Imágenes de páginas



In mourning the loss of the Man of the Age, I equally mourn that of the longtried patron, the kind a d unchanging friend. ALEXANDER HAMILTON,

Dec. 1799.

Every mark of friendship I receive from you, adds to my happiness, is I love you with all the sincerity and warmth of my heart; and the sentiment I feel for you goes to the very extent of my affections. LAFAYETTE, May, 1781.


Your forward zeal in the cause of liberty; your singular attachment to this infant world; your ardent and persevering efforts, not only in America, but since your return to France, to serve the United States; your polite attentions to Americans, and your strict and

*The Marquis de Lafayette.

uniform friendship for me, have ripened the first impressions of esteem and attachment which I imbibed for you, into such perfect love and gratitude, as neither time nor absence can impair.



In the moment of our separation, upon the road as I travelled, and every hour since, I have felt all that love, respect, and attachment for you, with which length of years, close connection, and your merits have inspired me.

I often asked myself, as our carriages separated, whether that was the last sight I should ever have of you. And though I wished to say No, my fears answered Yes.

I called to mind the days of my youth, and found they had long since fled, to return no more; that I was now descending the hill I had been fifty-two years climbing; and that, though I was blessed with a good constitution, I was of a short-lived family, and might soon expect to be entombed in the mansion of my fathers.

These thoughts darkened the shades, and gave a gloom to the picture, and consequently to my prospect. of seeing you again.

But I will not repine; I have had my day. 1781.

[ocr errors][merged small]


It is my wish, that the mutual friendship and esteem, which have been planted and fostered in the tumult of public life, may not wither and die in the serenity of retirement.

We should amuse our evening hours of life, in cultivating the tender plants, and bringing them to perfection, before they are transplanted to a happier clime.


The opinion and advice of friends I receive, at all times, as a proof of their friendship, and am thankful when they are offered.


True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity, before it is entitled to the appellation.


A slender acquaintance with the world, must convince every man, that actions, not words, are the true criterion of the attachment of friends; and that the most liberal professions of good-will are very far from being the surest marks of it. I should be happy, if my own experience had afforded fewer examples of the little dependence to be placed upon them.


The arts of dissimulation I despise; and my feelings will not permit me to make professions of friendship, to the man I deem my enemy, and whose system of conduct forbids it.


It is not the letters of my friends, which give me trouble, or add aught to my perplexity.

To correspond with those I love, is among my highest gratifications.

Letters of friendship require no study: the com

munications they contain, flow with ease; and allowances are expected and made.


If the assurances of the sincerest esteem and affection, if the varieties of uncultivated nature, the novelty of exchanging the gay and delightful scenes of Paris, with which you are surrounded, for the rural amusements of a country in its infancy, if the warbling notes of the feathered songsters of our lawns and meads, can, for a moment, make you forget the melody of the opera, and the pleasures of the court, these all invite. you to give us this honor, and the opportunity of expressing to you, personally, those sentiments of attachment and love, with which you have inspired us.


I repeat to you† the assurances of my friendship, and of the pleasure I should feel in seeing you in the shade of those trees which my hands have planted; and which, by their rapid growth, at once indicate a knowledge of my declining years, and their disposition to spread their mantles over me before I go hence to return no more. For this, their gratitude, I will nurture them while I stay.

*The Marchioness de Lafayette.

The Chevalier de Chastellux.


« AnteriorContinuar »