Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO THE MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. IX (1780-1782)
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TO THE MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. IX (1780-1782) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890). Vol. IX (1780-1782).
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TO THE MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE.
New Windsor, 22 April, 1781.
My Dear Marquis:
Since writing the enclosed your several letters (acknowledged in my public one of this date) are come to hand—all of them except that of the 12th arrived at Hd.-Quarters within the course of one hour. The reasons assigned in some of your letters, and others which have occurred to me, chiefly of a political nature, assure me that great advantages will be derived from your being wherever the French army and the American head-Quarters are. I therefore not only repeat the offer contained in the enclosed letter, but accompany it with a wish, that you may return, if you can consistently with your own inclination relinquish your present command for the prospects I have mentioned; not else, as it always has been and ever will be my wish to make things as agreeable to you as the nature of the service will admit. To recall the detachment I cannot, for reasons which in my judgment are conclusive. The accidents to which letters are liable forbid me, unless I could write to you in cipher, to go into a full explanation of some matters, wch. you seem not to be well informed, and wch. I wish to set you write in; but I dare not attempt it in a common letter, nor will there be any necessity for it if you return.
I am very sorry, that any letter of mine should be the subject of public discussion, or give the smallest uneasiness to any person living.1 The letter, to which I presume you allude, was a confidential one from me to Mr. Lund Washington, (with whom I have lived in perfect intimacy for near 20 Years.) I can neither avow the letter, as it is published by Mr. Rivington, nor declare that it is spurious, because my letter to this gentn. was wrote in great haste, and no copy of it taken. All I remember of the matter is, that, at the time of writing it, I was a good deal chagrined to find by your letter of the 15th of March, (from York Town in Virginia,) that the French fleet had not at that time appeared within the Capes of the Chesapeake; and I meant (in strict confidence) to express my apprehensions and concern for the delay. But as we know that the alteration of a single word does oftentimes divert the sense, or give force to expression, unintended by the letter-writer, I should not be surprised at Mr. Rivington, or the Inspector of his Gazette, having taken this liberty with the letter in question; especially as he or they have, I am told, lately published a letter from me to Govr. Hancock and his answer, which never had an existence but in the Gazette. That the enemy fabricated a number of Letters for me formerly is a fact well known; that they are not less capable of doing it now, few will deny. As to his asserting, that this is a genuine copy of the original, he well knows that their friends do not want to convict him of a falsehood, and that ours have not the opportunity of doing it, though both sides are knowing to his talents for lying.1
The event, which you seem to speak of with regret, my friendship for you would most assuredly have induced me to impart to you in the moment it happened, had it not been for the request of H—, who desired that no mention might be made of it. Why this injunction on me, while he was communicating it himself, is a little extraordinary. But I complied, and religiously fulfilled it.1 With every sentiment of affectionate regard, I am, &c.
This letter wch. you say has made much noise, I enclose you lest you may not have had it from any other Quarter.
[1 ]Lafayette to Washington: “A letter from you, relating to the delays of the French, makes a great noise at Philadelphia. Indeed, it gives me pain on many political accounts. There are many confidential communications, which you once requested from me, and which my peculiar situation with both sides of the alliance would enable me to make; but having been ordered from you, and many things I had to say not being of a nature, which would render it prudent to commit them to paper, these personal services must be out of the question so long as the war continues in Carolina.”—Susquehanna Ferry, April 15th.
[1 ]A mail had been intercepted and carried into New York, in which was a private letter, dated March 28th, from General Washington to Lund Washington at Mount Vernon. That letter was printed in Rivington’s Gazette, 4 April, 1781. The paragraph complained of was substantially that contained in the letter to William Fitzhugh, 25 March, 1781, ante, and occurs in a number of Washington’s letters to his friends.
[1 ]Alluding to a personal difference that had occurrred between Washington and his aide-de-camp Colonel Hamilton. The particulars may be seen in the Works of Alexander Hamilton (Lodge’s edition), viii., 35.