James Madison Papers

To James Madison from George Washington, 2 January 1789

From George Washington

Mount Vernon Jany 2d: 1789

My dear Sir,

The letters which will accompany this, for you, came to my hand by the Post on Tuesday. The direction of them is altered; and they are forwarded to Alexandria to receive a conveyance in the Mail tomorrow.

Is there any safe, and tolerably expeditious mode by which letters from the Post Office in Fredericksburgh are conveyed to you? I want to write a private1 & confidential letter to you, shortly, but am not inclined to trust to an uncertain conveyance, so as to hazard the loss or inspection of it.2 With the most sincere & perfect friendship, I remain, My dear Sir Your Affectionate

G Washington

RC (British Museum; photostat, DLC: Washington Papers); FC (DLC: Washington Papers). FC in a clerk’s hand. Minor variations between the RC and the FC have not been noted.

1At a later time JM placed an asterisk here on the RC and wrote at the bottom of the page: “*The letter being peculiarly confidential was returned or rather left with its enclosure at Mt. Vernon on my way to N. York. The return tho not asked nor probably expected, was suggested by a motive of delicacy.” JM heavily deleted ten or twelve words and continued, “nor was any copy of my answer to the communication retained.” Skipping a space and indenting, JM added “see letter of Genl W. to J. M. Feby 16. 1789. addressed to the latter at Mount Vernon.”

2For the “private & confidential letter,” see Washington to JM, 16 Feb. 1789 and n. 1.

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