My dearest Friend
I read in a great Writer, Montesquieu that "l'honneur, en imposant la loi de servir, veut en tre l'arbitre; et, s'il se trouve choqu, il exige ou permet qu'on se retire chez Soi."
C'est une des R gles supr mes de l'honneur, Que lorsque nous avons t une fois plac s dans un rang, nous ne devons rien faire ni souffrir qui fasse voir que nous nous tenons inferieurs ce rang m me."
These being the supream Laws of Honor in all the Countries of Europe, it is astonishing that Congress should wound the feelings of their Servants whom they send to Europe in such delicate Points, and by this means lessen their Reputations and Influence, at a time when they wanted Support to their Reputations more than any other Men.
It may be said that Virtue, that is Morality, applied to the Public is the Rule of Conduct in Republicks, and not Honor. True. But American Ministers are acting in Monarchies, and not in Republicks. Such a Slur may not hurt a Man in America so much as in France, or England or Holland, but in these Countries it certainly diminishes him and his Utility exceedingly.
But upon the Rule of Virtue, I hold that Virtue requires We should serve, where We can do most good. I am soberly of Opinion, that for one or two Years to come I could do more good in
My Mind and Body stand in need of Repose. My Faculties have been too long upon the Stretch. A Relaxation of a few Years would be the Life the most charming to me, that I can concieve.
Dont be concerned at any thing I have written concerning Spots, Blemishes, Stains and Disgraces. When all is known, they will be universally acknowledged to be Laurels, Ornaments and Trophies. They will do neither You nor me nor Ours harm in the End.
I cannot say precisely, when You will see me. I hope by the Month of June or July, but it may be August or September, and it is possible it may be in April or May. It will depend upon the Time