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Trifling punctilios should have no influence upon a man's conduct, in such a case and at such a time as this.


If smaller matters do not yield to greater; if trifles light as air, in comparison with what we are contending for, can withdraw or withhold gentlemen from service, when our all is at stake, and a single cast of a die may turn the tables; what are we to expect? It is not a common contest we are engaged in. Every thing valuable to us depends upon the success of it; and the success, upon a steady and vigorous exertion.



The generous spirit of chivalry, exploded by the rest of the world, finds a refuge, my dear friend,* in the sensibility of your nation only. But it is in vain to cherish it, unless you can find antagonists to support it; and, however well adapted it might have been to the times in which it existed, in our days, it is to be feared, that your opponent, sheltering himself behind modern opinions, and under his present public character of Commissioner, would turn a virtue of such ancient date into ridicule.

* Lafayette, about to challenge Lord Carlisle, for speaking offensively of France.

Besides, supposing his Lordship accepted your terms, experience has proved, that chance is often as much concerned, in deciding these matters, as bravery; and always more than the justice of the cause.

I would not, therefore, have your life, by the remotest possibility, exposed, when it may be reserved for so many greater occasions.

His Excellency, the Admiral,* I flatter myself, will be in sentiment with me; and, as soon as he can spare you, will send you to head-quarters, where I anticipate the pleasure of seeing you.



The coincidence between your Excellency's timents, respecting the Marquis de Lafayette's challenge, communicated in the letter with which you honored me on the 20th,† and those which I expressed to him, on the same subject, is peculiarly flattering

to me.

I am happy to find, that my disapprobation of this measure was founded on the same arguments, which, in your Excellency's hands, acquire new force and persuasion.


I omitted neither serious reasoning nor pleasantry, to divert him from a scheme in which he could be so easily foiled, without having any credit given to him, by his antagonist, for his generosity and sensibility. Je intimated, that your Excellency did not discounOctober, 1778.

* Count D'Estaing.

tenance it, and that he had pledged himself, to the principal officers of the French squadron, to carry it into execution.

The charms of vindicating the honor of his country were irresistible. But, besides, he had, in a manner, committed himself, and could not decently retract. I continued to lay my friendly commands upon him, to renounce his project; but I was well assured, that, if he determined to persevere in it, neither authority nor vigilance would be of any avail, to prevent his message to Lord Carlisle.

Though his ardor overreached my advice and influence, I console myself with the reflection, that his Lordship will not accept the challenge; and that, while our friend gains all the applause which is due to him, for wishing to become the champion of his country, he will be secure from the possibility of such dangers as my fears would otherwise create for him, by those powerful barriers which shelter his Lordship, and which, I am persuaded, he will not, in the present instance, violate.



The reflections which arise on justice and benevolence, will be lastingly grateful.

* This proved to be the case.


Harmony and good will towards men, must be the basis of every political establishment.


The cause of virtue and liberty is confined to no continent or climate. It comprehends, within its capacious limits, the wise and good, however dispersed and separated in space and distance.


We do not wish to be the only people, who may taste the sweets of an equal and good government. We look, with an anxious eye, to the time, when happiness and tranquillity shall prevail, and when all Europe shall be freed from commotions, tumults, and alarms.



Perhaps there never was another man, whose personal character and conduct exercised an influence, so powerful and so beneficial, on the destiny of a great nation. JAMES GRAHAME.

Can tyrants but by tyrants conquered be,
And freedom find no champion and no child,
Such as Columbia saw arise, when she

Sprung forth a Pallas, arm'd and undefil'd?
Or must such minds be nourish'd in the wild,
Deep in the unpruned forest, 'midst the roar
Of cataracts, where nursing nature smiled
On infant WASHINGTON? Has earth no more

Such seeds within her breast, or Europe no such shore?

He changed mankind's ideas of political greatness.




As the Congress desire it, I will enter upon the momentous duty,* and exert every power I possess, in their service, and for the support of the glorious



* Commander-in-chief.

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