George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Chastellux, 20 August 1784

To Chastellux

Mount Vernon 20th Augt 1784

My Dr Sir,

The Marqs de la Fayette, who I had been long looking for with the eyes of friendship and impatience, arrived here on Tuesday last 1 and presented me your favor of the 16th of June.2

I thank you My Dr Sir, for every testimony of your recollection of me, and every fresh assurance you give me of the continuation of your friendship is pleasing: it serves (to borrow an Indian phraze) to brighten the chain, & to convince me that you will not suffer moth or rust to injure or impair it. We talk of you often, and tho’ we wish in vain to have you of our party, we do not fail to drink your health at Dinner every day. I will not give up the hope of seeing you at Mount Vernon, before I quit the stage of human action—the idea woud be too painful—I must indulge a contrary one.

As I have no communications at this time that are worthy of your attention, and a house full of company to claim mine. I shall, as the Ship by which I write has Spread her canvas wings, only add new assurances of what I hope you were before perfectly convinced, that I am with the greatest esteem & regard—My D. Sir Yrs &c. &c.

G: Washington

LB, DLC:GW; copy, DSoC.

1The following item appeared in the Alexandria newspaper: “Alexandria, August 19. On Tuesday Morning [17 Aug.] the Marquis de la Fayette, accompanied by the Chevalier Caraman, Captain of Dragoons in the Army of France, passed through this Town, on their Way to his Excellency General Washington’s Seat, Mount-Vernon” (Virginia Journal and Alexandria Advertiser, 19 Aug. 1784).

2The text of the translation of the letter from Chastellux to GW, dated “Paris. June. 16. 1784,” is: “I have seen without jealousy the glory of my friend and cousin, the good marquess but when he enjoys the happiness to see again your excellency, I have neither philosophy nor friendship enough to guard my heart against envy. however it is upon him that I depend to console my sorrow. I hope he will be so generous to spare some of the delight full hours he will spend with you to review my attachment to your excellency, he, and he only, may express what he feels with me and as myself with the most sincer respect and attachment I have the honour to be dear general your most humble and obeedient servant” (DLC:GW). The ALS, in French, is in ViMtvL; it is dated 17 June, not 16 June.

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