George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Louis XVI, 19 September 1791

From Louis XVI

[Paris, 19 September 1791]

Translation of the King of France’s letter of Sep. 19. 1791 to the President.

Very dear, great friends & allies. We make it our duty to inform you that we have accepted the Constitution which has been presented to us in the name of the nation, & according to which France will be henceforth governed.1 We do not doubt that you take an interest in an event so important to our kingdom & to us; & it is with real pleasure we take this occasion to renew to you assurances of the sincere friendship we bear you. Whereupon we pray god to have you, very dear, great friends & allies in his just & holy keeping. Written at Paris the 19th of September 1791. Your good friend & ally


Translation (AD in the hand of Thomas Jefferson), Forbes Magazine Collection, New York; LB, DLC:GW; LB, DNA: RG 46, Second Congress, 1791–93, Records of Legislative Proceedings, President’s Messages; DS (in French), DNA: RG 59, Communications from Heads of Foreign States (Ceremonial Letters). The original French version appears in CD-ROM:GW.

The cover of the receiver’s copy is docketed “Recd March 2, 1792.” For its receipt and presentation to Congress, see GW to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, 5 Mar. 1792.

1After their final debate on the new French constitution on 3 Sept., the deputies of the National Constituent Assembly immediately submitted the document for ratification to the king, whose legislative power under it would be limited to a three-year suspensive veto of decrees of the National Legislative Assembly. Louis XVI solemnly swore allegiance to the new constitution on 14 September. The National Constituent Assembly held its last session on 30 Sept., and the new members of the new Legislative Assembly first met on 1 October.

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