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ACCEPTING COMMAND OF U.S. FORCES DURING THE QUASI WAR WITH FRANCE
PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF AMBASSADOR J. WILLIAM MIDDENDORF II
ACCEPTING COMMAND OF U.S. FORCES DURING THE QUASI WAR WITH FRANCE

GEORGE WASHINGTON, 1798

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ACCEPTING COMMAND OF U.S. FORCES DURING THE QUASI WAR WITH FRANCE George Washington, 1798

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GEORGE WASHINGTON – General Washington's Letter Declaring His Acceptance of the Command of the Armies of the United States. [Philadelphia:] "Published for general information," [1798].

George Washington and the Quasi-War. An important broadside issued at the beginning of the undeclared naval war between the United States and France that erupted in the wake of the XYZ Affair. To bolster the nation's defenses, President John Adams authorized the creation of a provisional army headed by George Washington. While Washington agreed to accept Adams' commission, the former president insisted that he not take an active role, save to command troops on the field of battle. And much to the President's discomfort, Washington insisted that Alexander Hamilton be appointed his second in command—placing Adams' political arch rival as the de facto head of the army. Writing on 13 April 1798, Washington expresses his reluctance to accept the commission in light of his advanced years, but admitting the "insidious hostility" of the French Directory as demonstrated in their ravaging of American trade on the high seas, he agrees to accept, but declined to accept any salary unless called into active service. Washington would remain as commander-in-chief until his death in December 1799. Evans 34829; Sabin 101713.

Broadside. 18 1/4 x 11 3/8 in (464 x 290mm). Affixed to a board at top corner, with deckled edges, (small separation at fold at left margin, sand small tear to bottom right, just above Washington's printed signature).Housed in a mylar sleeve, mated and framed.

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