Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO THE MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE, PARIS. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. VII (1778-1779)
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TO THE MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE, PARIS. - 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 THE MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE, PARIS.
Camp atMiddlebrook, 8 March, 1779.
My Dear Marquis,
I am mortified exceedingly, that my letter from Philadelphia, with the several enclosures, did not reach Boston before your departure from that port. It was written as soon as Congress had come to a decision upon the several matters, which became the subject of the President’s Letter to you, and was committed (for conveyance) to the messenger, who was charged with his despatches to that place. How it happened (unless the passage of the North River was interrupted by Ice) that Letters dated Philadelphia the 29th of Decr. should be till the 15th of the following month on their passage to Boston, is inconceivable—equally so is it—that I have not had the Letters returned to me by Majr. Neville, who I am told (but this is no excuse) is indisposed at Fish Kill.—His withholding these letters renders it necessary for me to give you the trouble of duplicates by Captn. McQueen who will do me the favor of handing this to you; and whose merits are too well known to you, to stand in need of any recommendation from me.
Monsr. La Colombe did me the honor of delivering to me your favors of the 5th, 18th & 10th of Jany., and will probably be the bearer of my thanks for the affectionate manner in which you have expressed your sentiments in your last adieu, than which nothing can be more flattering and pleasing; nor is there any thing more wished for by me, than opportunities of giving substantial proofs of the sincerity of my attachment to and affection for you.1
Nothing of importance hath happened since you left us, except the Enemy’s invasion of Georgia, and possession of its capital; which, tho it may add something to their supplies on the score of Provisions, will contribute very little to the brilliancy of their arms. For, like the defenceless island of St. Lucia, it only required the appearance of force to effect the conquest of it, as the whole militia of the State did not exceed twelve hundred men, and many of them disaffected. General Lincoln is assembling a force to dispossess them, and my only fear is, that he will precipitate the attempt before he is fully prepared for the execution. In New York and at Rhode Island, the Enemy continued quiet till the 25th ultimo, when an attempt was made by them to surprise the post at Elizabeth; but failing therein, and finding themselves close pressed, and in danger from detachments advancing towards them from this army, they retreated precipitately through a marsh waist-deep in mud, after abandoning all their plunder; but not before they had, (according to their wonted custom,) set fire to two or three Houses. The Regiment of Anspach, and some other troops, are brought from Rhode Island to New York. It would my dear Marquis have given me very great pleasure to have answered your expectation respecting Messrs. la Colombe and Houden, but Congress have experienced so many unfortunate instances of disgust, and consequent resignations in the Army arising from irregular promotions and brevet Commissions, that they found it absolutely necessary to discontinue the practice, and had done so before I received your Letters, to the no small disappointment, and loss, of many Gentlemen, whom I found in Philadelphia.
We are happy in the repeated assurances and proofs of the friendship of our great and good ally, whom we hope and trust, ere this, may be congratulated on the birth of a Prince, and on the joy which the nation must derive from an instance of royal felicity. We also flatter ourselves, that before this period the Kings of Spain and the Two Sicilies may be greeted as allies of the United States; and we are not a little pleased to find, from good authority, that the solicitations and offers of the court of Great Britain to the Empress of Russia have been rejected; nor are we to be displeased, that overtures from the city of Amsterdam, for entering into a commercial connexion with us, have been made in such open and pointed terms. Such favorable sentiments, in so many powerful Princes and States, cannot but be considered in a very honorable, interesting, and pleasing point of view, by all those who have struggled with difficulties and misfortunes to maintain the rights and secure the liberties of their country. But, notwithstanding these flattering appearances, the British King and his ministers continue to threaten us with war and desolation. A few months, however, must decide whether these or Peace is to take place. For both we will prepare; and, should the former be continued, I shall not despair of sharing fresh toils and dangers with you in the Plains of America; but, if the latter succeeds, I can entertain little hopes, that the rural amusem’ts of an infant world, or the contracted stage of an American theatre, can withdraw your attention and services from the gayeties of a court, and the active part which you will more than probably be called upon to share in ye admr. of yr. government. The soldier will then be transformed into the statesman, and your employment in this new walk of life will afford you no time to revisit this continent, or think of friends who lament yr. absence.
The American Troops are again in Hutts; but in a more agreeable and fertile country, than they were in last winter at Valley Forge; and they are better clad and more healthy, than they have ever been since the formation of the army. Mrs. Washington is now with me, and makes a cordial tender of her best regards to you; and, if those of strangers can be offered with propriety, and will be accepted, we respectively wish to have them added to your amiable Lady. We hope and trust, that your passage has been short, agreeable, and safe, and that you are as happy, as the smiles of a gracious Prince, beloved wife, warm friends, and high expectations can make you. I have now I think complied with your request in writing you a long letter; and I shall only add, that, with the purest sentiments of attachment, and the warmest friendship and regard, I am, my dear Marquis, your most affectionate and obliged, &c.
P. S. Harrison and Mead are in Virga.—all the other Gentn. of my suit join most cordially in tendering their best respects to you.
March 10th. I have this moment received the letters which were in the hands of Majr. Neville, accompanied by yr. favors of the 7th & 11th of Jany.—the Majr. himself is not yet arrived at head Qrs., being, as I am told very sick—I have again to thank you, my dear frd. for the repeated sentiments of friendship and affection which breathed so conspicuously in your last farewell; & to assure you that I shall always retain a warm & grateful remembrance of them.—Major Neville shall have my consent to repair to you in France; if his health will permit & the sanction of Congress can be obtained to whom all applications of officers for leave to go out of the United States are referred.—
[1 ]The Marquis de Lafayette had written from Boston on board the Alliance, January 11th:—“The sails are just going to be hoisted, my dear General, and I have only time to take my last leave of you. I may now be certain, that Congress do not intend to send any thing more by me. Farewell, my dear General. I hope your French friends will ever be dear to you. I hope I shall soon see you again, and tell you myself with what emotions I now leave the land you inhabit, and with what affection and respect I shall ever be your sincere friend.”