George Washington Papers

To George Washington from César-Henri de La Luzerne, 12 November 1787

From César-Henri de La Luzerne

Port au Prince [Haiti] 12th Novr 1787.


The assembly which ought to have been held in France in order to particularize the number & quality of French Officers, who, having Served the last war in America, would be admitted into the respectable Society of the Cincinnati, having not been yet convened; I am solicited by Monsieur de Saqui des Toures, Commander of a Ship, with whom I am particularly acquainted and very desireous of obliging, to obtain, for him, permission to wear the Insignia of the Order. I am doubtful whether the French branch of this Society will ever convene, and I thought it right to consult you upon the hopes & wishes of Monsr de Saqui.1

This Officer embarked on board the Languedoc in quality of Leiutenant, having served a cruize with the Count d’Estaing and being badly wounded was obliged to return to Fran[c]e. Among the favors with which he was recompensed at that time,2 he was not at hand to solicit this decoration which was granted to others less deserving of it. He was entitled to it on account of his wounds, as well as many other officers who had absolutly no other recommendation for it. He is more eligible than ever since he has become Commander of a Ship. He claims it as having been one of the first Frenchmen who bore arms in defence of American Liberty.

I beg your Excellency to inform me if you think this officer, whose merits are known to me, will be permitted to carry the Insignia by which this respectable society are distinguished. For my own part I should wish that my recommendation may obtain the favor which he desires, and of which I can assure you he is worthy.

I know the attachment which my Brother has to you, & I also know the friendship with which you honor him. I am persuaded that he would willingly join me in favor of Monsr de Saqui, if he was at hand.

I am glad, Sir, that this circumstance has given me an occasion of renewing the assurances of my sincere atttachment, and the high consideration with which I have the honor to be Yr Excellency’s Most Hble & Obedt Servt

La Luzerne

Translation, by Tobias Lear, DLC:GW; ALS, in French, DLC:GW; ALS, in French, DSoC. enclosed in a letter of 30 Nov. 1787 from Barbé de Marbois.

The comte de La Luzerne was at the point of leaving his post as governor of Hispaniola to return to Paris to become the minister of Marine. His brother, the chevalier de La Luzerne, whom GW knew as France’s first minister to the United States, was soon to become France’s ambassador in London.

1In his letter to GW of 30 Nov., Barbé de Marbois supports La Luzerne’s petition. See GW’s reply to Barbé de Marbois, 4 April 1788. Louis-Chrétien-Hilarion, chevalier de Saqui des Tourès, was made an honorary member of the French Society of the Cincinnati (Contenson, La Société des Cincinnati de France, description begins Baron Ludovic Guy Marie du Bessey de Contenson. La Société des Cincinnati de France et la guerre d’Amérique, 1778–1783. Paris, 1934. description ends 258).

2This is the translator’s rendition of “Parmis les graces qui furent à cette epoque Sa recompense.”

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