Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO THE MARQUIS DE LA LUZERNE. 1 - The Writings of George Washington, vol. XI (1785-1790)
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TO THE MARQUIS DE LA LUZERNE. 1 - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. XI (1785-1790) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890). Vol. XI (1785-1790).
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TO THE MARQUIS DE LA LUZERNE.1
New York, 29 April, 1790.
Your letter of the 17th of January, replete with politeness to myself and useful informations respecting public affairs, has but lately been received.2
In making my acknowledgments for the distinguished place I hold in your remembrance, and for the obliging terms in which you allude to my conduct in war and peace, I should do injustice to conceal the favorable sentiments, which were always entertained by myself and my countrymen of your private deportment and ministerial agency, while you resided in America. Those times, in which we always found you a sincere friend, were truly times of peril and distress. Now our situation is indeed much more eligible, and our prospects perhaps as good as could reasonably have been expected. We are recovering slowly from the calamities and burdens, with which we were almost overwhelmed by a long and expensive war. Our crops the year past have been more abundant, and our markets much better, than usual. These circumstances will assist in enabling our citizens to extricate themselves from their private and public debts. I hope a disposition will be found to prevail among us for doing justice, as far as the nature of the case will admit, to all who afforded us their assistance in the hour of adversity. In the arrangement of such new and complicated business, as must inevitably come before our general government, it is reasonably to be expected, that the proceedings will be slow. It is devoutly to be wished, that they may terminate in such just and wise measures, as will fully establish our happiness at home and credit abroad. I am much pleased with the interest you take in our national reputation, and the information you give that our credit is becoming so respectable in Europe, under the influence of our new government.
You are right in conceiving, that nothing can be indifferent to me, which regards the welfare of the French nation. So far removed from that great theatre of political action, and so little acquainted with many of the minute circumstances, which may induce important decisions, as I am, it would be imprudent for me to hazard opinions, which might possibly be unfounded. Indeed, the whole business is so extraordinary in its commencement, so wonderful in its progress, and may be so stupendous in its consequences, that I am almost lost in the contemplation. Of one thing, however, you may rest perfectly assured, that nobody is more anxious for the happy issue of that business, than I am; as nobody can wish more sincerely for the prosperity of the French nation, than I do. Nor is it without the most sensible pleasure I learn, that our friend the Marquis de Lafayette has, in acting the arduous part which has fallen to his share, conducted himself with so much wisdom and apparently to such general satisfaction.
We, at this great distance from the northern parts of Europe, hear of wars and rumors of wars, as if they were the events or reports of another planet. What changes the death of the Emperor will occasion in the other cabinets of Europe, time is yet to inform us. A spirit for political improvements seems to be rapidly and extensively spreading through the European countries. I shall rejoice in seeing the condition of the human race happier than ever it has hitherto been. But I should be sorry to see, that those, who are for prematurely accelerating those improvements, were making more haste than good speed in their innovations. So much prudence, so much perseverance, so much disinterestedness, and so much patriotism are necessary among the leaders of a nation, in order to promote the national felicity, that sometimes my fears nearly preponderate over my expectations. Better, however, will it be for me to leave such foreign matters to those, who are more competent to manage them, and to do as much good as I can, in the little sphere where I am destined to move at present. With sentiments of the highest esteem and consideration, I have the honor to be, &c.
[1 ]M. de la Luzerne had been raised to the rank of Marquis, and was now the Ambassador from the Court of France in London.
[2 ]From the Marquis de la Luzerne’s Letter.—“I dare flatter myself, that your Excellency does justice to the very tender and respectful attachment, which I have long entertained towards you, and that you will be persuaded of the great pleasure with which I have learned the success, that has followed the first movements of your administration. After having given freedom to your country, it was worthy of the virtues and great character of your Excellency to establish its happiness on a solid and permanent basis, which is assuredly the result of the new federal constitution, in framing which you assisted by your counsel, and which you now support, as much by the splendor of your talents and patriotism, as by the eminent situation confided to you by your fellow-citizens. They possess the advantage of enjoying more particularly your beneficence, and the honor of having you born among them; but I dare assure you, that the consideration which you enjoy throughout Europe, and particularly in my country, yields not even to that, which you have obtained in your native land; and, notwithstanding the prejudices of the people, with whom I here live, there is not one among them, who does not pronounce your name with sentiments of respect and veneration. All are acquainted with the services you have rendered to your country as their general in the course of the war, and with those, perhaps still greater, which you now render as a statesman in peace.