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i Tanym cċire Burgoyne ta Eva 41 One posts selind as must make his EUR BUT THIS TILL ind extremely capable of irre we have in front." is mcmoment in the neighborhood of Vislingen was repeatedly at that mang lased kainted with the military Caes of the pace and its surrounding counCar the rustraction of fortifications I one of these visits he became Kranzi va de mang Marquis de Lafayette, mindy mived from France, in com312 na number of French. Polish, and GerLes men whom was the Baron de 1. Te miris was not quite twenty years 12. THE IỈ Lady been married nearly three PAST À MỘT of rack and fortune. Full of the zumance of Berry, he had torn himself from his zonnen arde, armed his back upon the gayeties and sciences of a ecurt, and in defiance of imrellimens and Belties multiplied in his path, hat mate is way to America to join its hazardaus irties.
He seat in his letters of recommendation to Mr. pren. Chairman of the Committee of Foreign Afms: mi spoled the next day at the door of Cueness to know his success. Mr. Lovell came vel and give him but little encouragement; Congress, in fact was embarassed by the number of dreira applications, many without merit. Lafayette immediately sent in the following note: *After my sacrifices, I have the right to ask two
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favors; one is to serve at my own expense; the other, to commence by serving as a volunteer." 1
This simple appeal had its effect: it called attention to his peculiar case, and Congress resolved on the 31st of July, that in consideration of his zeal, his illustrious family and connections, he should have the rank of major-general in the army of the United States.
It was at a public dinner, where a number of members of Congress were present, that Lafayette first saw Washington. He immediately knew him, he said, from the officers who surrounded him, by his commanding air and person. When the party was breaking up, Washington took him aside, complimented him in a gracious manner on his disinterested zeal and the generosity of his conduct, and invited him to make head-quarters his home. 66 I cannot promise you the luxuries of a court," said he, "but as you have become an American soldier, you will, doubtless, accommodate yourself to the fare of an American army.” Many days had now elapsed without further tidings of the fleet. What had become of it? Had Howe gone against Charleston? If so, the distance was too great to think of following him. Before the army, debilitated and wasted by a long march, under a summer sun, in an unhealthy climate, could reach there, he might accomplish every purpose he had in view, and reëmbark his troops to turn his arms against Philadelphia, or any other point, without the army being at hand to oppose him.
1 Memoires du Gen. Lafayette, tom. i. p. 19.
What, under these uncertainties, was to be done? Remain inactive, in the remote probability of Howe's returning this way; or proceed to the Hudson with a view either to oppose Burgoyne, or make an attempt upon New York? A successful stroke with respect to either, might make up for any losses sustained in the South. The latter was unanimously determined in a council of war, in which the Marquis Lafayette took part. As it was, however, a movement that might involve the most important consequences, Washington sent his aide-de-camp, Colonel Alexander Hamilton, with a letter to the President of Congress, requesting the opinion of that body. Congress approved the decision of the council, and the army was about to be put in march, when all these tormenting uncertainties were brought to an end by intelligence that the fleet had actually entered the Chesapeake, and anchored at Swan Point, at least two hundred miles within the capes. "By General Howe's coming so far up the Chesapeake," writes Washington," he must mean to reach Philadelphia by that route, though to be sure it is a strange one."
The mystery of these various appearances and vanishings, which had caused so much wonder and perplexity, is easily explained. Shortly before putting to sea with the ships of war, Howe had sent a number of transports, and a ship cut down as a floating battery, up the Hudson, which had induced Washington to dispatch troops to the Highlands. After putting to sea, the fleet was a week in reaching the Capes of Delaware. When
LAFAYE1 гE'S COMMISSION HONORARY. 155
there, the commanders were deterred from entering the river by reports of measures taken to obstruct its navigation. It was then determined to make for Chesapeake Bay, and approach, in that way, as near as possible to Philadelphia. Contrary winds, however, kept them for a long time from getting into the bay.
Lafayette, in his memoirs, describes a review of Washington's army which he witnessed about this time. "Eleven thousand men, but tolerably armed, and still worse clad, presented," he said, "a singular spectacle; in this parti-colored and often naked state, the best dresses were hunting shirts of brown linen. Their tactics were equally irregular. They were arranged without regard to size, excepting that the smallest men were the front rank; with all this, there were good looking soldiers conducted by zealous officers."
"We ought to feel embarrassed," said Washington to him, "in presenting ourselves before an officer just from the French army."
It is to learn, and not to instruct, that I come here,” was Lafayette's apt and modest reply; and it gained him immediate popularity.
The marquis, however, had misconceived the nature of his appointment; his commission was merely honorary, but he had supposed it given with a view to the command of a division of the army. This misconception on his part caused Washington some embarrassment. The marquis, with his characteristic vivacity and ardor, was eager for immediate employ. He admitted that he was young and inexperienced, but always ac
companied the admission with the assurance that, so soon as Washington should think him fit for the command of a division, he would be ready to enter upon the duties of it, and, in the mean time, offered his services for a smaller command. "What the designs of Congress respecting this gentleman are, and what line of conduct I am to pursue to comply with their design and his expectations," writes Washington, "I know not, and beg to be instructed.”
"The numberless applications for employment by foreigners under their respective appointments," continues he, "add no small embarassment to a command, which, without it, is abundantly perplexed by the different tempers I have to do with, and the different modes which the respective States have pursued in nominating and arranging their officers; the combination of all is but too just a representation of a great chaos, from whence we are endeavoring, how successfully time only can show, to draw some regularity and order." How truly is here depicted one of the great difficulties of his command, continually tasking his equity and equanimity. In the present instance it was intimated to Washington, that he was not bound by the tenor of Lafayette's commission to give him a command; but was at liberty to follow his own judgment in the matter. This still left him in a delicate situation, with respect to the marquis, whose prepossessing manners and self-sacrificing zeal inspired regard; but whose extreme youth and inexperience necessi1 Washington to Benjamin Harrison. Sparks, v. 35.