George Washington Papers

From George Washington to James Madison, 22 April 1783

Newburgh 22d April 1783


Major McHenry—formerly an assistant Secretary to me, & afterwards Aid de Camp to the Marqs de la Fayette, informs me that Congress are about to appoint Official Secretaries for their Ministers abroad, & expresses a wish to go in that character to the Court of Versailles—or London.

Justice, if I could divest myself of the inclination to serve this Gentleman, would compel me to represent him as a Man of Letters & abilities.of great integrity, sobriety & prudence—In a word—a Man of strict honor; possessing all those good qualities (without a bad one with which I am acquainted) necessary to fit him for such an office—He would, I am perswaded, render the Minister to whom he should be appointed Secretary, very happy in such a connection; as he is of an amiable temper—very obliging, and of polished manners. His Interest too lyes in this Country.

I have now to entreat your excuse for the freedom of this recommendation; a desire to serve a Man who has followed my fortunes, and shared in my perplexities, has prompted me to it; but I never have, nor never will, from these considerations alone recommend a person to an Office of trust who I am not morally certain is fully competent to the duties of it. I have the honor to be Sir, Yr Most Obt & Hble Serv

Go: Washington

On the draft, in DLC: GW, GW notes "A Similar Letter was written to Mr Livingston Secretary of F: Affairs."

NjP: DeCoppet Collection.

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