George Washington Papers

To George Washington from James McHenry, 10 April 1794

From James McHenry

Fayetteville [Md.] 10 April 1794.


I am extremely obliged to you for your letter of the 8th and received the exposition of your motives as a fresh mark of that confidence with which you have so often favored me. I should indeed, if I know myself, be the last person in the United States, who on a public account would wish you to feel any other; and as it respects your personal fame, I beleive the first to regret their being intrenched on to gratify mere inclination or friendship. In all appointments it is undoubtedly proper that superiour merit, and fitness of character, and aptitude of talents to the office to be filled should govern. This is a rule that cannot be too rigidly obeyed, and which I am sure no good man will ever blame you for observing.1

What you have been pleased to communicate to me respecting an unfortunate person has releived me from a great deal of anxiety. I shall now not only sleep a sounder but be happier when awake.2 With real wishes for your health, I am very truely and affectionably Sir your most ob. st

James McHenry

ALS, DLC:GW; ADfS, MdAA: McHenry Collection.

1In response to McHenry’s letters of 31 March and 3 April requesting a diplomatic appointment, GW expounded in a letter of 8 April on the method he usually employed in dealing with letters of application.

2McHenry’s relief came from the knowledge that GW had made an effort to obtain the release of the Marquis de Lafayette from a Prussian prison (see GW to Frederick William II of Prussia, 15 Jan. 1794).

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