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Special Message

December 04, 1834

To the Senate and House of Representatives:

I transmit to Congress a communication addressed to me by M. George Washington Lafayette, accompanying a copy of the Declaration of Independence engraved on copper, which his illustrious father bequeathed to Congress to be placed in their library as a last tribute of respect, patriotic love, and affection for his adopted country.

I have a mournful satisfaction in transmitting this precious bequest of that great and good man who through a long life, under many vicissitudes and in both hemispheres, sustained the principles of civil liberty asserted in that memorable Declaration, and who from his youth to the last moment of his life cherished for our beloved country the most generous attachment.


The bequest accompanies the message to the House of Representatives.


PARIS, June 15, 1834 .

SIR: A great misfortune has given me more than one solemn and important duty to fulfill, and the ardent desire of accomplishing with fidelity my father's last will emboldens me to claim the patronage of the President of the United States and his benevolent intervention when I am obliged respectfully and mournfully to address the Senate and Representatives of a whole nation.

Our forever beloved parent possessed a copper plate on which was inscribed the first engraved copy of the American Declaration of Independence, and his last intention in departing this world was that the precious plate should be presented to the Congress of the United States, to be deposited in their library as a last tribute of respect, patriotic love, and affection for his adopted country.

Will it be permitted to me, a faithful disciple of that American school whose principles are so admirably exposed in that immortal Declaration, to hope that you, sir, would do me the honor to communicate this letter to both Houses of Congress at the same time that in the name of his afflicted family you would present to them my venerated father's gift?

In craving such an important favor, sir, the son of General Lafayette, the adopted grandson of Washington, knows and shall never forget that he would become unworthy of it if he was ever to cease to be a French and American patriot.

With the utmost respect, I am sir, your devoted and obedient servant,


Andrew Jackson, Special Message Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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