To Major General Lafayette
White plains Augt 10th 1778
My dear Marqs,
Your favor of the 6th Instt which came to my hands yesterday, afforded a fresh proof of the noble principles on which you act, and has a just claim to my sincere & hearty thanks.
The common cause, of which you have been a Zealous supporter would I know, be benefitted by Genl Greene’s presence at Rhode Island, as he is a native of that State—has an interest with the People—and a thorough knowledge of the Country—and therefore I accepted his proffered Services1—but was a little uneasy lest you should conceive that, it was intended to lessen your Command. Merely as Qr Master Genl, Genl Greene did not incline to act in a detached part of the Army; nor was it to be expected; It became necessary therefore to give him a Command, and consequently, to divide the Continental Troops. Your chearful acquiescence to the Measure, after being appointed to the command of the Brigades that Marched from this Army, obviated every difficulty, and gave me singular pleasure.
I am very happy to find that the Standards of France & America are likely to be united under your Commd at Rhode Island—I am perswaded that the supporters of each will be emulous to acquire honor, & promote your glory upon this occasion.2
The Courier to Count D’Estaing is waiting, I have only time therefore to assure you, that with the most perfect esteem, & exalted regard, I have the honor to be My dear Marqs Yr Obedt & Affecte Servt
ADfS, DLC:GW; LB, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.
1. The letter-book copy adds the words “with pleasure” at this point.
2. At this point the letter-book copy continues with two paragraphs that are not in the draft or Varick transcript: “Apropos, can you, my Dear Marquis, through the medium of your lovely lady (if she is at the Court of Versailles) or by any other indirect means, discover whether there is any truth in the information given to me at Paramous by Mrs Watkins & other ladies, that your amiable Queen had honored Mrs Washington with an elegant testimonial of her approbation of my conduct. These Ladies asserted, so confidently, that a present from her Most Christian Majesty, to Mrs Washington had been taken by the Enemy, carried into New-York, & there sold at public auction for the benefit of the Captors; that altho’ it was too great an honor to be expected, I could not forbear giving credence to the report; and am anxious to know the truth, that if I am indebted to her Majesty for such distinguished honor, I may get some friend of yours to lay my thanks at her feet, with an assurance of such perfect respect & attachment as you know I have always professed & felt for your Queen, on account of her virtues—her sentiments in favour of America and the general rights & liberties of Mankind.
“The reason, my Dear Marquis, for wishing that this enquiry may be carried on in an indirect way, is obvious; for altho’ I should prize such a testimonial (if it has really happened) above rubies, and would prostrate my grateful thanks at the Queens feet for the honour intended; yet, I would not, if the case is otherwise, invite by the most distant hint, nor even accept, from the Empress of the universe, a present, if I should conceive that it was not prompted by an Act of the Will.”