George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Marie-Joseph-Paul-Yves-Roch-Gilbert du Motier, marquis de Lafayette, 21 December 1781 to 23 December 1781

Alliance off Boston december 21st-23 1781

My Dear General

I am Sorry to think We are not yet Gone, and there Still Remain Some doubts of our Going to Morrow—This delay I Lament not So Much on private Accounts as I do it on the Account of our Next Campaign in the planning of Which Your Opinion as I will deliver it Must Be of Great Use to the Common Cause—As to the departement of foreign affairs I will Be Happy to justify the Confidence of Congress By Giving My opinion to the Best of My power Whenever it is Asked for—But the Affair of Finances Will I fear Be a difficult point for the American Minister—in Which However I will Be Happy to Help Him with My Utmost Exertions—the Moment I Arrive in france, I will Minutely write to You How things Stand and Give You the Best Accounts in My power.

I Have Received Every Mark of Affection in Boston, and am Much Attached to this town to Which I Have So Many obligations—But on public Considerations I Have Been impatient to leave it and Go on Board the frigat Where I Receive all possible Civilities But Where I Had Rather Be Under Sails than at Anchor.

There is Nothing New in this Part of the World—For mr temple is not a New thing—But as Your Curiosity May Be Raised upon this Subject, I will tell you My opinion of the Gentleman.

Before I Heard His friends, My Suspicions were Great—after I Heard them they were Still Greater—But I paid mr temple, or Rather I Returned a Visit, and When I Came out I Had to mr temple this obligation that not the Shadow of a doubt Remained in His favor—His political Character is this—A personal picque Made Him an opposition Man—the only one Service He Has Rendered to America Has Been the Service of a Spy—That is the Best part of His Character—What follows So Clearly Marks Him as an English Man in His Affections as Well as His principles—He is So much Said By His very friends to Be a Man who is in Want of Monney, and Cannot Support Himself Unless He Receives Monney—Which they Give as an Excuse for His Remaining in England, and Which, Unless Mr Morris pays Him, is an Excuse, I think, for Sending Him off. It is so well known that When He Came with Berkenout, the doctor was the Better Man of the two, that I Can not Conceive there still Remains Any doubts with Any Body.

But mr temple is pleased to Remove them—He tells me the Moment He Came to london He waïted on Lord North and Had with Him a Conference of three Hours upon the State of American affairs—thus when He Was late Here He Made it a point to Inquire How far the prejudices of the people were Removed—and so on—He tells Every Body that His View is to Be Employed on the one or the other Side, and particularly to Be Initiated in the American Commission for peace, thus mr temple Clearly prove these two things—1st That He is in the interest of Britain—2dly that He Has not Sense Enough to Hurt any Cause—But the Cause in Which He is Engaged.

But for Mr Baudowin’s Sake Whom I Greatly Regard I Wish He Was not so prejudiced in Favor of His Son in law—from Hence Comes that His friends think themselves obliged out of Compliment to tolerate mr temple—He is Now in the Hands of the Attorney General—But as He will Be tried for His life, Great Endeavours Will Be Made to Save Him—and indeed He is not Worth Making So much Ado—the thing I was wishing for is to Have Him Considered as an English man, and for the discouragement of More Sensible Spies, Sent about other Business.


I Beg Your pardon, My dear General, to Give You so much trouble in Reading My Scribles—But We are going to Sail, and My last Adieu I must dedicate to My Beloved General—Adieu, My dear General, I know Your Heart So Well that I am Sure no distance Can Alter Your Attachement to me.—With the Same Candor, I Assure You that My love, My Respect, My Gratitude for you are above Expressions, that on the Moment of leaving You I more than ever felt the strength of those friendly ties that for Ever Bind me to You, and that I Anticipate the pleasure, the Most Wished for pleasure to be again With you, and By my zeal and Services to gratify the feelings of My Respect and Affection. Adieu, My dear General, Your Respectfull and tender friend


Will you pleased to present My Compliments and Respects to Mrs Washington, and to Remember me to gnl Knox, & gnl lincoln.


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