To his Excellency George Washington September 7, 1782

To his Excellency George Washington September 7, 1782



I have the honor of presenting you with fifty copies of my Letter to the Abbe Raynal, for the use of the army, and to repeat to you my acknowledgments for your friendship.

I fully believe we have seen our worst days over. The spirit of the war, on the part of the enemy, is certainly on the decline, full as much as we think for. I draw this opinion not only from the present promising appearance of things, and the difficulties we know the British Cabinet is in; but I add to it the peculiar effect which certain periods of time have, more or less, upon all men.

The British have accustomed themselves to think of seven years in a manner different to other portions of time. They acquire this partly by habit, by reason, by religion, and by superstition. They serve seven years apprenticeship-they elect their Parliament for seven years-they punish by seven years transportation, or the duplicate or triplicate of that term-they let their leases in the same manner, and they read that Jacob served seven years for one wife, and after that seven years for another; and this particular period of time, by a variety of concurrences, has obtained an influence in their minds.

They have now had seven years of war, and are no further on the continent than when they began. The superstitious and populous parts will therefore conclude that // is not to be, and the rational part of them will think they have tried an unsuccessful and expensive project long enough, and by these two joining issue in the same eventful opinion, the obstinate part among them will be beaten out; unless, consistent with their former sagacity, they should get over the matter by an act of Parliament, "to bind TIME in all cases whatsoever," or declare him a Rebel.

I observe the affair of Captain Asgill seems to die away: very probably it has been protracted on the part of Clinton and Carleton, to gain time, to state the case of the British Ministry, where following close on that of Colonel Haynes, it will create new embarrassment to them. For my own part, I am fully persuaded that a suspension of his fate, still holding it in terrorem, will operate on a greater quantity of their passions and vices, and restrain them more than his execution would do. However, the change of measures which seems now to be taking place gives somewhat of a new cast to former designs; and if the case, without the execution, can be so managed as to answer all the purposes of the latter, it will look much better hereafter, when the sensations that now provoke, and the circumstances that would justify his exit shall be forgotten or faintly remembered.

Wishing your Excellency every happiness and prosperity.

I remain your obliged and obedient humble servant