"I am not one who was born in the custody of wisdom. I am one who is fond of olden times and intense in quest of the sacred knowing of the ancients." Gustave Courbet

17 September 2020

Happy Birthday, Von Steuben

Peale, Major General Friedrich Wilhelm Augustus, Baron von Steuben, 1780

Friedrich von Steuben was born on this day in 1730.

A letter to George Washington ...

From Steuben
Portsmouth, N.H., 6 December 1777
Honorable Sir,

The inclosed Copy of a Letter whose Original I Shall have the honor to present to your Excellency, will instruct you of the motives that brought me over to this Land. I shall add only to it that the Object of my greatest Ambition is to render your Country all the Services in my Power, and to deserve the title of a Citizen of America by fighting for the Cause of your Liberty.1

If the distinguished Ranks I have Served in in Europe Should be an Obstacle, I had rather Serve under Your Excellency as a Volunteer, than to be a Subject of Discontent to Such deserving Officers as have already distinguished themselves amongst you.

Such being the Sentiments I always profest, I dare hope that the respectable Congress of the United States of America, will accept my Services. I could Say moreover (Were it not for the fear of offending your Modesty) that your Excellency is the only Person under whom (after having Served under the King of Prussia) I could wish to pursue an Art to which I have Wholly given up my Self.

I intend to go to Boston in a few Days where I shall present my Letters to the Honble John Hancock Esqr. Member of Congress, and there I shall wait for your Excellency’s Orders, according to which I shall take convenient Measures. I have the honor to be with respect Honorable Sir Your Excellency’s most obedient and most humble servant


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