To His Excellency George Washington May 31, 1790
From the original letter at the Library of Congress.
London, May 31, 1790
By Mr. James Morris, who sailed in the May Packet, I transmitted you a letter from the Marquis de la Fayette, at the same time informing you that the Marquis had entrusted to my charge the Key of the Bastille and a drawing of that Prison as a present to your Excellency. Mr. J. Rutledge, jun’r had intended coming in the ship Marquis de la Fayette and I had chosen that opportunity for the purpose of transmitting the present — but the Ship not sailing at the time appointed Mr. Rutledge takes his passage, on the Packet, and I have committed to his care those trophies of liberty which I know it will give you pleasure to receive — The french Revolution is not only compleat but triumphant and the envious despotism of this nation is compelled to own the magnanimity with which it has been conducted —
The political hemisphere is again clouded by a dispute between England and Spain the circumstances of which you will hear before this letter can arrive — A Messenger was sent from hence the 6th Inst. to Madrid with very peremptory demands, and to wait there only forty-eight hours — his return has been expected for two or three days past — I was this morning at the Marquis del Campo’s but nothing is yet arrived — Mr. Rutledge sets off at four o’clock this afternoon, but should any news arrive before the making up the mail on Wednesday June 2 I will forward it to you under cover.
The views of this Court as well as of the Nation so far as they extend to South America, are not for the purpose of Freedom but Conquest — They already talk of sending some of the young Branches to Reign over them and to pay off their National Debt with the produce of their mines — The Bondage of those Countries will, as far as I can perceive, be prolonged by what this Court has in contemplation.
My Bridge is arrived and I have engaged a place to erect it in — a little time will determine its fate but I yet see no cause to doubt of its success — tho’ it is very probable that a War, should it break out will, as in all new things, prevent its progress so far as regards profits —
In the partition in the Box, which contains the Key of the Bastille I have put up half a dozen Razors, manufactured from cast-steel made at the works where the bridge was constructed which I request you to accept as a little token from a very grateful heart.
I received about a Week ago a letter from Mr. G Clymer It is dated the 4th Feby — but has been travelling ever since — I request you to acknowledge it for me and that I will answer it when my Bridge is erected — With much affection to all my Friends and many wishes to see them again
I am Sir your much obliged and Obedient humble Servant