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political portion of the business, but the military and popular part fell wholly into his hands, and demanded the exercise of talents entirely different from those of either a general or an administrator. It has been not infrequently written more or less plainly, and it is constantly said, that Washington was great in character, but that in brains he was not far above the commonplace. It is even hinted sometimes that the father of his country was a dull man, a notion which we shall have occasion to examine more fully further on. At this point let the criticism be remembered merely in connection with the fact that to coöperate with allies in military matters demands tact, quick perception, firmness, and patience. In a word, it is a task which calls for the finest and most highly trained intellectual powers, and of which the difficulty is enhanced a thousandfold when the allies were, on the one side, an old, aristocratic, punctilious people, and on the other, colonists utterly devoid of tradition, etiquette, or fixed habits, and very much accustomed to go their own way and speak their own minds with careless freedom. With this problem Washington was obliged suddenly to deal, both in ill success and good success, as well as in many attempts which came to nothing. Let us see how he solved it at the very outset, when everything went most perversely wrong. On July 14th he heard that D'Estaing's fleet was off the coast, and at once, without a trace of elation or excitement, he began to consider the possibility of intercepting the British fleet expected to arrive shortly from Cork. As soon as D'Estaing was within reach he sent two of his aides on board the flagship, and at once opened a correspondence with his ally. These letters of welcome, and those of suggestion which followed, are models, in their way, of what such letters ought always to be. They were perfectly adapted to satisfy the etiquette and the love of good manners of the French, and yet there was not a trace of anything like servility, or of an effusive gratitude which outran the favors granted. They combined stately courtesy with simple dignity, and are phrased with a sober grace which shows the thoroughly strong man, as capable to turn a sentence, if need be, as to rally retreating soldiers in the face of the enemy. In this first meeting of the allies nothing happened fortunately. D'Estaing had had a long passage, and was too late to cut off Lord Howe at the Delaware. Then he turned to New York, and was too late there, and found further that he could not get his ships over the bar. Hence more delays, so that he was late again in getting to Newport, where he was to unite with Sullivan in driving the British from Rhode Island, as Washington had planned, in case of failure at New York, while the French were still hovering on the coast. When D'Estaing finally reached Newport, there was still another delay of ten days, and then, just as he and Sullivan were preparing to attack, Lord Howe, with his squadron reinforced, appeared off the harbor. Promising to return, D'Estaing sailed out to give the enemy battle, and after much manoeuvring both fleets were driven off by a severe storm, and D'Estaing came back only to tell Sullivan that he must go to Boston at once to refit. Then came the protest addressed to the Count and signed by all the American officers; then the departure of D'Estaing, and an indiscreet proclamation to the troops by Sullivan, reflecting on the conduct of the allies. When D'Estaing had actually gone, and the Americans were obliged to retreat, there was much grumbling in all directions, and it looked as if the first result of the alliance was to be a very pretty quarrel. It was a bad and awkward business. Congress had the good sense to suppress the protest of the officers, and Washington, disappointed, but perhaps not wholly surprised, set himself to work to put matters right. It was no easy task to soothe the French, on the one hand, who were naturally aggrieved at the utterances of the American officers and at the popular feeling, and on the other to calm his own people, who were, not without reason, both disappointed and provoked. To Sullivan, fuming with wrath, he wrote: “Should the expedition fail through the abandonment of the French fleet, the officers concerned will be apt to complain loudly. But prudence dictates that we should put the best face upon the matter, and to the world attribute the removal to Boston to necessity. The reasons are too obvious to need explain

ing.” And again, a few days later: “First impressions, you know, are generally longest remembered, and will serve to fix in a great degree our national character among the French. In our conduct towards them we should remember that they are a people old in war, very strict in military etiquette, and apt to take fire when others scarcely seem warmed. Permit me to recommend, in the most particular manner, the cultivation of harmony and good agreement, and your endeavor to destroy that ill-humor which may have got into officers.” To Lafayette he wrote: “Everybody, sir, who reasons, will acknowledge the advantages which we have derived from the French fleet, and the zeal of the commander of it; but in a free and republican government you cannot restrain the voice of the multitude. Every man will speak as he thinks, or, more properly, without thinking, and consequently will judge of effects without attending to the causes. The censures which have been levelled at the French fleet would more than probably have fallen in a much higher degree upon a fleet of our own, if we had had one in the same situation. It is the nature of man to be displeased with everything that disappoints a favorite hope or flattering project; and it is the folly of too many of them to condemn without investigating circumstances.” Finally he wrote to D'Estaing, deploring the difference which had arisen, mentioning his own efforts and wishes to restore harmony, and said: “It is in the trying circumstances to which your Excellency

has been exposed that the virtues of a great mind are displayed in their brightest lustre, and that a general's character is better known than in the moment of victory. It was yours by every title that can give it; and the adverse elements that robbed you of your prize can never deprive you of the glory due you. Though your success has not been equal to your expectations, yet you have the satisfaction of reflecting that you have rendered essential services to the common cause.” This is not the letter of a dull man. Indeed, there is a nicety about it that partakes of cleverness, a much commoner thing than greatness, but something which all great men by no means possess. Thus by tact and comprehension of human nature, by judicious suppression and judicious letters, Washington, through the prudent exercise of all his commanding influence, quieted his own people and soothed his allies. In this way a serious disaster was averted, and an abortive expedition was all that was left to be regretted, instead of an ugly quarrel, which might readily have neutralized the vast advantages flowing from the French alliance. Having refitted, D'Estaing bore away for the West Indies, and so closed the first chapter in the history of the alliance with France. Nothing more was heard of the allies until the spring was well advanced, when M. Gérard, the minister, wrote, intimating that D'Estaing was about to return, and asking what we would do. Washington replied at length, professing his willingness to coöperate in

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