George Washington Papers
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[Diary entry: 9 March 1797]

9. Wind changed to No. Wt. blew very hard & turned very cold. Mer. at 28. Left Phila. on my return to Mt. Vernon—dined at Chester & lodged at Wilmington.

Accompanying GW and Mrs. Washington on the trip home to Mount Vernon were Nelly Custis and the marquis de Lafayette’s son, George Washington Motier Lafayette (1779–1849), accompanied by his tutor, Felix Frestal. George Washington Parke Custis was in school in Princeton, and Tobias Lear and Bartholomew Dandridge, Jr., had been left in Philadelphia to supervise the packing and moving of the Washingtons’ belongings and the cleaning of the presidential house. Lear was to follow them to Mount Vernon, but Dandridge would leave shortly for The Hague where he was to be secretary to the United States minister, William Vans Murray. Young Lafayette had fled France with his tutor in 1795, three years after his father’s arrest and imprisonment. The young man’s arrival in America had been an embarrassment to GW. As much as he wished to have this only son of his close friend come to live in his family, he wanted to do nothing to offend the French government or the French partisans in this country. He therefore arranged for the boy and Frestal to live in New York under his family name, Motier. Finally, in April 1796, in spite of warnings by some members of the government, GW invited young Lafayette and Frestal to Philadelphia for a visit with his family. The visit lengthened into a permanent residency (GOTTSCHALK description begins Louis Gottschalk, ed. The Letters of Lafayette to Washington, 1777–1799. 1944. Reprint. Philadelphia, 1976. description ends , xxi-xxiii; FREEMAN description begins Douglas Southall Freeman. George Washington: A Biography. 7 vols. New York, 1948–57. description ends , 7:304, 323, 359–60, 388–99, 403–12). dined at chester: “At Chester, Mr. Anderson keeps such a house now, as Mrs. Withy did formerly; and that is encomium enough. At Wilmington, twelve miles further, Mr. O Flin’s (sign of the Ship) is a quiet Inn, with good Beds, and a tolerable good Table” (GW to Elizabeth Willing Powel, 26 Mar. 1797, ViMtvL).

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