Affidavit for De Bellefonds
Paris, 25 Jan. 1781 [1789?]. Certificate, issued as “Secrétaire d’Etat” and minister at the Court of France, concerning the services that “Monsieur le Chevalier de Bellefonds a rendu sur le Continent de L’Amerique, ou il fut blés” and his right leg broken, according to an affidavit signed by D’Estaing; informing all whom it may concern that De Bellefonds is authorized to wear the insigne “de l’association de Cincinnatus, Jusqu’au moment où il recevra son Diplome des Etats Unis de l’Amérique.”
MS (NN); in French; in clerk’s hand; with “signature” in another hand: “Thomas Jefferson” and a paraph; paper seal attached; and at bottom of text: “M. le Chev: de Bellefonds.” The date is clearly spelled out as “mil sept cent quatre vingt un,” but this is obviously an anachronistic error. The document appears to be contemporaneous, but was certainly not signed by TJ. There is no evidence that anyone by the name of De Bellefonds applied to TJ for such a certificate, nor is he listed in Lasseray’s Les français sous les treize étoiles (Macon, 1935), or in Contenson’s La société des Cincinnati de France (Paris, 1934). It is almost certain, therefore, that the document was fabricated by some impostor without TJ’s knowledge.