James Madison Papers

To James Madison from George Washington, 5 May 1789

From George Washington

New York May 5th 1789

My dear Sir,

Notwithstanding the conviction I am under of the labour which is imposed upon you by Public Individuals as well as public bodies—Yet, as you have began,1 so I would wish you to finish, the good work in a short reply to the Address of the House of Representatives (which I now enclose) that there may be an accordance in this business.

Thursday 12 O’clock, I have appointed to receive the Address.2 The proper plan is with the House to determine. As the first of every thing, in our situation will serve to establish a Precedent, it is devoutly wished on my part, that these precedents may be fixed on true principles. With affectionate regard I am, ever Yours

Geo Washington

Printed copy (Stan. V. Henkels Catalogue No. 694 [1892]); Tr (MH). In 1939 Fitzpatrick published this letter “from a photostat of the original kindly furnished by Thomas Madigan, of New York City” (Writings of Washington, XXX, 310–11 and n. 67). The enclosure, not found, was the Address of the House of Representatives to the President, 5 May 1789.

1“Begun” in Fitzpatrick’s edition.

2The formal presentation of the House address took place on Friday, 8 May, at which time the president delivered the brief complimentary reply written by JM (DHFC description begins Linda Grant De Pauw et al., eds., Documentary History of the First Federal Congress of the United States of America (3 vols. to date; Baltimore, 1972—). description ends , III, 53; Reply of the President to the House of Representatives, 8 May 1789).

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