George Washington Papers
Documents filtered by: Recipient="Madison, James" AND Period="Washington Presidency"
sorted by: editorial placement

From George Washington to James Madison, 6 March 1796

To James Madison

Philadelphia 6th March 1796

Dear Sir

As you are knowing to the situation of young Mr Fayette; to the measures I have adopted in his behalf; to my wishes towards him; and to the restraints under which those wishes have been placed, from considerations of a public nature.1 And as I am unacquainted with the ground work, or the tendency of the motion made by Mr Livingston, relative to this young gentleman;2 I flatter myself, that in the progress of the business before the house, that you will have the goodness, as far as proper representation will avail, to let the result of the motion be such, as it ought; both as it respects him, & myself.

The United States are much better able to make provision for this young gentleman, and his family, than I am; and I should be highly pleased & gratified to see it accomplished in that way; because it would be more honorable for them, and a relief to me: but neither the one, nor the other shall want, while I have the means of administering to their relief.

My wish, as has been communicated to you on a former occasion, was, and still is, if circumstances would permit it, to take him, with his Tutor, into my family: and, in the absence of his father, to superintend his education & morals: and this I am the more desirous of doing, as it is the impression under which he appears to have come to this country.

What form, the proceedings on Mr Livingstons motion will take, is not for me to say; but my ideas, and feelings on the subject, have led me to make these communications of my Sentiments to you; who alone, of the house of Representatives, has ever heard me lisp a word on this subject. With sincere esteem & regard I am—Dear Sir Your Affecte Servt

Go: Washington

ALS, NNPM; ADfS, NIC.

1On the ALS, Madison placed a mark in front of this sentence and wrote in the margin, “see letter of Jany 22. 1795,” referring to the information about George Washington Motier Lafayette sent with GW’s letter to Madison of 22 Jan. 1796.

2On 4 March, Edward Livingston laid on the table in the House of Representatives a motion “That a committee be appointed to inquire whether the son of Major General Lafayette be within the United States, and also whether any, and what, provision may be necessary for his support.” Livingston called up the motion on 18 March, when it was revised to ask the committee to report “what measures it will be proper to take … to evince the grateful sense entertained by this country for the services of his father.” On 26 April, Livingston reported on behalf of the committee that Lafayette had expressed gratitude but stated that he did not need assistance (Annals of Congress, description begins Joseph Gales, Sr., comp. The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States; with an Appendix, Containing Important State Papers and Public Documents, and All the Laws of a Public Nature. 42 vols. Washington, D.C., 1834–56. description ends 4th Cong., 1st sess., 423, 798, 1202).

Index Entries