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Lafayette, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert Du Motier, marquis de (1757-1834) to Richard Meade

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC03647 Author/Creator: Lafayette, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert Du Motier, marquis de (1757-1834) Place Written: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 29 December 1780 Pagination: 4 p. ; 20.5 x 33 cm.

Discusses selection of an American envoy being sent to France. Congress had decided to send an envoy extraordinary to France to secure a loan and improve supply shipments. Lafayette tried to help Alexander Hamilton attain this post, but failed. Says that all admitted Hamilton was the "best calculated for this mission," but "he is not very popular" and not a "Southern Man" so he was not chosen by the Congress. Instead John Laurens was selected. Inform his "very good friend" that a French officer will soon be arriving to meet Meade. Happy to hear from Martha Bland that Meade will be in camp. Details the kind of horses that he would like Meade to purchase for him. Hamilton and Laurens were best friends, and both served as aide-de-camp for George Washington.

Richard Kidder Meade was a lieutenant-colonel who served as George Washington's aide-de-camp from 1777 until the close of the war.
Martha Dangerfield Bland was the wife of Theodoric Bland, an American officer and friend of George Washington's. Martha Bland was friendly with Martha Washington. The women both spent significant time in camp, and in Martha Bland even helped nurse General Washington.
John Laurens managed to secure aid from both France and the Netherlands as an envoy to the former nation. Son of statesmen Henry Laurens, he also served admirably as an officer during the Revolution.

Philadelphia december the 29th 1780
Dear Meade
I did myself the pleasure of writing to you some days ago, and took the liberty of introducing to your acquaintance Marquis de Laval and Count de Custine officers of distinction in the French army whom I dare say you will have seen before this Reaches you
I am very happy, my good friend, to hear that on the oppening of the Campaign the fine Bearing of the General will recall you to [2] Head Quarters - I was extremely sorry to think that Col Meade would be missing in the family [Washington's staff] at a time when we may hope for some thing Brilliant and truly interesting - Necessity was your objection, and to this I could not make any answer - But Mrs Bland assur'd me that you had in spite of her taken the determination to return by which I was made truly happy
Congress have determin'd to send a Gentleman to France who might expose our situation, get the success we want, talk of plans for the enduring Campaign, and return immediately to America - I did what I could to have our [3] friend [Alexander] Hamilton appointed - But you know he is not very popular in that house, and we could never obtain a majority in his favr. Laurens was appointed and refus'd to go as long as we presev'd the smallest hope of having Hamilton who was of all men I know the best calculated for this mission which would have brought him back for the interesting part of the campaign - This last opinion every body seem'd to be sensible of - But they could not get over other objections which tho Groundless operated against him - one of them was his not being a Southern Man.
I am Going, my dear sir, to give you a great trouble - But you know how I am for horses and how difficult it is for me to get good [4] ones - the first thing I would be fond of is a very large and Beautiful horse, milk white if such a one could be found, and for whom I would give two hundred Guineas - I would not have great objection to his being a Stallion provided he was very quiete and easy to ride in all Campagnies - if such a horse [strikeout] could be found, I would be extremely oblig'd to you to get it for, and send it to me as soon as possible
I wish also to get an other horse, But not a stalion for whom I would give hundred guineas - I wish he was large, and of a noble figure if such a one as the first could not be found, I would have two of this last kind, and wish one of them [strikeout] was milk white
I have taken so much paper in describing my horses to you that I have hardly enough of it to tell you that I am forever
your affectionate friend Lafayette
[written on left margin of page 4]
Be so kind, my dear Sir, as to present my respects to your lady, who, I dare say, is more of Mrs Bland's than of my opinion.

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