From Gouverneur Morris
Newark 9 May 1799
My dear Sir,
I take the Liberty to enclose a Letter long since transmitted to me for Monsieur de la fayette. It was in London with my Papers when I saw him last at Altona but (if in my Possession) I should perhaps have withheld it as having no probable Relation to any Matter within his present Competency—I should have delivered it into your own Hands at Mount Vernon if Business which demands my Attendance had not compelled me to return from Philadelphia Northward—But I assure you my dear Sir the Pleasure of passing a few Hours with you is among the greatest which I promised myself in returning to my native Country.1 Render I beseech you my Respect acceptable to Mrs Washington and beleive me as ever yours
ALS, DLC:GW; LB, in Morris’s hand, DLC: Gouverneur Morris Papers.
1. Morris saw Lafayette at Altona, the fishing port of Hamburg on the North Sea, on 24 July 1798, before Morris sailed for New York in October. The identity of the letter intended for Lafayette has not been determined. Morris left the letter in London when he departed for the Continent in June 1796, which indicates that the unidentified letter was written before that time. GW acknowledged the receipt of Morris’s letter on 26 May: “My dear Sir, Your favor of the 9th Instant from Newark, came duly to hand.
“I offer you my sincere congratulations on your safe return to the United States: It is unnecessary I hope to add, that if either business or inclination should induce you to look towds the South, that I shall be very happy to see you at this Seat of my retirement; where I rather hope, than expect, to spend the remnant of my life in tranquillity; if one may judge from the appearance of both external, & internal causes, which present themselves to our present view.
“Mrs Washington is thankful for your kind remembrance of her, and unites in best wishes for you, with Your ever Affecte Hble Servant Go: Washington” (letterpress copy, DLC:GW).