« PrejšnjaNaprej »
General's satisfaction ; she became the happy wife of Lawrence Lewis, as will be recorded in a future page.
Early in the autumn, Washington had been relieved from his constant solicitude about the fortunes of Lafayette. Letters received by George W. Lafayette from friends in Hamburg, informed the youth that his father and family had been liberated from Olmutz and were on their way to Paris, with the intention of embarking for America. George was disposed to sail for France immediately, eager to embrace his parents and sisters in the first moments of their release. Washington urged him to defer his departure until he should receive letters from the prisoners themselves, lest they should cross the ocean in different directions at the same time, and pass each other, which would be a great shock to both parties. George, however, was not to be persuaded, and "I could not withhold my assent," writes Washington, “ to the gratification of his wishes, to fly to the arms of those whom he holds most dear."
George and his tutor, Mr. Frestel, sailed from New York on the 26th of October. Washington writes from Mount Vernon to Lafayette: “This letter, I hope and expect, will be presented to you by your son, who is highly deserving of such parents as you and your amiable lady.
“He can relate, much better than I can describe, my participation in your sufferings, my solicitude for your relief, the measures I adopted, though ineffectual, to facilitate your liberation from an unjust and cruel imprisonment, and the joy I experienced at the news of its accomplishment. I shall hasten, therefore, to congratulate you, and be assured that no one can do it
GEORGE W. LAFAYETTE.
with more cordiality, with more sincerity, or with greater affection on the restoration of that liberty which every act of your life entitles you to the enjoyment of; and I hope I may add, to the uninterrupted possession of your estates, and the confidence of your country.”
The account which George W. Lafayette had received of the liberation of the prisoners of Olmutz was premature. It did not take place until the 19th of September, nor was it until in the following month of February that the happy meeting took place between George and his family, whom he found residing in the chateau of a relative in Holstein.
CHAPTER X X XII.
PARTING ADDRESS OF THE FRENOH DIREOTORY TO MR. MONROE-THE NEW
DOUBTS THEIR SUCCESS-HEARS OF AN OLD COMPANION IN ARMS
THE THREE MINISTERS AND TALLEYRAND-THEIR DEGRADING TREAT
MENT-THREATENED WAR WITH FRANCE-WASHINGTON APPOINTED
OOMMANDER-IN-CHIEF-ARRANGES FOR THREE MAJOR GENERALS
WASHINGTON had been but a few months at Mount Vernon, when he received intelligence that his successor in office had issued a proclamation for a special session of Congress. He was not long in doubt as to its object. The French government had declared, on the recall of Mr. Monroe, that it would not receive any new minister plenipotentiary from the United States until that power should have redressed the grievances of which the republic had complained. When Mr. Monroe had his aụdience of leave, Mr. Barras, the president of the Directory, addressed him in terms complimentary to himself, but insulting to his country. “ The French Republic hopes,” said he, “that the successors of Columbus, of Raleigh, and of Penn, ever proud of their liberty, will never forget that they owe it to France.
wisdom, they will weigh the magnanimous benevolence of the French people with the artful caresses of perfidious designers, who meditate to draw them back to their ancient slavery. Assure, Mr. Minister, the good American people that, like them, we adore liberty; that they will always have our esteem, and that they will find in the French people the, republican generosity which knows how to accord peace, as it knows how to make its sovereignty respected.
“As to you, Mr. Minister Plenipotentiary, you have fought for the principles, you have known the true interests of your country. Depart with our regrets. We give up, in you, a representative of America, and we retain the remembrance of the citizen whose
personal qualities honor that title.”
A few days afterwards, when Mr. Charles Cotesworth Pinckney presented himself as successor to Mr. Monroe, the Directory refused to receive him, and followed up the indignity by ordering him to leave the territories of the republic. Its next step was to declare applicable to American ships the rules in regard to neutrals, contained in the treaty which Washington had signed with England.
It was in view of these facts and of the captures of American vessels by French cruisers, that President Adams had issued a proclamation to convene Congress on the 15th of May. In his opening speech, he adverted especially to what had fallen from Mr. Barras in Monroe's audience of leave. • The speech of the President,” said he, “ discloses sentiments more alarming than the refusal of a minister, because more dangerous to our independence and union; and, at the same time, studiously marked with indignities towards the government of the United States. It evinces a disposition to separate the people from their government; to persuade them that they have different affections, principles, and interests from those of their fellow-citizens, whom they themselves have chosen to manage their common concerns, and thus to produce divisions fatal to our peace. Such attempts ought to be repelled with a decision which shall convince France and the world, that we are not a degraded people, humiliated under a colonial spirit of fear, and sense of inferiority, fitted to be the miserable instrument of foreign influence, and regardless of national honor, character, and interest."
Still he announced his intention to institute a fresh attempt by negotiation, to effect an amicable adjustment of differences, on terms compatible with the rights, duties, interests, and honor of the nation, but in the mean time he recommended to Congress to provide effectual measures of defence.
Though personally retired from public life, Washington was too sincere a patriot to be indifferent to public affairs, and felt acutely the unfriendly acts of the French Government, so repugnant to our rights and dignity. “ The President's speech," writes he, “will, I conceive, draw forth, mediately or immediately, an expression of the public mind; and as it is the right of the people that this should be carried into effect, their sentiments ought to be unequivocally known, that the principles on which the government has acted, and which, from the President's speech, are likely to be continued, may either be changed, or the opposition that is endeavoring to embarrass every measure of the