21 July 1799
Washington, George (1732-1799)
Autograph letter signed
Title: to Jonathan Trumbull re: unwillingness to accept a 3d term, political attacks
Explaining unwillingness to accept a third term, describing political attacks, etc.: "Let that party [the Democrats] set up a broomstick, and call it a true son of Liberty, a Democrat, or give it any other epithet that will suit their purpose, and it will command their votes in toto!* [Washington's footnote, written at bottom of page: * As an analysis of this position, look to the pending Election of Governor in Pennsylvania.] Will not the Federalists meet, or rather defend their cause on the opposite ground? Surely they must, or they will discover a want of Policy, indicative of weakness & pregnant of mischief, which cannot be admitted. Wherein then would lye the difference between the present Gentleman in Office, & Myself?" He also alludes to his "ardent wishes to pass through the vale of life in retirem[en]t undisturbed in the remnant of the days I have to sojourn here[,] unless called upon to defend my country (which every citizen is bound to do)...." Washington says that if he were to run to succeed Adams, "I am thoroughly convinced I should not draw a single vote from the Anti-federal side." Washington appends at the end "I cannot conclude it [the letter] without expressing an earnest wish that, some intimate & confidential [inserted: friend] of the President[']s would give him to understand that his long absence from the Seat of Government in the present critical conjucture, affords matter for severe animadversion...." Later note on p. 7 "Copied for Washington Irving October 8, 1858." Washington's footnote alludes to the campaign of Thomas McKean, soon to be elected governor of Pennsylvania. His closing remarks concern President Adams's spending much of his time away from the capital.