National Geographic : 1917 Jun
OUR FIRST your exertions in the cause of humanity and the particular regard you have paid to the rights of the citizens." PREJUDICES 300 YEARS OLD DESTROYED IN 3 YEARS Writing at the moment when departure was imminent, the Maryland Assembly recalled in its address the extraordinary prejudices prevailing shortly before in America against all that was French: "To preserve in troops far removed from their own country the strictest dis cipline and to convert into esteem and affection deep and ancient prejudices was reserved for you. . . . We view with regret the departure of troops which have so conducted, so endeared, and so dis tinguished themselves, and we pray that the laurels they have gathered before Yorktown may never fade, and that vic tory, to whatever quarter of the globe they direct their arms, may follow their standard." The important result of a change in American sentiment toward the French. apart from the military service rendered by them, was confirmed to Rochambeau by La Luzerne, who wrote him: "Your well-behaved and brave army has not only contributed to put an end to the success of the English in this country, but has destroyed in three years preju dices deep-rooted for three centuries." The "President and professors of the University of William and Mary," using a style which was to become habitual in France but a few years later, desired to address Rochambeau, "not in the prosti tuted language of fashionable flattery, but with the voice of truth and republi can sincerity," and, after thanks for the services rendered and the payment made for the building destroyed "by an acci dent that often eludes all possible pre caution," they adverted to the future in tellectual intercourse between the two nations, saying: "Among the many sub stantial advantages which this country hath already derived and which must ever continue to flow from its connection with France, we are persuaded that the improvement of useful knowledge will not be the least. A number of distin guished characters in your army afford ALLIANXCE 547 us the happiest presage that science, as well as liberty, will acquire vigor from the fostering hand of your nation." They concluded: "You have reaped the noblest laurels that victory can be stow, and it is perhaps not an inferior triumph to have obtained the sincere af fection of a grateful people." THE FRENCH ARMY RETURNS TO PROVIDENCE As the summer of 1782 was drawing near, the French army, which had win tered in Virginia, moved northward in view of possible operations. On the I 4 th of August Washington and Rochambeau were again together, in the vicinity of the North River, and the American troops were again reviewed by the French general. They are no longer in tatters, but well dressed and have a fine appearance; their bearing, their ma neuvers are perfect; the commander-in chief, "who causes his drums," Rocham beau relates, "to beat the French march," is delighted to show his soldiers to ad vantage; everybody compliments him. During his stay at Providence, in the course of his journey north, Rochambeau gave numerous fetes, a charming picture of which, as well as of the American so ciety attending them, is furnished us by Segur: "Mr. de Rochambeau, desirous to the very last of proving by the details of his conduct, as well as by the great serv ices he had rendered, how much he wished to keep the affection of the Amer icans and to carry away their regrets, gave in the city of Providence frequent assemblies and numerous balls, to which people flocked from ten leagues around. "I do not remember to have seen gath ered together in any other spot more gayety and less confusion, more pretty women and more happily married cou ples, more grace and less coquetry, a more complete mingling of persons of all classes, between whom an equal decency allowed no untoward difference to be seen. That decency, that order, that wise liberty, that felicity of the new Re public, so ripe from its very cradle, were the continual subject of my surprise and the object of my frequent talks with the Chevalier de Chastellux."