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Intercepted Letter and Misconduct

Sources & Images
Source Name Image(s)
CollectionDartmouth College Library: Frederick Chase Collection view image
Document Information
Date July 7, 1797
Author Name George Washington (primary) Location: Mount Vernon
Recipient Name James McHenry (primary)
Summary "Nefarious" conduct of late governor and senator discussed. Subject of his investigation involved private gain from public funds at "the expense of innocent lives". Washington will wait for verdict from Congress on matter.
Document Format Autograph Letter Signed
Document Notes [not available]
Content Notes [not available]
Related Persons/Groups James McHenry; George Washington; governor; senator; Congress; Secretary of State Timothy Pickering; Mr. James Byers; Indians; frontier inhabitants; William Blount; James Carey; Creeks; Cherokees; ;
Related Places Mount Vernon; British; ;
Keywords nefarious conduct; emolument; profit; treason of Governor Blount; intercepted letter; misconduct; scandal; ;
Key Phrases [not available]

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Mount Vernon
7 July 1797
Geo. Washington
Mount Vernon 7th. July 1797
Dear Sir,
By the last Post I was fa:
voured with your letter of the 3rd instant
and thank you for its enclosure, al:
though, on the same day, I had, myself, transmit a copy thereof to the Secretary
of State.
I had doubted a while, whether
to forward it to your Office or that of
State, but finally resolved to send it to
the latter, as it seemed more properly
I thought, to belong to that Department.
If the letter intercepted by Mr.
Byers is a serious one, and the Gentle:
man's handwriting is not easily mis:
taken, or counterfeited. What excuse
can a late Governor or present Senator
of the U.S., or his friends for him, offer
for such nefarious conduct? The
defense must be curious, and with, I
have no doubt, be conducted with as
much effrontery as art. I hope, not:
withstanding, if the fact is proved, that the author will receive the punishment
ment which the Constitution and Laws of
this Country can inflict, and thereafter
be held in detestation by all goodmen.
To seek private emolument at
the expence of Public Peace_ perhaps at the expence of Public Peace _ perhaps at the expence of many innocent lives:
_ and to aim a [undecipherable] at the reputation
of a virtuous character hazarding his
health-probably life to promote [undecipherable]
lity between the Indians and our fron:
tier Inhabitants; and by destroying
his influence, or well earned good name
among the [undecipherable], to render him inca:
pable of serving his Country because
he may be a stumbling block in the
way of a plan which he has in con:
templation, is a crime of so deep a
dye [undecipherable] no [undecipherable] convey erade:
quate idea of to my mind. A poor wretch steal:
ing the work of a [undecipherable], possibly to buy
bread, would be hung, or confined to hard
labouer; and here, a plan (at which I
can only guess) as on poor to defraud
the public of the rights; deprive Citizens
perhaps (is it consequencial) of their
lives, to [undecipherable] character._and
ultimately, war, [undecipherable] concomi
tants, [undecipherable] with, more than probably,
meet with advocates.
But as you inform me that
the matter would be laid before Congress
as on Monday last, I shall wait (with
some degree of impatience I confess)
to learn the result.
Always, I remain
Your affectione frd.
[signature] G. Washington
James McHenry Esq.