George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Lafayette, 23 December 1784

To Lafayette

Annapolis [Md.] 23d Decr 1784.

My Dr Marqs

You would scarcely expect to receive a letter from me at this place: a few hours before I set out for it, I as little expected to cross the Potomac again this winter, or even to be fifteen miles from home before the first of April, as I did to make you a visit in an air Balloon in France.

I am here however, with Genl Gates, at the request of the Assembly of Virginia, to fix matters with the Assembly of this State respecting the extension of the inland navigation of Potomac, & the communication between it and the Western waters; & hope a plan will be agreed upon to the mutual satisfaction of both States, & to the advantage of the Union at large.

It gave me pain to hear that the Frigate la Nymph, grounded in her passage to New York—we have various accots of this unlucky accident but I hope she has received no damage, & that your embarkation is not delay’d by it.

The enclosed came to my hands under cover of the letter which accompanies it, & which is explanatory of the delay it has met with.1 I can only repeat to you assurances of my best wishes for an agreeable passage & happy meeting with Madame la Fayette & your family, & of the sincere attachment & affection with which—I am My Dr Marqs &c. &c.

Go: Washington

P.S. You & your heirs, Male, are made Citizens of this State by an Act of Assembly—You will have an Official Accot of it—this is by the by.2


1When Lafayette writes on 19 Mar. 1785 to acknowledge the receipt of this letter forwarded to him in Paris, he gives no clue to what was enclosed, but an editor of Lafayette’s letters suggests that the enclosure included a letter of introduction for Thomas Ridout (Idzerda, Lafayette Papers description begins Stanley J. Idzerda et al., eds. Lafayette in the Age of the American Revolution: Selected Letters and Papers, 1776–1790. 5 vols. Ithaca, N.Y., 1977-83. description ends , 5:290; see also Montesquieu to GW, 25 April 1785, n.1).

2By “this State” GW means Maryland. On 22 Jan. 1785 Gov. William Paca signed “An act to naturalize major-general the marquis de la Fayette and his heirs male for ever” (Md. House of Delegates Proceedings description begins Votes and Proceedings of the House of Delegates of the State of Maryland. November Session, 1784. Being the First Session of this Assembly. [Annapolis, 1785]. description ends ).

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