To His Excellency George Washington April 28, 1784

To His Excellency George Washington April 28, 1784

NEW YORK,

DEAR SIR :

As I hope to have in a few days the honor and happiness of seeing you well at Philadelphia, I shall not trouble you with a long letter.

It was my intention to have followed you on to Philadelphia, but when I recollected the friendship you had shown to me, and the pains you had taken to promote my interests, and knew likewise the untoward disposition of two or three Members of Congress, I felt an exceeding unwillingness that your friendship to me should be put to further trials, or that you should experience the mortification of having your wishes disappointed, especially by one to whom delegation is his daily bread.

While I was pondering on these matters, Mr. Duane and some other friends of yours and mine, who were persuaded that nothing should take place in Congress (as a single man when only nine states were present could stop the whole), proposed a new line which is to leave it to the States individually; and a unanimous resolution has passed the Senate of this State, which is generally expressive of their opinion and friendship. What they have proposed is worth at least a thousand guineas, and other States will act as they see proper. If I do but get enough to carry me decently through the world and independently through the History of the Revolution, I neither wish nor care for more; and that the States may very easily do if they are disposed to it. The State of Pennsylvania might have done it alone.

I present you with a new song for the Cincinnati; and beg to offer you a remark on that subject. The intention of the name appears to me either to be lost or not understood. For it is material to the future freedom of the country that the example of the late army retiring to private life, on the principles of Cincinnatus, should be commemorated, that in future ages it may be imitated. Whether every part of the institution is perfectly consistent with a republic is another question, but the precedent ought not to be lost.

I have not yet heard of any objection in the Assembly of this State, to the resolution of the Senate, and I am in hopes there will be none made. Should the method succeed, I shall stand perfectly clear of Congress, which will be an agreeable circumstance to me; because whatever I may then say on the necessity of strengthening the union, and enlarging its powers, will come from me with a much better grace than if Congress had made the acknowledgment themselves.

If you have a convenient opportunity I should be much obliged to you to mention this subject to Mr. President Dickinson. I have two reasons for it, the one is my own interest and circumstances, the other is on account of the State, for what with their parties and contentions, they have acted to me with a churlish selfishness, which I wish to conceal unless they force it from me.

As I see by the papers you are settling a tract of land. I enclose you a letter I received from England on the subject of settlements. I think lands might be disposed of in that country to advantage.

I am, dear Sir, your much obliged, obedient, humble servant,

THOMAS PAINE.