ePub 版

but providentially for the United States, the order arrived twelve hours too late; as he had already made sail for the land of liberty. A subsequent order was issued, alike ineffectually, directing the ships of war to detain the vessel wherever found.

Having thus eluded the vigilance of his connexions, and of the government, he arrived in the summer of 1776, at the port of Charleston, where we find him rewarding, in liis usual benevolent manner, the brave garrison of Sullivan's Island, under General Moultrie. Having received the congratulations of the city of Charleston, he proceeded to Philadelphia, where the Congress of the United States then sat, and by whom he was cordially welcomed, and recommended to General Washington. The Commander in Chief, whose intuitive perceptions enabled bim so well to appreciate with capdour the characters of men,

discovered so much disinterestedpess in the conduct of La Fayette, that he immediately offered him a commission in the army. This, however, he declined ; stating that he would, with the permission of the Commander in Chief, act as a volunteer; and when he should have given proofs, by his services, that he merited a commission, he would be ready to receive that honour; that he wished to identify himself, in every respect, as an American citizen; and was oply desirous to follow the example of general Washington, in every situation, whether in war or in peace.

He then acted as volunteer aid-de-camp to the Commander in Chief, in which capacity he distinguished himself for his gallantry, at the battle of Brandywine, where he was wounded.

In July, 1777, little more than a year after his joining the army, Congress passed the following resolution :

In Congress, July 31, 1777.-Whereas the Marquis de la Fayette, out of his great zeal to the cause of liberty, in which the United States are engaged, bas lest his family and connexions, and, at his own expense, come over to offer his services to the United States, without pension or particular allowance, and is anxious to risk his life in our cause: -Resolved, That his service be accepted ; and that, in consideration of his zeal, illustrious family and connexions, he have the rank and commission of a Major General in the army of the United States."

The delicate situation in which this resolution of Congress placed the whole line of the revolutionary army, is worthy of serious reflection. Oficers of all ranks, from subalterns up to brigadiers, who had fought and bled in the cause of freedom, previous to the arrival of this stranger among them, partially acquainted as he was with their very language, manners and customs, yet felt such a conviction of the propriety of the measure, that not a word, nor a whisper, of complaint was heard, against this unprecedented promotion. No cabals, no esprit du corps, no murmurings, no reproaches were heard. All was perfect harmony; and he infused into the hearts of all around him, a redoubled union of patriotic determination to promote the best interests of their common country.

In 1778, at the request of the Commander in Chief, he repaired to RhodeIsland; and for his assistance to the American army, under General Sullivan, in conjunction with the French fleet, received the particular approbation of Congress.

At a momentous crisis in our revolutionary war, Washington assembled a council of his confidential officers, and communicated to them, with bis characteristic equanimity, the difficulties under which our cause was labouring. The paper currency was reduced to its lowest value; the army was in want of the necessary supplies; their pay was greatly in arrears; and apprehensions could not be suppressed of the danger of their being disbanded, in case no remedy could be found. From the apathy and reluctance with which the several states responded to the appeal of Congress on this babject, the Coinmander in Chief felt much anxiety. The numerical force

of the army was not of so much consequence, as the impression made upon the public mind by the knowledge that a revolutionary army existed.

Under these desponding circumstances, the Marquis de la Fayette volunteered his services, and proceeded immediately to France, with a view to obtain supplies. He embarked at Boston, in the frigate Alliance, the only one remaining to the United States; all the others having been taken or destroyed by the British ships of war. Such was the low state of our finances, and the paper money so reduced, that the Naval Department was under the painful necessity of having recourse to the employment of British seamen, taken out of the prison ships in Boston, in order to complete the necessary crew of the Alliance. On his passage to France, his life was endangered by a conspiracy formed by the sea men to destroy him and all the officers; but, providentially, one man's heart failed him; he revealed the sec et; the leaders were arrested and confined ; and the Alliance arrived safe in France. He bastened to meet Dr. Franklin and the Minister of Foreign Affairs; and, having laid his despatches from Congress, and from General Washington, before them, a cabinet council was immediately called, at which the King presided. The King immediately consented, of his own accord, (a circumstance redounding so much to the credit of the good and mild Louis the XVI. that it ought not to be omitted,) that General Washington himself should be instantly authorized to draw bills of exchange on the Royal Treasury at Paris for six millions of livres. The ministers overruled this proposition; but the Marquis had the satisfaction to return to America, in company with several ships of war; laden, in part, with arms, clothing and money; and shortly relieved the wants of the army. The greatest part of the money went into the Bank of North America ; and very much assisted that able financier, Robert Morris, Esq. in completing the specie payment of that bank; so essential at that moment to re-establish the credit of the United States. He also brought the joyful intelligence, that a French fleet and army would soon arrive on our coast.

After this period of gloom, in 1781, the horizon appeared to brighten, General Washington having completed his lines of circumvallation round York-Town, Cornwallis being hard pressed by the allied French and American armies, information was received by General Washington, that the French fleet under Count de Grasse was preparing to get under way for the purpose of attacking the British fleet, which had just then appeared off the Cape with 10,000 troops, for the relief of Lord Cornwallis. Washington, much agitated and alarmed at this determination, immediately sent for the Marquis De La Fayette, requesting he would repair without delay, on board of the Admiral's ship, and state to Count De Grasse the perilous situation in which he would leave the allied armies of America and France should he persevere in his intention of attacking the British fleet. The Marquis was instructed to impress strongly on the mind of the Count de Grasse, that it was the deliberate opinion of the commander in chief and of Count de Rochambeau, that the enemy was manifestly making every effort to relieve their besieged army; and that should the French fleet proceed outside the Capes to attack them, it was more than probable the British-fleet might slip into the Capes, and land 10,000 men in the rear of the allied armies, cut off their supplies from the Chesapeake bay and James river, and compel them to raise the siege and retire into the upper country. The Marquis, on this occasion, made use of the powers of his great mind, and after all the arguments and entreaties he could make use of, at length prevailed upon the Count to consent to remain at his anchorage. The Marquis returned on shore, where he met General Washington, who was anxiously waiting his return; and we may easily conceive the relief afforded him by the report of the Marquis, that the Count de Grasse had consented to remain and protect the army at all hazards. I have understood that these facts came out in France in

justification of the conduct of Count de Grasse, in not going out of the Chesapeake to attack the British fleet; as his force was represented to be superior ip number of ships to that of the enemy.

This important event, which the great zeal and talents of La Fayette contributed to accomplish, immediately led to the surrender of Lord Cornwallis's army. This event, when communicated to the great and good Dr. Franklin, by the bearer of Washington's despatches, the Count de Lauzun, led him immediately to esclaim, clasping the Count in his arms,“ THANK God, My COUNTRY IS FREE.” Copy of the last General Orders issued by Major General La Fayette, to

his favourite corps of Light Infantry. “ In the moment the Major General leaves this place, he wishes once more to express his gratitude to the brave corps of light infantry, who for nine months past, have been companions of his fortunes. Ile will never forget that with them alone of regular troops, he had the good fortune to manæuvre before an army which after all its reductions, is still six times superior to the regular force he had at that time.”

The surrender of Lord Cornwallis's army having nearly terminated the Revolutionary War, Congress passed the following resolution.

In Congress, November 23 1781. Resolved, that Major General the Marquis de la Fayette be informed that on a review of his conduct throughout the past campaign, and particularly during the period in which be bad the chief conmand in Virginia, the many new proofs which present themselves of his zealous attachment to the causc he has espoused, and of his judgment, vigilance, gallantry and address in its defence, have greatly added to the bigh opinion entertained by Congress of his merit and military talents.

In 1784, when our Independence had been acknowledged and confirmed.

“ The Congress of the United States appointed a coinmittee consisting of 13 members, one from each state, to receive him, and in the name of Congress to take leave of him in such a manner as might strongly manifest their esteem and regard for him; that congress continue to entertain the same high sense of his abilities and zeal to promote the welfare of America both here and in Europe, which they have frequently expressed and manifested on former occasions ; that the United States regard him with particular affection, and will not cease to feel an interest in whatever may concern his honour and prosperity; and that their best and kindest wishes will always attend him,"

Conclusion of the Marquis's Reply. “May this immense temple of freedom ever stand as a lesson to oppressors, an example to the oppressed, a sanctuary for the rights of mankind : and may these happy United States attain that complete splendor and prosperity which will illustrate the blessings of their government, and for ages to come, rejoice the departed souls of its founders. Never can congress oblige me so much, as when they put it in my power, in every part of the world to the latest day of my life to gratify the attachment which will ever rank me among the most zealous and respectful servants of the U. S.

A biography of General La Fayette has been published in France, in two volumes duodecimo; of the merits of which we know nothing. Robert Waln junr. of Philadelphia, has also a memoir in the press. General de Coudray Holstein, who is at present in this city, is also engaged in composing a biography, which will be published in the course of a few days.

Joan Foote, Jun. of the Theatre, is peparing for the press a continuation of Baker's Biographia Dramatica, from the year 1811. The continuation will contain a list of nearly two thousand dramatic productions, which have appeared since that period, with notices of their authors.


From the Manuscript of J. Burckhardt.

[Concluded from page 360.] Robberies. The son of Ibn Fayz, the great sheikh of the powerful Beni Szakher, had the misfortune of being taken prisoner or Rabiet, by an Arab of the tribe of Rowella in 1812. His father was obliged to pay for his ransom three thousand piastres ready money, in Spanish dollars, thirty camels, two fine mares, two coats of mail, and a fine sword; which may be estimated, altogether, at between eight and nine hundred pounds sterling

Dakheel. If any one should dare to inflict any bodily hurt on the individual who has become the protected subject or Dakheel of another Arab, the Bedouin laws punish such an aggressor with much more severity than if he had committed any other action, however criminal. The protector whose ground,' as the Arabs say, 'has thus been walked over,' has the full right of killing ten persons of the aggressor's family, without incurring the effects of the blood revenge.

It becomes extremely difficult, in such cases, for him to come to a compromise. The writer knew an Aeneze, who had already paid two fine mares and twenty camels, to an Arab of the tribe of Hamyde, because he had wounded a man whom he knew to be under the other's protection. · But the latter is not yet satisfied ; and whenever he meets the former, he obliges him to make him a present of whatever strikes his fancy, as a new abba, or a gun, a lance, &c.

Hospitality among the Bedouins may be called a law, as well as a virtue. The most avaricious individual is obliged to show his hospitality to the stranger; because the scorn of his tribe would follow him through life, if he were to turn out his guest; and hospitality has thus become a public duty. I have known many Bedouins whose generosity, as far as relates to innate sentiment, seemed very dubious. They exercised it, less for self satisfaction and the desire of obliging the stranger, than to have it said in the Dowar that such a one treated his guests well. The women of the encampment immediately spy out whatever has been done for the guests ; and it is known all over the tribe, whether the dish set before them was well buttered or not; or whether a fat or lean lamb has been killed. Other Bedouins, indeed, are truly hospitable and benevolent. Vol. I. No. VI.


They express, by the most ingenuous signs, that they think it an honour and a good fortune for them to possess the stranger under their tent. They treat him with the sincerest demonstrations of the most disinterested friendship; and often offer, as a present, whatever article of tent furniture is seen to attract his notice.

To find yourself an unprotected stranger, among a nation of half savage robbers, not only in the most perfect security, but éven, as it were, in the bosom of your own family, when seated under the tent of a generous Arab, impresses you with a singular esteem for the character of these wanderers of the desert; who live only by plunder, but religiously respect the persons and property even of their enemies, as soon as they are thrown under their protection.

The Bedouin women participate much less than their husbands in the fame of hospitality and generosity. I have generally observed, that whenever a woman commands in a tent, and this is almost as often the case in the desert as in the cities of Europe, she exerts her influence in curtailing the liberality of her husband towards his guests; either from innate avarice, or else in order to purloin from the provision destined for the entertainment of the stranger, a few handfuls of flour, &c. with which she buys, from the pedler of the encampment, a trifling article of raiment or ornanient.

If strangers alight at the tent of an Arab, who happens to have no sheep present to kill for their entertainment, he may take one from the herd of his neighbour, without his leave; and it is even left to his generosity, whether he will afterwards reimburse his neighbour or not. Whereas if this appropriation was merely for his own use, or, as the Arabs say,

* for his womens' sake,' he would be obliged to pay the owner at least five times the value.

Many Bedouins and peasants to the south of Damascus, are rather backward in feeding the horses of the stranger who alights at their house or tent. It is, the custom to throw, about sunset, the barley sack which the horse is to eat, and which every rider carries with him, before the landlord; whose duty it is to fill it. It is known of all tribes and villages, whether they are in the habit of feeding the strangers' horses well or not; and travellers direct their route accordingly. Beni Szakher have the reputation of filling the barley sack better than any other Arabs. They have made it a rule among themselves, that if any guest should be uncivil enough to ask for an increase of the portion of barley already copiously given to him, the landlord is to pour out before him a whole sack of

« 上一頁繼續 »