George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Marie-Joseph-Paul-Yves-Roch-Gilbert du Motier, marquis de Lafayette, 8 December 1780

New Windsor 8th Decr 1780

Mr dear Marqs

Since mine of yesterday by the Count de Castine another oppertunity has offered of writing to you more leizurely, & as your departure for the Southward—if that ultimately should be your determination—may be incommoded by delay, I have taken the liberty of facilitating your journey by the inclosed dispatches. I beg you to be perswaded however, that I do not mean by this to fix your determination of serving in the Southern Army. It is my earnest wish (as I mentioned at Morris Town) that you shd be governed in this matter by European & Southern advices wch ought, & alone can, determine you with propriety—These you are more in the way of receiving than I am. If there is a prospect of a naval superiority in these Seas—and an augmentation of the (French) land force at Rhode Island, I shall with the freedom of a friend give it as my opinion, that your going to the Southern Army (if you expect a command in this) will answer no valuable purpose; but must be fatigueing to yourself & embarrassing to Generl Greene as it may contravene a permanent arrangement to the disgust of those who considering themselves as belonging to that Army may be hurt at disappointments—On the other hand, if we are likely to remain in a state of inactivity in this quarter your seeking service to the Southward where their is a more fruitful field for enterprize is not only an evidence of your Zeal but will be supported by every rule of military reasoning—hence it is, I again repeat, that circumstances should, alone decide.

In all places, and at all times, my best wishes for your health—honor & glory will accompany you. with much truth I can add that I am—My dear Marqs Yr most Obedt & Affecte Ser.

Go: Washington

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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