Paris March the 9th 1784
My dear General
Mr du Bouchet formerly a Major in our Service Having Presented me With His Claims to Our Assossiation, I found Myself Obliged to tell Him that His Pretensions Were Groundless—So far was He Convinced of it, that He did not think it Proper to Apply to our Committee, But Has determined Upon Going Himself to America—I Candidly Represented Him that there Was a Good share of Madness in His plan, and that a Refusal Will Set Him in a very disagreeable Situation—I Hoped He Was Converted When on a Sudden I Hear He Now takes up again His Resolution—and After I Have done My Best to discourage Him, I Cannot Refuse Him this Introductory letter to You, Least it might Be thought the Silence of the Committee is Owing to Particular Motives—Indeed, Mr du Bouchet’s zeal is Great, and we Cannot But Be sensible of His Wishes to Become a Member of the Society—He is as Eager a Cincinnatus, as He Has Been a Rifleman in the Northern Army.1 With the Highest Respect and tenderest Affection I Have the Honour to Be My dear General Your obedient Humble Servant
1. Denis-Jean-Florimond Langlois de Mautheville, marquis Du Bouchet (1752–1826), was made a captain in the Continental army after his arrival in Philadelphia in 1777. He was promoted to major after the Battle of Saratoga and returned to France because of bad health. He came back to America in 1780 as an aide-de-camp to Rochambeau and was present at the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown in 1781. He was elected to the American Society of the Cincinnati on 17 May 1784 and apparently later also to the French Society. See Du Bouchet to GW, 17 May 1784. See also Lafayette’s franker comments about Du Bouchet in his second private letter to GW of this date (third letter).