Philadelphia 5th Decr 1796
My dear Sir,
Not being able to recollect with certainty, whether I expressed to you my ardent desire that no favourable occasion might be omitted, by you, of Signifying how much it was my wish, and the wishes of the People of this country, that that friend to it—Mr de la Fayette—could be liberated from his confinement, is the cause of my giving you the trouble of this address.
Not in my public character, have I conceived myself authorised to move in this business; but in my private one I have used, and shall continue to use, every exertion in my power to effect this much desired object. For surely if a hard fate has attended any one, the fortunes of this gentleman has met it.
It would give me much pleasure to hear of your safe arrival after an agreeable passage; and that your reception from the French Directory has been favourable.
Of politics, or on matters of public concern, I shall say nothing—because you are too recently from this country to need information on the first subject—and from the Office of State you receive all that can be given on the second.
In presenting compliments to Mrs and Miss Pinckney, Mrs Washington unites hers along with those of My dear Sir Your most Obedt and Affectionate Servt
DLC: Papers of George Washington.