Gouverneur Morris Letters document,


[to Madame de Lafayette]

Vienna, December 19th, 1796.


If this letter ever reaches you, I shall be obliged for the favor to his Excellency, the Baron de Thugut, and I shall expect from his kindness to have your answer forwarded to me. The Marchioness de Montagu informed me, by a letter dated November twenty-seventh, that you had been forbidden to leave the prison, unless you would entirely abandon the intention of returning thither, and that, under this alternative, preferring the duty of a tender and faithful wife to the care of your own safety, you have given that decision, which those who knew the purity of your mind would naturally expect from you. Madame de Montagu adds, that you are not permitted to come here for the purpose of consulting a physician, although the state of your health imperiously requires it.

It is certainly unnecessary for me, Madam, to express here the interest, which I take in your fate, and in that of your unfortunate friend, and to tell you how happy I should be, could I procure for him his liberty. Reasons, which I do not know, and which I nevertheless feel bound to respect, prevent this. But we are far from believing here, that his prison has any other disagreeable things about it, than those which are unavoidably connected with confinement. I am assured, on the contrary, that he is very well lodged, and in want of nothing ; that the vigilant exactness, with which he is guarded, arises only from the necessity of using all 'means to prevent his escape ; that, far from entertaining the barbarous idea of depriving you of the assistance of art, the physician of your choice will be sent to you ; and that, if you are forbidden to come to Vienna, and then return to Olmutz, it is because circumstances require, that the rules of an exact prudence should be followed.

You must not despair, Madam; time will give liberty to Monsieur De Lafayette ; but, in the mean time, if he has been ill treated, as Madame de Montagu lias been induced to believe, it is important that it may be known, in order that means may be taken to prevent it ; and in case he experiences, in accordance with the benevolent intentions of his Majesty, gentle and humane treatment, it seems to me equally proper to ascertain it, in order to put a stop to odious reports, which cannot but exasperate, and which consequently might postpone the moment of his liberation. To this effect, have the goodness, Madam, I entreat you, to send me your answer open, under cover to his Excellency, the Baron de Thugut. I am still uncertain whether I shall be able to receive it at Vienna, as it is my intention to depart in a few days. But I flatter myself, that we shall meet again in America ; and I pray you to believe, that I shall always and everywhere preserve the sincere attachment, with which I have the honor to be, &c.

Gouverneur Morris.

Gouverneur Morris