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friendship, than by a free, open, and undisguised account of every matter relative to myself or conduct.

I can bear to hear of imputed or real errors. The man who wishes to stand well in the opinion of others, must do this, because he is thereby enabled to correct his faults, or remove prejudices which are imbibed against him. For this reason, I shall thank you for giving me the opinions of the world, upon such points as you know me to be interested in.

As I have but one capital object in view, I could wish to make my conduct coincide with the wishes of mankind, as far as I can consistently. I mean, without departing from that great line of duty, which, though hid under a cloud for some time, from a peculiarity of circumstances, may nevertheless bear a scrutiny.

Jan. 1776.


Nothing would give me more real satisfaction, than to know the sentiments which are entertained of me by the public, whether they be favorable or otherwise.

The man who wishes to steer clear of shelves and rocks, must know where they lie.

I know, (but to declare it, unless to a friend, may be an argument of vanity,) the integrity of my own heart. I know the unhappy predicament I stand in.

I know, that much is expected of me. I know, that without men, without arms, without any thing fit for the accommodation of a soldier, little is to be done; and, (which is mortifying,) I know, that I cannot stand justified to the world, without exposing my own weakness, and injuring the cause by declaring my wants, which I am determined not to do, further than unavoidable necessity brings every man acquainted with them.

If, under these circumstances, I am able to keep above water, as it were, in the esteem of mankind, I shall feel myself happy. But if, from the unknown peculiarity of my circumstances, I suffer in the opinion of the world, I shall not think you take the freedom of a friend, if you conceal the reflections that may be cast upon my conduct.

My own situation feels so irksome to me at times, that if I did not consult the public good more than my own tranquillity, I should, long ere this, have put every thing to the cast of a die.

Feb, 1776.


To persevere in one's duty and be silent, is the best answer to calumny.

* General Joseph Reed.


I never suffer reports, unsupported by proofs, to have weight in my mind.


Do not conceive, that fine clothes make fine men, any more than fine feathers make fine birds.

A plain, genteel dress is more admired, and obtains more credit, than lace and embroidery, in the eyes of the judicious and sensible.


There is no restraining men's tongues or pens, when charged with a little vanity.


Every one who has any knowledge of my manner of acting in public life, will be persuaded, that I am not accustomed to impede the despatch, or frustrate the success, of business, by a ceremonious attention to idle forms,


I cannot charge myself with incivility, or, what in my opinion is tantamount, ceremonious civility.


I do not think vanity is a trait of my character. Any memoirs of my life, distinct and unconnected with the general history of the war, would rather hurt my feelings, than tickle my pride, while I live.

I had rather glide gently down the stream of life, leaving it to posterity, to think and say what they please of me, than, by any act of mine, to have vanity or ostentation imputed to me.



The confidence and affection of fellow-citizens, are the most valuable and agreeable reward a citizen can receive.

Next to the happiness of my country, this is the most powerful inducement I can have, to exert myself in its service.



With those who are disposed to cavil, or who have the itch of writing strongly upon them, nothing can be made to suit their palates. The best way, therefore, to disconcert and defeat them, is to take no notice of their publications. All else is but food for declamation.

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Should any thing tending to give me anxiety, present itself, I shall never undertake the painful task of recrimination; nor do I know, that I should even enter upon my justification.


Why should I expect to be exempt from censure, the unfailing lot of an elevated station? Merit and talents, which I cannot pretend to rival, have ever been subject to it.


While doing what my conscience informed me was right, as it respected my God, my country, and my

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