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Sirs, I feel compelled to advise you that the vessel l’Amphitrite, with a displacement of 400 tonnes, will sail with the first good winds for the first port in the United States that it is able to reach. The cargo of this vessel, destined to you, consists of 4000 rifles, 80 barrels of gunpowder, 8000 pairs of shoes, 3000 wool blankets, as well as several engineering and artillery officers, not to mention a German baron, namely a certain aide de camp of Prince Heinrich of Prussia [Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben]; I think that you can make him a general, and I remain your humble and devoted servant.
–Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais, in a letter dated August 10, 1777 to unnamed American friends (S.H. transl.)
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp
From the June 2014 issue
Percentage increase in the annual number of polio cases in Pakistan since 2005:
A bowl of 4,000-year-old noodles was found in northwestern China; and a spokesman for the Chinese Academy of Sciences said that “this is the earliest empirical evidence of noodles ever found.”
A federal judge sentenced the journalist Barrett Brown to 63 months in prison for sharing a link to information stolen from the private-intelligence firm Stratfor by a hacker in 2011. “Good news!” Brown said in a statement. “They’re now going to send me to investigate the prison-industrial complex.”
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“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”