George Washington Papers

From George Washington to the Marquise de Lafayette, 13 June 1793

To the Marquise de Lafayette

Philada June 13th 1793

Dear Madam

While I acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 13th of March,1 I can, with the greatest truth, assure you that I feel a sincere sympathy in your afflications on account of M. de la Fayette.2 And to shew you that I have not been unmindful of your condition—and how earnestly I have been disposed to alleviate your suffering, as far as is in my power, I enclose you duplicates of two letters which I had the honor of writing to you on the 31st of January & 16th of March.3 To these I can only add my most ardent prayers that you may be again united to M. de la Fayette under circumstances that may be joyful to you both—and that the evening of that life, whose morning has been devoted to the cause of liberty & humanity, may be crowned with the best of heaven’s blessings. with sentiments of sincere attachment to yourself & your dear offspring I am, Dear Madam, Your most Obiet & devoted Sert


Df, in Tobias Lear’s writing, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; LB, DLC:GW.

2The marquis de Lafayette had been captured by Prussian troops as he fled France in August 1792. He was held in a series of prisons by Prussian and Austrian forces until 1797.

3GW had enclosed a bill of exchange for 2,310 guilders for Lafayette’s family in a letter that he had written to the Dutch banker Nicholas Van Staphorst on 30 Jan. 1793. GW’s letter to the marquise de Lafayette of 31 Jan. was enclosed in his letter to Van Staphorst of that date. Despite his concern for Lafayette and his family, GW was reluctant to sanction any official U.S. intervention to free Lafayette (GW to Marquise de Lafayette, 16 Mar. 1793).

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