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The Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution
Volume 7.

written by "Sparks, Jared, 1789-1866"
... as he should receive from us, it was necessary that in the present conjuncture we should decide on the report; that the Captain, in my opinion, would not be justifiable in further pursuing his course against the solemn and unanimous opinion of all the officers, unless by our express orders; and he would be culpable in changing it, without a previous application to us for direction. M. Gerard observed, that he was sensible of the honor done him by the order alluded to, but that it was not convenient to him to give any opinion or direction on the subject. It did not appear to me prudent to reply to this, and therefore I took the first opportunity of turning the conversation to another topic. As this circumstance prevented the Captain's receiving any positive orders from us on the subject, he was of course left to pursue his own judgment, but being desirous of my opinion, I gave it to him, in the manner endorsed on the report of the council, of which a copy is herewith enclosed. The reasons on which this opinion was grounded are, in part, contained in this report, but there were others not mentioned in it. That Congress may the better judge of their force, it is necessary that they be informed of some previous circumstances. The first fair day after losing our masts, I went to the door of M. Gerard's room on the deck, which was open, to bid him good morning. Chevalier Roche was with him; they were conversing on the course most proper for us to steer, and the port most proper to make for. M. 179 Gerard was for going to Cadiz; he had an excellent set of charts, and he had then one of the Atlantic Ocean, with its American, European, and African Coasts, and the intervening islands, before him. By the assistance of this map we perfectly understood his reasoning. The Chevalier at that time inclined to the West Indies, and I heard him, on leaving the room, tell M. Gerard, that to endeavor to get to Europe in the present condition of th...

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