George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Chartier de Lotbinière, 8 July 1787

From Chartier de Lotbinière

[New York, 8 July 1787]


Having been informed on my Arrival in this City (the 26 of June) that your Excellency was hourly expected I have waited to deliver the Letter sent herewith which the Marquis de la fayette sent to me from Versailles to Paris the Day preceding my Departure for Havre.1 But General Knox having assured me Yesterday, at Dinner with him, that I must forego the infinite Pleasure of I expected from seeing you here and at the same time told me that the Heat of Philadelphia was at least double that which I with great Difficulty support in this Season at New York that Moreover it was very Doubtful whether you could grant me a few Moments Conversation at a time in which you are so much occupied I determined Sir to send you thro his Assistance the Letter of your very good friend and wait your orders for my Approach.2

It was With the greatest Satisfaction that I had frequently the Opportunity of conversing about your Excellency with the Marquis and I dare flatter myself that being recommended by one so strongly attached to you You will be pleased to give me some Share of the Kindness Esteem & friendship betwowed on him. I have the Honor to be with infinite Respect & Attachment Sir your Excellency’s most obedt & humble Servt

The Marquis of Chartier de Lotbiniere

Translation, in the hand of Gouverneur Morris, DLC:GW; ALS, in French, DLC:GW.

Michel Chartier de Lotbinière (1723–1798) before 1763 was a French army officer and engineer in Canada and was now the owner of large tracts of land on Lake Champlain. See Chartier de Lotbinière to GW, 2 Jan. 1789, source note.

1Lafayette’s letter to “My dear General,” dated 1 May and written from Versailles, reads: “This letter will Be forwarded By Mr le M[arqu]is de lotbinieres a french Gentleman who Had a Considerable property in Canada, and Now finds Himself within the limits of the State of Newyork—He Has Claims which, the Unconstitutional part Being set aside, Appear to me well grounded—and Altho I told Him You Had nothing to do in the Business, I was Requested By Himself, and By intimate friends of Mine to give Him this ⟨Re⟩Commandation. As I write By the same opportunity and My letter will Reach Mount Vernon Before this, I shall only Add the Affectionate and filial Respect of Your devoted and Grateful friend and Humble Servant lafayette” (PEL). Lafayette wrote again on 5 May.

2GW replied to Chartier de Lotbinière on 15 July: “Sir, The letter which you did me the honor of writing to me the 8th Instt accompanied by one from my very good friend the Marquis de la Fayette, came duly to hand.

“The business which brough⟨t⟩ me to this City, necessarily keeps me so much confined to it, that I dare not flatter myself with the honor of paying my respects to you in New York, but if there is any matter in which I can, consistently, serve you, to obey your commands would afford me the greatest pleasure. I have the honor to be Sir yr most Obedt & most Hble Ser⟨vt⟩ Go: Washington” (ALS, CtY: Beck Collection; LB, DLC:GW mistakenly dated 8 July).

Chartier de Lotbinière acknowledged GW’s letter, from New York, on 29 July: “I did not receive untill the Evening of the 16th the Letter you honored me with on the 15th of this Month—I cannot too highly express my lively Gratitude for the Kindness & Offers of Service which you make and I will apply to you with entire Confidence whenever I find myself in want of your Protection to obtain from Congress that Justice which I have every Reason to expect. As you are detained, at Philadelphia by such numerous & important Affairs that your Excellency cannot gratify the ardent Desire which prevails here to see you I shall certainly wait on you as soon as I receive the Answers I expect from my family or when I know the Time in which any one ⟨of⟩ them will come to see me. It is ⟨so⟩ long Sir that I burn with the Desire to see you and know you more intimately that I shall profit of the Opportunity of waiting on you as soon as may be without deranging my Affairs by a longer Journey. And being with you I flatter myself it will not be long before I assure you that I am not unworthy of the Goodwill you express And that I equally deserve it by my Attachment to the United States and you their Saviour & titular Deity And by—the infinite Respect with which I am &ca” (translation, DLC:GW). Chartier de Lotbinière did visit GW before he left Philadelphia (see Chartier de Lotbinière to GW, 27 Jan. 1788).

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