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From George Washington to Timothy Pickering, 4 January 1797

Private
Dear Sir, January 4th 1797.

As it is very desireable that the papers respecting the discontents of France should be got into Congress, and sent also to Mr Pinckney as soon as possible; if you mean to give the other Gentlemen a perusal of the Statement for the latter, it would save time if this was done as you are proceeding towards the close of that Statemt.

It is questionable whether the present, and pressing avocations of the other two Secretaries will allow them to go carefully over it; but this, I conceive, does not apply to the Attorney-General.

I have no doubt that you have taken care, & will continue to be assured, of your facts; for as this business will certainly come before the public, not only the facts, but the candour also, the expression, & force of every word, will be examined with the most scrutinizing eye, and compared with every thing that will admit of a different construction—and if there is the least ground for it, we shall be charged with unfairness, and an intention to impose on & mislead the public judgment.

Hence, & from a desire that the statement may be full, fair, calm and argumentative; without asperity, or any thing more irritating in the comments, than the narration of facts, which expose unfounded charges & assertions, do themselves produce, I have wished that this letter to Mr Pinckney may be revised over, & over again. Much depends upon it as it relates to ourselves, and in the eyes of the world; whatever may be the effect as it respects the governing powers of France. I am always & affectionately Yours

Go: Washington

MHi: Timothy Pickering Papers.

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