Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO COUNT D'ESTAING, - The Writings of George Washington, vol. VII (1778-1779)
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TO COUNT D’ESTAING, - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. VII (1778-1779) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890). Vol. VII (1778-1779).
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TO COUNT D’ESTAING,
Head Qrs.,Fredericksburgh, 31st October, 1778.
I have had the happiness of receiving your Excellency’s letters of the 23 and 26th.—I thank you for the extract of Mr. Boubie’s letter, which Yr. Excellency so obligingly communicates. His particular enumeration of the vessels of war which sailed with the fleet he mentions, corresponds with the advices I have received; but you will have been informed before this, that the supposed sailing of a body of troops in that fleet was a mistake of the same nature into which my observers fell. It was however the most natural one, that can be imagined, and such as might impose itself on the most careful circumspection.—I have the honor to inclose copies of four letters which contain the most recent and authentic information I have collected.
I shall not be surprised if, in a little time, Admiral Byron should make a demonstration before the harbor of Boston, deriving confidence from the superiority of his force. His apprehensions of your Excellency’s activity may suggest this measure, to cover the movements which the enemy are making off the coast.
Your Excellency’s sentiments give value to my own, on the utility of some well combined system of fortification for the security of our principal seaport towns. The predatory war, which the enemy threaten, and have actually carried on, in several instances, and which they no doubt have the disposition, when they have the opportunity, to repeat, give additional force to the other reasons for a measure of that nature.
I impatiently expect the arrival of Mr. Holker, to confer with him on the important objects with which he will be charged. I shall cautiously observe the secrecy you desire. Col. Hamilton’s high respect for your Excellency cannot permit him to be insensible to so flattering a mark of your confidence and friendship, as the exception in his favor affords.1 I received a letter yesterday from the Marquis. He gives me to hope the pleasure of seeing him to-morrow. He also intimates, that Lord Carlisle has not only declined his proposition for the present, but, by a prudent foresight, has provided against the necessity of reviving the question at any future period. With the warmest esteem and most respectful attachment, I have the honor to be, &c.1
[1 ]Mr. Holker was agent for the French marine in America, and consul from France to the United States. Count d’Estaing wrote, that Mr. Holker would make an interesting communication in his name. “I entreat you,” said he, “not to confide the secret to any person, except Colonel Hamilton. His talents and his personal qualities have secured to him for ever my esteem, my confidence, and my friendship.” Count d’Estaing had likewise made known the affair, whatever it was, to the Marquis de Lafayette.
[1 ]“The Enemy have imbarked a considerable part of their Troops at New York and the transports have fallen down to the hook.—the Imbarkation still continues; but there is no evidence, so conclusive, as to lead to a demonstration that they mean a total evacuation—the proofs are equivocal and will apply to a general or partial one.—a short time, perhaps by the end of our days of Grace (the 11th Inst.), matters may be reduced to a certainty.—I have little doubt in my own mind, but that the greatest part of the Troops Imbark’d and Imbarking at New York, are destined for the West Indies and their Posts.—Boston and Charles Town are also talked of but with no other view, I conceive than to perplex and confound the judgment; and yet, so far as any collateral enterprizes (in pursuance of their Predatory and Nefarious plan) can be undertaken subservient to and correspondent with their more enlarged and important views, I have little doubt of their attempting them. For if motives of policy do not restrain sure I am that those of generosity & humanity will not prevent them from committing as much devastation as they can upon our defenseless towns—Country seats and helpless women and Children.—Resentment and unsoldierly practices in them now seem to have taken place of all the manly virtues; as I wish self interest in the shape of forestalling, engrossing &ca. may not do among us, if not checked in time by well applied & vigorous Laws in the several States.—Washington to Governor Henry, 3 November, 1778.