Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO HENRY LAURENS. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. VIII (1779-1780)
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TO HENRY LAURENS. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. VIII (1779-1780) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890). Vol. VIII (1779-1780).
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TO HENRY LAURENS.
West-Point, 5 November, 1779.
I am much indebted to you for your obliging favors, of the 7th & 24th of last month, and offer my thanks for the several agreeable pieces of intelligence, contained in the latter,—No part of which, believe me, Sir, gave more sincere pleasure, than the acct. of your appointment to the States of Holland. No person, (if you will permit me to say so much,) is more impressed with the importance of those duties, which I conceive to be the objects of your mission, than you are; nor no one, whose punctuality & close attention to business affords a happier presage of success to any negotiation within the reach of our powers & reasonable expectations.
Your observations upon the resolve of Congress “to stop the press” are striking & awaken those ideas, which I entertained on this subject at the time of passing it. I reconciled myself, however, to the measure at that time, from the persuasion that such previous assurances had been obtained, founded in clear & demonstrable evidence, of the certainty of getting the necessary supplies by taxation & loans, as would leave nothing to chance. To find the promoters of the measure impressed with doubts is not a little alarming, when we consider the consequences of a failure. A virtuous exertion in the States respectively, and in the individuals of each State, may effect a great deal. But, alas! virtue & patriotism are almost kicked out! Stockjobbing, speculating, engrossing, &c., &c., seems to be the great business of the day & of the multitude, whilst a virtuous few struggle, lament, & suffer in silence, tho I hope not in vain.
Your state of matters, respecting the cloathing department, is not less distressing. What a pity it is, that the work of to-day should be postponed a week! a month! a year! when not a possible good, but much evil, is the inevitable consequence of it! Our solicitude on acct. of the operations at Savanna may easily be conceived, when I add, that we have not heard a tittle from thence since the receipt of your obliging letter of the 24th; and our anxiety for European news is little inferior. The present æra is big of events. We turn an impatient eye to the Seaboard, looking for the arrival of the French fleet; & begin to apprehend much from the Season, &c. It would be a most desirable thing to be ascertained of the extent of Count d’Estaing’s intentions in this quarter, that not more than correspondant preparations may be made. At present our situation is awkward & expensive.1
Nothing new has happened in these parts, since the evacuation of Rhode Island. Reports indeed, inform us, that the Troops of that garrison did not disembark at New York; but, receiving an augmentation of Hessians, proceeded to the Hook, and from thence to Sea. Of the truth of this, & of the transports wooding and watering, I shall soon have authentic accts.
I persuade myself, that it is unnecessary for me to have recourse to assurances in proof of the sincere pleasure, with wch. I should receive my worthy aid, Colonel Laurens. It is an event, however, I have little expected, since I have heard of his late appointment; nor shall I suffer a selfish wish to come into the scale of determination. His abilities, in whatever station they are employed, will render essential services to his country. My attachment, therefore, to him, or any desire of benefiting by his aid, shall not weigh in the balance. For his past services & attention to me, he will ever have my warmest thanks; for his honor, happiness, & advancement in life, my unfeigned wishes. These, in every step you take, in every station in life to which you may be called, will also attend you, as I can with truth assure you, that, with the greatest esteem and regard, I am, dear Sir, &c.
[1 ]“We have waited so long in anxious expectation of the French fleet at the Hook, without hearing any thing from it, or of it, since its first arrival at Georgia, that we begin to fear that some great convulsion in the earth has caused a chasm between this and that state that can not be passed; or why, if nothing is done, or doing, are we not informed of it? There seems to be the strangest fatality, and the most unaccountable silence attending the operations to the southward that can be conceived, every measure in this quarter is hung in the most disagreeable state of suspense—and despair of doing any thing, advanced as the season is, and uncertainty of the count’s co-operating to any extent, if he should come, is succeeding fast to the flattering ideas we but lately possessed.