George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Benjamin Franklin, 15 January 1781

New Windsor Jany 15th 1781

Dear Sir,

I have the honour of addressing this Letter to you by Colonel Laurens, one of my Aide De Camps, whom Congress has been pleased to Commission for particular purposes to the Court of Versailles.

justice to the character of this Gentleman conspiring with motives of friendship will not permit me to let him depart without testifying to you the high opinion I entertain of his worth, as a Citizen and as a Soldier. You will find him a Man of Abilities, perfectly acquainted with our circumstances, and exemplary for his honour and candor. I can, with pleasure, add assurances of his attachment to you personally & of his perfect disposition to conform to his instructions by availing himself of your advice and assistance upon all occasions; and with this conviction, I confidently take the liberty of recommending him to your friendship.

The present infinitely critical posture of our affairs, made it essential, in the opinion of Congress to send from hence a person who had been eye witness to their progress, and who was capable of placing them before the Court of France in a more full and striking point of light; than was proper or even practicable by any written communications. It was also judged of great importance that the person should be able to give a military view of them and to enter military details and arrangements. The choice has fallen upon Colonel Laurens as a Gentleman who unites all these advantages, and adds to them in integrity and an independence of character, which render him superior to any spirit of party.

What I have said to him, I beg leave to repeat to you, that to me nothing appears more evident, than that the period of our opposition will very shortly arrive, if our Allies cannot afford us that effectual aid; particularly in money, and in a naval superiority, which are now solicited. Colonel Laurens is so fully possessed of my Ideas of our situation and wants and has himself so thorough a knowledge of them, that I should trouble you to no purpose by enlarging—You may place entire confidence in him, and in the assurances that I am, with the warmest sentiments of respect, esteem & regard, Dear Sir, Yr most obed & Most humble servant

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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