George Washington Papers

From George Washington to James Madison, 2 January 1789

To James Madison

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 fowarded 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

ALS, British Museum, Add. MSS 39908; LB, DLC:GW.

1Madison inserted an asterisk at this point and added the following notation 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.” This statement is followed by a deletion of perhaps ten words. Madison then wrote: “nor was any copy of my answer to the communication retained.” Below this Madison wrote “see letter of Genl W. to J. M. Feby 16. 1789. addressed to the latter at Mount Vernon.”

2See GW to Madison, 16 Feb. 1789. The private letter concerned a draft for GW’s first inaugural address. For GW’s correspondence with Madison concerning this draft, see the references in the editorial note to the First Inaugural Address, 30 April 1789.

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