Thomas Jefferson Papers

George Washington to Madame de Lafayette, 15 March 1793

George Washington to Madame de Lafayette

Philadelphia. Mar. 15.1 93.

Dear Madam

I addressed a few lines to you on the 31st. of January, in a state of entire uncertainty2 in what country or condition they might find you, as we had been sometimes told you were in England, sometimes in Holland, and at sometimes in France. Your letter of Octob. 8. 1792. first relieved me from doubt, and gave me a hope that, being in France, and on your own estate, you are not as destitute, as I had feared, of the resources which that could furnish. But I have still to sympathize with you on the deprivation of the dearest of all your resources of happiness, in comparison with which, others vanish. I do it in all the sincerity of my friendship for him, and with ardent desires for his relief: in which sentiments I know that my fellow-citizens participate. The measures you were pleased to intimate in your letter are perhaps not exactly those which I could pursue, perhaps indeed not the most likely, under actual circumstances, to obtain our object. But be assured that I am not inattentive to his condition, nor contenting myself with inactive wishes for his liberation. My affection to his nation and to himself are unabated, and notwithstanding the line of separation which has been unfortunately drawn between them, I am confident that both have been led on by a pure love of liberty and a desire to secure public happiness: and I shall deem that among the most consoling moments of my life which should see them reunited in the end, as they were in the beginning, of their virtuous enterprize. Accept I pray you the same lively sentiments of interest and attachment to yourself & your dear Children, from, dear Madam, your &c.3


Dft (DNA: RG 59, MLR); in TJ’s hand, with emendations by Washington noted below; dateline at foot of text; at foot of first page: “Mde. de la Fayette. departement de la Haute-Loire. à Chavaniac, prés Brioude”; endorsed by Washington. PrC (DLC); entirely in TJ’s hand. Recorded in SJPL. For the letter as sent by Washington under the date of 16 Mch. 1793, with only trifling variations from the emended Dft, see Fitzpatrick, Writings description begins John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington, Washington, D.C., 1931–44, 39 vols. description ends , xxxii, 389–90.

1Washington reworked “15” to “16” in the dateline at the foot of text and added a second dateline at the head of text: “Phila. March 16th. 1793.”

2First part of this word written over “doubt,” erased, by TJ.

3Reworking this abbreviation, Washington added “most Obedt. & devoted Servt.”

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