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tion, unless a part of the number are employed in making more knights than one. Let us strike off then the 22,000 on the supposition of this double employ, and then consider whether, after a reasonable estimation of the number of rogues, and fools, and scoundrels, and prostitutes, that are mixed with, and make up necessarily their million of predecessors, posterity will have much reason to boast of the noble blood of the then existing set of chevaliers of Cincin. natus. The future genealogists too of these chevaliers, in proving the lineal descent of their honor through so many generations, (even supposing honor capable in its nature of descending) will only prove the small share of this bonor which can be justly claimed by any one of them, since the above simple process in arithmetic makes it quite plain and clear, that in proportion as the antiquity of the family shall augment, the right to the honor of the ancestor will diminish; and a few generations more would reduce it to something so small as to be very near an absolute nullity. I hope, therefore, that the order will drop this part of their project, and content themselves as the knights of the garter, bath, thistle, St. Louis, and other orders of Europe do, with a life enjoyment of their little badge and ribband, and let the distinction die with those who have merited it. This I imagine will give no offence. For my own part, I shall think it a convenience, when I go into a company where there may be faces unknown to me, if I discover, by this badge, the persons who merit some particular expression of my respect; and it will save modest virtue the trouble of calling for our regard, by awkward round-about intimations of having been beretofore employed as officers in the continental service.
The gentleman who made the voyage to France to provide the ribbands and medals, has executed his commission. To me they seem tolerably doue ; but all such things are criti
cised. Some find fault with the Latin, as wanting classical elegance and correctness; and since our nine universities were not able to furnish better Latin, it was pity, they say, that the mottos had not been in English. Others object to the title, as not properly assumable by any but General Washington, and a few others, who served without pay. Others object to the bald eagle,' as looking too much like a dindon or turkey. For my own part, I wish the bald eagle' had not been chosen as the representative of our country, he is a bird of bad moral character : he does not get his living honestly; you may have seen him perched on some dead tree, where, too lazy to fish for himself, hé watches the labor of the fishing hawk; and when that diligent bird. has at length taken a fish, and is bearing it to bis nest for the support of his mate and young ones, the bald eagle pursues him, and takes it from him. With all this injustice he is never in good case, but like those among men who live by sharping and robbing, he is generally poor, and often very lousy. Besides, he is a rank coward: the little king bird, not bigger than a sparrow, attacks him boldly and drives him out of the district. He is therefore by no means a proper emblem for the brave and honest Cincinnati of America, who have driven all the king-birds from our country'; though exactly fit for that order of knights which the French call chevaliers d'industrie. I am on this account, not displeased that the figure is not knowu' as a bald eagle, but looks more like a turkey. For in truth, the turkey is in comparison a much more respectable bird, and withal a true original native of America, Eagles have been found in all countries, but
+ The white-headed erne, or bald eagle, (falco leucocephalus. Linn.) peculiar to North America; and the emblem adopted by the society of Cincinnati.
the turkey was peculiar to purs; the first of the species seen in Europe, being brought to France by the Jesuits from Canada, and served up at the wedding table of Charles the Ninth." He is besides, (though a little vain and silly 'tis true, but not the worse emblem for that) a bird of courage, and would not hesitate to attack a grenadier of the British guards, who should presume to invade bis farm-yard with a red coat on.
I shall not enter into the criticisms made upon their Latin. The gallant officers of America may not have the merit of being great scholars, but they undoubtedly merit much as brave soldiers from their country, which should therefore not leave them merely to fame for their “ virtutis premium," which is one of their Latin mottos. Their "esto perpetua," another, is an excellent wish, if they meant it for their country; bad, if intended for their order. The states should not only restore to them the omnia of their first motto, which many of them have left and lost, but pay them justly, and reward them generously. They should not be suffered to remain with all their new created chivalry entirely in the situation of the gentleman in the story, which their omnia reliquit reminds me of. You know everything makes me recollect some story. He had built a very fine house, and thereby much impaired his fortune. He had a pride however in showing it to
* A learned friend of the editor's has observed to him that this is a mistake, as turkies were found in great plenty by Cortes, when he invaded aud conquered Mexico before the time of Charles the IXth. That this, and their being brought to old Spain, is mentioned by Peter Martyr of Angelina, who was secretary to the council of the Indies, established immediately after the discovery of America, and personally acquainted with Columbius.
2 OMNIA RELIQUIT SERVARE REMPUBLICAM.
his acquaintance. One of them, after viewing it all, remarked å motto over the door DIA VANITAS. . What, says he, is the meaning of this OIA? 'tis a word I don't understand. I will tell you, said the gentleman: I had a mind to have the motto cut on a piece of smooth marble, but there was not room for it between the ornaments, to be put in characters large enough to be read. I therefore made use of a contraction anciently very common in Latin manuscripts, whereby the m's and n's in words are onitted, and the omission noted by a little dash, above, which you may see there, so that the word is omnia, OMNIA VANITAS. O, said his friend, I now comprehend the meaning of your motto, it relates to your edię fce; and signifies, that if you have abridged your omnia, you have nevertheless left your VANITAS legible at full length. I am, as ever, your affectionate father,
To His ExcelLENCY HENRY LAURENS, Esg,
Remarks on the British government.
Passy, Feb. 12, 1784, I received your favor of the Sd instant by your son, with the newspapers, for which I thank you. The disorders of that government whose constitution has been so, much praised, are come to a height that threatens some, violent convulsion, if not a dissolution; and its physicians do not even seem to guess at the cause of the disease, and therefore prescribe insufficient remedies, such as place bills, more equal representation, more frequent elections, &c. &c. In my humble opinion, the malady consists in the enormous salaries, emoluments, and patronage of great offices. Ambition and avarice are separately strong passions: when they are united in pursuit of the same object, they are too strong to be governed
by common prudence, or influenced by public spirit and love of country; they drive men irresistibly into factions, cabals, dissensions, and violent divisions, always mischievous to public councils, destructive to the peace of society, and sometimes fatal to its existence. As long as the immense profits of these offices subsist, members of the shortest and most equally chosen parliaments will have them in view, and contend for them, and their contentions will have all the same ruinous consequences. To me then there seems to be but one effectual remedy, and that not likely to be adopted by so corrupt a nation; which is, to abolish these profits, and make every place of honor a place of burthen. By that means the effect of one of the passions above-mentioned would be taken away, and something would be added to counteract the other. Thus the number of competitors for great offices would be diminished, and the efforts of those who still would obtain them moderated.
Thank God we have now less connexion with the affairs of these people, and are more at liberty to take care of our own, which I hope we shall manage better.
We have a terrible winter here, such another in this country is not remembered by any man living. The snow has been thick upon the ground ever since Christmas; and the frost constant.
My grandson joins in best compliments to yourself and Miss Laurens. With sincere esteem and affection I have the honor to be, dear sir, &c.