to Mr. Noyes.
Washington, March 2, 1881.
Sir: Inclosed is an autograph letter from the President to President Grévy, with an office copy thereof, tendering the invitation of the Government and people of the United States to the Government and people of France to participate in the centennial celebration of the surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown.
I also inclose a letter, with copy for your files, addressed by me to M. Oscar de Lafayette, through whom, as a prominent representative of the family of General Lafayette, a like invitation is extended to that family.
These invitations are tendered in pursuance of a joint resolution of Congress of February 18 ultimo, copies of which I transmit herewith.
You will deliver the President’s letter to the President of the French Republic, and will ask an audience for that purpose. In leaving to you the choice of the language to be employed in communicating this invitation to the President of the Republic, as also that to the family of General Lafayette, I trust to you to appropriately and simply express the feelings which prompt the American people to this act of grateful friendship, and the hope of the President that the invitation will be accepted.
It is too early as yet to foresee what arrangements will need to be made for the reception of the distinguished visitors. I am, however, directed by the President to say that the visitors who may represent the French Republic at this commemorative celebration, as well as the members of the Lafayette family who may come as private citizens will be entertained as the guests of the American Government and people.
If the invitation be accepted, you will briefly telegraph the fact and date of acceptance.
I am, &c.,