Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from George Washington, 3 March 1784

From George Washington

Mount Vernon Mar. 3d. 1784.

Dear Sir

The last Post brought me the enclosed letter under cover from the Marquis de la Fayette.

If you have any News that you are at liberty to impart, it would be charity to communicate a little of it, to a body.1

It is unnecessary, I hope, to repeat to you the assurances of the pleasure I should feel at seeing you at this retreat, or of the sincere esteem & regard with which I am Dear Sir Yr. Most Obedt. & very Hble Servt.,

Go: Washington

P.S. Has not Congress received a Memorial from Mr. De Witt, now, or lately Geographer to the Northern Army? The propositions which are contained in the Copy, which he sent me, seem founded in equity. And with respect to himself, I can assure you that he is a Modest, sensible, sober, and deserving young Man, Esteemed a very good Mathematician, and well worthy encouragement.2


RC (DLC); addressed and endorsed.

FC (DLC: Washington Papers). The texts of RC and FC differ slightly. The enclosed letter that had been under cover of one from Lafayette to Washington may have been a letter from Lafayette to TJ and was no doubt written in Nov. 1783 (see Washington’s acknowledgment of Lafayette’s “favor of Novr.,” Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, xxvii, 383); if so, neither the letter nor TJ’s reply to it has been found.

A memorial from Mr. De Witt: Simeon DeWitt’s memorial to Congress of 12 Jan. 1784 proposed the publication of maps of the Revolution. It was referred on 24 Feb. to a committee composed of TJ, Samuel Osgood, and Hugh Williamson (JCC description begins Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, ed. W. C. Ford and others, Washington, 1904–1937 description ends , xxvi, 97). Evidently no report was handed in (Committee Book, PCC: No. 186); see TJ to Washington, 6 Mch. 1784. DeWitt had written Washington on 12 Jan. 1784 enclosing a copy of his memorial; these were acknowledged by the latter on 3 Mch. with this comment: “The propositions … appear to me exceedingly reasonable and just: these sentiments I will express to a very valuable and much respected member of that Body to whom I am now writing” (Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, xxvii, 348).

1FC reads: “to me.”

2FC reads: “he is extremely modest, sensible, sober, discreet and deserving of favors. He is esteemed a very good Mathematician.”

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