I have trouble enough. In a late interview between the two commissaries of prisoners, Mr. Loring refused to exchange General Burgoyne, unless the prisoners taken at the Cedars are allowed for, which is opposed by a resolve of Congress ; and he has actually refused to pay a debt of privates, which three months ago he promised to do.
I have the honor to be, &,c.
- New Windsor
- The Writings of George Washington Being His Correspondence, Addresses, Messages, and Other Papers, Official and Private, Selected and Published from the Original Manuscripts. Vol VIII, Jared Sparks, 1839