Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO THE MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. VIII (1779-1780)
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TO THE MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE. - 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 THE MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE.
Head-Quarters, 22 July, 1780.
I have received, My Dear Marquis, your letter enclosing me those you had received from Count de Rochambeau and the Chevalier de Ternay. As I speak to you in confidence, I am sorry to find that the objections made by M. de Ternay are of a nature to prevent his entering the harbor, notwithstanding any superiority he will probably have. I certainly would not wish him to endanger his fleet in any enterprise not warranted by prudence, and by a sufficient prospect of success and security; and I shall acquiesce in his better judgment of Maritime Affairs. But I should hope, whenever he shall have a decided superiority, he may possess the port; and certainly, without this, our operations must be infinitely more precarious, and in success much less decisive.1
Another thing that gives me concern is the non-arrival of our arms and powder. Of the former we have not one half a sufficiency for our recruits, and in the latter, (including the quantity expected,) we were defective. Unless, therefore, our allies can lend us largely, we certainly can attempt nothing. With every effort we can make, we shall fall short at least four or five thousand arms, and two hundred tons of powder. We must of necessity, my Dear Marquis, however painful it is to abuse the generosity of our friends, know of them whether they can assist us with a loan of that quantity of arms and ammunition. I do not believe we can make out with less; but, before we can enter into any engagements, we must ascertain what they will be able to spare us. I entreat you to speak to the Count on this subject without delay, and let me know the result by express. If the arms can be obtained, endeavor to have them forwarded as quick as possible, to put into the hands of the recruits, that we may be training them a little, and putting them in condition to act.
With respect to the Count’s desire of a personal interview with me, you are sensible, my dear Marquis, that there is nothing I should more ardently desire than to meet him; but you are also sensible, that my presence here is essential to keep our preparations in activity, or even going on at all. I entreat you to impress the Count with a proper idea of this matter, and convince him with what pleasure I should hasten to meet him, if it would not be injurious to our affairs. I should have anticipated his wishes. I am persuaded, my dear Marquis, that, however ardent may be your wishes to undertake the reduction of a certain place, you will not fail to take a candid and full view of the difficulties. We owe it to our allies. We owe it to ourselves.1
Colonel Hamilton informed you yesterday of the advices received from New York of an intended embarkation, said to be destined for Rhode Island. Major Lee in a letter of the 20th tells me the English fleet have returned to the Hook. Assure the Count and the Chevalier of all the esteem and attachment I feel for them, and receive the assurances of the affection with which I am, dear Marquis, &c.
[1 ]Alluding to the harbor of New York. The Chevalier de Ternay declined attempting to pass Sandy Hook, in any event, being convinced, as he said, by the experience of Count d’Estaing, and by such charts as he had examined, that such an attempt with his large ships would be extremely hazardous. “I have therefore concluded,” he wrote, “that, if it is possible to sustain the fleet at Long Island without entering the Hook, this arrangement will be preferable on all accounts. I will combat the English squadron at sea, should it attempt to oppose the passage of troops. All my vessels are actually without water. I have landed thirteen hundred men sick. It was with difficulty that I was enabled to supply the wants of the frigates, which I despatched yesterday to endeavor to intercept some of the enemy’s vessels.”—MS. Letter to Lafayette, July 16th.
[1 ]From the Orderly Book.—“The Commander-in-chief has the pleasure to congratulate the army on the arrival of a large land and naval armament at Rhode Island, sent by his Most Christian Majesty to co-operate with the troops of these States against the common enemy, accompanied with every circumstance that can render it honorable and useful. The generosity of this succor, and the manner in which it is given, is a new tie between France and America. The lively concern, which our allies manifest for our safety and independence, has a claim to the affection of every virtuous citizen. The General with confidence assures the army, that the officers and men of the French forces come to our aid, animated with a zeal founded in sentiment for us, as well as in duty to their prince, and that they will do every thing in their power to promote harmony and cultivate friendship. He is equally persuaded, that on our part we shall vie with them in their good dispositions, to which we are excited by gratitude as well as by a common interest; and that the only contention between the two armies will be to excel each other in good offices, and in the display of military virtue. This will be the pledge of the most solid advantages to the common cause, and of a glorious issue to the campaign.”—July 20th.