George Washington Papers

To George Washington from George Washington Motier Lafayette, 23 September 1797

From George Washington Motier Lafayette

[Washington, D.C.] Saturday September the 23. 1797


I take the opportunity of Mr Lewis’s return to Mount-Vernon to trouble you with a few lines. by letters from France I have had at last the long wished for conformation of my father’s liberation, an old friend of my father’s brought them to me, and I can entertain no more doubts on that article. their arrival in France is not yet mentioned, but the particulars in these private news coincide so perfectly with the late accounts which you have probably seen in the news papers, that I cannot but be certain that they are at last free.1

Knowing that you will participate in my joy as you have in my grief; I hasten with perfect reliance on your usual Kindness to me, to communicate to you those so long expected tidings.

we were thinking of returning to Mount-Vernon on Friday next. would it be unconvenient to you to send for us on that day. a party to the great Falls is proposed for one of the first days of next week and I should like very much to see them again.2

all the family here are perfectly well.3 Mr Frestel joins himself to me to beg of you to present our respects to Mrs Washington, and to believe him to be as well as myself with respect and gratitude your most obedient humble servant

G. W. Motier Lafayette

ALS, PHi: Gratz Collection; Sprague transcript, DLC:GW.

1William Vans Murray on 27 Aug. and Rufus King on 6 Sept. wrote GW of Lafayette’s impending release. See also Lafayette to GW, 6 October.

2“Friday next” was 29 September. On “Monday one oclock” (25 Sept.), George Washington Motier Lafayette wrote: “Sir, Mrs Peter being gone at Mrs Law’s we must go there to dinner. As Mr Peter’s horses are not here, we are obliged to profit of your kindness as to keeping the horses. If we should go to morrow to the falls with them, as Mrs Law proposed to us yesterday, we will not be able to send them till the next day. Mr Law proposed to us also to send Charles with them to Mt Vernon. We will the more readily accept that offer, as we suppose you have in Charles Confidence enough to trust your horses with him. We have seen at Alexandria the Capt. of the ship Saratoga, who could not give us any information concerning my Father and family. We asked of them were any letters for you by that ship, but there was not any” (Sprague transcript, DLC:GW). Frestel, and presumably young Lafayette too, returned to Mount Vernon on Friday, 29 Sept. (GW to Thomas Law, 2 October).

3“All the family” presumably were the families of Thomas Peter and Thomas Law. The two Frenchmen were visiting Thomas and Martha Parke Custis Peter in Washington.

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