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Nothing can be more obvious, than that a sound Military Establishment and the interests of economy are the same.



Our troops being already formed and fully officered, and the number of foreign gentlemen, already commissioned, and continually arriving with fresh applications, throw such obstacles in the way of any future appointments, that every new arrival is only a new source of embarrassment to Congress and myself, and of disappointment and chagrin to the gentlemen. who come over.

Had there been only a few to provide for, we might have found employment for them, in a way advantageous to the service, and honorable to themselves. But, as they have come over in such crowds, we either must not employ them, or we must do it at the expense of one half of the Officers of the army; which would be attended with the most ruinous effects, and could not fail to occasion a general discontent.


It is impossible, for these gentlemen to raise men for themselves. And it would be equally impolitic and unjust, to displace others, who have been at all

the trouble and at considerable expense in raising corps, in order to give them the command.

Even when vacancies happen, there are always those who have a right of succession by seniority, and who are as tenacious of this right as of the places they actually hold; and in this they are justified by the common principles and practice of all armies, and by resolutions of Congress. Were these vacancies to be filled by the foreign officers, it would not only cause the resignation of those who expect to succeed to them, but it would serve to disgust others, both through friendship to them, and from an apprehension of their being liable to the same inconvenience themselves. This, by rendering the hope of preferment precarious, would remove one of the principal springs of emulation, absolutely necessary to be upheld in the army.



The lavish manner in which rank has hitherto been bestowed on these gentlemen, will certainly be productive of one or the other of these two evils; either to make it despicable in the eyes of Europe, or become the means of pouring them in upon us like a torrent, and adding to our present burden.

But it is neither the expense nor trouble of them that I most dread. There is an evil, more extensive

in its nature, and fatal in its consequences, to be apprehended; and that is, the driving of all our own officers out of the service, and throwing not only our army, but our military councils, entirely into the hands of Foreigners.


The officers on whom you most depend for the defence of this cause, distinguished by length of service, their connections, property, and, in behalf of many, I may add, military merit, will not submit, much if any longer, to the unnatural promotion of men over them, who have nothing more than a little plausibility, unbounded pride and ambition, and a perseverance in application not to be resisted but by uncommon firmness, to support their pretensions; men, who, in the first instance, tell you they wish for nothing more than the honor of serving in so glorious a cause as volunteers, the next day solicit rank without pay, the day following want money advanced to them, and in the course of a week want further promotion, and are not satisfied with any thing you can do for them.

When I speak of officers not submitting to these appointments, let me be understood to mean, that they have no more doubt of their right to resign, when they think themselves aggrieved, than they have of a power in Congress to appoint. Both being granted, then, the expediency and the policy of the measure remain.

to be considered; and whether it is consistent with justice and prudence, to promote these military fortune-hunters, at the hazard of the army.



They may be divided into three classes; namely,— 1. Mere adventurers, without recommendation, or recommended by persons who do not know how else to dispose of or provide for them ;-2. Men of great ambition, who would sacrifice every thing to promote their own personal glory;-or, 3. Mere spies, who are sent here to obtain a thorough knowledge of our situation and circumstances, in the execution of which, I am persuaded, some of them are faithful emissaries, as I do not believe a single matter escapes unnoticed, or unadvised at a foreign court.



The ambition of these men, (I do not mean of the Messieurs Neuville in particular, but of the natives of their country and foreigners in general,) is unbounded. And the singular instances of rank which have been conferred upon them, in but too many cases, have occasioned great dissatisfaction and general complaint. The feelings of our own officers have been hurt by it,

and their ardor and love for the service greatly damped.

Should a like proceeding still be practised, it is not easy to say what extensive murmurings and consequences may ensue.

I will still further add, that we have already a full proportion of foreign officers in our general councils; and, should their number be increased, it may happen, upon many occasions, that their voices may equal, if not exceed, the rest.



I trust you *think me so much of a citizen of the world, as to believe I am not easily warped or led away, by attachments merely local or American. Yet I confess I am not entirely without them; nor does it appear to me, that they are unwarrantable, if confined within proper limits.

Fewer promotions, in the foreign line, would have been productive of more harmony, and made our warfare more agreeable to all parties. The frequency of them is a source of jealousy, and of disunion. We have many, very many deserving officers, who are not opposed to merit wheresoever it is found, nor insensible to the advantages derived from a long service in an experienced army, nor to the principles of policy.

*President Laurens.

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