George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Marie-Joseph-Paul-Yves-Roch-Gilbert du Motier, marquis de Lafayette, 4 December 1780

Philadelphia december the 4th 1780

My dear General

I will for this time write a very short letter to You, and Cannot be more particular either on public or private Business, untill some few days stay in this City have enabl’d me to get further informations.

I have been greatly disappointed in my not Meeting Mrs Washington—I have been very angry with my Bad fate which led me into an other Road at the only moment when I Could Miss her—This has been the More the Case, as I knew you was uneasy about her, and I wanted Both to send you an express and to Advise her to the Best Way of Meeting You as soon As possible.

The Southern News are expected this evening—Leslie has Reembark’d, and will probably go to Charlestown—the Southern Members are pleas’d to like My Going towards theyr Country—however, I Cannot for the present be determin’d, as I don’t yet know if the Campaign will be Active, and if Succours are to be expected from france.

By a Vessel Arriv’d from there who left l’orient Before the Middle of October we hear that Nothing Material had happen’d except the taking of the Merchant fleet—Both Naval Armies were in port—there was an expedition of, I think, ten ships of the line and five thousand Men Ready to Sail—this Vessel Came in Compagny with Jones who is daily expected—But a very little part of our cloathing will be on Board—Some will Come on Board the Serapis—Jones who Mounts the Ariel has dispatches from the french Court for us—he however Might have been detain’d By a storm off the french Coast which separated the little Convoy—in the vessel arriv’d was a Mr Ross who, I hope, will give me some Account of the Cloathing, and Baron d’arent who Got Rid of his Rupture, has a star with a Cross and a Ribbond, and is upon very Good terms with the King of Prussia, too.

Congress have debated a Motion about your being desir’d to Go to the Southward, But have determin’d that you would Better know than they if it was More useful to Go or to Stay—I am more than ever of this last opinion.

On My arrival, I found one of the salt Meat Vessels sold and the other to be sold today—I have spoken on the subject to almost every Member of Congress who promis’d that they would take the Best Measures in theyr power to Get these provisions.

Cher de la luzerne has Communicated to me in the Most Confidential Way a Spanish plan against St Augustine—upon which I Am Building a letter for the Generals of this Nation, and using the Best Arguments in My power to engage them either to send twelve ships of the line to take us and Conduct us to Charleston, or to Render theyr operation as useful as possible to Gnl Greene—to morrow I will write you about it. If I have time Before the departure of the Confederacy that is Going to the West indias, I will send you the original if not, A Copy of My letter. This is entirely Confidential as I have not the Chevalier’s permission to Mention it. Adieu, My dear General, Most Respectfully and affectionately Yours



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