George Washington Papers

From George Washington to James Madison, 20 February 1790

To James Madison

Sunday Morning [20 February 1790]

My dear Sir

I return Mr Jefferson’s letter with thanks for the perusal of it.1 I am glad he has resolved to accept the appointment of Secretary of State, but sorry it is so repugnant to his own inclinations that it is done. Sincerely & Affectly I am—Yrs

Go: Washington

ALS, NjP: Straus Autograph Collection.

1Madison had undoubtedly shown GW the letter Jefferson had written to him from Monticello on 14 Feb. 1790. The letter reads in part: “I received your favor of Jan. 24. the day before yesterday; the President’s of the 21st. was 16 days getting to my hands. I write him by this occasion my acceptance, and shall endeavor to subdue the reluctance I have to that office which has increased so as to oppress me extremely. The President pressed my coming on immediately, and I have only said to him in general that circumstances, uncontroulable by me, will not let me set out till the last of next week, say the last day of the month. I meant to ask you to explain to him the particular reason. My daughter is to be married on the 25th. to mr Randolph whom you saw here. His father will come only a day or two before that to arrange the provision we mean to make for the young couple, & that this may be perfectly valid it’s execution must take place before the marriage. Thus you see that the happiness of a child, for life, would be hazarded were I to go away before this arrangement is made” (Rutland, Madison Papers, description begins William T. Hutchinson et al., eds. The Papers of James Madison, Congressional Series. 17 vols. Chicago and Charlottesville, Va., 1962–91. description ends 13:41–42).

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