George Washington Papers
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To George Washington from Rufus King, 6 September 1797

From Rufus King

London Sep. 6 1797

Dear Sir,

I have had the honor to receive your Letter of the 15 of June;1 and having a few minutes before the Mail for New York is dispatched, I employ them in sending you inclosed the copy of a Letter that I received a few days past from our Consul at Hamburgh, which announces the approaching release of General La Fayette.2

Knowing the friendship that you have uniformly had for him, and recollecting likewise that his Son is with you, I could not refuse myself the pleasure of making to you this communication. With perfect consideration & Respect I have the honor to be Dear Sir Your ob: & faithful Servt

Rufus King

LS, DLC:GW; retained copy, NHi: Rufus King Papers.

1Letter not found.

2For reference to a similar letter from the consul Samuel Williams of the same date, sent to William Vans Murray at The Hague, see Murray to GW, 26 August. The text of the enclosed letter from Williams to King, dated 22 Aug. at Hamburg, reads: “I have the pleasure to inform you that the Marquis de la Fayette & his Companions will soon be set at liberty. The French Government or Laws denying them an entry into France, the Emperor has been pleased to order that they shall be at liberty to proceed to Holland, or to embark at Hamburgh for the United States, provided proper measures be taken to pursue either rout within eight days after their arrival here. The Baron de Buol[-Schauenstein], the Imperial Minister, has been instructed to apply to Mr [John] Parish (as Consul) and make the necessary arrangements. He called and communicated to me his instructions. As Consul, I told him, I was not authorised to take any steps, but in a private capacity I was ready to do all that was required in case the Marquis were desirous to embark for the United States. I have met Mr [Francis] Childs & Mr Jay—we agreed to provide the Marquis & his family with a Passage and every necessary, if wanted—Certain that we should have, at least, a compensation, in gratifying our feelings by procuring them a speedy release. I waited on the Minister the next day (yesterday) and informed him of the steps we were ready to take. A Friend of the Marquis was at Vienna and had a Conference with the Imperial Minister relative to this business. He is here, and had seen Mr Parish and obtained a letter from him to the Baron de Buol, with an offer similar to ours. He and another friend went with me to the Baron’s who has communicated our arrangements to his Court; and who appears well disposed. Although the condition of their release is, that they quit the Territory of the Empire eight days after their arrival in this City, the Minister observed, that he did not doubt of their being indulged agreeably to their wishes, and that if the state of the Marquis’s health would not admit of his proceeding immediately to Holland or America, he might reside at Altona. It appears to be the wish of his friends that he go by the shortest rout to Holland. They expect perhaps, that he will have leave to enter France and recover his property. I hope so For, entre nous, I would rather that he and his Companions were there than in the United States. Knowing that it will gratify his best friend General Washington and our Countrymen in general, I shall render him any service in my power” (DLC:GW).

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